Last night my players gathered at my house for the second session of our Warhammer 3 campaign (for that is what it appears to have become). We’re running through the module in the WFRP Adventure Book, An Eye for an Eye. We started a little late due to address confusion and eating, and there aren’t really any additional details I need to add about the Japanese element of the experience, except:

  • It really helps to prepare language – I consistently go into situations like this thinking I’ll just “work it out” but there is no way to work out words in a language completely different to English. You need to find them and memorize them ahead
  • Japanese players really do get down to business quicker than English-language players, in my experience
  • One of my players forgot his translated cards, but between us we muddled through without too much difficulty. He could either read them himself, or I helped him, or people shared theirs with him. The main problem he had was in skimming them to make a decision – the titles are meaningless, and it’s from the titles and names (of powers, spells, cards, whatever) that you primarily decide what to do
  • I put an explicit ban on purchasing new action cards with advances, because I want my players to become more familiar with the cards they have and I need time for translation. This worked out- we soon identified that the thief character needs a “firing into combat” card, and by next session I aim to translate some suggested cards for the soldier
  • I had an amusing language stuff-up that I’m going to have to retroactively reversed. In negotiating their fee for their adventure, I told the characters they would be paid “1 gin” (1 silver) for uncovering the mystery, when I was meant to say “1 kin” (1 gold). They were all like “we’re out of here” (1 silver is not much money!) and I couldn’t fathom why. One of them said “let’s negotiate” and pushed it up to “4 gin” (4 silver), and they were all still saying “fuck this for a game of soldiers.” Finally someone realised I might be confusing two common words and checked with me, and now they’re all earning way more than they should be. I’m going to correct that by email. Oops.

Translating cards makes things slower, but the combination of “false beginners” (everyone actually knows a lot of English words) and the Warhammer 2 translation means that people are getting along okay. Despite starting late (9pm) and language difficulties, and the distraction of a visitor coming to meet the cat, we managed to get through the following stages of the adventure in 3.5 hours:

  • purchasing some stuff in town
  • spending experience points
  • learning about the mission and making a deal
  • travelling to Grunewald Lodge, and the fight with the beastmen
  • Meeting the head of the Lodge and discussing their job

I think that is  a pretty good run of events for 3.5 hours in the second session of a new system.

I only have 2 points to make about warhammer 3 as a whole, which I’m still really enjoying. First of all, I really like the progress tracker, it’s a really useful tool in any situation where you need to handle time-dependent conflict, and secondly, it’s really really deadly.

On the deadliness of Warhammer 3.

Mr. Kaede is playing a soldier who has a mail shirt, a kite shield, and has spent his first experience points on combat-related bonusses. In a pinch, he can and does add 7 misfortune dice to an opponent’s attack on him. He has 13 wounds, the most of the party, and his reckless cleave action is nasty as potted doom. The thief character has an awesome ranged attack, rapid fire, which mows down opponents. I pitted the party of 4 against a group of beastmen, consisting of 2 Gors and 10 ungor henchmen. They attacked in 2 waves, the first consisting of 1 Gor and 5 ungors, the second arriving 2 rounds later and suffering fatigues in order to reach the battle quickly (fatigues count as wounds for bad guys, so they arrived weakened). The first leader, fighting the soldier, suffered damage fast. The thief and wizard mowed down 4 of the Ungors in one round, so at the end of the round all that remained was a wounded leader and a wounded ungor. But this Ungor reduced the thief to two wounds. The way initiative works in Warhammer 3, when the second round commenced the round was set to start with one PC and one monster acting. The players’ initial decision was to have the soldier finish off the Gor, but I pointed out to them that regardless of their decision, I was going to have the Ungor kill the thief, so they needed to adjust their initiative order to save the thief.

I really like this flexibility! In the first round the first people to act were the soldier and the Gor, on an initiative of 3, then everyone else on 2. In the second round, both enemy and party can change who acts when. So the characters had to decide who would save the Thief. The thief himself is a crap fighter and the wizard had no power, so the cleric – 14 year old Suzette – had to charge in to kill the ungor (the soldier was engaged in a separate area). She failed, despite using all her luck points on the task, so then the thief’s fate hung in the balance. He threw his luck points, parried, did all he could – and the ungor just missed. The soldier then followed up with a support action which emabled the thief to disengage from combat so he could use his missile attack, which he did, to kill off some ungors.

In the following round, the other Gor charged in to attack the soldier, using its special charge power. Even though he added 7 misfortune dice, it seriously wounded and critically wounded him, getting him down to 5 wounds, before he could kill it. There is no healing in the place they have arrived at, so when the final boss battle arrives their soldier is going to be critically wounded and 1 good hit away from death – and their only archer is on 2 wounds.

Also, they chewed through 12 beastmen in 2 rounds. This game is deadly, even if your character has combat skills.