Frequently Asked Questions #1
Today, rather than our standard blog post we wanted to share the first part of our WFRP FAQ from Ben Scerri. Our plan is to develop this series into a substantial reference guide that will draw on our passion and experience with WFRP. So, if you have any burning questions you’re dying to ask about the WFRP rules, hop over to our Facebook page and comment under the post for this article and Ben will try to include your questions in future posts. If you prefer you can pop them in an email to [email protected].
Hello everyone! I’m Ben, Assistant Producer with Cubicle 7, and I’m here to welcome you to the first installment of WFRP FAQ!
This series of posts will go through the many questions we’ve received from all of you about WFRP. I’ll explore the question, give a definitive answer, and give page references where relevant, and maybe even pull in Dom or Andy, WFRP’s designers, should a question need a new ruling. Once we have a larger collection of these posted online, we’ll sort them, bundle them together in one document, and post them as a free pdf.
Let’s begin, shall we?
If I increase my Characteristics, do my Wounds increase as well?
Yes! Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay page 34 details how Wounds are determined.
Wounds are always derived from a Character’s base Characteristics (Strength, Toughness, and Willpower), and the Hardy Talent. If a Character’s Characteristics change permanently (due to Advancement, injury, etc.) then Wounds are recalculated to reflect that.
It’s worth noting that temporary changes to Characteristics don’t cause this recalculation: so a Blessing of Hardiness (WFRP, page 221) does not give additional Wounds, for example.
How many Wounds does the Hardy Talent give me?
The Hardy Talent (WFRP, page 138) grants additional Wounds above the standard amount determined by a Character’s Size, equal to the Character’s Toughness Bonus. When a Character’s Toughness Bonus increases, their Wounds increase as normal. This also applies to the Hardy Talent.
For example, a Human Character with Strength Bonus 3, Toughness Bonus 3, and Willpower Bonus 3 has 12 Wounds. Upon gaining the Hardy Talent, the Character gains an additional Toughness Bonus (3) Wounds for a total of 15 Wounds. If the Character’s Toughness Bonus then increased to 4, an additional 3 Wounds are gained (+2 from the Toughness Bonus increase, and +1 from the Hardy Talent).
Do Species Skills count as Career Skills for Advancement?
No. A Character’s Species Skills, listed on WFRP page 36, reflect the cultural upbringing of the Character. Unless a Character — as an adult — pursues these Skills more in a Career, they cannot be Advanced using the normal rules.
Think of this like how, as a child growing up in a rural town, you would be likely to learn about basic wilderness safety — checking for leeches and ticks, how to test your footing when hiking, maybe which streams are safe to drink, etc. — but if later in life you move to the city and become a doctor, you’re not going to be practising those Skills, and you do not increase them.
What is the difference between Lore (Herbs) and Trade (Herbalism)?
Whilst similar, these two Skills are distinct in that Lore (Herbs) (WFRP, page 126) represents knowledge about herbs, whilst Trade (Herbalism) (WFRP, page 131) represents the ability to prepare, manipulate, and cultivate herbs. Normally, it is clear when an action requires intelligence (Lore (Herbs)) or dexterity (Trade (Herbalism)) to perform.
However, there is some crossover, although one Skill is usually always better than the other according to the circumstances. For example, it may require an Easy (+40) Trade (Herbalism) Test to prepare some Herbs, but that could also be done with a Challenging (+0) Lore (Herbs) Test, as you theoretically understand how to prepare some herbs, so can give it a go.
There are many Skills in WFRP which fall into similar layers of distinction, and this is by design. How you approach a problem is as important as the outcome, and your choice of Skill says a lot about the sort of Character you’re playing, and how the Character interacts with the world.
Can I use the Blather Talent in Combat?
Short answer: Sometimes.
Longer answer: The Blather Talent on WFRP page 133 cannot be used in any situation where the target isn’t willing to listen to what the Character has to say (or where the target cannot understand the Character), as determined by the GM. So, can you use it against someone who is actively trying to kill you? No. Can you use it when you are being threatened, intimidated, or blows have yet to be struck? Often, yes. It’s up to the individual situation and individual GM ruling.
Remember, Blather works, specifically, because the target is listening to you. If you remove that fact, it’s just senseless noise. In this way, Blather is more useful the more likely someone is to listen to you as well, and might even be useless if a peasant tries to use it in a social situation against a noble, for example! This is generally simulated by applying different Difficulties to the Test, as determined by the GM.
Can I use Cavalry Weapons when unmounted?
Yes, but it’s ill-advised, and most mounted warriors carry a side-arm for this very purpose. Cavalry Weapons (WFRP, page 294) are designed to be used on horseback, and are clumsy to use in other circumstances. The Cavalry Hammer is considered two-handed when used either mounted or unmounted, and can be used with the Melee (Two-handed) Skill when unmounted if desired. The Lance counts as a two-handed Improvised Weapon with a Very Long Reach when used unmounted.
Can I throw a Non-Throwing Weapon?
Of course! But they are not weighted correctly, so it’s not recommended.
The statistics for any weapon not expressly described in the rules are handled by the GM. Obviously, a thrown Warhammer will hurt far more than a thrown Whip!
As a loose guideline, a thrown non-Throwing Weapon counts as an Improvised Weapon (so it has the Undamaging Quality), has a Range of SB×2, and uses the Ranged (Throwing) Skill. Weapons larger than Average Reach cannot be thrown with any degree of utility by Average-sized Characters, and usually fall uselessly to the ground.
WFRP page 295 lists all of the suitable throwing weapons currently detailed. It’s best to stick to them if you want to throw something!
What Characteristics do you need to Advance to complete a Career Level?
You need to Advance all Characteristics available at your current Career level to complete the Career Level.
More fully: Page 47, Characteristic Advances, paragraph 2, explains what Characteristics are available at each level. To complete a Career level, you must have the specified number of Advances in 'all of your Career level's Characteristics'. This means *all* available Characteristics, not a select number as is the case with Skills, where you need only have 8 Skills with the specified number of Advances. It does not mean you need only Advance the new Characteristics added to the available Characteristics at that level. For Career Levels 2, 3, and 4, that would only be 1 Characteristic!
As a single example, to complete Apothecary (Apothecary level 2), you would need to have at least 10 Advances in Toughness, Dexterity, Initiative, and Fellowship.
A Wizard's Apprentice begins play with a Grimoire of spells. In the Consumer's Guide, it states that it is a heresy punishable by death to carry a Grimoire unless you are licensed by the College of Magic. A Wizard’s Apprentice doesn't get a License until changing Career to Wizard. Does this mean that a Wizard’s Apprentice is basically walking around just hoping no-one asks for their license because carrying their Grimoire and casting any magic is illegal for them?
No. Whilst it’s true Wizard Apprentices have no licence to cast magic, they do have dispensation to practice magic and bear a grimoire by right of their master's licence, assuming the master agrees. So, if the apprentice does anything wrong, their master is also to blame. Best be careful!
Do Magic Missles suffer from Ranged Combat Difficulties?
If successfully cast, a Magic Missile (WFRP, page 236) automatically strikes its target. Magic Missiles are not affected by normal Combat Difficulties that would affect other ranged attacks — including cover, range, obscured vision, darkness, etc. Magic Missiles are only affected by modifiers that would hamper any other spell — restrictions on the ability to concentrate or speak, uncontrolled Winds of Magic, etc.
Think of the Spell as a whole unified effect: the Wizard is creating a missile that flies from their fingers to the target. The Spell isn’t about creating a missile, and then the Wizard needs to aim it and throw it, otherwise there’d be a separate Ballistic Skill Test.
If someone casts a Spell without Channeling and achieves the target SL, or if they use SL to Over-channel, are those SLs consumed in that use?
They are not consumed. The SL is used both for additional effects, and for calculating Damage, if there is any.
When overcasting a Dart spell, can additional missiles hit the same target?
No. Overcasting only allows for additional targets to be selected. This is explained on page 238 in Overcasting, with paragraph 2 specifically answering the question.
How many Spells does a Wizard’s Apprentice’s Grimoire contain?
The rules on WFRP page 238 are left intentionally vague, as this is a highly personal decision (to the GM, the group, and the individual Wizards involved). There are many reasons why a Master Wizard would give more or less spells, such as jealousy, mistrust, or being an Amber Wizard (Amber wizards are notorious for not writing down spells and offering less tutelage). The GM should decide how many Spells are included in an individual grimoire according to the game world they are creating, and also the fun of the wizard player. If the wizard and the larger group are interested in playing stories about finding new magical scrolls to add to the Grimoire, then less is obviously better!
However, as a general guideline, a Grimoire given by a master should contain around 4–6 spells from the chosen Lore, taken from either the Arcane or Colour Magic spell lists. If you wish to tie it to the Character, perhaps fill the grimoire with Intelligence Bonus Spells. Other spells will need to be found during play, perhaps on scrolls or in other grimoires, or learned from another wizard who studies the same Lore of Magic.
Do victims of the Forest of Thorns Spell lose all Bleeding Conditions?
The Forest of Thorns Spell from the Lore of Life on WFRP page 251 targets the ground it is cast upon, and does not count as targeting any Character who moves through the Area of Effect. Therefore, the Spell applies Bleeding Conditions as stated, and does not remove them as per the special rule for Lore of Life Spells.
The passive bonus for the Lore of Life only applies to Spells that target a Character directly, so any Spell that targets an inanimate object, a location, and similar, does not carry this bonus.
What are the passive bonuses for Spells from the Lore of Shadows?
The descriptive text on WFRP page 253 includes the line ‘Any protective spells you may cast wreath you in shadows and billow smoke, making your body insubstantial, possibly even allowing blades to pass through you seemingly without harm’. This text is for narrative purposes, and should be used to inform the descriptions of spells.
The mechanical effect of the Lore of Shadows is the following sentence: ‘Further, all spells cast from the Lore of Shadows inflicting Damage ignore all non-magical Armour Points.’
Until Next Time
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Until next time!