Thursday, November 27, 2008

Comparative Review: Castles & Crusades, Runequest II and Warhammer FRP Part IIb

Comparative Review: Castles & Crusades, Runequest II and Warhammer FRP.

Part II b Equipment and Encumbrance
This second section of this part features equipment and encumbrance. In C&C, RQ and WFRP characters need to specify their equipment including weapons, armour and clothing.

Equipment - do the Arms maketh the Man?
C&C core rules do not mention a character having any equipment such as clothing or common accoutrements and each class has a different randomly determined amount of starting money. This starting money is based on the costs that a first level character would have so a cleric or fighter who will need to buy armour has a higher amount than a wizard. There is no background per se with the characters in terms of class apart from the knight's implied background with the birthright mount. Like most GMs that I know I allow for characters to have basic set of clothing for free in C&C or D&D, but everything else is paid for from their starting funds. Like most D&D based games there is an assortment of goods and services in the equipment lists. Usually a starting character will need to buy weapons, basic adventuring equipment and depending on class, armour.

RQ characters do recive a set of clothing and items appropriate to their background (peasant, townsman, barbarian or noble), in addition to a random sum of money where the dice rolled are dependent on the background. The money recieved can be used to buy additional equipment which is important for peasants and townsmen who will need weapons and armour to go adventuring. Peasants start with the least equipment and cash so would be prime candidates to use the prior experience system. A noble will normally start with armour and weapons as well as cash so is already set for adventuring, but will have obligations tied to their income. Barbarians will normally have basic armour and weapons with a strong likelihood of a riding animal too.

Warhammer Characters start with a normal set of clothing for their first career, a hand weapon (sword, axe, mace as appropriate), dagger, basic living items and the trappings of their first career with a small amount of cash (2d10 gold crowns). Equipment in WFRP has an importance that does not exist in the other two games because it is necessary to have the trappings before a new career can be entered. This is different to the assumptions about wealth in 3e D&D where a character of a given level would be expected to have equipment of a certain value including magic items, etc. There would be no problem about a D&D character reaching that level without the equipment. A D&D character without the expected equipment would be ineffective within the game unless the same situation applied to all characters and encounters were scaled to meet the absence of magical equipment expected of higher levels in 3e D&D.

Encumbrance is probably the most ignored set of rules in any RPG as very few GM or Players like the book keeping involved. I've got to admit that this has been pretty much the case in most groups I've gamed with. I've got examples with the characters that I published for C&C, RQII and WFRP. In WFRP it is clear that encumbrance is an optional set of rules. The treatment of encumbrance is roughly the same in all three sets of rules with characters carrying heavier than normal loads having reduced movement and reduced dexterity based bonuses as the main mechanical penalties. I'm not going into an extended discussion of this, largely because of the ratity of it being used.

This review includes the other parts listed below:
Part 1 Settings, Characters and Advancement

Part 1a Character Creation

Part 1b Characters and Careers

Part 3 Melee

Part 4 Magic

Part 5 Conclusions

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