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Warlock! $19.90 $7.25
Average Rating:4.9 / 5
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Warlock!
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Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Jason D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2021 14:39:44

Warhammer (1e) + Fighting Fanatsy + d20 = Warlock!

As a fan of all of the above, I really enjoy this game. Fast and light but still has depth. The additional books all add some nice extra choices as well. Highly recommend Warlock!

The only things keeping this from being a 5 star title for me is the interior art and font used. I would prefer this with no art vs. what's inside currently. Also a font change would be good as the current one seems a little flat or lifeless.

(Matter of tatse, I know.)

If Warlock! gets a revised edition in the future, I'd like to suggest getting Zhu Bajiee (Zhu Industries) to do all the art.

If that happens, I burn all of my other books and only play Warlock! Lol...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by jerremy m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2021 10:20:32

A dark and gritty Euro style game that does so many things right. I was a little disappoined by the short spell list but since it's so simple adding my own spells, which I did, was exceptionally easy. I've already purchased all of the supplemental material that's been released, which is a rarity for me, and I plan to get anything else that has to do with this little gem. If you like the old version of Warhammer Fantasy then this is certainly going to be your taste in gaming. If you're looking to get away from overly done epic style systems, then I recommend this one, too. It's been a while since I've come across a game that's this well done and sperked my curiosity as this one has but I'm definitely glad that I did. Go and buy it, it's just that good.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Sebastian M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2020 22:15:35

Fantastic little game that's big on fun and options. Whereas Fighting Fantasy (great and important game that it is) always felt a bit incomplete, Warlock! manages to feel fully featured, yet light. Warlock! is largely inspired by Fighting Fantasy, but adds some elements of that other, "Grimdark" RPG. And the combination works. The core mechanic is a simple d20+Skill, 20 or better succeeds, which is cool. Skills and careers round out your character and let them interact with the world of Warlock! And the presentation is great as well. I bought the hardback, which is compact, high quality, and full of retro-awesome fantasy art. It's very well-supported so far. I can't recommend this enough. "Grim-lite" gaming at its finest!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Sebastián G. M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/09/2020 21:14:46

I've run Warlock! for around four weeks now, and is the best light-rules, dark, low fantasy system I've played. If you are looking for something in this genre that allows you to have fast games, easy incorporation of new players, low-entry barrier, this game is for you. It keeps the flavor of old-school dark fantasy but it streamlines the heavy rulings without losing the mechanics.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Jakob S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2020 05:26:18

Warlock has become my go-to gritty fantasy game ... okay, I've only played two sessions with it as of yet, but I'm pretty sure it will keep its promise of greatness in the long run, too. Like another great recent rpg, Daniel Sell's Troika!, the rules are in the tradition of a venerable series of British solo game books, and if you've ever been to Firetop Mountain or to the City of Thieves, you know what I'm talking about. The setting is inspired by another great classic of British roleplaying, Peacefeather FRP or whatever it was called. So, in terms of rules we get a very simple d20+skill value roll high system, that turns into an d20+skill value opposed check in combat, with the punchline being that whoever roles higher does damage, even if she or he didn't initiate the exchange. That means that on pretty much every exchange, someone takes damage, which makes for fast and furious combat. There's some additional stuff like the person who initiated an attack getting a bonus, but that is pretty much it, and if you think about it a little closer, you'll notice how this already takes care of things like multiple attacks, two-weapons fighting and all of these other things that tend to need spot rules in other systems. Setting-wise, the meat is in the character careers with their short, darkly humorous fluff texts and two mal tables each to roll background events on. It's perfect for just sitting your players down, having them roll up characters and then see where everything goes from there. Magic might take a little getting used to, with spells being actual physical scrolls that a wizard or priest needs at hand to perform them. The pay what you want Grimoire for Warlock expands on the context and also provides some fluff that makes this notion ring more true. Your wizards will have no choice but to go adventuring to get their hands on new spells ... If you need something traditional and rules-lite that covers you for all kinds of more or less gritty low-fantasy and isn't mired in D&D-type levelling, class restricitions, HP creep and "featism", definitely check this one out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/16/2020 22:43:18

Warlock! is a fantastic little game that, pretty remarkably for an indie title, could make a great entrypoint into the hobby. Warlock! is inspired by the early days of fantasy role-play gaming but divorced from a lot of the vestigial wargame nonsense that continue to burden some of the larger old IPs in the genre. Warlock!'s rules are simple but not to the point of removing interesting choices and are also largely not interconnected such that you can modify bits and pieces without a million unintended consequences in some other subsystem. My players are really enjoying it and I'm enjoying running it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Dave S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2020 01:58:27

Nicely written clean set of rules. Recommended reading, regardless of whther you get a chance to play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Henry A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2020 23:43:36

A genuinely awesome little game; the rules are short, fun & well laid out.

Warlock! is ready to be hacked and turned loose on homebrewed settings or published adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by David S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2020 05:16:00

For five British pounds or so you really can't go wrong with this at all. It's pretty much an homage to Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer, and it tackles that brilliantly. It's clearly written, the style gives you a good sense of the aesthetic they're going for (more grimy and plague ridden than your average American OSR game), and it has simple but flavourful mechanics that I can already tell are going to be very easy to hack into what I need them to be! I love the artwork as well, which again captures the 80s British aesthetic brilliantly. The only complaint I have is that I don't think the font is all that great, but I'm not so petty as to knock a star off for that.

£5, a ton of great content - buy it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, I hope you enjoy the game!
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Lee R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2020 20:19:42

An awesome blend of most of my favourite elements from British fantasy.

Great book with a nice clean layout and aesthetic.

Yes it is heavily influenced by two well-known British RPGs but that's definitely a feature, not a bug!

I did a more indepth review here: https://youtu.be/-JKBfuR5PN8



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by KEVIN D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/28/2020 04:03:09

POSITIVE ELEMENTS:

Simple, Unified Mechanics:

It's an interesting mash up of two of the older British RPG systems hacked together. If you're a fan of either system or looking to have the feel without overcomplicated mechanics, and boasting a unified system this book will serve you well.

The Author had managed to achieve a simple mechanics system that still retains some of the traits beloved in both systems. Do not discount a simpler system for not having depth: The system satisfies a lot of that traditional feel both derived systems have without overcomplicating things.

Character Creation Easy and Unique:

The characters, while simple to create, have some nice random options to give them some distinction to avoid them becoming clones of each-other, while the simple skill system gives a player a mix of point-buy and dice rolls to make their character more unique.

Characters can Try Anything:

Like the more traditional approach with OD&D, characters can try anything and are not hampered by their class choice. Every character a player uses will have some skill in the usual challenges they will face, depicted succinctly on their character sheet.

This system relies on a simple skill list to indicate to the player what chance of success they may have, rather than relying on DM fiat and interpretation of their signals for the success.

This style may not suit all readers who prefer a huge list of skills or a more fluid style of Gamemastering but it works quite well, hearkening back to the system's influences.

Careers, not Classes:

One of the best things about the system is the progression a player can make. Starting in their initial career, they can multi-class and delve into Advanced Career options, each providing unique options to attain expertise in certain skills.

By blending the concepts of skill and class, the Career system takes the best of both to allow players to define their characters easily, while still providing unique traits. As the characters grow, they can branch off in interesting directions, mixing Careers to produce memorable figures for the players every time.

Opposed Combat Tests:

Another favorite mechanic derived from the British style is the opposed roll. Allowing every combatant attacking to possibly receive damage from their opponent in melee makes things very active and dangerous. It allows a player to pull a Conan, mowing down weaker creatures in one round but also makes other, more powerful creatures far more dangerous as entering conflict is always dicey.

It's a good system that keeps players and the Gamemaster actively involved in the combat rounds without playing the 'wait till my turn to do something' game that can kill the excitement of many encounters. The result is a great approach to the chaos of combat without overburdening it with complicated rules.

Attrition & Criticals:

I'm not a fan of having a player who has done everything right, receives an critical insta-kill, due to a bad dice roll result.

The system uses Stamina as hit points but does have critical results that worsen once the player's Stamina amount run out. It's a good blend of strategy with the potential for players to be tactical but also potentially hobble away at the end of combat with lasting scars or worse. There is also a rare potential of the player or opponent achieving a Mighty Strike for double damage, to keep everyone on their toes with unexpected consequences.

Players can be somewhat heroic but will be faced with times when running for their lives is the smart choice. No safety nets here like some more modern systems. Players should approach combat more creatively than just wading in every time and whittling down the monsters which can get quite boring.

This is not D&D:

It's nice to see a system that breaks away from being yet another D&D clone. Employing unfamiliar characteristics and mechanics could be a welcome change, paying well-deserved homage to some of the less known older British systems.

POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS:

Details, Details:

While the writing is very evocative, do not expect a full set of rules for wilderness travel, journey rules, etc. and tables to roll for tackling every occasion. There are no elaborate tables of treasure or a fully fleshed out world. There is certainly some flavour and a semblance of the world and how it works, but the many details are left up to the reader to elaborate upon.

There is some Tolkien influence, but it is somewhat sparse. Don't expect pages of detailed history, elaborate treasure tables and a descriptive, established game world. The Bestiary is also decent but not overflowing with hundreds of choices like other systems.

No Mechanical Distinction for Player Races:

Surprisingly, while the Careers and Advanced Careers are plenty, the same cannot be said for this trait. In the system, depicted as 'Communities', the traditional classic choice of races, based on older B/X D&D are depicted. Humans are the most common and established, Elves and Dwarfs can see in moonlight, and Halflings are quiet and stealthy; a traditional fantasy approach.

However, there is no system mechanic differences between them. There are no rules or similar bonuses to dice rolls associated with any class, rather it is descriptive and left up to the Gamemaster to decide.

While this may be liberating for those wishing to avoid players who choose a character's kin, solely for its potential bonuses and not for how they fit into the fantasy landscape, it does again leave it up to the Gamemaster whether to incorporate the flavour text as specific rules.

Unexpected Class Archetypes:

The system breaks away from some of the stereotype traditions of the fragile Wizard and the healing Cleric archetypes. There is no real distinction between the two, other than some extra skill limits and are essentially interchangeable. The spell list is unified where a Wizard could be the one that heals and banishes undead, rather than the Cleric, which may confuse new players.

While a somewhat brief pantheon of Gods is described, again there are no bonuses involved with which a Cleric-style player chooses to follow so it really doesn't matter. However, it does mean that if one wants to be a sword-wielding, armour wearing Wizard, they are free to do so. Indeed, one of the advanced skills for a Wizard is 'Brawling' which I found unexpected but amusing. I suspect the Author may also be a bit tired of overdone Class tropes.

CONCLUSION:

Solid Framework to Build Upon:

The system is tight, unified, and simple. While it lacks in detail in some areas, it shines in many others. Thankfully, the areas it crucially shines are the core rules and a solid foundation to build and customise a framework upon. It will take an adept and creative Gamemaster to get the most out of the system for a campaign but it it is flexible enough to simply serve as an entertaining one-shot night with minimal preparation needed to get playing.

The flexibility of the system allows one to graft on as much complexity and house-rules as one desires, without breaking the core rules. I think those that like tinkering with systems mechanics and enhancement designs will enjoy making this system in their own distinct style.

I feel Warlock! certainly deserves 5 stars for breaking from the OSR traditional options, delving into new areas of Old-School play, producing an enjoyable core system with great potential for expansion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Kevin, thanks for the review, much appreciated!
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Matthew G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2020 07:03:35

I've always been interested in things that where non-D&D old school games. I looked at games like Troika! and found it trying to reinvent something that wasn't really broken( that's just me though.) and the setting/style wasn't for me. Warlock! however, was something special, and while not perfect, it is pretty close to a copy of old school gaming.

with that said, I loved what I read so far, and I'm willing to run this game at some point for a group of friends as a one night dungeon crawl or a short campaign.

Good job here.

Edit: Fixed the error once Greg pointed it out about professions, that was my mistake and I corrected it. Once everything is edited and squared away, I will buy a P.O.D. version of this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! To clarify, you don't roll a d66, you roll four d6 which gives you four selections (one from each of the d6 lists). You then choose the one you like. So there's a random element, but of the four randomly-generated careers, you get to pick the one you fancy. I hope that makes sense!
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2020 17:54:04

Obvious from the most cursory reading:

  • A solid, elegant, and easily hacked skill-based game written with clarity by Greg Saunders and illustrated very well by Mustafa Bekir, Denis McCarthy, JM Woiak and Heather Shinn.
  • Rock-solid layout with clean lines, ample whitespace and an excellent choice of font (some species of the typewriter font Letter Gothic). Well done by designer Paul Bourne.

Great work. This game is based on several of the more ancient games popular in Britain in Roman times or something. The only knowledge of FF or WHFRP I come to this with is that I own and have read Zweihander, and I am itching to play this. Right now my friend is running a game using a system we're not too crazy about and I've been recruited to choose the new system. I'll likely be choosing Warlock.

The single resolution mechanic, the Skill Roll, is simple. The Skill Roll is executed by adding your rating in Skill X to a d20 roll and try to match or beat the number 20.

What gives a lot of flavor to this simple mechanic is the Career system, with which many will be familiar. There are 32 Skills which will initially range from 4 to 6, whatever way you choose. After that, you choose a Career, which choice dictates the skills package you have, and thus which skills, and their maximum value, you can increase during the Career. And a design bit I love is that the Career itself is a skill, with a rating of the average of all the skills under its rubric. So if I am a Soldier, and I have ratings of Command 8, Bow 6, Dodge 10, Large Blade 8 and Polearm 6, that's 8+6+10+8+6 = 38/5 = 7.6 or 8, for a Soldier skill of 8. What's that good for? Well that's for when your Skilly skills don't exactly apply but you think for example "I'm a Soldier, I should be able to judge the worth of this unit tactic" or whatever. If it's important and another skill doesn't cover the act, and most importantly if the GM agrees, your "appraise tactic" skill is 8.

It's hard to describe, I guess, why this game balances (on a read, at least) so well on the simplicity - challenge axis. For those of us who tend to more simple frameworks upon which to erect our game stories, this is just plain good simple design, both in the game and in the book. Still too many typos in it for me to buy the hardcover just yet, but whatevs. 5 Stars, easily.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Chad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2020 17:35:15

Really fun, evocative game. Rules light- 2 stats - Luck & Stamina, and then Skills. Flavors of Warhammer, Fighting Fantasy and "choose your path" adventure books. Different bits in the character creation process really spark the imagination with d6 lists of " What you have seen" and " Who is after you" along with others. Wizards Apprentice (Magic-user), Initiate (Cleric) and many other flavors of the "Thief" (Beggar, Footpad, others) and "Fighter"(Mercenary, Militiaman, more) types. Open to hacking. I would add basic firearms and give more style to Wizard/Priestly magic and some other small twists. But this is a great game to add your own house rules to. Five stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Nick K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2020 11:10:51

Warlock! was a practical insta-buy for me. The name and the subtitle (inspired by british tabletop roleplaying) drew my attention and the price was really low. At worst I would be bying the creator a beer. At best... Well this is actually what happened.

Warlock! is a love letter to both warhammer fantasy and the fighting fantasy playbooks. My love for fighting fantasy is great, my only concern being the clunky damage dice and the fact that skills are increased without any thematic consistency. Warlock! fixes both issues. Damage is based on regular expressions as in most rpg (1d6, 1d6+1, 2d6 etc) and advancement is based on careers, which the player is supposed to actually change over the course of his adventures.

Furthermore, every career has interesting bits of information for the character which provides hooks for a more sandboxy campaign and also vaguely outlines an implied setting which has my attention.

The only disadvantage in the system lies in the way it handles shield. Personally I would advice everyone to use the rule from Dragon Warriors (another lovely British rpg) On a roll of 6 on a d6 the attack is ignored.

I rate the game 5/5 and encourage everyone to purchase, hoping that the creator provides further support for it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! Yep, one of the things I tried to do with Warlock was make it easy to hack, so if the Dragon Warriors (great game) shields rule works for you, go for it!
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