There are many things I like about the Warhammer world. There are also many things I don't like. So, since I had to convert the world to TROS anyway, I decided to fix the stuff I didn't like. This page details what I did, and why. It also details other stuff like rules changes and similar, so they're in a convenient place for you to find the new stuff, without ploughing through the entire background PDF. Please note that this page reflects my own opinions, which probably differ from yours. If you feel you really need to let off steam about how wrong I am (or found this useful and want to let me know) then mail me.
One of the first things I did was to write out some suggestions for the characters' Spiritual Attributes. One criticism levelled at TROS - unfairly in my view - is that since characters only advance by doing things they care about, then an incompatible group will pretty soon fragment, each character going off on their own quests.
I don't really see this as a flaw in TROS as such; maybe I'm just tired of "we have to stay together; we're the party". So I wanted to make sure the characters would have an interest in staying together and actually solving the mysteries the campaign introduced. The essential suggestion was that each character have an SA involving fighting Chaos, and preferably a conscience too. This was brought in at the group character-generation session, and seems to have worked well in practice.
Another major rule change was the introduction of Warping points, which are mostly relevant to human sorcerers. Since Sorcery in Humans is a gift of Chaos, human sorcerers tend to mutate both physically and mentally. Warping points were a basic mechanism to cope with that; every time a human sorcerer ages due to sorcery, he gains 1 warping point per month aged. Humans in a chaos-ridden environment must make "warping checks" to resist the effects. Collect 100 warping points and you collect a bonus prize, in the form of a new mutation.
I also considered adding fear and insanity rules to TROS, but decided that the characters would have a hard enough time anyway, and we can handle this through role-playing.
I decided to use the standard sorcery rules from TROS, apart from the minor change above. It was then obvious that sorcery would have to be proscribed - partly because I think that having commonplace sorcery would have slowed the pace of invention in The Empire, and partly because TROS sorcerers are so powerful that you need this as a check on them! I did also add that there are many "sorcerers" in the Old World with a very limited understanding of how sorcery really works, and hence very little power outside of their specialist field. This was a get-out clause to explain why sorcerers the characters may come up against don't wipe them out!
I also added the concept of "Demonology", the skill of summoning demons. Anyone who is prepared to take the risk can use this skill to summon a demon, but with no way of binding it, they'll have to bargain for their life afterwards. I like the concept, and it makes it easier to have less-powerful enemies summon demons.
Finally, I decided to use some of the optional rules from The Flower of Battle, the TROS combat supplement. The firearms rules would make the world more fun (if more dangerous), and I liked the new missile weapon rules, so in they went. I also decided to allow characters an extra healing roll the day after they were injured, to see if the injury wasn't quite as bad as it first appeared.
Another thing I needed to decide was whether to use Warhammer currency or TROS currency. I decided to use the TROS currency in the end, for two reasons. One it would make the ultra neat TROS chargen program easier to use, and second it felt better to me that most people threw silver around rather than gold (remember I've been running an Ars Magica campaign where there aren't even gold coins).
This meant that I needed to work out a conversion factor between the two, but happily a factor of ten was a reasonably good fit, and could be fudged - two shillings to the crown, one penny to the shilling - to make it easy to deal with in the heat of the moment. I have to admit that I didn't make any conversion related mistakes in the first two sessions, although old money did catch me out once - converting at 12 shillings to the crown instead of 20 - duh!
This is where the real changes went; mostly to match my own prejudices. Possibly due to running a lot of Ars Magica more recently, I'm utterly sick and tired of sub-Tolkien elves and dwarves in fantasy RPGs. And hobbits. Especially hobbits. So I completely rewrote the background in this regard; most of the more sophisticated people in the cities don't really believe in all the non-human creatures any more. Mutants, yes, but not elves or dwarves or golen (which are the TROS orc-equivalent, I decided to use them because I like them). You might find these things far away, but not in a civilised country. So I decided to trim the list of creatures to a manageable list, and make the core society human-only.
Elves, in the sense of the "pointy-eared chum good with a bow" have gone. In their place we have the Fey, from TROS, spiritual creatures of faerie, often sorcerers, who kill almost all of the few humans who discover them.
Dwarves don't live in human cities any more. Instead they are of the sidhe, keeping to their own strongholds deep in the mountains, and rarely having contact with humans.
Hobbits (or halflings if you're avoiding the Tolkien estate's lawyers) just plain don't exist. They're erased. Gone. Mootland is now part of Stirland again. Losing a few jokes about the halfling tax is a small price to pay. Just play a short fellow with hairy feet for comic relief if you must; it's what most hobbit PCs end up as.
Gnomes are ornaments found on the lawns of tasteless people. Good riddance too, they're even sillier than hobbits.
Goblins are sidhe as well, creatures of the night. They are mischevious and dangerous, although they will rarely attack humans, unless at a serious advantage.
Ogres are replaced with Gorem from TROS, giant descendants of the ancient (and fortunately extinct) race of Chaos giants known as trolls. Gorem are brutal, vicious and stupid; you're not going to find any hiring out as mercenaries.
Orcs, hobgoblins and all such are replaced by the Golen, a warlike race of nomadic humanoids, also spawn of the trolls. Think twice before messing with them.
Undead are usually the result of a Sorcerer's tampering. A few different kinds are known.
Several different creatures of Chaos are known to still exist; mutants, Chaos beast men, Chaos warriors and Skaven. All are pretty much as given in the original Warhammer rules.
The other big change was to use the "Three Gods Become One" religion from TROS, and make the state religion, "The Church of Saint Sigmar" a splinter sect of that; with largely similar beliefs and practices, but a fundamental disagreement over whether Sigmar, the founder of The Empire, was sainted. I also retained the "Old Faith" from Warhammer, to add a counterpoint. The Chaos religions were changed into five aspects of "The Lord of Chaos", a single deity opposed to the Three Gods Become One.
There are a couple of reasons for the change, but the major one was that a Renaissance Empire based on the Holy Roman Empire doesn't really match well with a multitude of "cults" and "temples" (although I know 80's game companies were terrified of using the words "religion" or "church"). Having a two separate branches of a single religion seemed much more fitting, and the church of three-in-one from TROS is a very well-designed religion, which could fit in to the world with a little work. Added to that, if you want one religion to dislike another, then making it a heresy is the best reason you can give. Especially one that's usurped the primary role in the region.
The Old Faith got left in because I liked it, and the five aspects of the Lord of Chaos because it felt right, and still allowed different flavours of Chaos cult, without having an entire pantheon of gods. I also threw in Riddle-Seeking (more a philosophy than a religion) from TROS as a wild card, more or less on a whim.
Once these changes had been made, the history and politics of the empire sorted themselves out nicely. I think its worked; in a low fantasy setting less is more when it comes to fantasy elements - look at the lack of nonhumans in many of the Warhammer novels.
we've run two sessions of the campaign now, and haven't encountered anything other than humans or mutants. I don't think anyone has felt the lack, or even noticed it.
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