Review: Matthew S on ZWEIHÄNDER at DriveThruRPG

From Matthew S:

Daniel Fox asked me if I’d submit a review for this, and so I shall, even though I haven’t written a review for anything in many years 🙂

A strong love letter to WFRP, though setting-free, it still holds many elements from the world of Warhammer, most of them strongly referenced.

Straight-forward, and quite streamlined, and for the most part well put together and written. Yes, there are a few gappy moments, but some of this is due to editing, as in the removal of unwanted ideas, whose absence left slight holes, and the rest I suspect will be cleared up in supplements, such as NPCs, further detailing on playing as the monsters races (Orx, Grendel, etc.), and so on.

Combat is intuitive and quite visceral, and does make you feel every player should wear at least some armour, so as to avoid the dreaded bleeding mechanic, which will have the average PC dead in 4 or 5 turns. It really makes you want to find other solutions than wading head first into a fray, which is a nice change of pace.

The professions are very nicely done, in my opinion, and most pay homage or reference to one thing or another from popular culture, such as the Smuggler’s trait, “Häns shot first”, or the Dungeoneer’s “Gygaxian Naturalism”.

The magic system is for the most part very good, and low-powered, which is to be expected in a grimdark environment. I suspect some people will find the method for procuring new spells to be a bit faffy, though.

My only real niggles as some slightly bad wording in places, a few gaps, and the fact that there aren’t separate profession, upbringing, and class, charts for the different races. Doesn’t feel right that not only can every race be every profession, but that they have an equal chance of each as well, but that may just be me.

Oh, and some people might have a profession balance issue, as some profession are significantly better than other to be. Does this add realism? Probably, but some people wont be happy about it.

To cut this very short, if you enjoyed WFRP, if you like a more “realistic” fantasy environment, and if you want to play a less fighty game, this might be something you’d want to take a look at.

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