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Catching Rats & Robbing Graves: Other Warhammer-Inspired RPGs

Before diving into a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay-inspired conversion of Hack100, I thought I’d take a look at similar paths travelled by others. There are three existing RPGs that I’m aware of that pass the “Does it have ‘Rat Catcher’ and ‘Grave Robber’ characters?” test.

Zweihänder

Zweihänder by Daniel Fox is a beast of a book. At over six hundred pages, it is by far the weightiest tome in my Great Library of RPGs. Bigger even than the classic first edition of WFRP, which is its clear inspiration. Powered by a d100 system, it has all the familiar WFRP touchstones in terms of its grimdark tone and associated mechanics (an extensive career system, skills/talents, dangerous combat and magic, etc). In terms of crunch, it’s on a par with WFRP (perhaps even slightly crunchier) and, for that reason, I doubt I’d ever run it. Nevertheless, the book is a fantastic resource for running “grim and perilous” games, with plenty of content for plundering. Given the size of the book, it’s also reasonably priced. Zweihänder is an impressive piece of work and is highly recommended. PDF available here.

Little and large … the Zweihänder and Hack100 rulebooks side-by-side.

Warlock!

Warlock! by Greg Saunders is a much lighter ruleset that describes itself as “a game inspired by the early days of British tabletop gaming“. It’s a d20-based system that dispenses with attributes in favour of 32 skills that are rated on a scale of 4 – 16. These skill ratings provide positive modifiers to d20 skill rolls, with a target number of 20 needed for success. It’s the Old World-inspired careers that provide the majority of the WFRP flavour. However, Warlock! is very much its own thing, with its own setting and range of supplements. Available here.

Small But Vicious Dog

Small But Vicious Dog (SBVD) by Chris Hogan is simply the most entertaining set of RPG rules I’ve ever read. If the “British Old School Renaissance” is a thing, then SBVD is it distilled into its purest form. It’s WFRP dialled up to eleven. The Academic/Ranger/Rogue/Warrior character classes are mapped to characters from the classic 1980s UK television series “The Young Ones”. The rules are worth downloading for the descriptions of Dwarfs, Elves, Halflings and Humans alone. In terms of the ruleset, it is a WFRP hack using Moldvay-Cook B/X D&D. However, SBVD retains a very strong WFRP flavour, albeit with its tongue very firmly in its cheek. It’s not clear whether the most recent version available (0.3 from 2011) is considered complete, but it’s worth checking out if you want to capture that 1980s first edition WFRP flavour.


So, where might a Hack100 WFRP conversion sit alongside these existing options? Is there room for it?

I think so. Zweihänder’s approach is the exact opposite of Hack100’s in that it is a full-fat, detail-heavy RPG. Warlock! and SBVD are both d20 systems, which means that they are less compatible with existing WFRP content (or that content will require more extensive translation). As a d100 system, Hack100 already has a basic level of compatibility with WFRP and that should provide a solid foundation for any conversion.

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