Tristram Evans of RPGPub.com has embarked upon his lengthy review of Zweihander Grim & Perilous RPG. Buckle up, because this is a long one (and will span several weeks). Check it out at RPGPub.com or as below:
Skills in Zweihander progress in Ranks, and a character can achieve up to three Ranks in any given skill: Apprentice (10%), Journeyman (20%), and Master (30%). I like this a lot. In fact its the same ranking system with the same names even, that I used for my own game, Phaserip.
The Skill list is relatively concise, at 36 total, and all seem useful. Though I personally prefer a smaller number of broad skill categories, for the approach Zweihander takes it shows excellent restraint and this may be the first aspect of the game so far that represents a streamlining and improvement over Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
Each skill is associated with one of the Primary Attributes, and lo and behold, I am quite pleased to see that accompanying each skill description is a set of examples as to what constitutes a Trivial, Easy, Routine, Standard, Challenging, Hard, and Arduous use of that skill. This actually goes a long way to improving my earlier reticence regarding these Difficulty Ratings (though it also reinforces my thought that the chargen chapters should have preceded the “How To Play” section).
I don’t have much else to say on this chapter, really. It’s very well done.
Chapter VI covers Talents. These are akin to G.U.R.P.’s “Advantages”, White Wolf’s “Merits”, or Unisystem’s “Qualities;” in other words, an ubiquitous part of RPG systems since the 90s. It basically covers special abilities and aptitudes of characters above and beyond skills. I’d say this was again an addition to the system that didn’t exist in WFRP, but that’s not exactly true. Rather it’s more that Warhammer didn’t distinguish between skills and what Zweihander categorizes as “Talents.” So, on the one hand, the division represents streamlining, but as the list of Talents has clearly been expanded upon, it ends up being somewhere in-between.
It’s a short chapter, the descriptions are interesting, and nothing seems drastically powerful (these are definitely not “Feats” à la WOTC D&D). For example, I looked up the Talent I purchased for Nix, Holdout:
“You always succeed at Skulduggery Tests to conceal objects no larger than a knife about your person.”…