Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Blew It Up

I generally don't want to be associated with what has become known as the "old school renaissance" movement. Now, I don't harbor it any ill will. In fact, I enjoy reading many of the blogs of its proponents, and I do have an affection for old editions of D&D, but that's about the extent of it: affection. I definitely don't feel that any old edition of Dungeons & Dragons is the "true" one, or even that D&D is my favorite RPG. I like a lot of things about it, but I dislike just as many. That goes for pretty much any version of the game.

Nevertheless, with the announcement of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's 3rd edition, I'm starting to understand how D&D grognards felt when 4th edition was announced.

WFRP3 is drastically different from the previous two incarnations of the game, both in presentation and in mechanics. I can certainly understand why, from a business standpoint, Fantasy Flight Games would seek to make an RPG that includes lots of funky dice and cardboard doodads that come in a big, attractive-looking box which costs $100. If you want to look at it in a positive light, FFG is just playing to their strengths as a company best known for its high production value boardgames. If you want to look at it in a more negative light, they're trying to make as much profit as they can while simultaneously making the game difficult to pirate (something Wizards of the Coast have had trouble accomplishing).

Either way, I don't begrudge Fantasy Flight Games' desire to use a sound business model for their new game. As somebody who liked WFRP 2nd edition a whole lot, bought everything released for the game, but never got a chance to play it, the announcement of a 3rd edition was a little unsettling for me. I have to admit that as I read more and more about the mechanics, my gut reaction is to squeal "but that's not WFRP!" I mean, I know that as the current holders of the license, Fantasy Flight can define WFRP as whatever they want it to be, but there's something deep in my core that is bummed out when I read that the Halfling and Ratcatcher are not in the starting boxed set, or that you can be a High Elf, or that the feel has been brought even closer in line to that of the wargame. Yes, it all makes sense, but it's not what I want, dammit.

So unless somebody buys me the 3rd edition box as a present and I somehow end up loving it, I think I just became a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay grognard. Somebody give me my name badge.