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Tabletop Game: Mordheim

Mordheim is a fantasy boardgame made by Games Workshop, creators of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.

Being an example of what are known as "warband games", boardgames that occupy a small junction point between a Role-Playing Game and a wargame, Mordheim's ruleset hearkens back to the much more complex rules of earlier editions of Warhammer.

Set several centuries before the "present day" of Warhammer, it revolves around a city called Mordheim, once the jewel of The Empire, now flattened after being crushed under a meteorite of wyrdstone. This magical substance can, among other things, turn lead into gold, and so the ruins now crawl with adventurous treasure seekers hoping to make it rich. However, wyrdstone also causes rampant mutation and corruption, and so the ruins are crawling with monsters, maniacs and mutants.

Whilst the game was still being supported by Games Workshop the magazine/section of White Dwarf Town Cryer provided new rules, warbands, scenarios, modeling tips, etc. There was also a comic set in the city following the adventures of two self-serving rogues, Ulli Leitpold & Marquand Volker in the city. Which ended up with both of Ulli & Marquand dead and the narrator taking all their loot.

Also the game has seperate settings orginially published in Town Cryer including Empire in Flames (the rural sections of the empire), Lustria and Khemri.

For the science fiction equivalent game see Necromunda


This tabletop game provides examples of:

  • After the End: Well, technically. Mordheim has been utterly destroyed — the rest of the world is fine. For a given value of "fine".
  • Amazon Brigade: The Sisters of Sigmar warband unsurprisingly given the name.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Witch Hunters want to eradicate "warlocks, witches, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, necromancers, worshippers of the dark gods, deviants, mutants, blasphemers, sinners, utterers of profanities, servants of Daemons, or composers of corrupting music". Though this being Warhammer the music could be very dangerous.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Repeater crossbow
  • Bad Ass: Anyone who survives more than one visit to Mordheim is going to become this soon enough.
  • The Berserker: Anyone with the Frenzy rule.
  • Black Humor: This is a Games Workshop game — naturally, it's full of it.
  • Black Magic: The magic used by the Chaos Cult, Beastmen and Skaven, of course, but the Witch Hunters consider all magic "black".
    • So? The Witch Hunters are right. What's your point?
      • Teclis of Ulthuan wants a word with you...
  • Blind Seer: The Augurs are the Sisters of Sigmar who trade their eyesight for second sight (read re-roll dice for their failed actions in game and get choose the results from two dice when looking for loot). They also shave their hair off except for a single braid.
  • Bloody Murder: The Dark Blood chaos ritual literally consists of slashing open a palm and showering an enemy with blood, which burns the enemy. And then testing to see if you collapse from blood loss.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Bugman’s ale which makes the unit fearless and the Kislevites naturally have vodka.
  • Burn the Witch!: The Witch Hunters, naturally.
  • Church Militant: The Sisters of Sigmar and the Witch Hunters. Bothe agree that Wyrdstoneis a dangerous and evil rersource that must be sealed away for the good of the world. But they wouldn't ally bacause the witch hunters have decided that the only way that the sisters could of survived the comet impact was to have made packs with dark gods and they treat the sisters like they would the chaos corrupted warbands that loot the city.
  • Circus of Fear: The Carnival of Chaos warband.
  • Cult: Cult of the Possessed who worship the Shadowlord, a dark lord who lives in The Pit (the crater which the meteor left when it struck).
  • Demonic Possession: Cult of the Possessed has the "Possessed" and the Darksouls which are humans who have been previously possessed and have been driven mad by the experience.
  • Disaster Scavengers: Everyone, it's why most of them are here and the only way to survive. It helps that said disaster spread lots of valuable Green Rocks around the city.
  • Dowsing Device: The Wrydstone Pendulum from the Opulent Goods article is a pendulum made of wrydstone and can be used to find more of the stone.
  • Dramatis Personae: This is used as the name for the list of hireable individual characters with actual names rather then genric troops.
  • Drop the Hammer: Apart from the regular hammers the soldiers can be armed with the Sisters of Sigmar have the Sigmarite Warhammer, a holy weapon that takes after the God Emperor's favoured weapon.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are tables for environmental effects that include the earth underfoot trying to swallow you, shadows coming to life and trying murder you, and spontaneous rains of fish.
  • Experience Points: Units gain experience for surving and achieving objectives in each battle which can be used to gain new skills or stat increases.
  • Warband of Hats: Even individual empire provinces get their own warbands.
  • Gladiator Games: Whilst gladiatorial combat is outlawed in most places of the Empire games still continue in lawless location such as the devestated city of Mordheim. Units that haven't been killed but taken out of action have a chance of waking up in the infamous fighting pits of Cutthroat’s Haven, if he wins he gains EXP and cash if he merely survives they just throw him out.
    • One of the hired swords that warbands can recruit is a Pit Fighter.
    • The larger gladiatorial fights can be played out with the Gaiden Game "Pit Fighter".
    • Also there are rules for playing with the Pit Fighters warband made up of those fighters who earned their freddom or more likely escaped the pits.
  • Good Luck Charm: Can be equipped and they even work! saving the holder from damage 50% of the time (determined by dice roll).
  • Green Rocks: Wyrdstone... better known elsewhere in the Warhammer setting as "warpstone".
  • Human Sacrifice: The Cult of the Possessed can sacrifice captives or ramdom survivors that them find they gain after the battle for extra EXP.
    • One of the ramdom things that be found while exploring is a group of people being held for sacrifice. What you can do with them depends on the warband including freeing them (humans), sell them to slavery (skaven), zombifying them (undead) and the Possessed can finish the job.
    • Other chaos aligned warbands and the Lizardmen can also do the same.
  • Hunter of Her Own Kind: Countess Marianna Chevaux was turned into a vampire against her will. She now spends her time hunting vampires in the anonymity of Mordheim and torturing them for leeds on the where abouts of her sire Serutat to exact her revenge.
  • The Igor: The Undead warbands can recruit the Dregs, who are the deformed human survivors of the comet strike. They serve their undead masters as they are the few to show them kindness.
  • It Only Works Once: The Blunderbuss can hit anyone in a 16" long and 1" wide area but can only be fired once per battle.
  • Kill It with Fire In the end Magnus the Pious razed the city with fire after the great war against chaos in 2302.
  • Knife Nut: Johann The Knife. he has a special rule called Knife Fighter Extraordinare that allows him to bypass the limit of three knives thrown during his turn, allowing him to throw six knives per turn if he doesn't move. He's so good with knives that they count for swords during battle.
  • Literal Genie: The wizard Nicodemus freed a daemon that had been trapped inside a lantern and in return was offered a wish. His wish was "I want to become the greatest wizard known to Mankind!" and the daemon granted his wish by making him grow endlessly. He discovered an antidote before he grew too large, but he requires a constant supply of Warpstone to manufacture it.
  • Mythology Gag: A Sisters of Sigmar seeress called Cassandora predicted the comet is presumably the same Cassandora from "Comet of Cassandora" in the Warhammer Lore of Heavens.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: From the credits "No toads or rats were harmed during the production of Mordheim. Several fish were consumed."
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Norse Warband from town cryer had the Wulfen. Described as Berserkers with a very rare mutation that allows them to change into blood hungry beasts, part man part wolf or bear. These warriors can tear through flesh and armor with ease with there massive fangs as they rampage through the melee.
    • The Empire in Flames rules include the Balewolf, a creature of chaos the can even infect the units that it wounds with lycanthropy potentially turning them into a Balewolf in a future battle.
  • Prehensile Tail: Skaven can get this as a special skill.
  • Press-Ganged: The Pirate Crew warband can force captives to become swabbies to fight for them (with the decent chance of running away if they can). Undead just turn them into zombies.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Rumor has it that the endless growth in Nicodemus back story was written because when they made the original model they noticed that it was taller then the other human models and rather then rmake the model simply intergrated it with the story.
  • Religion is Magic: The Sisters of Sigmar have mystical powers as a result of their devotion to Sigmar. They even managed to use their prayers to shield their monastery when the comet hit.
  • Retcon: In the 6th Chaos Warriors sourcebook for Warhammer, The Shadowlord was explained to be Be'lakor, the Damned First Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, having possessed the Chaos Warrior who should have been the Chosen of Chaos for that generation, in an effort to cheat his destiny.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The Skaven of Clan Eshin run rampant over the devastated city.
  • Running Gag: A lot of models made games workshop for Mordheim include a fish. For example one is nailed to the Freelancer Knight's shield and a Witch Hunter flagellants carring one for no particular reason.
  • Shout-Out: The Carnival of Chaos preforms such tales as ‘The Emperor’s True Face’, ‘Orfeo and Pustulate’, ‘Papa Noigul’s Festering Children’ and ‘A Midsummer Nightmare’.
    • The introductory story for the Carnival includes the lines:
  • Sniper Rifle: Hochland long rifle.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Wyrdstone. The "Power in the Stones" article from Town Cryer gives rules to give wyrdstone shards magical powers whilst using them runs the risk of sickness, mutation or the degeneration into a chaos spawn.
  • Universal Poison: Posions effect every race from Ogres to Skaven, only a few are immune such as the undead.
  • Urban Warfare: The game uses rules similar to Warhammer but without the emphasis on large units of troops in formation deployed on fairly open terrain instead focusing on a few warriors in cramp streets.
  • Whip It Good: Sisters of Sigmar steel whip special weapon.
  • Wretched Hive: The city of Mordheim became so depraved, corrupt, and horrifying a comet was thrown at it. Then it became a bunch of warped ruins home to a few depraved, corrupt, and horrifying mutants, any number of criminals who arrived to take advantage of the lawlessness, as well as the mercenary warbands coming from across the realm to loot it.
  • Your Mom: In the fluff for the Dwarf warband a fight was started between a group of dwarves and mercenary humans because the the drunk human leader "made a very unfriendly remak about the dwarf leader's mother".

Blood BowlFantasy Tabletop GamesWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Blood BowlTabletop GamesWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay

alternative title(s): Mordheim
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