Warhammer is one of my favorite roleplaying games. While Dungeons &Dragons is about acquisition and power, Warhammer is about survival in a world of gritty corruption. In Warhammer 40,000, that same atmosphere is taken into the depths of space. Warhammer Roleplay was originally published by Games Workshop, then a new edition was published by Green Ronin. The rights to publish Warhammer Roleplay products now belongs to Fantasy Flight Games.
Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st Edition
The first edition of Warhammer Roleplay, released in 1986 and heavily influenced by the Warhammer wargame, introduces players to a grim world, sometimes called the Call of Cthulhu of medieval roleplaying. That might be overstating things, but the idea is that combat is deadly and magic is corrupting. You won’t get the epic level roleplay of high-level Dungeons & Dragons. Instead you get a world where things are violent and growing worse, and you’re better off avoiding combat altogether. That’s not always possible though. This book retails for around $60 online, making it collectible, but not as expensive as many other vintage roleplaying games.
The Restless Dead
The Restless Dead is a 1989 release of adventures that included a few extra rules. The supplement includes adventures titled “The Haunting Horror,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Ritual,” “Eureka,” “On the Road,” “Night of Blood,” and “Affair of the Hidden Jewel.” To make things more interesting, you’ll also get 24 more pages of combat rules, and even a few spells and magic items. In excellent condition, a copy of The Restless Dead fetches around $80 on the Internet, although you might be able to find a copy on eBay for less.
Warhammer: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure
“A Grim World of Perilous Adventure” is the title associated with the 2nd edition rulebook of Warhammer. This product came out in 2005 and is an update of the system. Combat is detailed enough to give you options, but light enough to keep you awake during sessions. Magic makes sense. It can be powerful, but you’re likely going to end up corrupted when using it. Character creation is still random, though race is up to the player. This book was quickly followed by a third edition, but there’s nothing wrong with the 2nd installment of Warhammer. (A collector will want to buy a copy of each edition of the rules though.)
You can find a used copy of the paperback edition of Warhammer: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure for $30 or so, but a really good condition copy of the hardcover is already worth more than $100.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay RPG 3rd Edition
The third edition of Warhammer Roleplay is a good blend of the original game and the latest innovations in fantasy roleplaying. The combat system is lethal by most game standards, because hits stack up quick and healing isn’t often an option. Fate points help keep you alive. Meanwhile, magic can be powerful, but dangerous to wield. Try a spell too powerful for you and bad things happen.
The setting for Warhammer 3 remains the Empire and its neighboring kingdoms, so you’ll be able to enjoy one of fantasy’s great setting with a new set of streamlined rules. This book sells for around $70 online.
WFRP Career Compendium
This expensive supplement for the 3rd Edition Warhammer includes over 220 careers, 8 new careers, streamlines charts, clarifications, and a host of adventures seeds and character plot hooks. Buying this book is a way to expand career options for players, while brainstorming for new ways to make those career choices mean more than they ever did before.
The lowest price I was able to find for this supplement was $60.
This book is a compliation of new adventures and scenarios found in earlier publications: “The Enemy Within,” “Mistaken Identity,” “Shadows Over Bogenhafen,” “Death on the Reik,” “Power Behind the Throne,” “Something Rotten in Kislev,” and “Empire in Flames.” Enemy Within was published in 1991.
Enemy Within is hard to find and worth over $100 to Warhammer Roleplay collectors.
Shadows Over Bogenhafen
Shadows Over Bogenhafen is the introductory adventure to the Enemy Within campaign. When the characters stumble upon a corrupted high ranking person in Bogenhafen, they are faced with the dilemma of somehow proving what they know. This is an adventure designed for low level characters, as it foreshadows the great things to come.
Compared to some of the other collectible Warhammer products, Shadows Over Bogenhafen is affordable. I was able to find copies of it online for less than $20.
Something Rotten in Kislev
Think of Kislev as a cross between Russia and Poland in the 16th and 17th century, if it were sandwiched between troll country and the northern chaotic wastes. The Kislevites tend to be hearty, while their armies specialize in the art of horseback archery. Their queen may be the most powerful magic user in the world. Something rotten in Kislev is a stop-gap adventure in the Enemy Within campaign, packaged by itself here. As a part of Enemy Within, it’s a bit of an eyesore, since it takes the characters out of the empire long enough to make it realistic that their return sees it falling apart.
You should be able to find a copy of this for between $20 and $40 online, although an especially good condition copy might fetch a higher price.
Old World Armoury: Miscellania and Militaria
Old World Armoury is an odd book that describes itself as “miscellania and militaria”. Inside you’ll find details on coinage, heraldry, armour types, owning property, hiring help, and finding treasures. You’ll also find new equipment, animals, poisons, and rules for transportation. It’s a lot of oddball stuff, but GMs and players alike will find it helpful in a hundred different ways.
This one is pretty collectible, and prices start in the $40 range online.
Lure of the Liche Lord
Lure of the Lich Lord is set in the land of the Border Princes. These adventures are inside the old empire of Nehekhara. This book can be the core of a campaign, or can be run as single adventures. Includes a bestiary, rules for traps, new curses, new diseases, and details on the Liche Lord and his infamous tomb.
Warhammer Roleplay completists will naturally want to add a copy of this to their collection, but it’s not especially expensive or hard to find. I was able to find copies for between $13 and $40 on the Internet.
Shades of Empire
Shades of Empire is a sourcebook that details nine different organizations found inside the empire, along with tips on character advancement inside such organizations. After presenting this information, you’ll be given adventures involving the empire and some of its strange confraternities and brotherhoods. I love supplements which detail the corrupt old empire, so Shades of Empire is one of my favorite WFRP books.
Like Lure of the Lich Lord, Shades of Empire is worth adding to your collection, but it won’t cost you a fortune. You should be able to find a copy for between $20 and $30 online.
Signs of Faith
While Shades of Empire deals with organizations, Signs of Faith deals with the cults. The supplement includes rules for priests and new spells for clerics of all major faiths. Also includes information for Nurgle the Plague Father and all those nasty chaos mutants running about the “grim setting”.
You can still buy this supplement brand new from Amazon for a little over $30.
Winds of Magic
Winds of Magic provides insight for playing wizards from any of the 8 colleges. The book also contains background for the master of the dark arts, Tzeentch, and his foul demonic minions. You’ll also get new rules for corruption and mutation, which is always entertaining.
Winds of Magic is still available new on Amazon for less than $40, even though the cover price is $49.95.
Dark Heresy Core Rulebook
Dark Heresy is a game in the Warhammer 40,000 series of RPGs . Characters are acolytes working for an inquisitor. You travel the empire, finding heretics and rooting out corruption. The general campaign involves a combination of intrigue and combat. Several books were published for Dark Heresy, including The Blood of Martyrs, The Radical’s Handbook, Ascension, and Disciples of Dark Gods.
A leatherbound collector’s edition of the Dark Heresy rulebook was limited to 200 copies. This edition reportedly sold out completely in six minutes. Good luck finding a copy of the collectors edition. I’ve seen reports that people can occasionally find a copy on eBay for as little as $300 or $400, but I’ve also seen reports of it selling for over $750.
Disciples of the Dark Gods
Disciples of the Dark Gods is a Dark Heresy supplement that describes the cults, factions, and organization that acolytes have to expose. You’ll learn about the feuds and rivalries that sometimes boils over in these networks, while learning some of the horrors at the center of the cults. Disciples of the Dark Gods contains details on 8 notorious villains and an adventure: “The House of Dust and Ash”.
The cover price for this supplement is $49.95, and it’s still easy to find from online retailers.
Ascension is a Dark Heresy supplement for those acolytes who’ve begun to move up the ranks. It details the path to become an inquisitional stormtrooper, always an ambition for an acolyte. Includes new equipment, vehicles, skills, and talents.
Dark Heresy is about heresy and dark cults. Deathwatch is the next RPG in the Warhammer 40k universe, and it focuses on pure action. Characters in Deathwatch become space marines. (The space marine is the most iconic profession in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.) Deathwatch is less about intrigue and politics and more about tactics and strategy. Stop worrying about political implications and start blowing up the enemies of the empire.
The core rulebook retails at $59.95 and is still available from Amazon new.
Rogue Trader focuses on interstellar exploration, meeting alien races, and trading on the fringes of the empire. Rogue Trader tends to involve many of the themes found in other space adventures games, though with the gritty Warhammer treatment.
Rogue Trader is the third in the Warhammer 40k RPGs. The cover price is $59.95, but I’ve seen it heavily discounted and new on Amazon at a price of less than $40.