The five-stars is not fluff, ZWEIHÄNDER is a real labor of love. From the style of the illustrations to the mechanics, ZWEIHÄNDER is the product of a team that has studied what made Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay memorable and fun, and they’ve improved upon it, too!
Character Creation is evocative, and should satisfy Warhammer vets. Racial choices have a better balance to them, with fewer useless/extremely niche talents. You can, in WFRP fashion, roll up your character through tables completely. Additionally, the careers have been touched-up rather nicely, with many fewer irredeemable careers. Careers have abilities that focus that career or give them a particular niche. Commoner careers still exist, as one might expect, but their abilities help them stand up as canny peasantfolk or resourceful scroungers.
Combat is improved since WFRP2e, with some more cohesive rules. The flow of combat is as savage and exciting as ever, and, while decisive blows on either side of the battlefield can pivot a fight, it is less prone to fluke swinginess. The ZWEIHÄNDER team has also taken care to balance options and choices pretty well – you certainly aren’t likely to find ‘Naked Dwarf’ balance issues, for the WFRP1e veterans out there.
The Magic system portrays magic as useful and dangerous, without invalidating or overriding other character archetypes. With the benefit of hindsight following the power creep from books like Realms of Sorcery from WFRP2e, spell effects and target numbers are sensible and suggestive of the risk-for-reward system of magic without being too restrictive or too generous. With some of the labels filed off, and a more generalized explanation, it’s fairly easy to fit the magic system into most settings.
ZWEIHÄNDER is a love letter to WFRP, and it is a real success – not just as an homage, but as a game in its own right. There are other elements, like the wonderfully done Bestiary and the Order & Chaos Alignment system, the way the game handles mental stresses and isorders, and more which I haven’t had a chance to touch on. The superlative terms that I’ve described the game in, above, follow along with these mechanics and sections, too, and not without good reason. At $27.00 (and certainly at $13.00!), this game is money well spent for anyone looking for exciting and gritty adventure.