Character Creation Weapon Skills

The enemy lurks in shadows
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Silversurfer89
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:36 pm

Sorry if this is already posted somewhere. I had a good look and couldn't find it.

I love the Warhammer Setting, and recently tried DMing a one-shot game. We had a lot of fun role-playing but found some of the Rules a bit odd and that most of our characters just didn't seem to make a lot of sense.

One player was a Halfling Agitator, and was specced out fine, except that she didn't seem to have any way to advance in any Weapon Skill. We'd assumed she'd use a sling because Halfling, but the Halfling race doesn't offer that as a Race skill. Nor does it offer anything else. Looked at the Agitator Career path. Nothing there either. Not just no ranged, but nothing at all for fighting. We thought ok, maybe its not that important, or its because we picked a bad combination, played the game anyway. Character was totally useless in a fight, but again, maybe just a bad character build.

Now we're looking at playing an Enemy Within campaign, which I'm really excited about, and I've been trying to make sure I have the character creation down pat so we don't have similar problems from the get-go. I've been through the Rulebook CharCreation section several times, and as far as I can see skill options for advancing upon creation only come from race and career, yet a huge number of the Race/Career choices start with no Melee/Ranged skill option, which raises a red flag for me. I also looked at the Enemy Within Companion, and there's 6 pre-gen'd characters there, one of whom is a Halfling Herbalist with... Ranged(Sling), but when I look at Herbalist there's no Ranged(Sling) option there, and again, none under Halfling, so I can't figure out where they get the points/option to put advances in there. A friend who's an expert DM in other systems has had a look too and doesn't get it either.

I assume I'm being dense/blind, but I just cannot figure this out. Can someone please explain to me how your supposed to make a character that's usable? Where does the pre-gen get their ranged(sling) from?
Last edited by Silversurfer89 on Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
makrellen
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

Halflings in 4th ed are sure to run into problems. Not only do they miss melee skills as racial skills - they also have their size against them.

However - all humans have melee basic as a racial skill as far as I remember so they can use basic weapons without having access to those skills in their careers.
Silversurfer89
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:36 pm

How do the pre-gen characters all seem to have weapon skills that don't come from their race or career? Are they just ignoring the rules to make decent fun characters, or is there some other means with which to advance skills?
Jareth Valar
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:16 pm

It's an option, but a character can raise Basic skills whether or not they are Career skills, it just costs more. Same with Attributes. Talents however, are typically only available through the Career.
SigmariteOrWrong
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:55 am

This is covered on p48

"Non-Career Characteristic and Skill Advances cost double the
amount of XP listed in the Characteristic and Skill Improvement
XP Costs table.

Normally, non-Career Talents may not be purchased with XP,
although Training and Unusual Learning Endeavours in Chapter
6: Between Adventures provide an opportunity to purchase non-
Career Advances as if they were Career Advances, and give the
possibility of learning non-Career Talents."

and p199

"Normally, non-Career Talents may not be purchased with XP,
although Training and Unusual Learning Endeavours in Chapter
6: Between Adventures provide an opportunity to purchase non-
Career Advances as if they were Career Advances, and give the
possibility of learning non-Career Talents."

also on p199-200 is the Unusual Learning Endeavour

This is your one chance for a Halfling or Gnome PC to pick up the Slayer Talent, making them excellent at taking down opponents human and dwarf characters would have more trouble with.

You can let your players buy non-class skills if you like. Also, as GM, feel free to modify the starting PC backgrounds a bit. Ask players what they want and change things up a bit.

Also remember Ranged (Throwing) and Ranged (Crossbow) are skills anyone can use untrained, though the weapons don't get to use traits they normally have. Those high Halfling starting BS skills are still quite effective.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

The way I see it, every species ought to be able to start with a combat skill. As such, I'd let the halfling swap one of their starting skills for Ranged.

There may, however, be precedent to suggest that halflings are supposed to have Ranged (Sling) and there was a mistake in the core book. In the case of The Enemy Within, the halfling clearly has Ranged (Sling)--and so does Molli in the Starter Set. Neither has a way to do so through Career alone. My interpretation, then, is that halflings were supposed to start with Ranged (Sling) as a species skill.

But also, I feel like players are supposed to mix and match Careers a lot more now (this will become a bit of a tangent). At least, that's how it seems based on two of the adventures I've read that give free Career changes (Rough Days and Hard Nights, The Starter Set).

So let's take the pre-gens in the Starter Set. They typically have one level of their first Career (presumably the one they were randomised to) and then switched to something useful immediately after. Sali was Scion (Noble 1) then Officer (Soldier 4). Molli was Pauper (Thief 1) and then Prowler (Thief 1).

Note that Sali skips a bunch of levels in her transfer! (Our house rule is that when you switch Careers, you can enter your new Career at a similar status to your last one so that you don't lose Status every time you dip into a new Career. But you lose access to the earlier levels unless you buy them later. Since Scion and Officer are both Gold 1, that makes sense. I understand this is supposed to reflect rich kids getting high posts without doing the work, but I think it's a fair rule across the board, for the same reason.)

The first adventure in the Starter Set includes a further Career switch (this is even free!) to the Watchman Career. I take this to mean that you're supposed to use Careers not like Classes, where you progress mainly in one area, but as a lifepath method that models the different stages of your life. (There was debate in earlier editions about whether Careers represented current vocation exclusively or rather your lifepath.)

Each time a character changes their actual job, the GM can offer them a free Career change to allow them to develop the right skills needed for that job--in other words, a lifepath approach. It's only if they move between Careers without changing their actual day-to-day activities that they pay XP, at least in our games.

That said, there really isn't an easy way for halflings to get Ranged (Sling) from the start unless we assume, as I have, that it's intended to be a species skill for them.
easl
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:04 pm

Yes, the rule is you can transfer to any first tier career in any class, subject to "GM may require in-game justification" (see p49). It just costs more to switch to a career in a different class.
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:58 am
Note that Sali skips a bunch of levels in her transfer!...

[and]

...The first adventure in the Starter Set includes a further Career switch (this is even free!) to the Watchman Career.
The Changing Career endeavour (p196) gives this flexibility: "you can move to any Career Level that fits the story of your Character for free." I assume what they're saying in the first adventure is that every character has the in-game opportunity to become a Watchman due to story.
That said, there really isn't an easy way for halflings to get Ranged (Sling) from the start unless we assume, as I have, that it's intended to be a species skill for them.
Ratcatcher and Hunter get the skill at tier 1; Flagellants, Witchhunters, Soldiers, and Warrior Priests get it at tier 2 (the latter three get "any"), Pitfighter gets "any" at tier 3. A number of other careers get the sling as equipment but not the skill.

I didn't count the careers that have BS listed as an advance, but those careers would also allow a halfling to advance their overall percentile to hit...just in a more expensive manner.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

easl wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:14 am
Yes, the rule is you can transfer to any first tier career in any class, subject to "GM may require in-game justification" (see p49). It just costs more to switch to a career in a different class.
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:58 am
Note that Sali skips a bunch of levels in her transfer!...

[and]

...The first adventure in the Starter Set includes a further Career switch (this is even free!) to the Watchman Career.
The Changing Career endeavour (p196) gives this flexibility: "you can move to any Career Level that fits the story of your Character for free." I assume what they're saying in the first adventure is that every character has the in-game opportunity to become a Watchman due to story.
That said, there really isn't an easy way for halflings to get Ranged (Sling) from the start unless we assume, as I have, that it's intended to be a species skill for them.
Ratcatcher and Hunter get the skill at tier 1; Flagellants, Witchhunters, Soldiers, and Warrior Priests get it at tier 2 (the latter three get "any"), Pitfighter gets "any" at tier 3. A number of other careers get the sling as equipment but not the skill.

I didn't count the careers that have BS listed as an advance, but those careers would also allow a halfling to advance their overall percentile to hit...just in a more expensive manner.
All great points. Thank you. I looked through the book and didn't spot any with Ranged (Sling) on a cursory glance. This is valuable info.

Though I still think there's a mismatch between RAW and the two official halfling pregens listed in the adventure books, unless we're to assume both coincidentally bought Ranged (Sling) out-of-Career. And if 2/2 pregen halflings had to buy the same skill out-of-Career, that shows it's basically an important skill for halflings, so should be a species skill at the very least.
makrellen
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:46 am
Though I still think there's a mismatch between RAW and the two official halfling pregens listed in the adventure books, unless we're to assume both coincidentally bought Ranged (Sling) out-of-Career. And if 2/2 pregen halflings had to buy the same skill out-of-Career, that shows it's basically an important skill for halflings, so should be a species skill at the very least.
I absolutely agree - I think it should have been so that all races get a combat related racial skill to begin with and Ranged (Sling) makes most sense for Halflings. It is after all canon in both 1st and 2nd ed WFRP that Halflings have the ability to use slings.
Silversurfer89
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:36 pm

Thank you all, this has been really helpful. I knew you could change careers but hadn't realised it was intended to be so easy or commonplace. I was thinking of it more like DnD multi-classing. I think I will house-rule that each race gets some kind of combat related skill, as suggested.
easl
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:04 pm

Though I still think there's a mismatch between RAW and the two official halfling pregens listed in the adventure books
It seems to be a common industry failing (IMO) that Pregens (a) don't actually follow the character creation rules and (b) aren't optimized for the role they're intended to fulfill. Given that the industry is 40+ years old, I don't know why this continues to be the case, across multiple games and systems, but it is. WFRP4 is certainly not unique in this respect. Still, it's disappointing.
unless we're to assume both coincidentally bought Ranged (Sling) out-of-Career. And if 2/2 pregen halflings had to buy the same skill out-of-Career, that shows it's basically an important skill for halflings, so should be a species skill at the very least.
Could be a case of "same author, same idea of what Halflings should be like." And let's face it, if you're going to pick up an out-of-career ballistics skill, this has the advantage of having a good range while being much cheaper than the rest.
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Orin J.
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easl wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:53 pm
It seems to be a common industry failing (IMO) that Pregens (a) don't actually follow the character creation rules and (b) aren't optimized for the role they're intended to fulfill.
while the first one is still a real problem, i just wanted to point out that an RPG character doesn't have to "fill their intended role" in any way. they only have to fit the character the player intends. i've noticed that there's been a lot of "metagaming" leaking into the tabletop RPG scene over the years and i honestly can't say it's a positive.....
Leith
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What is "optimal for the role" about a halfling having experience using a sling? If you play a halfling servant why should they know how to fight? From a metagame standpoint the servant is just tough and nimble, not a trained warrior. So why would optimizing them involve slings?
adambeyoncelowe
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Leith wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
What is "optimal for the role" about a halfling having experience using a sling? If you play a halfling servant why should they know how to fight? From a metagame standpoint the servant is just tough and nimble, not a trained warrior. So why would optimizing them involve slings?
It's more that in the fluff, and previous editions, halflings had slings. Then there's game balance: all species but halflings get at least one combat skill (elves get two) from the start. In my mind, there's no reason why a human beggar should be able to fight but a halfling thief has to wait till level 3 of their career to get anything.
easl
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Leith wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
What is "optimal for the role" about a halfling having experience using a sling? If you play a halfling servant why should they know how to fight? From a metagame standpoint the servant is just tough and nimble, not a trained warrior. So why would optimizing them involve slings?
Sorry, I wasn't complaining about every Halfling not having sling skill. I don't think every PC needs to have great combat skills or be minimaxed for some specific narrow role. In a game like warhammer where the roles/classes include a lot of "civilian" types, there's simply no reason to provide every career with a weapon skill. If the player thinks weapon skills are important, have their character start with a career that would have a reason to carry and use a weapon.

This was a much more general comment about (examples) hacker pregens not being good at hacking, potter characters not being great at crafting pots, pick your role, rinse, and repeat. And to be fair, the WFRP4 pregens seem to be okay in terms of fit to role. None of them stand out as terribly bad at what you'd think they are supposed to do. But note for instance that the Merchant is worse at Haggle than most of their other skills. With higher animal care, evaluate, and outdoor survival, he's more cowboy than merchant.
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Orin J.
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thinking about it i probably would've not had melee(basic) as part of the human or wood elf skillsets either, so it was more common and to discourage the "everyone should be good in a fight" mentality....
adambeyoncelowe
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Orin J. wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:31 pm
thinking about it i probably would've not had melee(basic) as part of the human or wood elf skillsets either, so it was more common and to discourage the "everyone should be good in a fight" mentality....
That sounds sensible. I would just give people an option: e.g., Trade (Any) OR one combat skill. Because each table will have different expectations, and while combat isn't necessarily a big part of every game, it certainly can be (the game is called Warhammer, after).
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