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ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
 
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ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
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ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Jonathan H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2017 15:28:53

I’m not generally a fan of heartbreaker roleplaying games. When I’ve sat down to read them I’ve always had this little voice in the back of my head telling me that what I’m about to experience is, quite simply, the game I already own with material added by some house rules, and some changes or additions to address the writer’s vision of how the game should have been. It’s not a fair way to approach books such as these, I know, but it’s always a nagging doubt that sits there and skews my view of the game.

In all honesty, I pretty much ignored ZWEIHÄNDER when it first came up on my Warhammer radar. It was a few changes by gamers who loved the old-school Warhammer RPG, a fan edit of the game, nothing more than a few house rules thrown out into the ether to attract attention. However, the more it hung around the more it intrigued me, and when the Kickstarter began I then began to give it more than casual attention.

Actually, I was probably even more purposefully ignorant of this project than I have been with any other OSR-style game of this type. You see, I’m a huge Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition fan. Huge. It is, without doubt, my favourite roleplaying game of them all. I bought the re-released softback in the late 1980s and I have had countless hours of adventures in this world. Even after 2nd Edition came out, with much cleaner and balanced rules, I still went back to the 1st Edition. It was unbalanced, with arguably the worst and most unmanageble magic system ever put into a rulebook, and it took quite a bit of work to get a handle on the rules (for myself, at any rate).

It was clunky and annoying at times, but, by the Blood God, I loved it. It wasn’t my first gaming system, and there have been better ones since then, but it’s the one that made the biggest impact on me creatively. And this was because the rulebook not only oozed atmosphere, it had everything I needed to run roleplaying games for years. The book had a wonderful dark-but-fun feel to it that was very me, and it contained full rules for everything, world details, a full bestiary and an adventure. It was everything I could have wanted in a single, weighty volume.

So, when someone on the internet has a go at creating their own version of it and not not only aims to redo what has come before but also create a full game in the ‘spirit’ of old Warhammer? Well… they’d better bring their A-game, because for 30 years I’ve not needed anything else for my Warhammer FRP games but that 1st Edition rulebook.

The more I read about ZWEIHÄNDER the more intrigued I became. I didn’t know much about the changes, but the artwork that started to appear was wonderful and really evocative of the setting as well as the original rulebook. Still, that wasn’t enough to sway me – after all, all they could do was emulate the Warhammer rules, so it wasn’t really Warhammer, was it? Unless I could travel the Reik avoiding that death, have a beer in Altdorf and headbutt mutants in the face in the Border Princes then what was the point?

But then I read more, and then I started to read the feedback from the early access Beta version of the rules. And my curiosity turned into suprise, then excitement. Then I started asking questions and before I knew what was happening a copy was being winged to me and it landed on my desk with an almighty thump. And I stared at it long and hard. Then I slowly opened the book and, with a deep nervous breath, I got stuck in.

The damn thing is huge! Huge I tell you! A single volume of almost 700 pages, hardback, with a full-colour cover and a black-and-white interior. It was so heavy the delivery man who dropped it off has been sending me his physiotherapy bills. Calling it ZWEIHÄNDER is accurate; you could wield this tome with two hands and beat someone to death with it.

It’s a gorgeous book, with a nice red page-marking ribbon that just about sticks out at the bottom. This is the version with the Kickstarter edition cover; in the dank sewers of some dark place, a mage summons fire, a hammer-wielding warrior takes a swing at some rat-men, a scarred elf attacks a larger rat, a soldier aims a musket and a dwarf attends to a wounded fellow, all while being guarded by a small but vicious dog. It’s action packed and a lot of fun, really getting across the action-packed darkness of the setting.

The Drivethrurpg print-on-demand has a different cover depicting four grim soldiers posing, as if for a photograph, all watching you, the reader, with accusing eyes. In all honesty, I prefer the Drivethrurpg print-on-demand cover. As fun as the Kickstarter one is, I feel the POD cover is much more atmospheric and it appeals to me more. Either way, each cover has wonderful art, the Kickstarter cover is by Dejan Mandic (who also does the interior art) and the POD is by Jussi Alarauhio.

And the interior art – wow. Dejan Mandic has produced some amazing work that captures the atmosphere of the game wonderfully. The number of illustrations is staggering, from small page-fillers to depictions of races, monsters and careers, to full-page chapter introductions and images. It’s all done in an old-fashioned way and it suits the book perfectly, meeting the design halfway between old-school 1980s goodness and modern design choices with evocative borders and layout. It’s fully black-and-white but that only adds to the grimness. It’s excellent stuff and throughout it looks great, and the use of a single artist keeps the atmosphere constant.

It’s a wonderful book, and it’s bound so that it can be left open where you need it without any fear of pages falling out or the spine cracking open.

Everything I expect to find in a Warhammer RPG is here – races (Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling Ogre and Elf), archetypes (Academic, Commoner, Knave, Ranger, Socialite and Warrior), and then professions which I won’t list here because, like WFRP’s careers, there’s a lot of them. It’s all well balanced and characters are much more likely to be much more equal. In original WFRP, the career system gave some players better characters than others, sometimes by a long margin. I never really cared that much for game balance – it’s part of WFRP’s appeal for me – but this makes things much more balanced and will make players feel they’re much more competent within the group.

The main attributes are Combat, Brawn, Agility, Perception, Intelligence, Willpower and Fellowship, each represented by percentile scores. These scores reflect skills, which can be increased up to three ten percent increments, so up to 30% can be added to a skill as the character advances. Different professions open up different skill opportunities, and talents give characters special abilites they can pull out if needed. The skills have been tidied up and slightly reduced in number, so there’s a huge choice to be made but they’re fairly distributed between characters and professions.

All skills are percentile based – roll under to succeed – with modifications for difficulty and with different results representing different levels and effects of success or failure. Combat is fast and brutal, as it should be in a game like this, with lasting effects. You can contract diseases, go mad, and there’s a corruption scale that determines how you lean towards order or chaos, which is adjusted as play progresses and determined by what happens to the player, how they react to certain things and how they act. Leaning too far in either direction can result in disorders or benefits. The magic system is much better, a vast improvement on 1st Edition – but, to be fair, that wouldn’t be hard. The grimoire of spells is impressive with different schools of magic to choose from, and it’s easy and quick to use, although by the nature of the game the chances are that if anyone found out that you could cast spells you’d be strung up by the neck and everything you owned would be burned.

A huge section on game mastery helps with running games, but this is more of a set of extras to help with different situations, including overland travel, rewards for players, social intrigue and campaign ideas. There’s a large section on extra combat rules in here; I’m not sure why, they would have been better served in the combat section, even if they are optional. The huge bestiary is excellent and the adventure ‘A Bitter Harvest’ is a good introduction to the game as well as the dark fantasy genre as a whole. The appendix at the back is more than welcome, especially with a book this size.

As with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition, everything you need to run a dark fantasy game, in the Warhammer world or any other grim setting, is here. Whether you establish your own setting or use an existing one, these rules will have you covered with minimal adjustments to the rules. The magic section may need looking at depending on the setting, but otherwise it’s a solid system that will serve a dark game exceptionally well.

So - I’ve read the book, and I’ve run some players through an adventure of my own design, with ancient devils, broken pacts, serious political problems and some straight-forward in-your-face combat. How did I get on with it? More importantly, how did the game make me feel?

What hit me square in the face with the book is the writing; the book is almost 700 pages and the text dominates the pages. It’s well written and everything is fully explained. And when I say fully explained, I mean there’s a level of detail here that some might find a little annoying. You could say that it’s overwritten, with examples and explanations of sometimes obvious things that you may have done without. It does tell me that the writers were passionate about what they were doing, and that excitement is there on the page for everyone to see, but when you’re trying to pinpoint a rule or simply get to the point it takes time. If you’re in the middle of the game that can be a problem as it slows things down, so it’s best to make sure you’ve read the book cover to cover and highlighted the areas you’ll need regularly. As it’s such a big book, that can take a lot of time. This isn’t the sort of game that you can get into quickly; from cold, learning the rules and prepping for a game will take a lot of work.

Character creation was fun but I opted to allow my players to choose from the tables. Each part of character creation, from sex to skills, has a random table and you are able to roll randomly for pretty much everything. That can make for some fun characters if you’re playing on the edge, but my players wanted to make characters they could enjoy. There are a lot of choices for players to make during generation, and this alone took us an evening’s session. I don’t mnd that; it gives the group a chance to really think about their character and we can work out a group dynamic. Like I said earlier – this is the kind of game that requires a lot of time, mainly to digest the book and prep an adventure. You can’t really hand the book to the players and say ‘crack on’, and let them create characters off their own back because that’s an entire section of the book that will have to be read by every player individually. An evening of character creation is the best route to take, I feel.

The adventure I designed was easy to set up – I didn’t have to worry about scaling the threats or designing new stats, I could take the details I need straight from the book. I just marked the page number of the creature on my design and referred to it as game progressed, and I lifted NPCs from the introductory adventure. I have had plenty of experience in adventure design so this part was easy for me, and with the level of detail in the book it was even more of a doddle.

The adventure itself was fun, but the there was a little conflict between player expectations and the game in action. There were four players, two had not played Warhammer before and the other two had experience, and it was a little easier to run the game for the new players than it was the experienced ones. During combat especially, there were assumptions made by the Warhammer players as to what rolls were made and what they meant. I had to stop play a couple of times because I went with the flow and didn’t realise that I had made judgements based on the old rulebook and not ZWEIHÄNDER. That’s not a fault of the book, but if you are an old-school Warhammer player then make sure that you’re playing ZWEIHÄNDER! It got a little confusing, but after some backtracking and corrections we were back on course; the fault was mine.

There were a few times I had to reference the book as we played but this didn’t impact play too much. I had already marked what I needed so, as I mentioned earlier, it’s best to make sure you’ve done your pre-game prep. In fact, I was happy with the way it played out for the new players. They were experienced gamers but new to this system, so after a few rolls and an encounter they got used to the system and the game progressed at a nice clip even with the pause for my ‘those aren’t the rules!’ gaff.

Combat was fun and suitably brutal – a little too much for one player who almost bit the big one in the first fight! - and the unpredictable nature of the system left us all a little breathless. The low chances to hit were a little frustrating and some of the combat resulted in a series of rolls that resulted in nothing at all, but that’s the nature of the system and it added to the fun, especially when a lucky hit by one of the players pretty much ended the fight with a single roll. Not so much for the player who got hit right before that roll; he lost an ear and spent the rest of the game nodding during character conversations, and then ending with a ‘What?’ He’ll live, with the Crop Ear drawback.

All in all it was a successful game, and the ZWEIHÄNDER rules handled the action really well. The players felt they had control over their character’s design and creation, and they felt they had some control over the game itself even with beginner’s stats. The book, options and the adventure itself recreated the dark fantasy genre really well – I set it in a horror version of Europe, on the border of the Ottoman Empire - so all in all it was a successful evening. Well, two evenings if you include the character creation session. With four players and an equal number of foes we managed to resolve a combat encounter in half an hour to forty minutes; the adventure had three combat encounters and the rest was social interaction and investigating, and the entire evening’s play came in at five hours. It would most likely have been less if there hadn’t been any confusion about the rules but that wasn’t the game’s fault, it was ours as a group. As the GM it was an excellent game to run, and the players enjoyed it.

So… the big question is; would I use this Warhammer heartbreaker in a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game?

No, I wouldn’t. That’s not a reflection on this book, it would handle a WFRP game exceptionally well as the content is simply Warhammer with adjustments. It would be easy to say it’s WFRP with the serial numbers filed off, but that would be a disservice to the game. It’s an unashamed Warhammer heartbreaker after all, so those comparisons are inevitable, but whether you want to use it for Warhammer or any other dark fantasy world it’s perfectly suited. It is, however, Warhammer at it’s heart.

I wouldn’t use it because I’ve been using Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition for more than a quarter of a century, and that game is woven into my Old World in a way that makes it pointless in me trying to use any other system. In many ways all of the consecutive percentile rules after 1st Edition have been better; including ZWEIHÄNDER as I think that, despite the rulebook’s complexity, it’s a much more fluid and balanced system. However, as a Warhammer grognard I simply see no reason to use a new game system for my campaigns. That might seem to be a rather nostalgia-influenced blinkered view on my part, but if the shirt fits...

Would I use ZWEIHÄNDER for other dark fantasy games? Absolutely 100% without a doubt. Here I have an excellent set of rules designed for miserable, grim, down-and-dirty fantasy roleplaying. I can take out or adjust certain sections depending on the world I’m running, and the rules are familiar enough for me to be comfortable in running a game of that genre while keeping it seperate and identifiable from my WFRP games. I have tried to use the WFRP 1st Edition rules for other worlds, but they ended up being the same WFRP games in different clothing. ZWEIHÄNDER is far enough removed to help me run other games in other worlds more identifiable and unique.

ZWEIHÄNDER is now my go-to system for dark fantasy games. In fact, I’m looking at creating my own world and also using an existing one. My own world is a discussion for another time, but the established world I’m looking at is Robert E. Howard’s ‘Solomon Kane’. I do love the original stories but I was quite taken by the Michael J. Bassett movie from 2009 (I said at the time that it was the greatest Warhammer movie never made) so the imagery from that film makes for an excellent background. Adventuring across the world with rapier and flintlock would make for a great campaign, with enough dark gods and raving badguys to keep players on their toes. ZWEIHÄNDER’s system makes the game edgy, dangerous and somewhat unpredictable, so that’s perfect for a game where the players are kept on the edge of death and madness. I’m basically going to run my campaign as horror action games with a Call of Cthulhu-type angle of danger. I’m sure ZWEIHÄNDER will handle that easily.

It’s big, it’s a heavy read and prep time will take a while. It’s not new-player friendly and you’ll need to have some experience with roleplaying to get the most out of it, it’s a little disjointed in parts and, yes, it’s overwritten, but ZWEIHÄNDER is an incredibly satisfying game of excellent quality, and the sheer darkness, joy and excitement for the history of the system and the genre are literally crawling off the page to get under your skin. There is very little in this book that can’t fail to inspire GMs and gaming groups, and with some investment of time and effort the end result is a rewarding experience that, once the campaign gets going and everyone is on the same page, will result in many satisfying campaigns for many months and even years. All in this one, single volume.

And that’s the very thing I loved the most about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition. ZWEIHÄNDER has done the legacy proud.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2017 10:07:29

After all the hype, I guess I expected more. There are some good things in the book and it's worth it if you can't find the original game, but for me it didn't offer anything new that my group was interested in.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Sorry you didn’t like the book. Player feedback is important to our process for future development. Can you name the mechanics and/or parts of the book you didn’t like? Appreciate any constructive criticism you can offer. Thank you!
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2017 07:42:35

A massive 692 paged (689 are the content). Pages 689-691 are blank note pages. I found a few typos (don't know if there's anymore): P268: Damage Condition Track: As character(s) carry their wounds over P342: until well after you would (have) concocted it P599: Crypt Skeleton: They (there) are also rumours

Stats/attributes are: Combat Bonus (CB), Brawn Bonus (BB), Agility Bonus (AB), Perception Bonus (PB), Intelligence Bonus (IB), Willpower Bonus (WB), Fellowship Bonus (FB).

Zweihander is a percentage based RPG.

Artwork: Good. Does remind me of WFRP 1st Ed artwork.

Action Points for combat (3AP per character).

There is a damage coondition track to show the players 'health dondition'. Healing: Elixir of Benefice: You positively move 3 steps up the damage condition track positively, but suffer 3 corruption. There's no easy magical healing in this game. Getting wounded is real bad.

Unlike other RPGs, your players are not powerful heroes, but normal townsfolk who have decided to take the risk of adventuring outside the safety of the walls to venture outside into the wilderness to hopefully return richer.

As a WFRP RPG clone, it's good. If you like a grim/dark RPG, it's worth the purchase (especially since it's on sale at the moment).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Szymon P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2017 03:26:47

Man... this game is MASSIVE. You have rules for running any possible adventure in a dark medieval setting, hundread of professions + races, a lot of items and spells to try out, and even more monsters to torture your players with. The rules are pretty tough due to the ammount of stuff the GM has to remember, but on the other hand, this is no small "indie RPG", Zweihander is a big game, that allows you to run long campaigns for years to come. Warhammer Fantasy (Roleplay and Battle) are insanely popular in my country, I hope this game becomes even more popular, and people start to play it, instead of the old 1/2 editions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Alessandro M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/06/2017 10:45:48

I bought and GMed/played for many years the 1st edition WHFRP in 1986. I did the same with the 2nd edition. I bought the 3rd edition but never tried to run it.

Every time during all these years, it seemed that something slipped away from the original game. That "Grim and Perilous" whiff factor that could almost be breathed by reading the original huge volume, by touching the rough paper and having those B&W drawings stir the boundaries of my imagination, helping the description I was trying to propose to my players: the Old World was alive but something was rotten in... the other editions.

I have read and heard about Zweihander and I must confess I never took my time to investigate whether the game was worth it or not. I simply dispatched it as something that couldn't be successful in bringing the "Grim and Perilous" back the me. Famous game Companies couldn't do that, how could an independent first time publisher achieve it? Then one week ago, out of sheer curiosity, I downloaded the PDF of the core book for the Halloween offer and, oh boy, I was wrong. Two days later I ordered the print edition and it is being processed in these days.

Yes, “we’re just a bunch of people sitting around pretending/playing a very complex version of cops & robbers”, we are a dreamers, imaginative, weirdly social folks who enjoy and need to feed our imagination with strange tales, told and created.

WHFRP 1st edition was one of them, it only had two drawbacks: it was deeply tied to the Old World, so any possible adaptation for a different world was painful and time consuming and magic was, allow me to say, a bit too D&Dish for the context.

Zweihander is now the Grim and Perilous RPG, without the two old drawbacks and with everything an OSR game can bring at the table today.

C7 will have a very hard time to top that!

Well done, thank you Daniel. Alex



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Jason B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/06/2017 08:08:30

So far I am looving this book, it has everything you need to run the game. It is hardcore. I am planing on running a weekend long one-shot to show it off to my friends.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/05/2017 01:01:16

I picked up pdf for free during the Halloween promo. I've been reading it ever since and I'm ecstatic. This game perfectly captures the feel of the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay but has greatly improved mechanics. The sheer breadth of character options is staggering and ensures uniqueness for each character from his cohorts. Try it! You'll love it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Nicholas S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2017 18:27:46

This is a big, meaty tome that has made it's way back to our gaming table every week for the last few months. It contains within it everything you'd reasonably need to run the game, with clearly explained rules and a fun, soon comprehended system with just enough crunch to make system mastery a viable and worthy goal. It is a fine and worthy successor to the WFRP that I enjoyed in my youth, with just enough modern design conventions implemented to speed up play at the table and keep a session thrilling and perilous from beginning to end.

This is a recommendation however, has a strong caveat: the book is so large and dense and crammed full of goodness that it's a little unweildy at times. There will, and has been on many occasions with my group, where one of us will half recall a rule that's present in the game, at which point we spend 10 minutes trying to remember which obscure location that rule is located and eventually giving up and ignoring it. This is fine and to be expected with a new game, but I'd have thought that after ~15 sessions it would have become easier to navigate this book, but alas, no.

All in all, a great game, an amazing value propisition and the only downside is that if anything the designers have been a little too generous with the content in the book. I hope that at some point in the future a second edition is released in two parts!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/18/2017 17:55:56

It's big. Really big. I cannot emphasise enough how large and serious this book is. The content is comprehensive and covers everything you need to run a long campaign. It is clear that many hours have been spent building a game and book to meet the high demands of grim & perilous gamers. Fresh, appealing artwork is dotted throughout the chapters, and although I'd of liked even more I wouldn't want the unenviable position of choosing what paragraghs to cut to fit more in. Pleasingly, I am struggling to find errors in the copy, something which seems to be a constant challenge in the RPG industry. Being the owner of the KS version, I will say the quality of the paper, binding, cover and print is absolutely lovely. I highly recommend this purchase, especially if it's on sale!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/18/2017 06:40:00

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2017/10/18/ersteindruck-zweihaender-der-bessere-kriegshammer/

Zweihänder nimmt mit dem Untertitel Grim & Perilous RPG für sich in Anspruch, nichts für zart Besaitete zu sein. Inspiriert durch das Warhammer Fantasy RPG werden die Spielercharaktere von Chaos, Wahnsinn und Tod bedroht. Das System wird beweisen müssen, dass es nicht bloß auf den Schultern des Schultern seines Vorbilds steht.

Schon im Vorwort macht Daniel Fox, der Autor von Zweihänder, klar, woher seine Inspiration für das Rollenspielsystem stammt. Bevor erste Fans den Namen Zweihänder vorschlugen, hieß es noch Project Corehammer. Die Namensgebung zeigt, dass das Ziel des Systems darin bestand, das Warhammer Fantasy RPG zu beerben.

Dieses Rollenspiel brachte es seinerzeit auf drei Editionen und ermöglichte es den Spielern, Abenteuer in der Alten Welt, dem Hintergrund des Tabletop Urgesteins Warhammer zu erleben. Seit 2015 mit Warhammer: Age of Sigmar eine neue Hintergrundwelt erschaffen wurde, für die eine Pen&Paper-Umsetzung bereits in Arbeit ist, war es unklar, ob der Hintergrund der Alten Welt noch weiter bedient werden würde. Vor einigen Monaten wurde dann eine vierte Edition des Warhammer Fantasy RPG angekündigt.

Zweihänder setzte sich schon 2011 das Ziel, das Gefühl der Alten Welt auch ohne die Marke Warhammer an den Spieltisch zu bringen. Ein Spiel, das diesem Anspruch gerecht werden will, muss düster sein, hart, sogar tödlich. Nach langer Entwicklungszeit und einer Kickstarter-Kampagne liegt das Grundregelwerk vor. Lohnt es sich, den Zweihänder zu schwingen, oder sollte man besser auf einen neuen Kriegshammer warten?

Die Spielwelt

Spitzfindig betrachtet bietet Zweihänder keine Spielwelt an. Das System liefert vielmehr eine große Auswahl an Versatzstücken, die einer vom Spielleiter entworfenen Hintergrundwelt, die passende Atmosphäre verleihen.

Bespielt werden soll eine mittelalterliche Ständegesellschaft. Bildung ist ein seltenes Gut, Aberglaube und Vorurteile sind alltäglich. Neben Menschen tauchen die typischen Fantasy-Rassen auf, wobei Wert darauf gelegt wird, Stereotypen aufzubrechen. Letztlich ähneln sich alle Rassen im Kampf ums tägliche Überleben und sehen sich mit den gleichen Bedrohungen konfrontiert.

Die bespielte Welt wird von acht Winden der Magie durchdrungen, die letztendlich Ausprägungen einer alles bedrohenden chaotischen Energie sind. Dieses Chaos manifestiert sich in Form von Dämonen, Kultisten, kriegslüsternen Heeren sowie Mutationen und Wahnsinn. Jeder Bewohner der Welt läuft Gefahr, den dunklen Einflüssen des Chaos zu erliegen. Magie wird nicht ohne Grund misstrauisch beäugt.

Neben dem Chaos stellen Orks, Rattenwesen, Untote, Geister und Feenwesen eine Bedrohung für die rechtschaffenen Bewohner der Welt dar. Krankheiten, wilde Tiere, Armut oder Ungerechtigkeit erscheinen dagegen fast schon langweilig, sind aber trotzdem ein ernstzunehmendes Problem. Spielercharaktere werden immer wieder vor moralische Entscheidungen gestellt. Es gibt nur wenig Schwarz und Weiß in der Welt, verschiedenste Grautöne sind allgegenwärtig.

Die Götter der Welt unterstützen ihre Gläubigen zwar im Kampf gegen all diese Schwierigkeiten, sind aber launisch und schnell erzürnt. Priester, die die Macht ihres himmlischen Patrons anrufen, riskieren es stets, anmaßend zu erscheinen und das Missfallen der Gottheit zu erregen.

Was man vergeblich sucht, ist eine Karte der Welt. Geografie und Politik sind bewusst offen gelassen worden und sollen vom Spielleiter selbst entworfen werden. Es wird also keine vollständige, bereits bespielbare Welt geboten, dem SL wird stattdessen ein Baukasten an die Hand gegeben, mit dem er ein eigenes Low-Fantasy-Setting kreieren kann.

Um hierbei etwas Hilfe zu bieten, werden vier mögliche Welten vorgeschlagen und sehr grob umrissen. Zwei dieser Entwürfe generieren gänzlich neue Welten, die anderen beiden orientieren sich an der realen Welt des 17. Jahrhunderts und fokussieren die Kolonisierung Nordamerikas beziehungsweise den 30-jährigen Krieg. Zusätzlich ist ein 32-seitiges Szenario enthalten, das bereits einen guten Eindruck der angestrebten Stimmung vermittelt.

Die Idee, die Welt in weiten Teilen dem Spielleiter zu überlassen ist reizvoll, bedeutet aber natürlich Arbeit. Gerade unerfahrene Spielleiter könnten sich hier überfordert fühlen. Am Umfang des gebotenen Hintergrundmaterials ist aber nichts auszusetzen. Besonders positiv hervorzuheben ist das Bestiarium mit 118 beschriebenen Kreaturen und Gegnern, ungewöhnlich viel für ein Grundregelwerk.

Jeder Leser, der mit dem Hintergrund von Warhammer Fantasy vertraut ist, wird hier diverse Elemente wiederfinden. Die genannten Götter entsprechen beispielsweise ihren Pendants aus der Alten Welt, lediglich die Eigennamen wurden durch Titel ersetzt. An anderen Stellen hat man sich weiter von der Vorlage entfernt, aber die Einflüsse sind erkennbar. Der Autor ist ohne Frage ein Fan des Settings und beim Lesen stellt sich das Gefühl ein, dass der Text eine Verneigung vor einem Idol darstellt. Trotzdem ruht sich Zweihänder nicht auf dieser Vorlage aus. Der offene Ansatz und die vorgeschlagenen Szenarien bieten genug Potenzial, sich von der Alten Welt abzusetzen.

Die Regeln

Der grundlegende Regelmechanismus in Zweihänder basiert auf Prozentwürfen, d. h., es wird mit einem W100 geworfen. Ziel ist es, einen bestimmten Prozentwert zu unterbieten. Der Zielwert wird durch eines von sieben Primary Attributes, Skill Ranks und verschiedene Modifikatoren festgelegt. Sollte beim Wurf ein Pasch erzielt werden, wird ein kritischer Erfolg bzw. Misserfolg erzielt, je nachdem, ob der Wurf generell erfolgreich war.

Wenn zwei Charaktere gegeneinander antreten, generiert der Würfelwurf Erfolgsgrade, der Charakter mit den meisten Erfolgsgraden gewinnt den Wettstreit. Bestimmte Umstände erlauben es, die Einer- und Zehnerstellen des W100 zugunsten des Spielers zu vertauschen. Umgekehrt kann der Spieler gezwungen sein, diesen Tausch zu seinen Ungunsten durchzuführen.

[box]Beispiel: Ein Charakter versucht, ein Gespräch zu belauschen. Sein Wert in Perception liegt bei 43 %. Ein Rang in der Fertigkeit Eavesdrop besitzt, verbessert diesen Wert auf 53 %. Der Wurf ergibt 61, normalerweise ein Fehlschlag. Glücklicherweise erlaubt eine der Fähigkeiten des Charakters, die Ergebnisse zu tauschen. Dadurch ist das Ergebnis 16, der Wurf ist erfolgreich.[/box]

Diese Würfel entscheiden über das Schicksal. Auf diesem Regelkern baut ein größeres System von Sonderregeln auf. Für Intrigen, Reisen und Verfolgungsjagden benutzt Zweihänder Mechaniken, die deutlich komplexer ausfallen. Auch Verletzungen und ihrer Heilung wird ein eigenes Kapitel gewidmet. Der Grund für diese umfangreichen Regeln im Bereich Heilung zeigt sich, wenn man die Regeln für Kämpfe betrachtet.

Jeder Charakter kann pro Kampfrunde drei Action Points einsetzen, mit denen Bewegung, Angriff und Verteidigung bezahlt werden. Es gilt also abzuwägen, wie offensiv man agiert, denn die Wege, aus einem Kampf auszuscheiden sind mannigfaltig. Im besten Fall wird ein Charakter wegen physischer oder psychischer Belastung bewusstlos. Taktische Fehler oder simples Pech können aber auch schnell zu Verletzungen, Blutungen und direktem Charaktertod führen, da die Würfe zur Bestimmung von Waffenschaden explodieren, d. h. Höchstwerte erlauben es, weitere Würfel zu werfen, die wiederum weitere Würfel generieren können. Dadurch kann jeder Angriff potenziell tödlich enden.

Schon ein Probekampf hat gezeigt, dass es normal ist, in jeder Auseinandersetzung ernstzunehmende Blessuren zu erleiden. Gewalt bedeutet in Zweihänder harte Konsequenzen. Das Regelwerk rät sogar dazu, gleich drei Charaktere zu erschaffen, um Ausfällen vorzubeugen.

Um das hohe Risiko kalkulierbarer zu machen, verfügen Spielercharaktere über Fortune- und Fatepoints. Diese erlauben es, Würfe zu wiederholen, oder, im Falle der Fatepoints, dem Tod nochmal von der Schippe zu springen. Trotzdem bleibt das System knallhart. Zweihänder verspricht eine Welt, die keine Fehler verzeiht und genau dass bekommt der Spieler auch.

Die Regeln für Magie unterscheiden sich kaum von normalen Fertigkeitswürfen, ergänzen sie aber um eine besondere Komponente. Zaubersprüche zu wirken kann Manifestationen des Chaos heraufbeschwören. Je stärker der Zauber, desto extremer die negativen Auswirkungen.

Auch wenn das Regelwerk auf den ersten Blick sehr umfangreich wirkt und man sich als Leser etwas erschlagen fühlt, stellt sich bei den Regeln schnell Gewöhnung ein. Als Spieler ist es ohnehin nicht nötig sämtliche Regeln zu kennen, da der eigene Charakter nur Zugriff auf einen Bruchteil der zahlreichen Fähigkeiten hat. Der Spielleiter wird hier natürlich stärker gefordert. Sämtliche Regeln lassen sich aber im Kern immer auf den Grundmechanismus des W100-Wurfs zurückführen.

Charaktererschaffung

Spielern, die ihre Charaktere gerne optimieren, wird die Charaktererschaffung in Zweihänder sauer aufstoßen. Fast alle Bestandteile des Charakters werden dem Zufall in Form eines Würfelwurfs überlassen. Die Grundwerte der sieben Attribute werden ausgewürfelt, eine Zuweisung dieser Werte zu den gewünschten Attributen findet nicht statt.

Auch das Geschlecht, der soziale Stand und die Rasse des Charakters werden ausgewürfelt. Lediglich die Entscheidung, einen Menschen zu spielen kann frei getroffen werden, da Menschen die dominante Rasse der Welt darstellen.

Der Smuggler. Harrison Ford lässt grüßen Im Anschluss bestimmt der Zufall die Profession des Spielercharakters. Im Laufe des Spiels können nacheinander drei Professionen erlernt werden, die Zugang zu Skills und Fähigkeiten gewähren. Im Rahmen der Charaktererschaffung kann der Spieler ein kleines Kontingent an Reward Points ausgeben, um einige dieser Optionen zu erwerben.

Um den Charakter weiter auszudefinieren, werden noch verschiedene Hintergrundinformationen ausgewürfelt. Besonders hervorzuheben sind dabei das Dooming, eine Prophezeiung über den Tod des Charakters und das Alignment. Dabei handelt es sich um ein System von zwei moralischen Extremen der Ordnung und des Chaos, zwischen denen sich der Charakter bewegt, beispielsweise Heldentum und Martyrium.

Das Alignment ist ein rollenspielerischer Anreiz, hat aber auch regeltechnisch Bedeutung. Strebt der Charakter dem Ideal der Ordnung nach, wird er mit Fatepoints belohnt, neigt er zum Chaos, verfällt er dem Wahnsinn.

Am Ende entsteht ein Charakter, der grundlegend kompetent in seinem Aufgabenfeld ist. Trotzdem ist der Powerlevel zum Spielbeginn relativ niedrig. Der ganze Prozess der Charaktererschaffung geht schnell und einfach vor der Hand, da fast alle Entscheidungen dem Würfel überlassen werden.

Die Aufgabe des Spielers besteht darin, die zufälligen Elemente zu einem funktionierenden Charakterkonzept zusammenzufügen. Diese mangelnde Kontrolle ist ungewohnt, aber das System funktioniert. Alle probeweise erschaffenen Charaktere haben ganz automatisch zu stimmungsvollen Hintergrundgeschichten inspiriert.

Erscheinungsbild

Auf fast 700 Seiten macht das PDF einen soliden ersten Eindruck. Die Texte sind ordentlich strukturiert, und werden immer wieder durch Textboxen, Tabellen und Illustrationen durchbrochen. Teilweise wirken die Seiten aber überfüllt. Die Übersichtlichkeit leidet darunter glücklicherweise nicht, denn das Inhaltsverzeichnis existiert in Form von Lesezeichen und ermöglicht schnellen Zugang zu allen Abschnitten. Zusätzlich ist ein umfangreicher Index enthalten.

Die schwarz/weißen Illustrationen bewegen sich qualitativ im Mittelfeld. Da nur ein einzelner Illustrator tätig war, ist der Stil angenehm einheitlich. Die zahlreichen Bilder schaffen es, die Stimmung der Texte einzufangen.

Diese sind angenehm zu lesen, vor allem, da in regelmäßigen Abständen kleine Gags eingebaut wurden, die den Leser zum Schmunzeln bringen. Dass die Spezialfähigkeit der Profession Kammerdiener beispielsweise Alfred Pfennigworth heißt, dürfte vielen Comic-Fans gefallen.

Leider kann der im Regelwerk enthaltene Charakterbogen nicht überzeugen. Viele Bereiche bestehen aus leeren Textfeldern, die nicht liniert sind. Andere Felder sind zu klein für die Informationen, die eingetragen werden sollen.

Bonus/Downloadcontent

Das online verfügbare Zusatzmaterial ist umfangreich. Die Homepage des Systems bietet verschiedene Charakterbögen, Tabellen zur Verwaltung von regelintensiven Szenen und Artikel sowie Videos zum Spielsystem. Außerdem steht eine unbebilderte Version des Regelwerks kostenlos als PDF zur Verfügung.

Fazit

Im Ausrüstungskapitel heißt es in der Beschreibung des Zweihänders, dass er weitaus effizienter zu führen sei, als der Kriegshammer. Diese Aussage spielt mit dem Fakt, das Zweihänder sich den Vergleich mit dem Warhammer Fantasy RPG gefallen lassen muss. Die Anleihen an dieses System sind unübersehbar.

Einen Innovationspreis wird Zweihänder nicht gewinnen, aber das ist auch nicht das Ziel dieses Regelwerks. Es will das Feeling eines Klassikers in die Gegenwart transportieren. Das System schreibt sich auf die Fahnen, knallhart zu sein, dreckig und fatalistisch. Nach vier erschaffenen Charakteren und einem ausgewürfelten Kampf entsteht der Eindruck, dass dieses Versprechen eingehalten wurde.

Liebhaber regelarmer Systeme, optimierter Charaktere und strahlender Helden werden keinen Gefallen an Zweihänder finden. Wer aber bereit ist, mit Freude zu leiden, sich von der gewohnten Charaktererschaffung zu verabschieden und eine vom Chaos bedrohte Welt auszuarbeiten, sollte nicht zögern. Ein unglaublich umfangreiches Grundregelwerk und ein fairer Preis machen den Zweihänder zur Waffe der Wahl.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Arto S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2017 23:18:15

A great improvement over the "system-that-shall-not-be-named-due-to-license"



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Brian I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2017 01:07:02

Out of the part hit for a WFRP clone. I'm completely satisfied with my purchase. It's a big book, but comprehensive. As an experienced WFRP GM from way back (1e), I'm delighted with the system and product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Alexander S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/24/2017 00:05:11

The five-stars is not fluff, ZWEIHÄNDER is a real labor of love. From the style of the illustrations to the mechanics, ZWEIHÄNDER is the product of a team that has studied what made Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay memorable and fun, and they've improved upon it, too!

Character Creation is evocative, and should satisfy Warhammer vets. Racial choices have a better balance to them, with fewer useless/extremely niche talents. You can, in WFRP fashion, roll up your character through tables completely. Additionally, the careers have been touched-up rather nicely, with many fewer irredeemable careers. Careers have abilities that focus that career or give them a particular niche. Commoner careers still exist, as one might expect, but their abilities help them stand up as canny peasantfolk or resourceful scroungers.

Combat is improved since WFRP2e, with some more cohesive rules. The flow of combat is as savage and exciting as ever, and, while decisive blows on either side of the battlefield can pivot a fight, it is less prone to fluke swinginess. The ZWEIHÄNDER team has also taken care to balance options and choices pretty well - you certainly aren't likely to find 'Naked Dwarf' balance issues, for the WFRP1e veterans out there.

The Magic system portrays magic as useful and dangerous, without invalidating or overriding other character archetypes. With the benefit of hindsight following the power creep from books like Realms of Sorcery from WFRP2e, spell effects and target numbers are sensible and suggestive of the risk-for-reward system of magic without being too restrictive or too generous. With some of the labels filed off, and a more generalized explanation, it's fairly easy to fit the magic system into most settings.

ZWEIHÄNDER is a love letter to WFRP, and it is a real success - not just as an homage, but as a game in its own right. There are other elements, like the wonderfully done Bestiary and the Order & Chaos Alignment system, the way the game handles mental stresses and isorders, and more which I haven't had a chance to touch on. The superlative terms that I've described the game in, above, follow along with these mechanics and sections, too, and not without good reason. At $27.00 (and certainly at $13.00!), this game is money well spent for anyone looking for exciting and gritty adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 02:26:10

Zweihander is a lot of things. Big is one ofthem. It brings a lot to the table for people who are used to D&D and otherOSR products. Most of which are a boon to the gaming experience.

Pros (or at least the cool stuff that caught myattention):

  • An interactive combat system. You are not just hit or not. The attacker may hit and the defender has a chance to parry depending on if they held some of their actions.
  • Racial malleability. The game has your standard fantasy races, however there is not a fixed template. You get to pick amongst several different facets of the racial stereotype, meaning a party of all elves would still have some differences.
  • A solid theme. The mechanics support a very dangerous and gritty theme. Combat is deadly, healing is hard, magic is dangerous, and disease is rampant. The game has a massive amount of material but does not have a pre-defined \\"world\\". You could drop it into renaissance Earth, Warhammer\\'s Olde Worlde, your own homebrew or even another campaign world of your choice like Forgotten Realms. Any of these and more will work, as long as you keep that grim & perilous theme.
  • A straight forward rule system. The book is massive (You\\'ll never stop hearing this!) But it contains everything you need to play, rules, character building, advice, world building, adventure hooks, bestiary. Because the rules are pretty clear you will find you will have to do very little referencing back as you play, but see the Cons list below for when you do.

Cons

  • The writing is a little disjointed. It is a big book 700+ pages. At least three times it told me to ignore the rules if I didn\\'t like them. It tells you alignment isn\\'t a big deal when it is introduced and that picking the path of order or chaos isn\\'t \\"good or evil\\" but then pins the corruption rule to it and tells you how important it is to keep that rule.
  • Organization. There is a lot of material and as a result sometimes things are presented and you aren\\'t really sure why. Have a disease, in the disease section it says you are hosed as there is no cure, oh wait, in another section there IS a cure, it just isn\\'t common. Want to make the cure, that is in another seciton (which doesn\\'t reference the others). The game is a love letter written to Warhammer 1st & 2nd ed. However sometimes that came a across as the author didn\\'t know how to explain it to someone who had no point of reference to what they were saying. On the bright side, mark or print off the couple of tables you find you will need (like injuries) and the simple rules system helps smooth through these issues.
  • Dark humor. Ok this isn\\'t REALLY a con, but the book reads like an inside joke. It repeatedly pushes the grim & perilous nature to the game, the dark seriousness of it all. It makes a specific point to spell out how a combat heavy dungeon crawl like many RPGs focus on will result only in death an misery. Then it proceeds to break the fourth wall and include a dungeoneer class with plenty of references to Gary Gygax. It has Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd ed (WFRP 3e) in the equipment section for sale. It is fun and I smiled, but it is a mix of taking itself very seriously, and not seriously at all which is odd. but hey, it is a game and it makes reading it enjoyable.

But wait there\\'s more!

I never played Warhammer roleplaying before. Iadd this little caveat because a lot of the reviews I\\'ve seen are from peoplewho are already familiar with the genesis of this product. The great thingabout Zweihander is that you don\\'t have to know about Warhammer or even likeWarhammer to enjoy this product.

I would most closely compare this game toLamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP) and Hackmaster. LotFP is more ruleslight than Zweihander and Hackmaster is more rules crunchy, but they all sharea common theme of dark and gritty play with the \\"becoming a hero\\" thepoint of the game, not starting out as one and just adventuring along. Theseare games of being a common person with greatness thrust upon them. A story ofthe character\\'s journey as much as the adventure/campaign itself.

If you liked this (heck or if you didn\\'t) checkout my other game reviews and musing at www.wherearemydice.blogspot.com

\\"War may be hell, but it\\'s great for business!\\"

Association of Merchants, Manufacturers, and Morticians



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Fantastic review! Great to hear from the perspective of someone who is unfamiliar with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay at the table. BTW, I tried to reach your website, but it simply redirected me to an Amazon affiliate link. Was that intentional? Best, Daniel
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - Core Book
Publisher: Grim & Perilous Studios
by Aaron Z. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2017 20:54:22

Unlike most WFRP fans (or at least what most will tell you), I started in WFRP with 2E, and found the system to be an improvement on the ground work of 1E.

Zweihander is an improvement on WFRP2E, one way in which it is better is that you can set the tone a bit better as it classifies all careers into six classes of people: Academic, Commoner, Knave, Ranger, Socialite, Warrior. Want a game of dirty peasants walking the heroic journey cut out all but Commoner, Knave, and maybe Ranger. Want a grounded, dirty experience with no courtroom drama just eliminate Academic and Socialite. Want to go the other way and be all about politicing? Only play Academic and Socialite careers. Each of these classes only dictate some trappings (gear) and 12 professions (which are very similar to WFRP 1-2E) that you can start with. So while it can guide the tone of the game this isn't like limiting a D&D game to 2 or 3 or 4 classes.

The digital copy is fully indexed, has a great TOC, and both are hyperlinked to their pages to help ease the 700 pages of content.

700 pages is crazy huge! Except this is a One Book RPG, a full bestiary and example adventure pad out the content greatly. At it's core Zweihander remains a rather simple game with several great innovations on the WFRP core. I would consider it roughly as mechanically heavy as 5th edition D&D. The PHB section is about 350 pages (the list of professions is 120 pages, 80 more are spells), the DMG about 100, the bestiary about 160 pages, and the example adventure about 35 pages.

The artwork is crisp and fantastic and plentiful, and while I believe they could have made it color, and like No Country For Old Men, Logan, and Mad Max: Fury Road, its better in binary. If it wasn't an economic decision it should have been an artistic decision because it makes the art POP.

Anyway, I'm just saying it's worth the time to download the pdf and skim because if you're anything like me you'll fall in love with it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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