News for November 2009
Combat Training 103: Putting it all together 68
A step by step combat example for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay | Published 04 November 2009

In previous designer diaries, I provided readers with a look at several different combat topics. Combat Training 101 introduced the initiative rules used in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Combat Training 102 provided an in-depth look at the turn structure during a round of combat.

Now that the individual elements of combat task resolution have been discussed, it is time to look at an example that incorporates all of the information. This designer diary walks you through one entire player turn during a combat.

A Chance Encounter

Mellerion the Wood ElfThis example walks through an entire character turn for Mellerion, a wood elf hunter who has stumbled across a foul beastman trespassing in his sacred forest home.

The GM describes how at the beginning of the encounter, the two stare at each other for a moment, surprised to find the other in this part of the forest.

Then, since the order in which the participants act is important to a combat situation, the GM asks Mellerion’s player to make an initiative check for the wood elf while the GM rolls for the beastman. Mellerion generates 4 successes, while the beastman manages only 1 success. The GM sets up the initiative track with a hero token on the 4th space and the beastman token on space 1.

Since a hero marker is the top-most token on the initiative track, Mellerion gets to act first. Mellerion’s player becomes the active player and starts his turn.

Beginning of Turn Phase

During the Beginning of Turn Phase, Mellerion’s player decides to move Mellerion toward a conservative stance, to take best advantage of his Accurate Shot Ranged Attack action card. He moves Mellerion’s stance activation token from the neutral space (where it began the encounter) to the first space on the conservative side of the stance meter.

To get the most out of the action, the active player decides it is worth it for Mellerion to suffer one stress to move another space along the conservative track. To reflect this, the active player places a stress token next to Mellerion’s character sheet, and puts the activation token on the second space along the conservative side of the stance meter.

Character Turn

Accurate ShotMellerion is now ready to act. Caught unprepared, however, he does not have his longbow in hand. He performs a manoeuvre to ready his longbow. Easy enough – a character can perform one manouevre for free each turn.

To show how other factors may contribute to the turn, let's assume that one of the requirements for Accurate Shot was "preparation" -- a special type of manoeuvre. It is not one of the requirements on the conversative side of this card, but preparation is a fairly common requirement for more complex or time-consuming actions. 

Since Mellerion has already performed one free manoeuvre this turn (used to draw his longbow), he must suffer one fatigue to perform a second manoeuvre for preparation. The active player places a fatigue token next to Mellerion’s character sheet and declares that Mellerion is preparing for the Accurate Shot, taking a deep breath and lining up his shot against the beastman.

Mellerion is now ready to attack the beastman. The active player places the Accurate Shot action card next to Mellerion’s character sheet, with the conservative side face up. Based on the card’s special rules, he decides to have Mellerion suffer 2 stress to add 2 extra fortune dice to the attack’s dice pool. He assembles the dice pool for the action. Accurate Shot requires a Ballistics Skill check, which is based on Agility. Mellerion has Agility 5 and Ballistic Skill trained. He converts 2 of his 5 characteristic dice into conservative stance dice.

The GM indicates that the beastman is in medium range, and determines that this will be an easy check, which adds one challenge die to the dice pool. This particular beastman has a Defence of 1 for its thick, leathery hide, which adds one misfortune dice to the pool.

The GM describes how the dark, forboding shadows cloak the beastmen, but that Mellerion’s keen eyesight and experience in the forest allows him to ignore the shadows (which the GM deems would otherwise complicate the check and introduce several misfortune dice to the check).

There are no other environmental or situational modifiers to the task, so the current dice pool is comprised of:

  • 3 characteristic dice (blue d8)
  • 2 green conservative dice (green d10)
  • 1 expertise dice (yellow d6)
  • 2 fortune dice (white d6)
  • 1 challenge die (purple d8)
  • 1 misfortune dice (black d6)

Mellerion’s player rolls the entire dice pool, generating the following results:

Mellerion's Dice Pool


Narrating the Results

The dice pool has results across a wide range of different dice. Since the end result is at least one net success, the action is successful. However, the GM notes that no more than one success appears on any one type of die – Mellerion succeeded with a balanced approach, relying equally on his innate Agility, a cautious approach, and benefitted from having fate shining upon him. Further, the player mentions how Mellerion’s long practiced marksmanship skills allowed him to time the action perfectly, as the Sigmar’s Comet provides the player with several options.

Resolving the Action

A Fearsome BeastmanThe pool generates three successes and one challenge, which is a net result of two successes – the attack succeeds! This is enough to generate the single success line on the Accurate Shot action card. If Mellerion had generated just one more success, he could use the three success line on the action card.

Looking at the other symbols, the dice pool generated no boons and two banes, for a final result of two banes. The Accurate Shot card lists a penalty for two banes: the attack will inflict one less point of damage.
Two other symbols have an effect on the action. The delay symbol allows the GM to move the hero marker on the initiative track down a space or place 2 recharge tokens on one of Mellerion’s action cards. The GM chooses to add two recharge tokens to Mellerion’s Dodge action card, explaining how the extra aim and time to draw a bead on the beastman potentially leaves him exposed to the creature’s retaliation.

Luckily, the other symbol, Sigmar’s Comet, is a good omen. It allows Mellerion to trigger a specific effect from either the action card, or based on the skill used during the check. The Accurate Shot has a Sigmar’s Comet effect allowing Mellerion to inflict 2 extra damage for each stress he suffered before taking the shot. Since Mellerion suffered 2 stress, that grants 4 extra damage!

Mellerion could also choose to trigger the longbow’s critical effect, and inflict critical damage. Finally, he has the option to use the Sigmar’s Comet as a success, which would let him trigger the three success line on the card. Weighing his options, he chooses to trigger the Sigmar’s Comet effect from the Accurate Shot card to inflict the extra damage.

Since the attack was successful, damage is calculated to see if the beastman suffers any wounds. The single success line of the Accurate Shot action card indicates the attack inflicts normal damage. Based on all the contributing factors, Mellerion’s damage potential is 12. This is based on hi Agility 5 + the longbow’s Damage Rating of 4 + 4 bonus damage from the Sigmar’s Comet effect - 1 damage from the bane result. This beastman’s Soak Value is 6 (his Toughness 4 + Soak Value of 2 from his monster entry). Subtracting the soak value from the damage potential shows how much damage gets through – the attack inflicts six wounds!

The action Accurate Shot has a recharge rating of six. After successfully performing the action, Mellerion’s player places six recharge tokens on the card. He won’t be able to use this particular action again while it is recharging.
Since Mellerion knows he won’t be able to dodge for a while, his player chooses to suffer one more fatigue to perform a final manoeuvre, drawing his longsword so he can at least attempt to parry. The active player places another fatigue token next to Mellerion’s character sheet.

The active player decides he has no further actions and does not want to perform any additional manoeuvres. He proceeds to the End of Turn Phase.

End of Turn Phase

Mellerion is not under the effect of any brief or dependent conditions, so the active player does not need to manage any condition cards. Mellerion does have action cards currently recharging. He removes one recharge token from his Dodge card (which received recharge tokens due to his delay result) and one recharge token from the Accurate Shot card (which acquired recharge token equal to its recharge rating after the action was successfully performed).

Now that Mellerion is done with his turn, the active player flips the activation token on his stance meter to indicate Mellerion has acted this round.

It is now time for the next initiative to resolve. In this situation, it would become the beastman’s turn, with the GM as the active player performing the beastman’s actions.

And that concludes our little walkthrough of Mellerion’s turn… I hope that helps answer some of the questions readers have had about how all these different steps work together.

Emperor’s Decree Update

It has been a busy week, indeed. A shipment of more than 200 copies of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay core set arrived Monday morning. The marketing team and I quickly went to work, unloading the shipment, breaking open the cartons to set up all the core sets for our production line, then feverishly building pre-release kits for the stores participating in the Emperor’s Decree Pre-Release Event for WFRP.

The event is coming up quickly, and I’m very excited. Stores should be getting their kits very soon. If you’re a player interested in trying out a demo, be sure to check out the stores that will be hosting the Emperor’s Decree, and contact them to learn more details about when their demos will be running, or to sign up to participate.

For those of you participating in the Emperor’s Decree event – either running the demo for your local store or playing in the Day Late, Shilling Short demo scenario – be sure to stop by the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay forums and share your experience.

Emperor's Decree

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a roleplaying game that sets unlikely heroes on the road to perilous adventure, in the grim setting of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world. Players will venture into the dark corners of the Empire, guided by luck and Fate, and challenge the threats that others cannot or will not face.


Write Comments     
More News [+]
Comments (68)

Published: 11/8/2009 6:49:11 PM

 @Japan Gamer

The complexity in the new WFRP comes from an intricate system of choices and consequences.  As I read the rules in preparation for next week's demo, I have been struck by the frequency of the words track and manage that appear in them.

I believe some perceive the role playing as dumbed down because they think that narrative has given way to card flipping.  I am not sure I agree but there are some features of the game like location cards that make the new WFRP feel much more like a board game than an FRPG.

I worry that it will be a game of rule and roll playing more than what Marc Miller describes as RDME - a rich decision making environment.

I will give the game a fair shake when I give it a test run before the big demo day.  Who knows, maybe I will find it to be better to play than read, but right now it feels like I am learning a new board game.

Published: 11/6/2009 7:13:14 PM

 Where's the board?

Published: 11/6/2009 12:46:43 PM

To McClaud on:

And WFRP v2 (or any RPG) wasn't part of the deal that Specialist Games was working on, so I highly doubt any RPGs will end up as free-to-download PDFs like Mordenheim or Necromunda did.

You're porbably right but it would be the decent thing to do.

And after all I think Jay owes us a session demo video :-)=)

Published: 11/6/2009 11:39:19 AM


The Mordenheim miniature game was handed to GW's Specialist Games group a few years ago. They put a lot of different mini games into PDF free-to-download, mostly because they were turning those games into Living Rulebooks (such as Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Man O' War, etc). However, Specialist Games was once again absorbed by the parent company when GW reorganized themselves in 2008, so they are no longer supporting the Living Rulebook line like they used to. You have to go to the main GW site to get the downloads now (and some of them are not updated or even what Specialist Games was originally offering).

And WFRP v2 (or any RPG) wasn't part of the deal that Specialist Games was working on, so I highly doubt any RPGs will end up as free-to-download PDFs like Mordenheim or Necromunda did.

Published: 11/6/2009 6:25:24 AM

@parzival Yes i think we have the same view on combat. :)

Although combat doesn't turn up all that often in our games it's important that it's exciting when it does. I like fast systems and despite what it may seem like when you read through a lengthy diary like this I think this system has the potential to run rather smoothly and also add to the experience.

That's my hope anyway but of course, the proof is in the pudding. There's always the risk that this is will turn out horribly unplayable. Although I don't think so. :)

@Japan Gamer. I was thinking the same thing! Some people call it dumbed down and roleplaying for dummies, while others complain about it being overly complex. I wonder if this could mean that it's just right. Hehe!
By the way, where in Japan are you located? Are you involved with JIGG?

Published: 11/6/2009 2:08:33 AM

abmacfarlane wrote:

I'm afraid I wont get time to save up enough to purchase the remaining books and pdf's and if we can get some warning that the end times were soon approaching that would be great to make that one last final purchase!

I share your concerns, here's a suggestion for FFG:

Why not make all the WFRP2 PDFs free for download?

I know that GW has done that for Mordheim...

And after all I think Jay owes us a session demo video :-)=)


Published: 11/6/2009 12:07:32 AM


A man can never have too many dice, like he can never have too many women :-)

Published: 11/5/2009 10:37:02 PM

I'm trying to like this but I just feel disappointed because of how much I love 2E. To those that don't and like what they're seeing so far I hope it meets your expectations because the Warhammer world is the best damn fantasy setting to game, read about and roleplay in.

However, I'm getting a similar vibe to what happened with FFG's Mutant Chronicles debacle. It's hard to express my thoughts because while you want to air your opinion in the designated feedback section it's easy to come across like trolling. So I really only want to say to FFG please don't take down everything 2E when 3E is released, I'm afraid I wont get time to save up enough to purchase the remaining books and pdf's and if we can get some warning that the end times were soon approaching that would be great to make that one last final purchase!

Thanks guys and happy gaming.

Japan Gamer
Published: 11/5/2009 9:42:12 PM

It is interesting that comments of overly complex and dumbed down show up in the same thread.   I don't know what to make of that.

Published: 11/5/2009 9:32:02 PM

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I seem to be the only one in my group who is at least prepared to take a look at this thing when it comes out.  One of the group dismissed it as 'roleplaying for dummies'.  Another was completely put off by the multiple cards, dice, jigsaw pieces etc.  The general view of the group is that we stick to 2E.  I've tried talking them into at least taking a look but when I show them a new Designer Diary the same old arguments keep popping up.

Japan Gamer
Published: 11/5/2009 5:35:05 PM

Same here!  My player group is beyond thrilled and we already have 2 new recruits just from the designer diaries who can't wait to play (both are Arkham Horror enthusiasts who have wanted to get into RPGing).  Can't wait to get that HUGE box!

Published: 11/5/2009 4:21:41 PM

I like this system a lot, but I can definitely see it as the final nail in the coffin for a lot of people. This combat system describes just about everything the "naysayers" were worried about.

Definitely not a game system for everyone. Luckily, it will be liked by my player group, which counts.

© 2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS