Advertisement

Warhammer Fantasy is back—and now it's getting a new tabletop RPG too

 A Bretonnian army marching to war in Warhammer: The Old World.
A Bretonnian army marching to war in Warhammer: The Old World.

Cubicle 7 has announced a new Warhammer tabletop RPG, based on Warhammer: The Old World. You may know the company already for its many other games set in Games Workshop's worlds, including Wrath & Glory, Imperium Maledictum, and Soulbound.

The Old World is Games Workshop's ongoing revival of the Warhammer Fantasy setting as a wargame, after its destruction in 2015 to make way for Age of Sigmar. The weird part is, Cubicle 7 already sells a TTRPG based in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, and has for years—it's called Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and is itself a continuation of a system that first came out in the '80s. This isn't a new edition for that, and doesn't seem to be replacing it—it's a new, separate game. The obvious question is: why?

The announcement is light on detail, but there are a couple of potential reasons why it might make sense to have two RPGs in the same setting. The first is that The Old World wargame takes place about 300 years earlier than the Warhammer Fantasy setting most fans are used to—so a lot earlier than the stuff you'd have seen in, for example, the Total War: Warhammer games, or indeed the default setting books for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Though most of the familiar elements are still there, there are some key differences in that era, including things like which factions are most prominent. (Skaven fans lament: the rat boys are so absent in this period, thanks to underground infighting, that people forget they exist at all.) Smaller details, like the various colleges of magic not having been established yet, could impact on character choices for players.

Tone may be the other factor. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has a very specific grimdark style, where you play lowly folks scrabbling to survive in a hostile world—you're more likely to start a campaign as a rat catcher or a farmer than you are a knight or a warrior priest. Players excited for The Old World may be looking for a more heroic style of game—or at least one that lets characters have a significant role in the wars and conflicts they'll be playing out in the wargame.

That would line up with how Cubicle 7 has handled its two Warhammer 40,000 RPGs so far—Wrath & Glory is a heroic take on the universe that lets players be Space Marines, Inquisitors, and other iconic archetypes, while Imperium Maledictum casts you as put-upon underlings and dials up the horror and oppression. The two games feel really distinct from each other as a result, despite the shared universe.

There's definitely reason to be optimistic—Cubicle 7 have been doing some really good work with Warhammer RPGs and adventures over the last few years. I'm particularly a fan of their Soulbound books for Age of Sigmar, but I have also been playing in a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign for a long while now that's been good fun despite the slightly creaky bones of the nearly 40 year old system.

Keep an eye on the Cubicle 7 blog and the Warhammer Community site—no doubt both will have more to say about the new game in the near future.