zondag 27 januari 2013

1st WARHAMMER, a closer look: Volume 2 Magic

So you know what I'm talking about 

The 2nd Volume of the original Warhammer White Box is a very interesting one. For starters it has a lot of elements that would fit a Role playing game better than a mass-combat wargame. Secondly, the magic item section gives the reader a summary glance into the setting-background as originally conceived, naming locations and some mythical personae. The snippets gleaned from the magic item descriptions paint a picture of a world inspired by Middle Earth to no small extent!

But let's not get ahead of things, and dive into the original magic system of Warhammer Fantasy.

Volume 2 introduces the reader/player to three new characteristics, Mastery, Constitution and Life Energy.

Mastery and Constitution are familiar statistics for Oldhammer players. Mastery being a Wizard's power level, rated 1 to 4 (as it would forever remain) and determines the ability of a wizard to cast spells and which spells are available. Constitution was the harnessed raw magical power a wizard could summon to cast those spells.
Life Energy was abandoned in 2nd edition, and even here it's described as only relevant in a role-playing campaign, but basically it represents the physical and mental price a wizard pays for using arcane powers, draining away slowly as a wizard expends constitution leaving him eventually an emaciated (and possibly deranged) wreck of a creature. The paragraph on Life energy claims that the subject is covered in detail in Volume 3... but it's not (we'll get to that later).

In Recenthammer (4th and 5th edition) and Newhammer (6th edition and beyond), Mastery Level is just an indicator of general power and number of spells available to a wizard, practically on a point-for-point basis, a level 2 wizard knows 2 spells, a level 3 wizard knows 3 etc. In Oldhammer the magic system was much closer to Role Playing magic systems, most notably Dungeons and Dragons when it comes to ability/power/spell levels as spells are divided into mastery level categories, requiring a wizard to be of a certain level to know particular spells, just as D&D.
In addition, we get casting times and recovery times for wizards, some spells needing some time spent in some form of ritual not detailed, while others apparently put some form of strain on the caster one would need to recuperate from.
Practically all spells also require ingredients to be cast, mostly philtres of some 'humour' or other, or Talismans. Again a very RPG feature which was abandoned for the wargame but retained with some modifications in WFRP.
Enhancing and Annihilating is the bluffing-game of dispelling magic aimed at wizards, secretly assigning constitution to dispel or enhance spells cast.

The Fumble Factor presents another rule that is in many ways geared for campaign play as one of the triggers of the Fumble test is when the wizard attempts to cast a newly learned spell for the first time (would you use that in a war game battle?). Essentially it is a system for spell-failure or miss-casts, and a bit of a balancing factor for wizards, as attempting to cast spells of a higher level than current mastery give a modifier to the test. Like morale, the chance of fumbling is affected by the wizard being wounded.
The effects of a fumble can be quite disastrous, hitting yourself, allies or causing opposite effects! One might even buff enemy units by fumbling.

Both the Fumble Factor and Enhance/annihilate seem to work best with a GM at the table for some things are to be done in secret or rolled for in secret to have fun effects...

Volume 2 also gives the first random generation table for characters, player or non-player depending on the type of game being played. Here we get the wizard generation tables, giving rules to generate mastery level (on a d10), constitution (2d4 per level), if a wizard is specialized or not (d6 table, 1:3 chance of specialization), number of spells and which spells. Characteristics are to be generated using the rules in Volume 3, though are modified in relation to mastery level (+1 WS, I and W per mastery level).

The list of spells is quite large, 75 are provided, though not all of them are useful in a normal table-top battle, many being utilitarian kind of spells (lock, detect hidden doors, far sight) while others have only cosmetic -albeit comical- effects like curse. Of note is that there are as yet only 2 lores of magic (general and necromantic), no distinction being made between general magic and elementalism, illusionism and deamonology. Any evil wizard may summon deamons, Balrogs even!
Necromancy is quite a small lore though, only 15 out of 75 spells are necromantic.

And now to my favourite part of Volume 2, Enchanted Objects. This chapter summarily describes various magic items, some of which do not even get defined rules! The writer tells the reader- in between the lines-: “I trust in your imagination, figure something out, do what you like, you bought this because you are awesome and creative!”
The greatest value in this chapter is in my opinion not the rules, but the world building notes presented through the magic item descriptions, especially among the magic weapons.

Quite a few items have a story and many of those might be taken as adventure seeds by GM's. I know that one contestant in the Citadel Compendium's Character design competition played a campaign based on the (Tolkien-inspired) story of the Forges of Aran-Cabal, one of the more fearsome magic weapon sources. In fact, the campaign arc described was more or less Opposite-World Lord of the Rings! It can be found here

And did you know the original warhammer world had realms known as Borunna and Bloodren? Human realms that have some magic crafting bladesmiths.
The dwarves of course are as ever, champions of ironworking and Firsthammer gives us the first look into the realm of the Dwarves.
Originally the Dwarven Kingdom was called Caraz-Adul, its strongest fortress being Caraz-A-Carak, nice to see the current Dwarf Capital's origin in the first ever Warhammer game!
It elaborates further on the “heir-weapons” of the Dwarf nobility and gives a shout-out to Volume 1 by mentioning the magic hammer of the Dwarf commander in the Ziggurat of Doom scenario (Foebane). Together with foebane, we only get rules for two weapons from the Dwarven Forges, but the presumed loss of Foebane at the Ziggurat is a nice plot-hook for an adventure.

Names, locations, artefacts, I could get a lot out of this part of the book. A lot of items described could be a quest objective of some kind and I feel many who would review this edition from a wargaming perspective would overlook and miss out on the scenario opportunities presented here. Also, the description of Garathea's Cord is classic warhammer slapstick!

I get a strong notion that Firsthammer's target audience would have been the regular customers of Games Workshop back then. Not only did I learn that it was meant as freebie with mail order parcels (thanks Orlygg), but the rules are not detailed, clear and unambiguous enough to be an entry-level wargame. Firsthammer is for experienced gamers who can come up with their own stuff and especially roleplayers who want to now and again fight a bigger battle.

Concluding, volume 2 is in my opinion one of the best Firsthammer booklets for the good read the enchanted items chapter provides and the implied adventure hooks transcend the warhammer game. I'd advise any GM who runs a Fantasy RPG to take a look at that chapter and take an idea or two from it for adventures or magic items... So, let I also pose a question to the readers of this blog: what items would you have fun to write into a quest or adventure?

zaterdag 26 januari 2013

1st WARHAMMER, a closer look: vol.1: Table-top Battles part 3

Continuing where the previous post left of, we now come to the part of Volume 1 that gives some advice on how to play the game with your miniatures, a summary glance at waging war underground, rules for creatures and their special abilities, the first Warhammer scenario and the Bestiary.

The original publication of Warhammer did not yet have a points system, so the eponymous chapter of the book (Table-top Battles), gives some general advice on table-top wargaming, i.e. how to lay-out a table using common sense (there's not much though). It's also the first time that the troop types and forming up of regiments is covered in more detail. even though the movement rules are written with ranked-up miniatures in mind, only on page 27 proper guidelines on how to form units are given. In Firsthammer it's only guidelines though, advising the use of regiments with homogeneous weapons and armour rather than mixed units whereas later editions required regiments to be homogeneous.

Also in true wargaming fashion, the basing of troops is far more detailed and influential to the game than in later editions. It gives 4 base sizes: 15mm for small humanoids (halflings and lesser goblins), 20mm for 'normal' sized humanoids (dwarves, goblins, men and elves), 25mm for Orcs and hobgoblins, and 25x40mm for cavalry. Later editions did away with the 15mm base size. Large monsters do not have a predetermined base-size, the rules only state that these should be appropriate to the model's size.
To add to this are the Base-size modifiers for Skirmishers (+50%) and Shock-troops (-5mm). A nice touch, giving a clear visual aid to what kind of troops you face, but not really practical with the models I and my friends own (all slottabase era save for a single regiment of Orcs found in a bargain-bin once). Note that there was not yet a "skirmish formation" as in the later editions, but skirmishers were in ranks, albeit with larger bases to make them stand out from standard and shock troops.

Fighting in Dungeons is an important chapter for those of us (me) who want to use Firsthammer as RPG rules. The rules given are not as complete as one might wish for, though the chapter assumes the reader to have some familiarity with dungeon crawling roleplaying games. The rules for darkness and lights are well conceived.
The opening doors mechanics are a bit lacking though, in that they only provide in forcing doors (though these are quite detailed and account for heavy cutting and/or crushing weapons) but nothing on lock-picking. Lock-picking will altogether be foreign to Firsthammer until White Dwarf 51 published play-test rules for Thieves (which I will try to provide on this blog and are a nice peek into the WFRP design progress!)

Flying Creatures are summarily handled in a one-page chapter, and are essentially the 4th/5th edition rules for flyers minus aerial combat and the 24" table-top-level flying (things I might add if it becomes relevant).
Flying creatures are scary though, big initiative bonus, weapon length assumed as 'pike' and penalties to hit for enemies engaging them with melee and missile weapons.

The Ziggurat of Doom is the first ever Warhammer scenario, pitting 6 Dwarf Heroes (pre-hero rules) against a horde of goblins. It is a nice little game really, in which the dwarfs must make good use of the Ziggurat to keep the waves of goblins at bay.
The advantage seems to be firmly with the Dwarves though, despite goblin numeric superiority. This is because of their high Weapon Skill, 5 of the Dwarves being "accomplished" melee fighters, while their leader Thorgrim Branedimm is an "expert" hammer-wielder with a magic hammer that causes fear to enemies within 15". In fact, 6 named dwarves face of against a horde of nameless mooks, who must test against fear and have epic-level dice-luck to accomplish anything!
The scenario objectives also skew in the favour of the Dwarves, as the goblins score 2 points for each Dwarf slain while the Dwarves score 1 point per turn survived with at least 1 Dwarf remaining. Effectively this means that the Goblins have 12 turns to wipe out the Dwarfs to win and 13 turns to get a draw. Any other outcome is a Dwarf Victory.

Following the scenario is the Creature List which starts of with rules for Poison. I find the poison rules a bit off in that poison must be saved at using Strength rather than Toughness, which would be (to me) the obvious characteristic for such.
Regeneration comes, next, being a bit different from later editions, the first incarnation of regeneration being a bit like AD&D as I experience in Baldur's Gate: lose all wounds but test each round if your monster regenerates.
Animals are divided into non-intelligent creatures and semi-intelligent ones and are exempt from morale test but affected by fear, terror and hatred as applicable. Non-intelligent animals are subject to stupidity.

The creatures provided in this part of the book get some summary descriptions, some being just what models are available to represent them. The number of creatures provided is sufficient for the rules-set, and it features some creatures that have since been removed from the Warhammer world... Menfish being the most famous example.
There also used to be a large variety of were-creatures, winged animals, reptiles, amphibians, more goblin variants and several types of giant (no less than 8 sub-types of giant are given), very similar to the wealth of giant-types provided in (A)D&D. Chaotic attributes are mentioned in the creature lists for the first time, and pop-up now and again with certain creatures but are not described in the set at all. The first we will see of Warhammer's Realms of Chaos would be in the First Citadel Compendium.

Most monstrous creatures are fittingly terrifying, the Balrog being king at that, with its fire-spells, epic characteristics (Maxed-out) and terrible fire-whip. Here the Balrog is pretty much presented as described in the works of JRR Tolkien and can be used as leaders for a small contingent of goblinoids and trolls.
Dragons are to be found in various colours like in D&D. Interesting hook here are the possibilities of Dragons being Intelligent rather than semi-intelligent and having magical abilities. Also lifted straight from D&D I presume, but very neat for dragon-based adventures and battles. The rules for the various dragons span the better part of 3 pages.

What I miss in this part of the rules however, are the heroes and individuals. you only get basic creatures and only a slight glimpse on heroic humanoids in the scenario... Well, except for Balrogs and Liches- hm... there could be a cool scenario in a battle between a Balrog and Liche who each have a bunch of suitable units under ther command.

So, that's the entirety of Volume 1: Tabletop battles. overall a nice set of unpolished but playable rules if you ask me. It does require a good measure of Game Master and Player creativity to be used to full effect and would need some house rules, especially the weapon bonuses vs troop-types if used as RPG.

dinsdag 22 januari 2013

1st WARHAMMER, a closer look: vol.1: Table-top battles part 2

In my previous post I took my first steps into 1st edition "archeology" diving into Warhammer Volume 1: combat covering the movement and shooting phase and had a bit to say on psychology, at the time, at the front of the rulebook, rather than in the back.

Now we continue with the Shooting phase dissection, mainly because it brings us the first Advanced Rule: Critical Hit
In Firsthammer the Mass-Combat Fantasy Roleplaying game, critical hits are handled a bit differently than in many other RPG's, for rather than being the result of a lucky die-roll, it is in fact more like a "called shot"-type of skill of any creature armed with a missile weapon provided the target is in short range and the creature has BS 4. To effect a critical hit, the shooter must hit the target and then roll as many dice to-wound as the target has actual wound points. If all of those dice rolled come up with a sufficient number for a wound (or kill as it was then called), the target has sustained a critical hit and dies instantly. otherwise the shot is wasted.
I like this rule a lot, and would certainly try and use it when I finally get some mates to do some oldschool RPG-ing.
Critical hits are also possible in melee, but are only available to "Individuals" fighting a creature that has multiple wounds on his profile. What individuals are is not all too clear, but I guess the writer refers to what we nowadays call Characters models. I guess these include your Firsthammer RPG adventure characters created using Volume 3. ;)

After Shooting we get to the Eponymous chapter of Volume 1: Combat.
Warhammer's Hand-to-hand combat system is actually my favourite hand-to-hand combat system among the games I played to date. The mechanics are table-driven but not too crunchy, opponent's skill is a big factor and armour negates damage rather than making you harder to hit or reducing damage. What I especially like about early editions Warhammer HTH is the fact that the chart is a lot tougher in fights with roughly equal (1 point apart at best) weapon skills. Things like higher ground, winning the previous round and charging really count in editions 1 to 3!

Also, striking in initiative order, regardless of charging is Oldhammer, and as I have heard, back in 8th edition. Still gone is the so-called 'stepped initiative' (a later WFRP-term) which means creatures with multiple attack do their first attack at full initiative and subsequent attacks each a grade of initiative lower, i.e: human hero with I4 and A3 would do his first attack at initiative 4, his second at initiative 3 and so forth, meaning lower initiative creatures could possibly get off an attack in between one of these attacks.
Just take a look at that To-Hit chart for close combat below (and the cool dual-wielding Orc beside it). In early edition warhammer having a high WS was a matter of Life and Death!

Taking a bit of a leap forward, the RPG characters you create with Volume 3 all start with but 1 (ONE) wound and in Firsthammer's character advancement system, won't get a second wound until they have earned 500 XP points (equalling 250 slain orcs or collecting 5000 Gold Crowns in loot) and you may forget about advancing strength and toughness altogether as those characteristics are not covered. You can however, advance your Weapon Skill much earlier and it would be wise to do so if you want to give your character a fighting chance against a lot of monsters. In fact, a WS 6 character may go toe to toe with a Troll, Ogre, riding reptile/riding wyvern or Mummy and have a fighting chance despite multiple high strength attacks being thrown at him just because the chance he gets hit by these WS2 or 3 creatures is quite small while he hits them easily in return.

I find it a nice touch that the various weapon skill levels are given titles like "inexperienced" and "accomplished" in this edition. It could be used as some form of indicator of skill given by a GM if he does not wish to give away precise numbers:
GM: "your opponent, Sir Skullsmash the Magnificent is know as an expert Swordsman!"
Player: "ye gods! he has WS 8 against my 5. I'd better run now"

Alternatively, it can be used in lieu of OD&D's level titles for fighters "I am sir Luc de Batards, Skillful swordsman"

*overlooked this when discussing the shooting phase, but Bow Skill also had these name-grades.

Next up in noticeable novelties in Firsthammer are the Weapon stats for close combat weapons. It's all quite broad categories and very much in the league of Table-top wargames rather than RPG's but a bit of a jumble at that.
First off, the Lance is practically the only weapon that gets a separate mention for its combat bonuses (+1I and +1 to kill/wound). The others are divided into two types: Heavy Crushing and Cutting weapons and light cutting weapons. apparently there are no piercing weapons or light crushing weapons? And then it gets even more interesting when weapon length is brought into the mix in addition to the kind of formation the target troops are in. Apparently, hitting a skirmisher or individual with a club is harder than hitting at a dude standing in a falanx formation, but using a sword or scimitar has no problems with skirmishers but hard times against close order troops. hm...
In all, it does make things a bit easier. just one page for the weapon rules and its pretty clear cut but would it work in the RPG-style firsthammer game? It does narrow down your choices for weapon type, your not useless with just a knife and the cheaper weapons do confer pretty bonuses in the correct circumstances. On the other hand, besides reach, there's nothing that sets a hand axe apart from a bearded battle axe, which could be a point of conflict between GM's and Axe-crazy historybuff players.
To be honest, the weapon  rules in Firsthammer were not doing it for me at all before I wrote this, but now I have given them more thought, they are actually rather cool and I really want to see them in action some time. But just how should creatures in RPG combat be regarded? Skirmish order or Shock order? I guess I'd have it depend on the disposition of troops, location and all circumstances that may come up in play (important because of the weapon rules).

Monsters with Heavy Cutting Weapons are M***erF***ing badass though... I don't even want to talk about it. (see for yourself on Scribd)

Combat results are based on number of kills per side, highest kill count wins, loser is pushed back 2" and the winner must follow. 3 pushbacks in a row cause a unit to rout, though certain creatures might rout after more or fewer pushbacks (Dwarfs for example, must be pushed back 5 times before routing, while Orcs and Goblins leg it after just 2). See that? No Break-test involved here. just plain old attrition!

Free-hacks against routing backs are in this edition too, though pursuit is handled differently. It's not completely compulsory as a player can choose to have his unit remain stationary in his next movement phase. If pursuit is given, the pursuers move in the Rout Phase just as their quarry and may strike freehacks as long as they catch up to the routers. Pursuit then only stops  if the pursuers are intercepted by another enemy unit, are all killed, kill all routers or if the player controlling the unit rolls a 6 on a d6 at the start of his turn to try and stop them.

And after with pursuit, as in the following of routers, follows the following Advanced Rule: Follow on Combat. This is a rule of advanced heroics thereafter only seen again in the guise of Warhammer Quest's Deathblow special rule, which is but a meagre shadow of the original. Follow on Combat is another special ability that comes for free at a certain characteristic level. In this case Initiative 6 or better. Units with initiative 6+ may, after winning a round of combat, immediately fight again if they roll 4 or better on a d6 and may move up to 3" to engage a new enemy if unengaged and may continue this as long as they win and there are enemies in range. Ah, I can just see the heroes created by my friends cut a bloody swathe through a horde of goblins as the win round after round and roll 4+ after 4+!

The rule is illustrated by the first Warhammer Named Character, Solomon Klomp, who is one tough MF-er with an unthinkable (for a later edition human) Initiative of no less than 8!

Not only that, overleaf he takes on the much-tougher-in-first-edition Giant Rat and even a winged serpent (I gave you a link to a scribd document posted by an awesome dude I don't know, go check it out)

The basic rules end at another Advanced Rule: Knock out! providing stunning/overbearing rules for Warhammer, and the first rule which requires d10's to use (for determining the time spent out cold).

Welp. That's it for today. Basic rules covered, next we fill up with some gaming tips. flavour and bestiary things form Volume 1 and I might throw in something extra just for the special.

donderdag 10 januari 2013

1st Warhammer, a closer look: Vol. 1: tabletop battles

Today I have some time to spare and will take a closer look at the core of the Warhammer system as it was originally published: the Combat rules, the Volume 1 booklet of Tabletop Battles.

Great picture IMO. what's that Chaos Orc
with the drooping-horns helmet looking at?
He's not looking at the scary shield so why
the wide eyes?
In the more recent editions combat (and magic) is all there is to Warhammer Fantasy, unless of course your playing WFRP (any edition)!

The books starts with a brief introduction on Fantasy wargaming, use of dice, miniatures and the turn sequence:
  1. Movement phase
  2. shooting phase
  3. close combat phase
  4. second movement phase2nd Movement phase? If I had not read WH40K:Rogue Trader and 2nd and 3d edition WFB I would have been completely baffled by this. Move twice? what about march moves? can I march twice too?
  5. magic phaseOnly in 6th edition did the Magic phase move from the end of the turn to being phase 2 (between movement and shooting)
  6. rout phase (currently part of the movement phase as "compulsory movement"
Nothing much has changed though when you look at the basic rules. Things have been tidied up a bit, streamlined and in some cases simplified. not always for the best, but the majority of changes after 1st edition do improve the game.
Let's take Movement as our first example here:
In the original game, movement was, as it is today, measured in inches. And fractions of inches. Did you know that Elves originally moved 4.5 inches? and Dwarfs 3.5?
And we also hit our first mystery in the rules right at the first page describing movement: armour encumbrance!
Nowadays armour encumbrance is pretty clear cut. If you have heavy armour and a shield, you lose one point of movement. In originalhammer it just says that all "armoured" creatures except Dwarfs walk one inch slower. Nowhere in the 3 books is explained what kind of armour slows you down only that Mithril armour does not. So chain mail (light armour) appears to be just as cumbersome as Plate armour (heavy armour), and shields do not seem to factor into the equation.
There is no marching (something only thought up for 4th edition) because players get another movement phase at the end of their turn, the reserves phase. Difficult ground and crossing obstacles appear at first glance to be similar, but are not. The former counts each inch crossed as 2 inches and the latter halves the crossing model's movement... which make me flinch due to the half-inches used in some profiles.
wheeling, turning, extending frontage, Charging, flee-as-charge-reaction and stand and shoot are present in 1st edition, but more awesomely, Counter-Charging and interpenetration are in too!

Oddly enough, after the chapter of movement, we get a chapter on Psychology, which in my later editions experience was usually somewhere in the back-half of the rulebook among the "advanced" rules. It makes sense though to put Psychology close to movement, as in Originalhammer (and in modernhammer too), most psychological effects affect movement.
Then we get to the all important chapter of Morale. oddly enough, no one has yet been shot at or hacked with an axe, but we are given the rules for troop morale and courage right before the chapters detailing that stuff.
Oh wait... the original warhammer Morale save is what we now call: the Panic Test (i.e. Leadership-test for casualties by shooting, units breaking/fleeing nearby and slain generals).
In originalhammer, Morale was tested on with a d6 roll, modified by penalties and bonuses requiring a score of 3 or better to "pass a morale save". The rules for morale are the first major "hey that's different" moment for me. Not only is the "panic-test" handled differently, the effect of a failed test is completely alien to my 5th edition-trained brain too! The results are scaled!
  • Rolling a 0 or less for the test (due to the mentioned penalties, this is possible) a unit immediately routs and behaves much like any fleeing unit would do in later editions. rallying being an option... but again its a bit different in that it must double move (charge-rate sayeth the rules) in each player's Rout Phase.
  • getting a 1 results in your unit having to 'just' retreat for two turns. No further explanation is given on that. I guess you'd just be obligated to have your unit turn and move away for 2 movement phases?
  •  scoring a 2 gives you a choice to either 'halt' or retreat for two turns, no explanation on this either. A smart GM would probably be able to judge what is the "realistic' option based on the situation in which the morale test was failed.
It also treats multi-wound individuals a bit harsher, requiring a morale test for each wound suffered and inflicting a penalty of -1 to the roll for each wound suffered. Now, that could put pay to all the Super-characters if you could make it into an 8th edition house rule!

... resisting the urge to extend this post unduly with an enormous rant about the diminishing of the morale and psychology rules in warhammer since 6th ed, we continue with Shooting...

After movement comes the shooting phase, I am back in familiar territory here. The ranged to-hit chart is pretty much the same as it is today, basic score needed on a to hit equating 7 minus shooter's bow skill. The to-hit penalties for range and cover remain unchanged to this day, but the to-wound chart gives us auto-kill results if S= Tx2+1
Today the Human's Toughness is brought to us
by the letter 'B'

Look at the picture to the side. What do you notice?


Yes, the Strength of the weapons is quite different than it is now, but that's because everyone's/everything's strength is one lower in 1st edition, it got an Characteristics advance in 2nd Edition ;)
Then we get weird again, Toughness not only being 1 point lower (like strength), but also measured in Letters! Why? what wondrous thinking might have led to that? Classic Hex-and-Counter Wargames perchance, where units were given a troop quality based on alphabetical order?

In this case, Toughness A= toughness 1 and toughness 10 (or should that be 'J') is off the map.

Then we have armour saves... back on home ground, nothing much changed but for what names are given to types of armour. In Originalhammer Light armour is called Chainmail, Heavy armour is named Plate armour and a 3d rank of armour goes by the name of "Mithric armour". Obviously inspired on Tolkien's Mithril, which 4th edition was cool enough to split into Ithilmar for Elves and Gromril for Dwarfs. Saving throws are as they are to this day, each grade of armour giving 1 'pip' on a d6 for a saving throw, high numbers good, low numbers bad.

The armour save modifiers for strength, high strength attacks reducing armour saves, also originate in the original. However, whereas all (or most) creature's strengths are one lower than from 2nd edition onwards, the armour save modifiers did in fact start at S4! How about that?

As this post is getting quite longer than I expected before starting, I will end it hereabouts. In the next post, we continue with the first nifty Advanced Rule and I hope to get through the full extend of the close combat rules. The post thereafter will include the remainder of Volume 1.

So, Originalhammer, a lot seems familiar and yet, a lot is not.