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9 reasons why every RPG player should try Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

RPG systems, can you really have enough of them?

When it comes to fantasy RPGs, the first system that comes to mind for most people is Dungeons and Dragons.

It’s a great system, and if you’ve never tried another RPG system before, you also probably think it’s the end all be all.

After all, why should you learn another system when you’re having so much fun already?

Well, I'm here to tell you how much you are missing out on!

What is Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay?

If you’ve spent any time in a game store, you probably recognise the name Warhammer and it probably conjures up images of Space Marines duking it out with space orcs and really expensive looking models.

That’s mostly accurate, but while Warhammer 40K has certainly won the popularity contest when it comes to wargames, the series first started out as a medieval fantasy series called (you guessed it) Warhammer Fantasy.

The series was so popular that eventually Games Workshop - the makers of the Warhammer series published a roleplay version of the game titled Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) waaaaay back in 1986.

Today, WFRP is in its 4th edition, with fancy streamlined rules, more adventures and sourcebooks on the way, and an ever-growing player base.

The Warhammer name carries certain connotations, and before we begin, I wanted to clear the air on some common concerns:

“Warhammer is a war game with a bunch of complex rules, sounds troublesome to learn”

The combat certainly requires an extra step or two compared to DnD 5E, but most 5E players I’ve run this system for have no problem adjusting to it.

In fact, in some aspects, WFRP can be considered more rules-light and flexible than 5E!

“Warhammer sounds like a combat heavy game”

Despite the intimidating name, WFRP is surprisingly focused on roleplay. Combat is rare because it is extremely deadly, and most adventures as written only factor in an average of 1 combat session per session.

Instead, the game is about living in the setting, soaking in the atmosphere and unravelling secrets and tons of social interaction opportunities.

“Warhammer has such deep lore, I’ll never appreciate it if I don’t study the lore first!”

While it’s true that people who know the lore are more likely to grasp the nuances in the stories, most of the adventures are not dependent on your knowledge of the lore to function.

WFRP also has many great guides and sourcebooks you can read to learn more about the world!

Why you should play Warhammer Fantasy RPG

With that out of the way, let’s get on to why you should play the game!

1. The grimdark setting

Much of the appeal here is the setting itself. The Old World is a land doomed to destruction as the forces of Chaos tear apart every civilization in its path.

The wilderness is dangerous, with orcs, beastmen, the undead and the legions of chaos around every corner.

Cities in the old world are crowded, dirty and home, to power-hungry politicians, secret cults, ratmen in the sewers and inquisitors on the hunt for witches and the worshippers of chaos.

Think along the lines of King’s Landing from Game of Thrones or Baldur’s Gate.

The cities aren’t exactly safe-havens, and there are plenty of city-based adventures if you’re into that.

In fact, if you enjoy adventures that involve politics, mystery and discovery, maybe something along the lines of Waterdeep Dragon Heist, WFRPG will have a lot to offer you!

2. It’s not all doom and gloom

While the general vibe of the world is pretty dour, the adventures do a good job at throwing zany characters at you and often puts you in ridiculously hilarious situations.

The adventures balance the grimdark vibe and fun elements really well, making you constantly uneasy but also not overly depressing.

3. Magic is rare and extremely dangerous

In the world of Warhammer Fantasy, magic corrupts, and only those trained in the schools of magic are permitted to wield it.

Magic is feared by the public and public displays of it are often followed by tip-offs to relentless inquisitors who hunt down and execute and who display a penchant for chaos – whether you’re innocent or not…

As the famous saying of the inquisitors goes: “There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.”

Casting magic in Warhammer bears more than just the risk of persecution.

Critical failures while casting or channelling the winds of magic can cause some undesired effects similar to what you might find in a wild magic tale except that all the effects are going to negatively affect you and your party… probably.

But magic is extremely powerful and it pays to have someone adept in the arts to decipher other magical effects in the world.

I love the system here because it discourages spell casting characters to use magic as their first and primary option to solve problems.

So if you’re a player that’s sick of solving problems with mage hand and minor illusion, this magic system may have something to offer you!

4. You can push your rolls with the Chaos Gods!

Don’t you just hate it when you play DnD and you fail that incredibly important roll you really wanted to succeed?

What if I told you that in this system you can totally force a success on that roll…. With a little help from less than reputable powers?

Making a deal with the Chaos Gods is dangerous and grants you corruption which eventually leads to mutation and insanity, but that in itself is great fun too!

Here’s a quick rundown of your patrons to be:

Warhmmer Fantasy RPG Patron - Khorne, the Chaos God of war, hatred, rage, blood, martial honour and strength
Khorne – Chaos God of war, hatred, rage, blood, martial honour and strength


Khorne is the Chaos God of war, hatred, rage, blood, martial honour and strength. It wants to murder everything.

Warhammer Fantasy RPG Chaos God of disease, decay, despair, destruction and rebirth. It wants to cover the world in disease.
Nurgle – Chaos God of disease, decay, despair, destruction and rebirth


Nurgle is the Chaos God of disease, decay, despair, destruction and rebirth. It wants to cover the world in disease.


Slaanesh is the Chaos God of pleasure, hedonism, excess and decadence. They are basically super millennials chasing vibes and the extremes of pleasure through… pain. They just wanna feel something mannnnn.

Warhammer Fantasy RPG - Tzeentch, Chaos God of change, evolution, knowledge, intrigue and sorcery
Tzeentch - the Chaos God of change, evolution, knowledge, intrigue and sorcery


Tzeentch is the Chaos God of change, evolution, knowledge, intrigue and sorcery and is perhaps the most complicated god. He wants to be the biggest and baddest of the big 4 and manipulates mortals with promises of power to win superior positions over its rivals.

5. It’s heaven for roleplayers, live like a real member of society

If you like RP, you’ll love this system. In WFRP, you’re not playing a hero, you’re just a regular person making your way through life and going on the odd adventure.

Instead of classes, WFRP utilises a career system that you can rank up in and gain new skills in.

You could be anything from a guard to a lawyer or even a rat catcher, the choice is yours!

Each career is tagged to a certain class in society, which can grant you certain boons or banes depending on where you are and the type of trouble you get into.

There’s plenty of time for downtime, and you’re expected to actually do your job and an array of activities to earn money, information or obtain new skills!

This is also a system where combat is deadly, and things could go south very quickly if you fumble your rolls, so talking is almost always the better way to resolve conflicts than violence.

6. Combat that feels dangerous

In WFRP, every combat scenario can feel dangerous.

Landing or receiving a critical hit does something much worse than inflicting bonus damage, it gives you a major wound!

Major wounds take forever to heal and could range from a broken bone, losing a hand or even straight-up decapitation depending on where the hit landed and how you rolled on the major wound table.

Here’s a sneak peek at what happens when you land or receive a major head wound:

It makes combat exciting no matter if you’re facing a demon or an angry villager with a large pitchfork.

7. Legendary adventures and campaigns

The main thing that really attracted me to get to know this system were some of the adventures for it.

WFRP has some of the most celebrated and best adventures in RPG history and you’d really be missing out if you didn’t get to experience it!

The Enemy Within is a campaign that stretches across a total of 10 books and is a must-try for any adventurer into epics.

Rough Night at The Three Feathers is another iconic mystery and investigation adventure that I won’t spoil here.

It has been lauded as one of the best short adventures in RPG history.

You can learn more about these adventures in the links, but unless you’re really curious I’d suggest not looking into Rough Night at The Three feathers too much or make sure you’ve included “spoiler-free” in your search query.

8. Little to no dungeon crawling

Many of the adventures here aren’t about entering a cave or castle and killing everything, getting loot etc…

Adventures in WFRP are grounded in realism, low magic fantasy realism for what it’s worth but it’s definitely closer to our world than a typical DnD 5E game.

You’re not going to find dungeon mechanics or traps that only make sense because “magic”, and you’re definitely not going to run into situations like random dragons in a room with a tiny door somewhere in the third level basement of a dungeon.

If you hate dungeons, and I know there are some of you out there who do! Or if you wanna try something new, WFRP is something you should experience.

9. Very story-focused

Adventures in WFRP have a story to tell and they are often very interesting with unexpected twists, dodgy and interesting characters and wonderful world-building.

However, it comes at a bit of a cost.

Many of the adventures can be accused of being a little railroady. There are specific NPCs you will have to meet to advance the story for example.

Or there might be certain events that will happen no matter what you do.

That's not to say that your actions have no consequences when those events come up, you might get in lesser or more trouble when the event occurs.

There are plenty of sandbox segments too where you’re free to wander and tackle leads at your own discretion.

WFRP is definitely a system that takes liberties with player agency in service of the plot and story and it might not appeal to everyone.

However! If you like great stories and are fine with a railroad track or two, you’re going to love these adventures.

Alright, that’s all the ranting I can do for today. I hope this article gives you a little more insight into WFRP and has convinced you to give it a shot!

If you’re so inclined, I will be running some adventures at TableMinis soon and you can check out the schedule and more info on that here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the gaming table!

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