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ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG» Forums » General

Subject: Making Sense of the Versions rss

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Evil Doppelgänger
United States
West Jordan
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So stop your cheap comment, 'Cause we know what we feel...
I'm #2
ZWEIHÄNDER has had a particularly tortuous path to actual publication. Depending on what you consider actual publication.

I'd welcome any corrections to the following - I believe I'm correct but I'm just an observer with no special insight.

The game was initially written and (apparently) made available under the title of GRIMDARK (this is not the eponymous game in our database). This version was so popular that it was re-written and re-titled as ZWEIHÄNDER; this "beta" version was also (apparently) made available as a PDF. I haven't seen a copy of it, though.

The game then enjoyed a successful Kickstarter that was supposed to put the extant version into physical publication. Early backers received Zweihänder Early Access (1st Version) upon pledge. Some level of advertising suggested this was the version of the game heading for hardback. But that didn't happen. This wasn't referred to as "Early Access Version 1" - it was just the early access PDF. Until the "Early Access Version 2" was released.

Instead, a fairly major overhaul of the system occurred during the end of 2016 and start of 2017, resulting in Zweihänder Early Access (2nd Version). This was made available to backers but by this point was generally understood to be a refinement but not the final thing.

There was then a "Version 3" product. I should say apparently a version 3 product. The "Version 3" might actually be the "Early Access Version 2" - I've never been clear on that. In any case, the "Version 3" (whatever it is) came in two major varieties - one with, and one without - art. I don't believe the "without art" was a pure-text document; it just didn't have all the art, or a "lot" of art.

Finally, on (or about) June 10, 2017 the "Final Illustrated Version 4" of the game was released. The publisher says this happened on June 6; DriveThru says it happened on June 10. Who knows? This version also is referred to as ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG (FULL VERSION), and we have it as ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG. The publisher says it's 692 pages, but the PDF is not exactly that, and the Hardback is not advertised as exactly that. I don't know if this means there is a little variation in the meta-data or if there are several minor versions of the "final" version. Given the game's rather arcane publication history, either or both are possible.

What I can tell you is that the two early access versions both say, right there on the title page, that they are the "1st Hardback Version", but that's a vicious lie. The also both have the exact same ISBN as the final version. Ugh. The easiest way to tell what you really have is to look at the page counts:

631 pages? That's an Early Access Version 1
581 pages? That's an Early Access Version 2
692 pages? That's the final version (ha ha ha, final...)

Some other page count within 2 or 3 pages of the above? Who knows. Probably the version that is closest to that page count. Maybe something else.

What's all the major variation in pages? Some of it definitely is artwork. A little of it is formatting. But there's quite a bit of actual content variation, too.

P.S. In case you didn't know, the whole thing is a "slavish" (publisher's word) retro-clone of Warhammer. Which version of Warhammer you ask?
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Daniel Fox
United States
Kansas City
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A few clarifications on chronology:

Corehammer was our alpha release on Strike To Stun over 5 years ago. This version was Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition with the serial numbers filed off.

ZWEIHANDER was our first internal beta. Parts of it can be found in publicly shared spaces. This version, by the way, used a Wound and Sanity tracker mechanic.

ZWEIHANDER GRIMDARK Beta was our external beta. This one underwent a few changes, notably the removal of Wounds as it became a Damage Condition Track. It also included a more robust approach to Injuries, and marks the beginnings of our approach for Magick and Corruption/Alignment tracks.

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'Early Access' was released to Kickstarter backers. This is the former GRIMDARK Beta brought to completion.

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'Early Access 2' was released on DriveThruRPG and CrowdOx for free. No further refinements were made to this PDF.

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'v1' was released on CrowdOx only (pay to play). This follows our open feedback forum following our very successful Kickstarter campaign at

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'v2' was released on DriveThruRPG and re-released on CrowdOx (pay to play). This used our earlier template for softback release with smaller gutters, with a new layout.

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'v3' was released on DriveThruRPG and CrowdOx. This uses the new template and borders, along with the gutters designed for hardback release. A handful of errata was fixed, with the majority of changes related to table formatting errors in the Appendix.

ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG 'v4' was released on DriveThruRPG and CrowdOx. This is the version going to our printers. It also marks when we began tracking errata, due to confusion on the part of our backers. Finally, it includes new errata, documented here:

We eventually plan to release the entire book on our website in wikipedia-searchable format to fulfill our 'SRD' approach.

Hope this helps!


ps. As for the version of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay it best represents? WFRP 1e atmosphere/WFRP 2e mechanics/WFRP 3e refinements. At best, ZWEIHANDER Grim & Perilous RPG is an unapologetic loveletter to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. At worst, it's a highly successful Kickstarted role-playing game that broke records for a first time RPG writer that may get swept away by WFRP fans via Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e. But readers know that the game is far more than a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay retroclone; it's flexible, world-agnostic, mature and went through a rigorous 5 years of playtesting. Most importantly, it doesn't come with the baggage that a Games Workshop licensed deal would require of its licensee, and fans can remix/reduce/reuse whatever they want in the rules to create their own material without fear of being blasted by Games Workshop's highly litigious licensing outfit.

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Evil Doppelgänger
United States
West Jordan
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So stop your cheap comment, 'Cause we know what we feel...
I'm #2
Boom! There is nothing like the source to sort this out! Thanks a ton.
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