The Adventurer's Guide
Author's Note : This was something I prepared to introduce new players to WFRP a long time ago, a sort of Beginners Guide. There is stuff from the WFRP rulebook and WFB Armies Books - Empire, Undead, and Dwarves.
2 Oct 1998
The Adventurer's Guide
Kurt Reiner, Scribe To The Guildmaster
The Adventurers' Guild
2 Nachexen, Imperial Year 2512
Part 1: The Empire
Part 2: Adventuring
Part 3: Lexicon
Part 1: The Empire
1.1 Introduction To The Warhammer World
At the start of the Enemy Within campaign, the Player Characters (PCs) begin in the Imperial Empire, the most dominant political entity in the Old World. The lands of the Empire are bordered by several other smaller kingdoms; Brettonia to the west, Tilea to the southwest, the Border Princes to the south, the World's Edge Mountains to the east, and Kislev to the northwest.
The kingdoms of Brettonia and Tilea are similar to the Empire culturally and politically, even if not as powerful economically. The lawless lands of the Border Princes are ruled by a coalition of warlords and petty princelings whose armies hold the frontier against the marauding Orcs tribes of the Badlands. The World's Edge Mountains have been home to the Empire's ancient allies the Dwarves even before the founding of the Empire. A bleak, snow-swept land, Kislev is populated by fierce nomadic tribes ruled by Tzars (or Tzarinas).
1.2 The People
Much of the Empire is unsettled. Large concentrations of people exist only in the towns and cities of the Empire. Small villages and towns are scattered throughout the land, clustering on the outskirts of the larger towns and cities.
Humans are by far the most populous of the races in the Empire and form the ruling nobility and dominate politics and trade as well. Halflings are also common and have their own home province within the Empire (the Moot). Their culinary skills have found ready employment in the noble houses of the Empire. Dwarves can be found as artisans and engineers in the larger towns where their skills are much in demand. Some Elves ply their trade as Bards and Minstrels and are popular with the nobles of the Empire.
In the Empire and the Old World, Humans are on the ascendant and the more ancient races are dying out. The numbers of Elves and Dwarves, whose civilizations predate Human history have been receding compared to the teeming mass of Humanity. Fewer and fewer Elves are seen with the passing centuries since the Elves retreated from the Old World to their ancestral homeland of Ulthuan across the Great Sea. The Elves in the Old World are the descendants of those who had chosen to remain in their adopted homeland. These Elves are called Wood Elves, to differentiate them from their High Elven brethren in Ulthuan. All that remains of the Elven colonies is Athel Loren (located deep within the Loren Forests), the last enclave of the Elven race in the Old World.
While the Dwarves are still dominant in the dwarfholds of the World's Edge Mountains, their numbers have been reduced considerably over the last few centuries. Continuing battles with the ever-increasing hordes of Goblinoids and Skaven have depleted their people as births of young Dwarves do not keep pace with battle losses. Many ancient dwarfholds have been overrun and lost to the Goblinoids over the centuries and the once flourishing Dwarven Realm is slowly shrinking.
It is prudent to note that the Dwarves and Elves have an ancient feud and many conflicts have erupted in the past between them. The Elves, being a noble people, are more than happy to forget dusty old quarrels. However, Dwarves have long memories and are renown for their ability to hold a grudge. Humanity has proven to be the stabilizing factor in inter-racial relationships, being allies of both races. In the Empire, Dwarves and Elves are content to go about their business tolerating each other, at least in public. Privately, most Dwarves bear a deep distrust and this colours their attitudes towards Elves.
The settlements in the Empire are linked by an extensive network of roads and trails. Land travel is mainly by horseback or horse-drawn carts or coaches. The roads of the Empire are well served by coaching houses. The most famous of these are Four Seasons Coaches, Cartak Lines, Ratchett Lines, and Wolf Runner Coaches. For bulk cargo, mule-trains are often used to convey heavy loads over long distances.
Travel by road is reasonably safe around cities and towns due to regular patrols by the Town Guard. Caution should be exercised on lonely roads, especially those which wind through the dark forests of the Empire. Outlaws, highwaymen, and even the occasional orc or beastman prey on the unwary. The Empire maintains a body of armed men called Roadwardens whose duty is to keep the roads safe for travellers. These men and women can be likened to roaming lawmen who patrol the roads and trails of the Empire. However, be wary of them for they do not hesitate to dispense frontier justice when far away from towns and cities. The wheels of justice have a tendency to run over the innocent if the guilty are unavailable.
River travel is a cheaper alternative to land travel. River barges and rowboats ply the fast flowing rivers of the Empire, carrying passengers and cargo. The most important waterway is the Reik which connects most of the largest cities and towns of the Empire. The rich cargoes being ferried attract pirates and other miscreants, and river travel can be occasionally hazardous. Apart from pirates, smugglers also ply their trade by landing goods and contraband on lonely shores. To enforce Imperial laws on the waterways, the Empire maintains the River Patrol. This body of armed boatmen is equipped with a small fleet of fast rivercraft and represent the waterborne counterparts to the Roadwardens.
For the hopelessly rich or powerful, other modes of travel are available. This being a fantasy world, flying creatures or magic can be used to travel great distances. It is well known that Emperor Karl-Franz keeps a trained griffon as a steed. Orc shamans have been known to capture and employ ferocious wyverns as mounts. The famed Dragon Princes of Ulthuan ride ancient and majestic dragons, the last of their kind. While less common than flying steeds, magical portals opened by powerful magic users can transport individuals around the world in moments.
1.4 Power Factions
Many groups wield power in the Empire. These can be divided into four main factions:
Foremost of the noble families is the entourage of the Imperial Electors (One of whom is Emperor Karl-Franz). There are currently 15 Electors. Of these, 10 are Elector Counts/Countesses who each govern a province within the Empire. Of the remaining Electors, 4 are high-ranking members of the clergies of Sigmar and Ulric. The last Elector is the Halfling Elder of the Moot, the sole non-human among them. These nobles form a Council of Rulers and decide all major issues facing the Empire such as election of a new Emperor to the Imperial throne.
The Imperial Electors have almost absolute power over their respective holdings and it is a very brave or foolish mortal who would cross them. In theory, all Electors are subject to the rule of the Emperor in Altdorf. In practice, an Elector can do anything if he thinks the other Electors will let him get away with it. As a result, the Emperor has little actual power over the Electors.
The counties or districts within a province are typically governed by minor nobles who are responsible first to the relevant provincial Elector and secondly to the Emperor. These minor nobles jostle for power and engage in political intrigues to increase their spheres of influence. Naturally, all noble families greater and lesser have great influence over the powers of law in the Empire.
Other than the noble families of the Empire, religious groups are also a powerful faction in the Empire. The major religions of the Empire all have extensive networks of temples and clerics. In addition, some also maintain temple guardsmen, called Templars. These Templars are trained to high levels of martial skill and are renown throughout the Old World. The most famous of these orders are the Order of the White Wolf (Ulric), and the Order of the Fiery Heart (Sigmar).
Religious groups are typically led by a high cleric or priest. Note that the High Priests of Sigmar and Ulric are Imperial Electors as well as being heads of their religious orders. The official religion of the Empire is the worship of Sigmar. Unsurprisingly, the Sigmarites are the most powerful of the religious groups in the Empire. The Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, Yorri XV is considered by many as the most powerful man in the Empire. It is commonly said that no Elector can ever become Emperor without the support of the Grand Theogonist and the Order of Sigmar.
Trade guilds have sprung up in cities and towns in the Empire. The most common (and influential) being the Merchants' Guild. Other guilds include the Wizards' Guild and the Physician's Guild. Less respectable guilds such as the Thieves' Guild and the infamous Assassins' Guild are also known to exist in major cities. Trade guilds are typically led by a council of senior guild members headed by a Guildmaster. In most cities, guilds have a virtual monopoly of the trade they support and unrepentant non-members can be dealt with harshly.
Independent groups also exist such as the Council of Druids, mercenary bands, and high level wizards. While smaller than the other factions mentioned, such groups often have individuals of renown whose support can easily swing the balance of any conflict. Their presence tends to make the Imperial authorities nervous as they have no formal allegiances.
Religion provides an important function to the lives of the population of the Empire. The strongest orders are that of Sigmar, Ulric, Taal, Manaan, Shallya, Verena, and Ranald. Other smaller orders worship Morr, Myrmidia, and Rhya. While relations between the cult of Sigmar and Ulric are sometimes strained, in general the rival orders show respect for each other and adventurers would do well to do the same. The wrath of the gods is not to be trifled with.
Worshippers are expected to show respect for their respective deities and donate regular tithes to the order's coffers. Members of the clergy are typically required to surrender their possesions to their orders on becoming ordained as Initiates. This practice makes joining the orders unpopular with the nobles of the Empire.
In the wild areas of the Empire, the populace practice the Old Faith, whose origins are shrouded in the mists of prehistory and are older than the present-day pantheon of deities. The Old Faith revolves around nature and natural forces and clerics of this faith are known as Druids or Druidic Priests.
The worship of certain murderous deities are outlawed in the Empire. These include Khaine the Lord of Murder, and the Gods of Chaos (Khorne, Nurgle, Slannesh, and Tzeentch). Unrepentant worshippers of these cults attract the attention of the Imperial authorities led by the Imperial Witch Hunters. Punishment is typically death by fire for those convicted. Despite this, the number of Chaos cults in the Empire have continued to grow despite having to conduct their activities in great secrecy. Imperial Witch Hunters have exposed cult members among the nobility of the Empire which may be why they continue to flourish.
1.6 The War Against Chaos
The Chaos Wastes to the far north seethe with the corrupting power of Chaos. The Empire has not been immune to its influence. More mutants are born every year. Beastmen and worse lurk in the dark forests awaiting their chance to rise and sweep all before them. In the north, black armoured Chaos Warriors lead their foul warbands to remote villages, killing and slaying in the name of their dark gods. For the heroic adventurer, Chaos provides many savage foes from lowly beastmen to the awesome greater daemons.
Combat with the minions of Chaos is invariably to the death as these creatures fear their dark masters more than death itself. Adventurers are warned that no quarter will be expected and none given by a Chaos warband. Be wary also of the magics and weapons employed by the minions of Chaos. Favoured Chaos Warriors carry daemon weapons which slay with even the slightest wound. Chaos sorcerers employ powerful spells which have no equal in the Battle Magic practised by the wizards of the Empire. All Chaos-tainted items are corrupting in their nature and the wise adventurer leaves such items where they lie.
Chaos beastmen are the most common of the minions of Chaos and are a unique race combining the intelligence of man with the feral instincts of beasts. They stand on two goat-like legs to the height of a man but have bestial heads. They hunt in packs called Chaos warbands and hide in the dark forests of the Empire where they prey on travellers and remote villages. Warbands are led by Chaos Champions, humans who have cast away their humanity in return for dark powers from the gods of Chaos. These warriors are awesome foes and epic battles have been fought in the past against them by famous heroes of the Empire.
While Chaos Warriors are at least mortal, the daemons of Chaos have no such origins. Daemons are Chaos energy given material form and their powers far exceed those of mere mortals. Daemons can be of several types from daemon steeds ridden by Chaos Warriors to terrifying behemoths several times the height of a man. Greater Daemons are the most powerful of all the servants of Chaos and a single Greater Daemon is a match for whole regiments. Throughout the 2500 years of recorded history, only a handful of mortals have bested a Greater Daemon in combat. Among them are the Elven Prince Tyrion of Ulthuan, the Dwarven Troll Slayer Gorin Firebeard, and the Norse hero Erinon the Fell-Handed.
The last great Chaos incursion from the North occurred more than 200 years ago (Imperial year 2302) where Praag was overrun by an awesome horde of Chaos and it seemed for a time that they would sweep all before them. The Empire was fortunate then that a nobleman from Nuln named Magnus the Pious united the divided people of the Empire and with their Kislevite allies succeeded in driving back the Chaos hordes. For his valour and leadership, Magnus was later crowned Emperor.
While no significant incursions have occurred since then, there are occasional skirmishes in the north between the Kislevite border patrols and the forces of Chaos. In the Empire, Chaos warbands have been responsible for savage attacks on remote villages far from the towns and cities. Of late, these attacks have grown in frequency and intensity, leading some to belief that another great Chaos incursion is imminent.
Part 2: Adventuring
2.1 The Adventuring Group
Except for the most omnipotent individuals, most adventurers journey in groups for mutual protection and benefit. Having a good mix of professions and specialities is a vital ingredient for a successful adventuring group.
Warriors and Rangers make excellent fighters and these are present in virtually every wandering band of meddling do-gooders worth their salt. Their skills and abilities make them the masters of physical combat. These fighting men and women provide the offensive punch, soak up enemy attacks, and defend the softer-skinned members of the group.
Most parties also include spellcasters who are most often clerics or wizards. Druids are less common except in the more remote settlements of the Empire. These individuals provide the group with much needed wisdom and deal with offensive and defensive magic. Often, magic can only be effectively countered with magic.
Some groups have found it useful to have a rogue in the group. Such light-fingered individuals can provide a more stealthy solution to problems of locked doors or empty pockets. However, the rogue should keep his fingers way from the possessions of his fellow group members lest dissent and conflict destroy group harmony.
Though not necessary, having a leader can be useful, if only to act as the spokesperson of the group. Very often the strongest (and loudest) fighter takes up the leader's mantle but in other groups a powerful spellcaster can do just as well. In some groups, there is no fixed leader, the group following the lead of the particular character that has the most experience or knowledge of the situation at hand.
An example of a balanced group of five beginning adventurers could be:
Such a group has more than sufficient physical power in the form of the Mercenary and Troll Slayer. The Outrider would be invaluable in the wilds (where most adventures are likely to occur) and doubles as a fighter as well. The Wizard's Apprentice provides the magical firepower and the thief handles all larcenous tasks.
The Old World is a dangerous place for the unwary and weapons (and weapon skills) are essential possessions of any adventuring group who would survive to boast of their exploits. Most warriors use a simple hand weapon wielded in one hand such as a sword, axe, or mace. This has the advantage of freeing one hand to carry a shield or torch.
For greater killing power, some fighters favour two-handed weapons. While they can be useful when dealing with hard-skinned foes who would otherwise not be harmed, they have several disadvantages. For example, both hands are required, they require sufficient space to employ (a liability in cramped tunnels), they are slower than hand weapons, and their size and weight make them unsuitable for use on horseback. Despite these disadvantages, many warriors of renown carried them. The legendary founder of the Empire, Sigmar Heldenhammer wielded a great two-handed hammer in his battles.
Other common weapons are spears and polearms which can be advantageously used to deal with mounted opponents or large monsters but suffer from the same disadvantages as two-handed weapons. Spears can also double as missile weapons.
More exotic weapons include whips, flails, and morning stars which require special instruction to wield effectively. They have the advantage of being harder to block (they tend to curl around shields and parrying weapons) but are generally clumsier and slower to employ than normal hand weapons.
Other weapons include missile weapons which can be useful in the open, but become extra baggage in enclosed areas. Bows and crossbows are commonly encountered in the Empire. Less common are longbows and repeating crossbows which require specialist instruction to employ effectively. The Elves of the Old World craft superb Elf Bows which far surpass those of Human manufacture and are highly prized by the archers of the Empire. Some experienced fighters with special training also carry throwing knives and axes.
Gunpowder weapons are also available for the rich but are noisy, slow to reload, and prone to misfires (sometimes injuring the shooter as well). Add the scarcity of gunpowder in the wilds and you have four excellent reasons not to carry firearms. Gunpowder pistols are a favourite method of duelling among the nobility of the Empire.
Note that in most civilized areas (large towns and cities), the town watch look upon adventurers openly carrying large weapons with disfavour. Carrying a sword and perhaps a small dagger is an accepted practice in many cities and towns. Monstrosities like blunderbusses, polearms, and two-handed weapons would be frowned upon except in the most lawless of places. Adventurers are advised to keep such items at inns to avoid attention and possible confiscation by the Town Watch.
In addition to offensive power, defensive self-protection is a required attribute of any adventuring band. While thicker armour affords better protection, this should be balanced against the greater weight which hampers movement. In increasing order of protective value the most common forms of armour are leather, chainmail, and plate armour.
Armour is also available in pieces which can be worn separately. In general, full plate armour is unsuitable for any activity other than a mass battle in open fields. For most adventuring activities, mobility is more important. Chainmail suits are the most popular among adventuring warriors as they offer a good balance between mobility and protection. Note that falling overboard from a boat in full plate armour is one of the surest ways to end an adventuring career. Magic-using professions by necessity disregard armour as it interferes with their spellcasting and increases the risk of spell failure or misfire.
As for weapons, full armour tends to draw the attention of the watch in large towns and cities. Chainmail armour or a breastplate are common and perfectly acceptable for warriors, but not full plate armour. The sole exception are the members of the Knightly orders who are allowed to wear their full plate armour in public.
2.4 Combat Strategy
While it is much better to solve problems with rational thought, combat is an accepted fact of adventuring and in some cases, the only means of survival. Note that combat is extremely dangerous; even poor fighters can deal grievious hurt with a lucky blow. With this in mind, avoid rushing blindly into fights. Formulating a plan for combat is sound strategy. Even a poor plan is better than no plan at all.
In the remote areas of the Empire, the only law is survival. When battle is joined, full force should be brought to bear on the foe. Take every opportunity to damage the enemy. Repeated ambushes from hidden cover with missile weapons or magic can whittle away numerical superiority. Elves and dwarves can see in the dark and this can be used to your advantage. However, be wary that this tactic could also be used against you.
A key to winning combat is identifying and nullifying key individuals among the enemy. Examples are enemy leaders, individuals with missile weapons or magical weapons, powerful monsters, and spellcasters. Concentrating attacks on the key individuals can finish them off faster, bringing the combat to a swift conclusion. Even if the concentrated attack does not kill them, they will be forced to defend themselves thus lessening their contribution to the fight. Note that the death of leaders tend to have a negative effect on the enemy's morale and may cause some to flee.
The warriors and rangers should be in the thick of the melee action as they can take more wounds and have better attributes than the other classes in hand-to-hand fighting. These classes should attempt to protect the more fragile members of the party from the main fighting. It is also prudent to be wary of hidden foes who may strike without warning from another direction.
Academics and rogues should retreat to the rear and look for opportunities to use their particular skills to aid in the battle. A proper spell at the correct moment can swing the odds in favour of the group. A prudent spell caster thinks of creative ways to use his spells in combat well before it is joined. Note that spellcasters have a great advantage in resisting hostile magic. This factor as well as practical field experience has led the Adventurers' Guild to strongly advise against adventuring without spellcasters.
While anything goes in the wilds, restraint should be exercised in towns and cities as murder is a major offense. Drawing weapons or using magic in haste can bring the wrath of the law on the group. There are enough foes for the adventuring group without the inclusion of the Imperial authorities. The watch would probably be lenient with the occasional bar-room brawl (an accepted occurrence in most cities and towns) with fists. The same fight with lethal weapons or destructive spells could have serious consequences.
Magic permeates the Warhammer world from its origins in the Chaos Wastes at either pole. Most magic-users would prefer not to be reminded of the origins of their spell energies, given the healthy abhorrence of the populace for Chaos.
There are many professions who may make use of magic. Of these, Wizards are the most commonly encountered. There are several types of wizards; Wizards who do not specialize in any particular type of magic (these are the most common), Elementalists who employ magic which manipulates the effects of nature, and Illusionists who weave magical spells of deception. It is acknowledged that the Royal Colleges of Magic in Altdorf trains the best wizards in the Old World.
Apart from wizards, clerics of the major faiths also have the power to cast spells granted by their respective deities. The type of spells granted to clerics are always in accordance with the spheres of control of their patron deities. Gods of nature such as Taal and Manaan grant Elemental Magic. Shallya, Goddess of Healing and Mercy grants healing enchantments. Warlike deities such as Myrmidia and Ulric grant awesome Battle Magic to shatter foes. In the wilder regions of the Empire, Druidic Priests of the Old Faith defend the natural order with spells not unlike those of the Elementalist.
A third group of magic users exist who study and practice Dark Magic. These spellcasters are the Necromancers who are masters of the Undead, and Daemonologists who study Daemonic lore and can summon Daemons. The evil nature of their craft is generally abhorred by normal folk and these two professions are outlawed in the Empire. The standard punishment for practitioners of Dark Magic is death.
2.6 Casting Spells
All magic-users are ranked by their levels. In general, the higher the level the more devastating spells a wizard can employ. A level 1 magic-user would be a beginner and a level 4 magic-user a master of his craft. There are very few level 4 magic-users in the Empire. The Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, Thyrus Gormann is a level 4 wizard of the Bright College and probably the most powerful magic-user in the Empire. Some of the High Priests of the major faiths are level 4 clerics like Ar-Ulric of Middenheim, the High Priest of Ulric.
One measure of a magic-user's capability is his power level (or magic points). The higher the power level of the magic-user the more spells he can employ before rest is required. Each spell cast draws on this store of magic points, some more than others.
To make the spell more effective all magic-users have the option of boosting its power by the using additional power over and above that required. Each magic point spent reduces the chances of successfully resisting the spell. This is commonly done when in combat with powerful foes who might otherwise resist the spell. Similarly, magic-users can attempt to resist spells by spending some of their own magic points. Each magic point spent improves the chances of successfully resisting the spell.
2.7 Magic Items
Powerful wizard-artificers can imbue items with spell-like effects permanently. Since their magic is permanent, such items are highly prized by adventurers. Magical items appear in the hands of powerful individuals in the Empire and legendary figures throughout Imperial history often had items which contributed to their fame. Of all the magic items in history, none are as famous as Ghal-Maraz, the Dwarven Runehammer of Sigmar Heldenhammer, founder of the Empire. Other items of note include the Staff of Volans carried by the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, and the Runefangs of the Imperial Electors.
The Elves and Dwarves craft and employ magic items as well, all imbued with their own unique powers. Our allies the Dwarves employ a unique method of creating magical items which involves inscribing secret symbols of power (called runes) onto items to create rune weapons or armour. The Dwarven artificers capable of such feats are called Runesmiths. Dwarven rune weapons are highly prized by warriors of the Old World and countless expeditions to the ruins of ancient dwarfholds have been mounted in the hope of obtaining such treasures.
Magic items are also employed by the forces of Chaos. Often these items are corrupting in their power and adventurers who would not be slaves to the Dark Powers should be wary of such artifacts. The daemon weapons borne by Chaos Warriors are reputed to contain the living soul of a daemon of Chaos and have been known to slay with even the smallest wound.
2.8 Careers and Advancement
All adventurers begin with an initial career or profession. In time, they may take on other careers as they grow in experience. Each career brings with it a unique set of skills and attribute advancements. Warhammer careers are divided into the four career classes; Warrior, Ranger, Academic, and Rogue.
Careers in the Warrior class all involve physical combat and their skills and advancements are all geared to produce fighting men. Warriors form the backbone of the Empire's armies. Veteran warriors are respected for their military prowess and are often found leading units or regiments either in the Emperor's service or in the many mercenary bands that roam the Empire.
Ranger careers also produce fighting men. However, rangers are also skilled at woodcraft and survival in the wilds. In the Old World, rangers are employed as explorers, scouts, and outriders. Their skills and abilities make them uniquely suited for expeditions or campaigns in the more remote regions of the Empire.
Careers in the Academic class all involve the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge and the skills that contribute to it. While often unsuited for hand to hand combat due to the lack of skills and physical prowess, academics can study magic which is a great equalizer in any combat. Academics provide the bulk of the spellcasters in the Old World.
Rogue careers involve trickery, deception, and the acquisition of profit through possibly illegal means. Thus, the skills and abilities that they acquire are all aligned towards these areas. While frowned upon by the Imperial authorities, rogues provide stealth and cunning to any adventuring group.
Once a career class has been chosen, there are no restrictions with regard to the type of profession an individual may take up, given enough experience and a suitable tutor. However, it usually costs less experience to follow a career in the same career class as the original career. Nothing prohibits a Wizard's Apprentice from taking up arms and armour as a Mercenary, although it would cost him a lot of experience to train. Cross-training is recommended for long campaigns with plenty of time for characters to hone their skills. There are few sweeter surprises than footpads attempting to waylay an academic only to find out that the "victim" had previously served many years as a hardened mercenary.
Similarly, most skills can be learnt by all career classes if a suitable tutor can be found. For the adventurer, useful skills include Dodge Blow, Disarm, Silent Move - Rural and Urban, Swimming, all weapon skills, all language skills, Ride - Horse, and all lore skills. Many skills can be learnt with enough practice and experience. For certain skills, the attention of a knowledgable tutor is required as well. For this service, tutors often expect some form of service or payment in return. Skill in magic as arguably the most difficult to acquire if one is not already apprenticed to a wizard. While the Royal Colleges of Magic in Altdorf offers such training, its graduates are required to serve the Empire for a number of years in return.
2.9 Resources for Adventurers
In the Old World, few resources are available to novice adventurers. In general, their contacts of influence are confined to their mentors and patrons. Naturally, the more powerful or renown the mentor or patron, the wider the circle of influence that they can access.
Wizard's Apprentices especially would have a distinct advantage as they would have a higher level wizard as a mentor. Most citizens in the Empire take particular care to remain friendly with wizards and such a mentor would be able to provide introductions to many people of influence. Powerful wizards would know people in the upper ranks of nobility, perhaps even the noble houses of the Imperial Electors or the Emperor. In addition, all of the high level wizards of the Empire are known to each other and would generally help each other if their interests or alignments are in harmony.
Initiates of religious orders can depend on the backing of their respective orders. In general, the orders of approved religions are respected by all citizens of the Empire, noble and common. The leaders of the orders often wield great influence over the politics of the Empire. Some orders maintain Templar regiments which can be used to further the aims of the order. Depending on the particular order, there may be other facilities which the faithful can access. The Order of Verena maintains comprehensive libraries in all of its temples. The Order of Shallya offers healing aid both normal and magical. Often, those not of the faith are allowed access these resources with generous donations or service.
Adventurers born to noble families also have great advantages, especially if the family is powerful and influential. The noble families of the Empire control many spheres, including trade, politics, and the military. In addition, money is seldom a problem for noble adventurers and they can also depend on their families to get them and their friends out of minor scrapes with the law.
Adventurers who are members of guilds may call upon their guild for backing or aid. Naturally, all wise adventurers would have joined the Adventurers' Guild as well. High ranking guild leaders are influential figures in Imperial politics. In addition, some guilds maintain facilities for use of its members. Members of the Wizards' Guild would have access to the guild's extensive store of magical knowledge and items, as well as magical training by senior members of the guild. Members of the Thieves Guild can gain access to many useful snippets of information as well as obtain items not available through legal means. In most cases, non-guild members can always obtain service from a guild provided they have enough money to pay for it.
Fighting men in mercenary or militia service may have high ranking officers as their mentors. Such people would be known to the military men of the Empire and can provide introductions to commanders of the Emperor's armies and regiments. In addition, being commanders of fighting men, they can also provide the muscle for military endeavours so long as their command or position is not endangered.
Part 3: Lexicon
Altdorf: The largest city in the Empire and the Imperial capital. Altdorf is located near the confluence of the rivers Reik and Talabec. The Imperial Palace, the temple of Sigmar, Imperial Engineers School, and the Imperial Colleges of Magic are located here.
Ar-Ulric: Current High priest of Ulric and an Imperial Elector. Based in Middenheim.
Athel Loren: Located deep in the Loren Forests, Athel Loren is the last enclave of Elves in the Old World. The Elves of Loren are the descendents of those who choose to stay rather than return to Ulthuan during the reign of the Phoenix King Caradryel more than 1000 years before the founding of the Empire. The Elves of Loren (called Wood Elves) are independent of the Phoenix King's rule.
Black Fire Pass: A wide pass which separates the World's Edge Mountains from the Black Mountains. Site of the most famous battle in the history the Empire. Here, Sigmar's armies and their Dwarven allies routed the Goblins and drove them from the lands which were to become the Empire.
Black Mountains: Stands between the Grey and the World's Edge Mountains and divides the Empire from the Border Princes. Riddled with Goblin tunnels and infested by Goblins, Trolls, and Skaven.
Border Princes: Located between the Black Mountains on the southern borders of the Empire and the Badlands. The Border Princes are ruled by a disorganized collection of minor nobles and warlords whose fighting men defend the Empire from the many Goblin tribes which often pour out of the Badlands. Many mercenary bands (Human and otherwise) are employed here as members of the Militia. Hardened veterans of the Border Princes are sought after as unit leaders in the Empire's armies.
Caraz-a-Carak: An underground fortress of awesome size and the ancestral capital of the Dwarven Realm. Located in the World's Edge Mountains, Caraz-a-Carak is also known to Old World Humans as Everpeak. The current ruler of Caraz-a-Carak (and by extension, all Dwarves in the Old World) is High King Thorgrim Grudge Bearer.
Castle Drachenfels: The home of Drachenfels, the Great Enchanter. This forbidding edifice has been largely deserted since the demise of Drachenfels at the hands of Sigmar. However, the enchantments cast on the structure have survived the death of the Great Enchanter and the castle has so far resisted all attempts by the Imperial authorities to demolish it.
Colleges of Magic: Founded by Magnus the Pious in Altdorf with the aid of the High Elven wizards Teclis and Finreir. The only formal school of magic in the Old World. There are 8 colleges, one for each colour of magic.
Chaos Incursion: Also known as the Great War against Chaos. The most significant event to ever threaten the Old World. In 2302 the Chaos hordes engulf Kislev and overrun Praag. The horde is eventually defeated by the combined armies of the Dwarves and the Empire, led by the legendary Magnus the Pious in 2303.
Drachenfels: The Great Enchanter. Master of Castle Drachenfels. The most infamous villain in Imperial history whose origins predate the founding of the Empire. Drachenfels is said to have once been Human but has since become far more than mortal. The Great Enchanter was responsible for many terrible deeds until his defeat at the hands of another figure of legend, Sigmar Heldenhammer.
Electors, Imperial: The ruling elite of the Empire's nobility and clergy. There are 15 Imperial Electors, each either a ruler of one the Empire's provinces or a high-ranking member of the orders of Sigmar and Ulric. The Electors form a council which decides on all important issues which affect the Empire, such as the election of a new Emperor.
Erinon the Fell-Handed: A Norse warrior of legend who lived and fought during the age of Magnus the Pious. Immortalized in Imperial history for slaying a Greater Daemon of Chaos during the Chaos Incursion of 2302 although he was mortally wounded and later fell defending the Kislevites retreating from Praag. His tale is retold by Norse Skalds as the Lay of Erinon.
Erinon's Axe: An ancient two-handed weapon of great power named after the Norse hero who bore it against the Chaos Hordes during the Great War against Chaos. The axe was lost when Erinon fell in the siege of Praag.
Fiery Hearts: The Templar-Knights of Sigmar based at Altdorf. Their symbol is a burning heart. The Fiery Hearts are known to be fanatically anti-mutant.
Finreir: One of the three Elven wizards of Ulthuan who aided Magnus the Pious in the battles against the Chaos Incursion of 2302. Survived the battles and later returned to Ulthuan.
Ghal-Maraz: Magical Dwarven two-handed runehammer of Sigmar Heldenhammer given to him by Dwarf King Kargan Ironbeard. Has been lost for many centuries.
Gorbad Ironclaw: Acknowledged as the greatest Orc Warlord of all time. Led a huge horde of Orcs and Goblins into the Empire, destroying Averland, Solland, Nuln, and the Moot. Laid seige to Altdorf in 1712. Gorbad was badly wounded at the battle of Grunberg and his army broke up and fled back to the Darklands, leaving the eastern half of the Empire in ruins.
Grand Theogonist: The religious leader of the order of Sigmar, based at the temple of Sigmar in Altdorf. The current Grand Theogonist is Yorri XV.
Grey Mountains: Divides the Empire from Bretonnia. A few Dwarven settlements exist here.
Grom: Obese Goblin warlord known as the Paunch of the Misty Mountain who invaded the Empire with a huge coalition of Orc and Goblin tribes. Razed Nuln to the ground and beseiged Altdorf before disappearing over the sea to invade Ulthuan in the largest armada ever built.
Hel Fenn: A great swamp near the source of the Stir. Site of the great battle between the combined Imperial and Dwarf armies and the undead legions of the Vampire Count Manfred von Carstein in 2145. The undead army was destroyed and the Count slain after a furious struggle.
Hisme Stoutheart: Halfling and Elder of the Moot. The sole non-human Elector and spokesperson for the Moot (and by extension, all Halflings in the Empire).
Ice Mages: The sorcerors of Kislev. Ice Mages practice a unique form of magic unlike that employed by Wizards of the Colleges of Magic. This magic draws from the savage winters of Kislev and is concerned with the manipulation of chill, frost and biting winds.
Imperial Gunnery School: Based in Nuln. The largest cannon foundry in the Old World and site of the only artillerists' school in the Empire.
Katarin: Tzarina of Kislev and one of the Emperor's staunchest allies. Regarded as the most powerful magic user to ever wear the crown of Kislev. Her cold manner has earned her the name "Ice Queen of Kislev".
Karl-Franz I: Current Emperor of the Imperial Empire and the Elector of Reikland. Crowned in 2502 in Altdorf. While not as noteworthy as his more renown predecesors, he is well thought of by the citizens of the Empire.
Khorne: Chaos God of Bloodshed whose worship is outlawed in the Empire. Warbands of Khorne are more common in the remote areas of the Empire. Khornate champions are fighting machines whose sole purpose is to reap souls and skulls for their dark master.
Kislev: The kingdom on the northeastern borders of the Empire. Its people are nomadic and warlike and are ruled by warrior-sorcerors called Tzars (and Tzarinas). Kislev was almost overrun by the hordes of Chaos during the Great Chaos Incursion and was saved only by the armies of the Empire led by Magnus the Pious. The Kislevites have been staunch allies of the Empire ever since and Kislevite regiments drawn from the fierce nomad tribes regularly fight in the Empire's armies. The current ruler of Kislev is Tzarina Katarin.
Knights Panther: Order of knights formed during the Arabian Crusades. The Knights Panther are the personal bodyguard of the Graf of Middenheim and are known to be fanatically anti-mutant.
Ludwig Schwarzhelm: The Emperor's Champion, renown throughout the Empire for his battle prowess. His role is to uphold the Emperor's justice in trials of combat and he has never been defeated in single combat.
Magnus the Pious: Legendary Nuln nobleman who roused the people of the Empire to unite, fight and turn back the Chaos Incursion in 2303. Magnus was later crowned Emperor in 2304. While his battle prowess could not equal that of Sigmar, he possessed great charisma and tactical genius.
Manaan: God of the seas. Worship of Manaan is popular among sea-faring folk and boatmen. His symbol is a five-pointed crown.
Manfred von Carstein: Last of the infamous Vampire Counts of Sylvania. Believed to have died at the battle of Hel Fenn in 2145, though his body was never found.
Middenheim: Fortress city built atop a sheer-sided pinnacle of rock north of Drakwald Forest. Also known as the City of the White Wolf with respect to its status as the centre of worship for the order of Ulric. The Order of the White Wolf is based here as well. The current ruler of Middenheim is the Elector Graf Boris Todbringer.
Morgor the Mangler: The awesome battle axe carried by the Orc warlord Gorbad Ironclaw through all of his battles against the Empire. Created by Orcish Shamans, the axe is said to possess great powers of destruction. The fate of Morgor the Mangler is unknown after the defeat of Gorbad Ironclaw in 1712.
Moot, The: Province on the upper reaches of the Aver. Home province of the Halflings in the Empire. Led by Hisme Stoutheart, the Elder of the Moot who is an Imperial Elector as well.
Morr: God of death and dreams. Clerics of Morr as resposible for all funeral rites in the Empire. This order offers a standing reward for the capture of Necromancers. Morr's symbol is a raven.
Nagash: The Great Necromancer and Supreme Lord of the Undead. Nagash is the founder of Necromancy and the most powerful undead being in the history of the Old World. Defeated by Sigmar in Imperial Year 15 but was subsequently revived. Believed to dwell in Nagashizzar, deep within the Desolation of Nagash on the shores of the Sour Sea.
Nine Books of Nagash: Nine volumes bound in human skin which contain all the lore and magic known to Necromancers as inscribed by Nagash himself. One volume is known to be kept in the deep vaults of the temple of Sigmar in Altdorf.
Norsca: A bleak, snow-swept land north of the Sea of Claws and homeland of the Norse barbarians. Its people live in nomadic tribes and are tall, strong and warlike. The Norse mount occasional raids in longships against the coastal towns and villages in the northern Empire and Kislev. Norse berserkers are renown for their ferocity which rivals that of a Dwarven Trollslayer.
Nuln: City astride the Reik and the focus of the entire economy of the southern Reikland. The second largest city in the Empire and home of the Imperial Gunnery School. The current ruler of Nuln is the Elector Countess Emmanuelle von Liebewitz.
Nurgle: Chaos God of Disease and Despair. Worship is forbidden in the Empire and thus, confined to secret cults. Cults of Nurgle are much less common in the Empire than those devoted to the other Chaos Gods.
Old Faith: An ancient religion practised by the people in the remote regions of the Empire. Based on the worship of nature. Clerics of the Old Faith are known as Druids or Druidic Priests.
Ranald: God of thieves and tricksters. While worship is not illegal, followers of Ranald tend to be viewed with suspicion. Ranald is the patron god of thieves and gamblers.
Reiksguard: An elite order of knights which form the personal army and bodyguard of the Emperor. Based in Altdorf.
Roadwardens: A body of law enforcers whose duty is to keep the roads of the Empire safe for travellers.
Runefangs: Twelve magical runeswords forged by the Dwarf runesmith Alaric the Mad as payment for Sigmar's aid in freeing Zhufbar. Later presented one each to the 12 Elector Counts of the Empire. Since there are now only 10 Elector Counts, the Drakwald and Solland swords are held by the Emperor and reside in the Imperial Armoury in Altdorf.
Shallya: Goddess of healing and mercy. Worship of Shallya is popular among the common folk of towns and Cities. The clerics of this order are revered by the lower classes of society. The symbol of Shallya is a dove.
Sigmar Heldenhammer: Founder of the Empire. The "Hammer of the Goblins". Wielder of Ghal-Maraz. Official diety of worship for the Imperial Empire. Date of his crowning as Emperor is taken as Imperial Year 1. His symbol is a twin-tailed comet.
Slaanesh: Chaos God of Pleasure. Though outlawed in the Empire, Slaaneshi cults are popular among the upper classes in the towns and cities of the Empire.
Staff of Volans: Magical staff made for the first Supreme Patriarch, the legendary Volans by another wizard of renown, Fredrick von Tarnus. This staff is the badge of rank of the Supreme Patriarch of the Royal Colleges of Magic.
Sword of Justice: An ancient Dwarven runesword borne by the Emperor's Champion and passed down from Champion to Champion for many generations.
Sylvania: This undead-haunted province which rests on the eastern border of Stirland is the most ill-famed region in the Empire. Armies of Undead marched from this region in many campaigns against the Empire during the Wars of the Vampire Counts.
Taal: God of nature and wild places. Worship of Taal is popular among rangers, Elementalists, and the rural folk of the Empire. His symbol is a stag skull.
Teclis: Leader of the three Elven wizards who fought for the Empire alongside Magnus the Pious against the Chaos Incursion in 2302. A founder of the Colleges of Magic and taught the first human students. Later returned to Ulthuan after more than 20 years in the role of a teacher. Regarded by many as the most powerful wizard of the age.
Trollslayers: The Dwarves are a proud people and do not cope well with failure or loss of honour. Trollslayers are dwarves who have suffered such blows. They forsake their homes and kin to wander the wilder regions of the Old World, seeking death in unequal combat against monsters. Trollslayers are extremely dangerous individuals whose ferocity in battle is unmatched.
Thyrus Gormann: Bright wizard and the current Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic. Arguably the most capable wizard in the Empire.
Tzeentch: Chaos God of Change. Also known as the Great Mutator or the Changer of the Ways. Worship of Tzeentch is the most widespread among the Chaos cults of the Empire. It is rumoured that worshippers of Tzeentch have infiltrated the highest levels of Imperial society.
Ulric: God of battle, wolves and winter. Worship of Ulric is popular among warriors and people in the Northern provinces of the Empire and Kislev. Ulric's symbol is a wolf head.
Ulthuan: The ancient island homeland of the High Elves far west of the Old World, over the Great Sea. Another ancient ally of the Empire since the days of Magnus the Pious. The current ruler of Ulthuan is the Phoenix King Finubar.
Vampire Counts: The infamous von Carsteins who ruled Sylvania for centuries. Vlad von Carstein began the Wars of the Vampire Counts which continued until the last of the Vampire Counts, Manfred von Carstein was killed in an epic battle in the marshes of Hel Fenn in 2145.
Verena: Goddess of learning and justice. Verena is worshipped throughout the Empire especially by academics. Her symbol is the owl, a traditional symbol of wisdom.
Vlad von Carstein: The first of the Vampire Counts of Sylvania. Attempted to conquer the Empire during the Age of the Three Emperors with his undead hordes. Returned from the dead many times but was finally slain in the siege of Altdorf in 2051 by the Grand Theogonist Wilhelm III.
Volans: One of the first Humans to be taught magic by the Elven wizards of Ulthuan. Volans took part in many battles during the Great War against Chaos and is considered to be the greatest Human wizard of his time. He later became the first Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic.
Werner Bock: Current Grand Marshall of the Empire and commander of the Emperor's armies. Regarded as a capable tactician and reputed to be the best swordsman in the Empire.
White Wolves: Templars-Knights of Ulric. This order exists in both the Empire and Kislev. Based in Middenheim in the Empire and Praag in Kislev. Their symbol is a wolf pelt worn across the shoulders. The battle ferocity of this order is renown throughout the Old World.
Witch Hunters: A body of law enforcers whose duty is to root out, expose, and punish mutants and the worshippers of Chaos Gods. They are granted great authority to accomplish their tasks and are universally feared.
World's Edge Mountains: Mountain range of prodigous height on the Empire's eastern border. Ancestral homeland of the Dwarves.
Yorri XV: Current Grand Theogonist and head of the cult of Sigmar. Based in Altdorf.
Yrtle: One of the three Elven wizards of Ulthuan who aided Magnus the Pious in the battles against the Chaos Incursion of 2302. Later fell in battle and was buried with great honours.
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