Review of Warcraft Roleplaying Game

Review Summary
Comped Capsule Review
Written Review

August 29, 2003

by: Alex deMorris

Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)

The Warcraft Roleplaying Game takes Dungeons & Dragons to a new setting. Based on the popular real-time strategy games, this book takes a decent look at the makings of an established fantasy campaign cast with the D&D rules set.

Alex deMorris has written 107 reviews, with average style of 3.49 and average substance of 3.52 The reviewer's previous review was of Orpheus.

This review has been read 20997 times.

Product Summary
Name: Warcraft Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Arthaus (Sword, Sorcery Studios)
Line: Warcraft
Author: Aylott, Christopher, Zach Bush, Jeff Grubb, Luke Johnson, Seth Johnson, Mur Lafferty, Greg Netcher
Category: RPG

Cost: 34.95
Pages: 248
Year: 2003

SKU: WW17200
ISBN: 1-58846-0071-1

Review of Warcraft Roleplaying Game
Warcraft RPG home

Warcraft cover

Disclaimer I: I have seen in reviews that the content had "spoiler" ascribed to it. I feel that if you are reading a review, you invite that upon yourself. If you don't want "spoilers," why would you read a review of a product you do not own? I will not use the phrase of "Contains Spoilers" in my reviews, if you want a non-biased review that doesn't reveal content-look elsewhere.

Disclaimer II: The majority of this review is opinion; your actual enjoyment of this product should vary accordingly.

"... A Warcraft [roleplaying game] campaign should have plenty of combat as well as complex machinations. It should convey a sense of turbulence and high drama, excitement and impending doom..."
(from Running a Warcraft Campaign, p. 222)


This book is an adaptation of the Warcraft real-time strategy game that takes the Dungeons & Dragons game to a new setting.

Warcraft is a setting book for D&D, but does its roots get in the way or make it a real time pain of a setting?

The Warcraft Roleplaying is a setting book for the revised Dungeons & Dragons, not a separate roleplaying game on its own merit. White Wolf has had a seemly successful time turning Everquest into its own Open Game Licensed roleplaying game, but why not Warcraft? I think the main reason is that Warcraft is too similar to D&D in many ways then different, that and this book started off in the Wizards' design shop before getting picked up by Arthaus (White Wolf's license publisher, it seems).

My history with Warcraft is small; I've only played the downloadable demo for Warcraft 3, so most of the book was new information for me. The book is easy reading, though cramped in places as text tries to flow around blocky pictures of the settings creatures and heroes.

The Dungeons & Dragons default setting is out, and with it goes most of the core classes (only Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Sorcerer and Wizard remain) and races (halflings and gnomes get the boot, and Warcraft has new versions of dwarves, elves, goblins and orcs taking up some of the slack). A new race also appears, the tauren-a Warcraft shamanistic minotaur.

Night elves and high elves are two very different elven races, though not without a common history before the shattering of the world, ages ago. Night elves are druidic, while the high elves addict themselves to the workings of arcane energies. The Ironforge dwarves are similar to D&D's dwarves, but lack the encumbrance ruling; instead they may turn their flesh into stone for a number of rounds. Orcs in Warcraft are a shamanistic people that have overcome their ties with the demonic forces that brought them to this world. Goblins are an industrious people, building new inventions and weapons, such as firearms, grenades and land mines. The new equipment chapter covers rules and has statistics for the new weapons (rifles, blunderbusses, flintlock pistols, etc.) and artillery.

Warcraft is a violent setting that is just recovering from a major series of wars. A tentative peace hangs in the air, one that can be shattered in a moment without warning. Affiliations keep the world's races tied to other likeminded races. Humans, elves and dwarves are aligned in a great Alliance, while the orc and tauren make for a great Horde. These default affiliations help keep characters together, as player character groups are all to be from one affiliation. Independents do exist, like the goblins, but characters are more rare than the other two factions. It's a different feel to have all the characters required to be on the same side, one I'm sure some players may have issue with.

Warcraft has three new core classes to make up for the lack of character classes. A healer, scout, and tinker form the new classes. Tinkers build, scouts track and healers, well, heal. These classes feel more tuned to Warcraft, gamers wanting to use this book as a resource of new ideas might want to kidnap the tinker as the default D&D roles of cleric (healer) and ranger (scout) fulfill their places better than the Warcraft versions.

Some of the Dungeons & Dragons core classes are treated as prestige classes in Warcraft. Priests, Elven Rangers, and Paladin Warriors act in much the same manner as their core equivalents, though in ten level classes. Warcraft points out that the prestige classes from DMG are either non-existent or uncommon in this setting. A total of twelve prestige classes make their appearance here: Beastmasters, Druids of the Wild, Elven Rangers, Gladiators, Horde Assassins, Hunters, Infiltrators, Mounted Warriors (called different names by their Affiliation; Human and High Elf Knights, the Night Elf Huntress, and the Orc Raider), Paladin Warriors, Priests, Shamans, and Warlocks.

Packed into this book are new feats and spells, and some new skills. The book also contains rules for creating new mechanical items (their example is of a dwarven flying machine). The creating technological devices section is meant as a prologue to further developed rules in another sourcebook. To me, Warcraft's technology is the one separating difference between Warcraft and a regular D&D game (unless you're using the "Building a Different World" section of the DMG).

Warcraft contains ideas on keeping your games set here from devolving into just a series of meaningless combats. It has several adventure hooks by Affiliation, as well as some ideas about racial tendencies (goblin's spying on their dwarven rivals, etc.). A large section of the book goes into detailing the continent which the races have now setup their nations on, after their conflict with the demonic Burning Legion. Kalimdor is now home to a number of conflicted races, all with the idea that they are better than their neighbors-an idea that with surely break the hard-won peace, and ignite war.

Overall, Warcraft is an interesting setting that will make for some interesting one-shot or minor adventures, unless you're a huge fan of the Warcraft computer games. The setting has an epic feel, but too much of the setting is trying to steer itself away from the epic setup. While the setting may have room for an epic tale or two, the book doesn't lend itself towards that. Warcraft gears itself, and rightly so, towards those fans when adjusting the Dungeons & Dragons rules and it would be a fun place to play for a change of pace.

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