For those of you that know me in person you will have experienced the constant, high pitched whining as I griped and complained about the fact that Hero’s Call, the most recent boxed supplement to be released by Fantasy Flight Games, (owners of my kidney and liver in perpetuity) was still not in my greasy mitts yet.

 

Well the waiting is over but the pitch still won’t drop because I finally managed to get my hands on it yesterday and seeing as I had the blog already, I have no reason not to write a quick review of the latest addition to the game.

 

Obviously, FFG has done their usual stand-up job of releasing good quality, fairly resilient cards and components. (In my most recent game, one of my players up-ended a glass of lemonade all over the the table. I was predictably less than impressed, but the cards all dried off quickly and didn’t soak anything up, so I’m happy now.) There are the typical few extra components, tokens and tracking pieces, which I actually appreciate since Fiachra seems to make a habit of chewing on them before game.

The box can be split into two parts from there. There is the half that can be used by players, which contains extra careers, the new races and a good few new actions that allow you to unleash all the epic, all the time. Then there is the half that can be used by the GM, allowing you to chew down your laughs behind the GM screen as your players vainly assume they have some daft hope of success now they have reached the epic tier.

The player stuff is good. My big disappointment is the careers. I wanted more. Maybe four or five more, also, there are only two rank six careers in the box, which doesn’t really feel like enough. But this runs down to an overall, underlying discontent with careers in general, since a lot of players would like to stick around in their careers for a good deal longer. I’d more than likely like to proxy in some rules to do that. At some stage. Soon. Which I will post here. Don’t I do nice things for you?  Wizard and priest get six of the new careers in the box, which cheeses me off something rotten. It works if your playing FFG’s ideal scenario of three to four players to a group where one or two are either or both of those careers. But I have a five/six player group with only the one full time wizard. So if your not running this ideal scenario, which a lot of people are not, you get kinda jipped. Hopefully this gets fixed by a print of demand release, or some such. The other careers are general enough that they can serve almost any career advancement scheme. I noticed a lack of a woodsman/marksman archetype, but you can’t keep everyone happy, especially if you don’t put more careers in the box, wink wink, nudge nudge.

Moving on, actions are a little thin on the ground. I say a little, but I don’t really look at this as all that bad. There are three spells/blessings per school and they are all suitably epic. I even get something like conflageration of doom back, glee! The spells and blessings take a back seat to the other actions though, despite there being more of the former. There are a grand total of twelve actions for the plebs to take, which isn’t especially grand. But they are almost universally useful for all parties concerned and probably the most functional are the three enhances that are available, I’m particularly happy a social advance has been included. Giving me that little bit more to do in social combat. Another suitably epic action is Not Done Yet. Which allows you to keep fighting until the end of the encounter, at which point you die. Suitably epic and interesting.

 

What we lose out on actions, we more than make up for in a series of absolutely glorious talents. Which will have you salivating with glee. Talents get a lot of stick in wfrp3, so I’m really glad that these have come out because they are enough to make everyone start spending their advances on them again. Ouch, I say, good sir, ouch. Also, some of the talents aren’t listed as epic, so you can start using them almost right away. BRILLIANT. Anierra just got more bent.

 

Finally, something that needs to be discussed is:What about skill training? Well, the skill mastery rules have been chucked in for good measure as well. Definitely something that makes skill tests a more interesting enterprise. Buy the book and read about it, but it makes the thing worth doing and, importantly, alot of the epic talents/actions/career checks require skill mastery.

 

Is there anything else worth mentioning for our beleaguered players? Of course! What we have been waiting on for so long! Halflings* have finally been introduced as a playable race! Which we have been waiting for for donkey’s ages. I don’t know anyone that wasn’t raging about the failure to include these lovable midgets* as a playable race. I think we all feel the game is a bit more complete now they’re back.

 

*and ogres, don’t forget ogres, they’re here too.

*I’m not sure how people felt about these gigantic, flesh consuming giants, but they’re here as well.

 

Oh yeah, ogres. Ogres are bent broken and everyone is goin…wait a second, let me put down the rant-o-phone and actually read their rules… Oooooooooooh, that’s not so bad at all really. This….This is not something to complain about. Ogres have lower mental stats and high starting physical stats, they also have a  lot of wounds. But as I look at it… This isn’t bad. I can see people salivating at the chops to get their game-breaking min-maxing teeth into these guys, but wfrp3 was never about min-maxing anyway, since the only stat you ever really dare to dump is fellowship. Also, the cheeky cheese-swine have to deal with one of the most interesting game mechanics I’ve seen in some time: Ogres must consume one pound of meat every hour, or suffer a penalty to ALL actions. This… This is really good stuff. Ogres have loads of solid background anyway, a reason to be wandering around the Empire,(Which has been supported by the fluff for some time) and they are, all in all, characters. If I want to play a combat killing machine I’ll play a troll slayer, maybe an shieldbreaker. I’ll have two rolls to play in a party, killing stuff and getting drunk, the two dimensions of the cardboard cutout that is the dwarf slayer cult. But this? Ogres are giant hairy cannibalistic versions of Santa Clause. They might be as dumb as mud but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to play. After all, you have to do something social every day as you desperately hunt down more meat. I think we have something here folks. Yes we do.

 

So that’s the player’s half of the box, tune in again when I tear apart the GM’s stuff.

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