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Catching Rats & Robbing Graves – Release 0.01

Here’s an early work-in-progress release of Catching Rats & Robbing Graves (CRARG), a supplement for Hack100 that provides guidelines for running Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP)-style games. Release 0.01 of CRARG includes the Introduction and the early sections of Character Creation.

To accompany the release, here are some supplementary design notes.

Introduction

As explained in the supplement, the aim is not to provide a self-contained alternative to WFRP (in the manner of, for example, Zweihänder or Warlock!). Instead, CRARG provides an unobtrusive set of simplified mechanics that can be used as an alternative to WFRP’s convoluted systems (particularly the 4th Edition’s) whilst keeping the content and tone of the setting intact. So we lose the complications of Advantage, multiple Combat Modifiers, Talents, Conditions, Psychological Traits, Weapon Qualities/Flaws, Creature Traits and Fortune/Fate/Resilience/Resolve. But we keep all the good stuff like the character careers, the Old World setting, and the grimdark tone.


In other words, the intention is that CRARG, together with Hack100, should be used alongside existing WFRP material, not as a replacement for it.

Character Creation Overview

The character creation process is very similar to that described in the Hack100 rulebook. I’ve just shuffled some of the elements around to match WFRP’s approach more closely.

Free Experience Checks

One of my favourite innovations from the 4th Edition of WFRP is the award of Experience Points for embracing random character creation. I’ve kept that concept in CRARG by awarding Free Experience Checks for those players that accept their character’s Species, Abilities and Career Specialism as rolled. There will be more on this in an upcoming blog.

Character Species

I haven’t included any background descriptions of Humans, Dwarfs, Elves and Halflings. This content is better sourced from the original games.

For the Night Vision talent of the non-Humans, I’ve used Hack100’s Innate Characteristics concept.

Character Abilities

There has been some variation in the composition of WFRP’s attributes across its various releases. However, if we take the most recent 4th Edition as a baseline, then we find the following:

  1. Seven of Hack100’s Abilities align very closely with their equivalent WFRP attributes:
  • Melee => Weapon Skill
  • Ranged => Ballistic Skill
  • Strenth => Strength
  • Toughness => Toughness
  • Agility => Agility
  • Reasoning => Intelligence
  • Willpower => Willpower
  1. Of the other three:
  • WFRP’s Fellowship attribute has some overlap with Hack100’s Influence Ability. However, whilst Fellowship is generally about being friendly and getting on with people, Influence is broader, encompassing coercion, intimidation, haggling, etc.
  • WFRP treats Hack100’s Stealth and Perception Abilities as skills rather than attributes.

WFRP also has an Initiative attribute, for which there is no direct equivalent in Hack100. Initiative doesn’t provide the basis for many WFRP skills (of the basic skills, only Intuition, Navigation and Perception). However, it is used for determining the order in which combatants act. Hack100 uses 1d10 + Agility Bonus for combat initiative.

Overall, there is a sufficiently close match between the two systems to ensure that the basic translation of characters (and NPCs) should be relatively straightforward.

To maintain system alignment, the Hack100 character creation step of adding 20% to one Ability and 10% to one other has been removed (sorry!). However, the Free Experience Checks will partially compensate for this.

Luck Points

Hack100’s optional Luck Points replace WFRP’s Fate Points (and Fortune, Resilience and Resolve in 4th Edition). They work somewhat differently but serve the same purpose of providing unlucky characters with a safety net. A previous blog discussed the thinking behind them.

CRARG tweaks the approach outlined in the Hack100 rulebook by having different allocations of Luck Points for each character Species (in keeping with WFRP’s approach to Fate Points).

Movement

Movement in the Hack100 rulebook is defined in metres. In hindsight, given that it is a generic system, this is probably a mistake. Moving forward, I’ll work with dimensionless grid squares. These can then be configured as required – 5 feet, 1.5 metres, 2 yards, or whatever. For CRARG I will use a WFRP-consistent value of 2 yards per grid square.

The different Species have been given different Movement rates for consistency with WFRP. One implication is that I will have to adjust the Movement penalties associated with wearing armour from those presented in the Hack100 rulebook.


That’s as far as I’ve got for now. In the next blog, we’ll continue the character creation process with a look at Careers.

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