Friday, February 13, 2009

Hundreds of New Ways to Explore the Old World

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay fans were worried when Black Industries dumped its RPG line (WFRP and Dark Heresy, the W40K RPG) off on Fantasy Flight Games (well, at least I was worried). Known mostly for their large format, expensive, time-consuming board games, FFG has only one other RPG I'm aware of: Grimm, a simple, dark RPG in which child PCs adventure in a world that resembles the fairy tales of youth, only more twisted, bizarre and dangerous. I thought it was a good game, though it had some minor layout problems, those were cosmetic. Overall, the Grimm book looks nice. Still, since I like the way my Black Industries WH books all match up when they're lined up on the bookcase, I was worried FFG might mess with the "traditional" WFRP book design, or worse yet, come out with bad products.

I was worried for no reason. FFG's first product for WFRP, Career Compendium, is useful, attractive, and durable, and will appeal to both players and Game Masters alike.

Since BI released the core rulebook several years ago, there have been well over a dozen sourcebooks, adventure books, and whatnot, and all of them featured new careers. Now, all of them are collected here in one volume. If you're bored with the 100 some-odd careers in the main book, there are a total of 220 here. Fancy becoming an Abbot? How about a Whaler? Questing Knight? Black Guard? Agent of the Shroud? Bear Tamer? There are also some brand-new careers, like Rapscallion and Farmer.

Yes, Farmer. Finally.

The book offers more than just re-printing old stuff in a new place. Each career gets its own page, with the top half devoted to stats and the bottom half dedicated to more detailed background information about how the career really works in the Warhammer World, adventure seeds, and lots of other "crunchy bits."

Most books, beyond the core rulebook and maybe something like Realms of Sorcery, are mostly just purchased by Game Masters. The Career Compendium is going to be something players can really sink their teeth into.

Finally, I'm happy to say that the only real design change from the BI books is a logo swap. If anything, the art quality is getting a bit better. The cover features a slightly more comic-inspired look than the BI stuff, but it's still very Warhammer and leaps off a shelf. And trust me, if you're a Warhammer geek, there's tons of stuff here to sink your teeth into.

So there it is. I thought I'd cap my Warhammer collection at the end of the BI line, but if this is any indication of WFRP's future with FFG, it's going to be a bright one. In a grim way, of course.

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