Warlock! Thinking Outside the D&D Box

Let’s face it. We all get into ruts. We have those times that we have blinders on and bypass cool things just because it match one of our little check boxes.

Recently, a Humble Bundle for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay ended. Sure I grabbed it up. I have some fond memories of playing it a couple of times back in the days of first edition. Who knows? I may run it in the future some time. Of course, I was also thinking of ways to make it easier to play especially virtually so I started doing some Internet searches for house rules and streamlining ideas. Which lead me to Warlock!

Sure I’d seen this game pop up multiple times. And I paid no heed. Heck, there was even a Bundle of Holding a couple months ago and again I really didn’t pay attention. That was my loss. I figured what the heck and grabbed up the core book and the two compendiums. And I like it.

Sure this is already a Platinum Best Seller and they don’t need my help but since I’m weirdo who likes to smash things together, I thought I put a few thoughts here.

So here’s the low down for game mechanics. Throw together the old Fighting Fantasy Books and Warhammer Fanstasy 1st Edition with a d20 roll high mechanic and there you go. Basic characters (without using the Compendiums) have just two stats. Stamina (think HP) and Luck. Then everything else is based on Skills which are acquired by choice and by the character’s career. Task resolution is pretty simple. Roll a d20 add the skill. For opposed rolls like combat, the higher wins. For other tasks, roll higher than 20.

The simple Warlock system got me thinking. Just take Warlock and PC stat blocks but not classes from a retroclone and run with it. First, I know I’d have to roughly cut the skill bonuses in half to keep the feel with most other 3.x and later D&D. Since the classes are out just use the Warlock careers. Figure out a good way for Saving Throws and how exactly advance would work. Sure it’d take some playing around but there’s a gem in the rough that would let me run all those old school adventures I’ve got sitting around with something out of the ordinary but still familiar to my players. Don’t take this that I’m saying Warlock is bad. It’s fine game that stands on its own. And heck running it would be a breeze on its own. I’m just looking to ease the game system shock of my players. And this is also just me ranting about the first thoughts that came into my head.

I will admit that there a couple of rules that I’m not that fond of like having spells cost Stamina and that a character’s race has no game effect other than RP. But there are also some neat ideas to pull in no matter which game you happen to be running.

I like how crits are done. Sure if you roll well enough you do extra damage but things don’t really get nasty until you hit 0 Stamina. Then it’s time roll on those fun charts to see what kind of bad thing happens to your character. The Compendiums have handy random tables for character backstory, how the party met, and random adventure generation.

So overall, would I run it or play it? Of course, it’d be a fun game. Will I root through its pockets for cool rules to add into my own home game. Oh hell yes. That makes it a fun game on its own plus inspirational material for regular old school game.

You can pick up Warlock on DrivethruRPG.

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