If you’re interested in the lore of Warhammer, one of the best things you can do is pick up one of the Roleplaying games. These books are packed with info so you can really immerse yourself in the setting and feel like you’re part of the story. For someone not interested in actually playing the game, they still are great resources as the info about the setting is clearly laid out rather than buried in Black Library novels.
Currently, all the Warhammer Roleplaying games are managed by Cubicle 7 Games who’ve taken good care of the settings since 2006. There are 4 lines they’re currently working on.
Warhammer Fantasy set in the old world, Soulbound set in the Age of Sigmar, Wrath & Glory set in the 40k Universe, and the upcoming Imperium Maledictum which is, as Abnett describes it, domestic 40k focused.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was originally printed by Games Workshop in 1986 to go along with the war-game. Adventures are typically set in the empire which when compared to the classic D&D settings, can only be described as Grim. The core book is packed with info on the history of the empire, the politics, and geography. It also has those little details you’d need to know if you were living in the empire, the names of the months and days of the week, holidays, going to the market, travelling the roads. Along with all those things that lurk on edges of the empire, like beastmen and goblins, or hide in the rot within the empire like the cults of chaos or the Skaven.
Of particular interest is the Enemy Within campaign, a series of linked adventures commonly considered one of the best rpg campaigns ever printed. This classic originally came out in the late 80s and Cubicle 7 recently released this revised and updated version. Basically, they took 20 years of feedback and improved one of the classic greats. This adventure spans the length and breath of the empire with your heroes fighting all sorts of enemies of the empire.
Next up we have Soulbound. To say Age of Sigmar had a rocky start is a bit of an understatement, fans were not happy to leave decades of the old world behind for this fresh setting. That was nearly 8 years ago through, and since then the story and background has developed into a very rich setting. This is epic fantasy with gods battling over the 8 realms. Perfect for giant armies but the roleplaying game Soulbound shows a setting through a different lens. Your heroes in this game will be paragons, essentially fantasy super heroes, but in their adventures they’re likely
The core book takes you through the history of this setting and breaks down the 8 realms. It also goes into a little more detail on the Realm of Fire and we learn how the mortal inhabitants live in this burning realm. Cubicle 7 have also produced a Champions of Death and Champions of Destruction book letting you play heroes of these factions instead.
Of particular interest for me are the setting books. Here we have the Era of the Beast book includes all the recent developments in the greater story, like Morathi’s play for godhood. It also goes into detail about the Ghur the Realm of Beasts. If you’re a Warcry or Underworlds Fan, you’ll have heard of the Gnarlwood which is a location on this Realm. This book has all the detail on where your Warbands are and the lands they would have had to pass through to get there. It’s a great resource if you want to add some depth to your war bands backstory.
Next to it, we have the book on Ulfenkarn. This book isn’t out yet but I’m very much looking forward to it. Ulfenkarn is the city from Cursed City, it’s a City in the Realm of Death run by a Radukur the Wolf a fearsome vampire lord.
Moving over to the 40k universe we have Wrath & Glory. Trying to cover everything in 40k is a big task, but this book gives it a shot. Your heroes can be anything from Imperial Guardsmen to Space Marines and Inquisitors. So you’re able to tell the kind of story you want. Killteam and 40k currently are focusing on Space Hulks with Arks of Omen, and Wrath & Glory has an entire book called Redacted Records focused just on that.
One thing I particularly like about Wrath & Glory is the default setting is just one system. The rules gives you everything you need to play anywhere in the galaxy, but many of their books focus on this one system Gilead. With 6 planets, there is plenty to do, and with the Elder, Orks, and Chaos all taking an interest in this Imperial system cut off from the rest of the empire, there is plenty that needs to be done. This kind of setting makes a great background to a Kill Team campaign making those Novitiates part of the Order of the Sanctified Shield, the Hunter Clade part of the Machine Cults of Avachrus, those Veteran Guardsmen are of the Gilean Gravediggers, and so on.
Finally, we have an upcoming release from Cubicle 7. Again this is 40k but rather than playing heroes like Space Marines, this game focuses more on Domestic 40k, so the every day life of an imperial citizen rather than the on the battlefield. That doesn’t mean you’ll be playing a random serf, but instead competent heroes serving a more important patron like an Inquisitor, a Magos of the Mechanicus, or even a Crime boss.
Imperium Maledictum will be set in the Macharian Sector on the far western edge of the galaxy. A previous 40k game Dark Heresy developed out the Calixis Sector which ended up possibly the most detailed sector in the game to date, so it’ll be really interesting to see how Cubicle 7 develop their own little corner of the galaxy.
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