Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - The System and Setting

What is WFRP?
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (abbreviated to WFRP or WHFRP) is a role-playing game set in the Warhammer Fantasy setting.

The Setting
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay shares the same Germanic, doom-laden background as the Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) wargame from which it originates. Since it is a game devoted to individual characters rather than to entire armies, WFRP depicts the setting in much closer detail than its wargame counterpart. This change of focus also transforms WFRP into a more grim and perilous game than WFB.

The primary setting of WFRP is the Empire, a region of the Old World based loosely on the Holy Roman Empire, with a number of baronies, counties and dukedoms fashioned after the fiefs of elector counts and dukes. Other prominent regions include Bretonnia, based on medieval France with strong Arthurian mythology themes; Kislev, based on medieval Poland and Imperial Russia; and the Wasteland, whose sole city of Marienburg is based on the Low Countries. Other lands not explored as thoroughly but still frequently mentioned include the fragmented lands of Estalia and Tilea, fashioned after Spain and the city-states of Renaissance Italy respectively, and Araby, a mixture of Arabic Caliphate and Persia. Other lands with real-life analogies include Cathay (China), Ind (India), Naggaroth (northern North America), Ulthuan (Atlantis), Lustria (Mesoamerica), Norsca (Scandinavia) and the island of Albion (British Isles); however, very little official information has been released for these locales.

While the setting of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay shares traits, such as the existence of elves and goblins, with other popular fantasy settings, it is chronologically slightly later than that of most fantasy games – close to the early Renaissance era in terms of technology and society. Firearms are readily available, though expensive and unreliable, and a growing mercantile middle class challenges the supremacy of the nobility.

One of the most identifiable features of the Warhammer setting is Chaos. While the forces of Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy Battle are depicted primarily in the form of marauding dark knights and beastmen, Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is an insidious force gnawing at the fabric of society. Secret cults abound among all strata of society, seeking to overthrow the social order or to further their own power. Mutants lurk in the forests outside the great cities, while the Skaven (a race of rats) tunnel beneath them.

Magic is widely feared and reviled, and not without reason. Magic is derived from – and thus corrupted by – Chaos, and its practitioners tread a fine line between death or corruption and relative safety.

How Does the Game Work?
In a Roleplaying Game (RPG) you create an alter ego, a fictional character like one of the heroes you’ve read about or seen in films. Using the game rules, you and your friends create characters and develop them as you play through a series of adventures. Imagine a group of detectives working together to solve a case or a company of knights sent to defeat a monster. Rather than read or watch a story, you tell it.

How is the story told? How do you decide what happens? What do you do if you and your friend disagree? That’s where rules come in. Roleplaying is only half of the story; the other half is the game itself. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay presents you with the rules of the game – how to design your character, how to resolve actions and how to have fun doing so. During a game of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the players roll pools of custom dice to determine the outcome of combat, social intrigues, magic, or other risky actions. The custom dice add a game playing element to the RPG and help prevent the outcome of actions from becoming too predictable. The full-colour play aids and reference material makes it easy to keep track of special abilities, actions, and other important information.

Before you start playing, you and your friends will need to decide which of you will be the game master (GM). The GM is the referee and the lead storyteller, the person who describes the game to the other players. The GM presents the stories and situations, provides the setting and its denizens, and adjudicates the rules. The other players take on the roles of the characters, around which the action primarily revolves. These characters are known as the Player Characters (PCs). They describe their intentions and actions to the GM, who then decides how their actions affect the plot.

So how do you win?
The answer is up to you. The game master is not set against the heroes. Both the game master and the hero party are working together to create a memorable experience for all involved. Each session gives both parties a chance to become part of something larger, and allow them to create their own legend.

New players should proceed to the Creating a Character section of the Wiki…

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - The System and Setting

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