Tabletop Game / Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
In the grim darkness of medieval Europe you will roll peasants and die of cholera.

It is a dark time: far to the north, the gate of chaos has opened once more. Archaon, Lord of End Times, had waged his insane war on the civilized world, although he was beaten back at the last moment, Chaos is still prevalent throughout the land: Beasts ravage the countryside, Mutation and Insanity are rife. Heroes are needed, heroes who will beat back the darkness, heroes the like of which who have better things to do than to save inbred, misbegotten peasants like these.

So, you lot will have to do. May the lords of ruination spare your souls...

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a bleakly humorous take on a high fantasy roleplaying game. It is set in the same setting as Warhammer.

WFRP was originally published in 1986 as a single-volume rule-book, and numerous source and campaign volumes followed. Games Workshop's core business, however, is in the sale of miniatures and other battle-game periphera, and roleplaying publishing has never been as profitable. WFRP was passed around various publishing subsidiaries before being mothballed in 1992.

Independent publisher Hogshead obtained the rights to publish WFRP in 1995, though GW retained editorial control to ensure any original material remained true to their canon. Hogshead reverted the license to GW in 2002 when they came under new ownership, and in 2005 Games Workshop published a 2nd edition of the rules developed by outside developer Green Ronin. In 2009, after getting the license, Fantasy Flight Games — the publishers of Dark Heresy and the Rogue Trader RPG, which use variations in the 2nd edition rules — put out a somewhat controversial 3rd edition; support for that ended in 2014. In May 2017 it was announced that a 4th edition of the game would be released by Cubicle 7 Entertainment.

The original rulebook was often praised for its remarkably bug/exploit-free game engine. The game has been praised for its immersing realism, but equally criticized for forcing players to roleplay the boring periods between quests as well as the exciting adventures themselves.

Part Dungeons & Dragons, part Paranoia, part Call of Cthulhu, WFRP shares in its parent setting's bleakness. A solidly Grey vs Black setting, WFRP is uncompromising in its grimness; instead of simply choosing a race and a class, you are advised to roll a dice for a race and a "career," which include heroic backgrounds like rat catchers, rag pickers, thugs for hire and tax collectors. After all, life isn't fair, and in Warhammer, it's downright sadistic.

The setting itself is very cynical for a high fantasy, incorporating many low fantasy elements. The Old World is Europe in the throes of the Renaissance; new civilized cities have begun to rise, throwing up whole new criminal underworlds. Racketeers and drug lords abound, indeed the concept that things like alcohol and drugs can be addictive is yet to be thought of, new 'civilized' physicians cut into patient's skulls looking for 'unclean humours' that plague them. The insane are hounded, out of the fear that daemons have touched them.

This being Warhammer, they probably have. The forces of Chaos are readying their legions to finally take over the world, doom stalks the countryside. But doom has always stalked the countryside, the people of the Old World are fighting a losing battle to stop it from stalking their very homes; indeed many have given up and thrown in their lot with cults dedicated to chaos.

The world stands at the brink of annihilation. True, virtuous heroes are needed to turn back the tide of darkness.

Until such people can be found, your PCs will have to do...

This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

NOTE: all the tropes of WFRP's parent setting, Warhammer, apply here as well.

  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. An arrow is a damage 3 hit, same as an average joe making a swing at you with a sword, only much harder to avoid.
    • Actually this was a rather serious flaw at least in the first edition of the game. The problem was that, as the player characters advance, their melee attacks got more powerful and more accurate and their opponents got tougher. Their arrows, on the other hand, got more accurate but remained damage 3 no matter how good an archer the character was. So arrows were powerful against your average thug, goblin or newbie adventurer, but almost useless against a knight, chaos warrior or orc warlord.
    • Which is precisely how missiles behave in real world. If you are able to achieve maximal pull of a bow, it won't get better if you get stronger. On the other hand, the higher your skill in either melee or shooting, the higher the chance of gaining an additional damage that with a bit of luck may still One-Hit Kill anything that is not immune to normal weapons. Furthermore, in missile combat uses a Sudden Death Rule that is, as a rule of thumb, more deadly that normal Critical Hit rules.
  • Apothecary Alligator: In the 1st edition adventure, The Dying of the Light, the characters meet Dr Balthazar, a dwarf alchemist from the University of Nuln. The cart he is travelling in is loaded with the paraphernalia of his alchemical studies including a stuffed alligator.
  • Armour Is Useless: It most definitively is not, but fat chance you'll ever see any besides (if you're lucky) your starting leather skullcap and that rusty piece of moth-ridden chainmail you nabbed off that bandit.
    • In the first edition it was. According to the rules, chainmail or plate armour give 1 Armour Point, which stacks with Toughness (natural resilience) that ranges between 2 and 4 for an average human. This means that an average guy in plate armor is just as resilient as a tough warrior naked. Leather armour was useless against anything but lightest attacks (think fisticuffs).
      • Shields were pretty useful, though. They protected a character's entire body, and were lighter than a chainmail shirt, which offered the same protection to only the torso, but was heavier than the shield.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the third-tier careers — especially those that require full plate mail or, hell, anything costing over 100 Gold Coins as a trapping to enter. The highest level wizard career requires 6000 GC worth of grimoires to enter.
    • In Third Edition, Ulthuan Scale Armour qualifies: it looks really cool, but costs 1 more gold and provides 1 less armour then a breastplate, all for a negligible encumbrance reduction.
  • Artifact of Doom: Everything in the Tome of Corruption supplement. Everything!
  • Badass Bookworm: Magister Oric of Wurtbad, author of Perilous Beasts: A Study of Creatures Fair and Foul, the in-universe equivalent of the Old World Bestiary splatbook. In his efforts to get as much information for his bestiary as possible, he actually confronted pretty much every sentient creature in his list and spoke to them face to face. And what's more, in every case, he lived to tell the tale — by the time he published his book, he had been working on it for 50 years and only lost his hand in the process. Which, considering he went face to face with every notable creature haunting the Old World, is highly impressive. He even managed to diplomatically talk to beings like Daemons, Dragon Ogres, Chaos worshippers (including full-fledged champions), Skaven (a Clan Eshin "scholar" actually provides information on poisoning many of the creatures mentioned in the book) and Dark Elves.
    • In fact, a note at the end indicates the book got banned because the editor thought he had just stolen some old elven bestiary text and made every encounter in it up, because even conceiving of the alternative — that he really did it all — would be heretical at best.
  • Barbarian Hero: If you have the Tome of Corruption and are playing the second edition rules, you have can be this trope as a Norscan or, to a lesser extent, as a Kurgan.
  • Black Comedy: A lot of it all around. For example, the Bestiary in Second Edition has a Skaven assassin as one of its regular "contributors", whose only comments on the monsters are the prescribed poisons used by his Clan Eshin for assassinating them. Including "arsenic" for his own species.
  • Black Knight: The Chaos Warrior career open to Norse characters in the Second Edition WHFRP game was this at its purest.
  • Body Horror: Chaos corrupts; what drives the point home better than waking up one day with a face growing out of your armpit? When fighting in a Warpstone-tainted environment, don't breathe in.
    • Some of the mutation results are downright disturbing, and nigh impossible to roleplay seriously:
    While you sleep, your genitals decide to leave you and run off north to the realm of Chaos, in their place you are granted a toothed orifice which stage whispers lewd suggestions at inappropriate moments.
    • And yes, that's an actual mutation.
      • And if you are able to roleplay this seriously, we may have some bad news for you...
  • Canon Discontinuity: The main campaign of adventures published for the first edition, The Enemy Within, pretty clearly cannot have taken place as written in the world described by the second and third editions. In Empire in Flames, Emperor Karl Franz and Boris Todbringer are both murdered on separate occasions; Heinrich Todbringer becomes the new emperor, is revealed as the heir of Sigmar, and marries Emmanuelle von Liebewitz. None of this happened according to the second edition...
  • Character Alignment: Only present in the First Edition of the game. While broadly similar to their D&D equivalents, there were some differences. The options were:
    • Chaotic: Basically inhuman evil. Someone who has literally shed their humanity in pursuit of other goals, be they magical power, physical power, eternal life, daemonhood, or just causing mayhem. Similar to Chaotic Evil in D&D.
    • Evil: Nasty sorts fully prepared to throw others under the bus, use extreme torture etc., but still have human motivations, and don't cross into Omnicidal Maniac territory. Equivalent to Neutral Evil or Lawful Evil in D&D.
    • Neutral: Most "normal" people — albeit with some Deliberate Values Dissonance due to the setting. Mostly care about themselves, but usually willing to oppose extremes of cruelty etc. Equivalent to True Neutral or Chaotic Neutral in D&D.
    • Good: Altruistic and prefer justice over law, and generally don't believe in Pay Evil unto Evil. D&D equivalent would be Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Good (as long as the "Lawful" does not take precedence over the "Good").
    • Lawful: If you go too far down the Good Is Not Nice road, you end up here. These people believe in structure, permanence and order above all else. They are sworn enemies of Chaos, and are willing to go to great lengths to oppose it, and but will also scoff at Neutral or even Good characters for being "too soft" or "lacking self-control". D&D equivalent would be Lawful Neutral.
  • Competitive Balance: Some careers are blatantly better than others, though at different roles, and there are usually mitigating factors somewhere down the line even for peasants and servants. For your average combat-centric campaign, however, getting about 3/4ths of the starting careers will shaft you.
    • Even in Third Edition (which is a lot more player friendly) skills are extremely important, and getting a career that doesn't start with combat skills in a combat-heavy campaign means you probably won't live long enough to learn those skills... which you would have to spend more experience to get.
  • Critical Hit: "Ulric's Fury!"
    • There's also a page of critical hit effects once you hit 0 wounds — and some fan-made expanded ones, including an epic 16+ page version written by a medical professional — with quite a few eye-watering effects that make Dark Heresy's tables look like a walk in the park by comparison. The First Edition's second-worst Critical Hit on the leg, for example, reads as follows:
    Your blow destroys your opponent's hip joint almost totally — the leg hangs limply, a mass of tattered and pulpy flesh with protruding fragments of bone. By chance, one of the bone splinters has severed a major artery, and after a fraction of a second your opponent collapses, with blood pouring out from the ruined hip. Death from shock and blood loss is almost instantaneous.
  • Critical Failure: A critical failure during spell casting may summon Daemons of Chaos, render you impotent, render you and your party and your distant relatives impotent, or merely give you an insanity point. Guns tend to simply blow up.
  • Cult: The old world is polytheistic, all its major gods command a cult to do their bidding. And their bidding is often very bloody; gods in Warhammer are not moral pillars or Anthropomorphic Personifications but tyrannical masters who will strike you down if you don't give them their due. As such, most of the important people of the empire belong to (often rival) cults, who for all their mutual dislike, hate chaos, foreigners and elves more.
  • Dashing Hispanic: The Estalian Diestro career from the second edition of the game. Estalia is the setting's Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Spain and the Diestro is described as a master swordsman (or woman). Their beginning possessions include not simply a rapier, but a set of fine clothes and a bottle of cologne or perfume!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Never mind characters and NPCs, the manuals can get in on the snark. For instance, the sum total of the "roleplay hints" for Human characters:
    You should know how to play one of these.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Quite a lot of it, especially in the Bretonnian supplement.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted. If your characters encounter things like Greater Daemons or Ancient Dragons, then your characters will almost certainly die.
    • The Monster manual even states that these monsters are to be used for cutscenes.
    The Greater Daemons of Chaos are living symbols of the futility of fighting Chaos. Their might is unmatched. Their threat is limitless. Each and every one of these foul beings have the power to bring low the greatest of mortal heroes.
    • In the first two editions at least it was just about possible for a party of powerful adventurers (i.e. those who had an entire campaign behind them) to take out a lone Greater Daemon. The last adventure in the 1st edition Enemy Within campaign pits the adventurers against a weakened Greater Daemon at the very end of the adventure. Can you smell those Fate Points burning up?
    • Note that this is a prerequisite for entering the "Daemon Slayer" career.
    • If you are curious — in the first edition, Greater Demons [sic] were statted... with 90 to 100% in every applicable stat.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original First Edition rulebook made no mention of Daemons, instead featuring Demons; and all the gods have demon followers, not just the Chaos Gods (which yes means it is very possible to have Good and Lawful demons.) Additionally Sigmar is mentioned briefly as a regional "lesser deity" and protector of the Imperial Family, implying he is a rather minor god. First Edition as a whole is this for anyone who started playing Warhammer Fantasy at any period after the release of Warhammer's 5ed.
    • In addition, some of the backgrounds for certain countries and regions have undergone major changes — e.g. Sylvania wasn't run by vampires, Bretonnia was known for its decadent nobility and had a technology level equivalent to the Empire, Albion was a civilized land, the Hobgoblins weren't allied with Chaos Dwarfs, etc.
    • The Fimir, a minor, rarely-mentioned race in the later editions of Warhammer, are featured prominently - they get a whole page of background plus a full-page illustration.
  • Exact Words: In the first edition Realms of Sorcery had Erik's Sword of Confusion:
    This was made for Erik the Drunkard, a notorious Norscan mercenary. While in his cups he foolishly commissioned a wizard to make him a sword that could "cut through things like butter." The wizard was as good as his word. Against normal targets, the sword has Damage -3, but it cuts through dairy products with the efficiency of a fine cheesewire. The wizard who made the sword was later found drowned in a vat of yoghurt.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Guns are available, but since they're expensive, dangerous to the user and not that much more efficient than bows and arrows, they get overlooked.
    • Fluff-wise, Bretonnia has it in an interesting way. There Ain't No Rule forbidding guns, but there is a blanket ban on crossbows, which hasn't been updated after black-powder weapons were introduced. Most people there consider the current interpretation (that guns are vaguely similar to and fill the same battlefield niche as crossbows, and therefore count as such) to be in the spirit of the law, but the fathers of the port of L'Anguille are actively lobbying for a stricter interpretation or outright amendment to the law, so they can upgrade the port's defenses with cannon.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: There are quite a few, most involving Chaos.
    • In The Dying of the Light, the Fimir have a magical testing ground where their warriors can prove they're worthy of being possessed by Daemons (they consider this an honour). The combats take place on a plane of magical glass. Those who fall slip right through the glass and become trapped below ground like flies in amber. Not all of them are dead and it's implied they will remain alive, but trapped - forever.
    • The titular villain from Castle Drachenfels has devised many different ways of keeping people alive, but tormented forever in his dungeons. One particularly cruel example is a courtesan whom Drachenfels transformed into an undead skeleton, but still believes she's a beautiful Femme Fatale.
  • Gang Bangers: The expansion Shades of the Empire adds the option of roleplaying medieval 'Work Gangs'.
  • Global Currency: Averted, in a deviation from typical Tabletop Games of this kind. Each nation (and the elves and dwarves) have their own monetary unit, which have exchange rates. Most adventures take place inside the Empire, however, where their currency is generally the only found legal tender.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: The Empire has this system of currency, albeit based on Old British Money: 12 copper pennies to the silver shilling, 20 silver shillings to the gold crown. Confusing as hell for anyone who grew up with decimalized money (basically everyone who isn't British or Irish and born before the mid-'60s).
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The three-part Paths of the Damned campaign in 2nd edition revolves around the players' efforts to find and destroy three Soul Jars containing the essence of a powerful Greater Daemon of Khorne.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The Rat Catchers are the first line of defense against evil ratmen, the Skaven, who are plotting to conquer the world. They brave the medieval sewers, full of diseases and instant death, armed with little more than clubs and a small (but vicious) dog, all for below minimum wage. They've learnt long ago to not mention it to the people on the surface, on fear of ridicule. Most thankless job ever.
  • Groin Attack: You can aim for the crotch, which does extra damage. In the 2nd edition, the Bretonnia sourcebook mentions the existence of Bretonnian Truffle Hounds, monstrous dogs that are experts on sniffing out truffles. If they eat any of the truffles they find, though, they become psychotically horny and territorial, immediately attacking anything nearby with a Y-chromosome (regardless of species) and... removing their ability to compete, shall we say? Bretonnian truffle hunters either wear metal plates over their nether regions and become very good at restraining their dogs quickly, or learn to get a day job as a falsetto singer.
  • The Grotesque: Long term contact with Chaos or Warpstone often induces mutations in player characters. Regardless of whether you choose to fight against or embrace the corruption eventually you will lose your mind. If you're playing the now outdated Second Edition and you're a Norscan with a mutation, congratulations! You can start as a badass Chaos Marauder! And it's all downhill from there.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Zigzagged. Guns are extremely deadly if they hit — which reflects in their extremely high purchase price. Barring rolling up a soldier, your average PC will be lucky if he ever sees one. However, the operative words are if they hit. The Old World being the equivalent of 16th-century Europe, guns are not well noted for their accuracy or reliability (with the exception of Hochland Long Rifles, which are bloody expensive even for firearms).
    • Guns were pretty weak in the first edition of the game (except the ones who could hit multiple targets with one shot, such as the Blunderbuss).
  • Horny Vikings: The Norscans, who are a race of superhuman Chaos Vikings, make an appearance as a playable race in the Tome of Corruption in the 2nd edition, and as main antagonists in the Crimson Rain adventure for the third edition Liber Carnagia rulebook. In the latter, a Norse warband dedicated to Khorne and led by a Chaos Champion known as Olaf Warhound raid the Nordland city of Neues Emskrank in search of a daemon weapon of Khorne.
    • Vignar, an Aesling Chaos Lord of Khorne present in the Thousand Thrones campaign supplement for the second edition of WHFRP was an extreme example of this trope as well as the second most lethal enemy in the campaign, second only to the overall villain of that story.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Mannfred Von Carstein takes a special delight in flaying the tongues of anyone who pronounces "Von Carstein" to rhyme with "seen"
  • Joke Skills: Some NPCs have unique skills such as Sweep Corridors, Wave To Crowds, Walkabout or Spaghetti Eating.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: The Grail Knight career. Knight of a knightly order would also count, but the "shining armour" part may be seen as somewhat arguable.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Well, a dagger, but the sentiment and end result are the same. In one of the fluff pieces, a Witch Hunter finds out his old friend, a Sigmar-Priest, is in fact a secret Chaos cultist. Instead of going through the usual process of Burn the Witch!, he offers him a chance to kill himself.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Halflings have miserable movement speed, penalties to Strength, Toughness and Weapon Skill, and the lowest amount of wounds amongst all the races. However, they are completely immune to mutations and can essentially juggle pieces of unrefined Warpstone without problems. They also have a surprising amount of warrior-able classes as possible starting careers. While one won't look as imposing as that Shieldbreaker or elven warrior, a halfling with an arquebus or a crossbow will pull their weight.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Generally averted. Magic powers don't grow in potency and the spells you get are about in line with the average damage output of most other classes at the same experience amount. And while warriors may be limited to 'hit stuff with sword' as opposed to 'call down lightning from the heavens', 'hit stuff with sword' won't end up with the warrior causing accidental self-sterilization, permanent insanity, strange weather phenomena, witch-signs, curdling the party ale, summoning demons, or being treated to a rousing game of Burn the Witch! by the party priest of Sigmar and/or anyone else within earshot.
    • Partially due to "Blind Idiot" Translation equivalent of unit conversion. Many high-level spells were taken directly from Warhammer Fantasy Battle with inches changed to meters and miniatures changed to targets. In WFB, top-level combat spell was an equivalent of cannon hit or arrow barrage at half a mile (one miniature represented 10 soldiers or so). In WFRP the same spell is roughly equivalent of blunderbuss shot at 50 meters. Still useful, but hardly impressive. In Second Edition spells are much more deadly. For both target and caster though...
      • In Second Edition, magicians got such lovely, deadly spells as instant death, removing fate points, healing all damage of all sorts done to a character (including insanity and disease) or creating a huge fire that will not stop burning until everything within range is dead. A single wizard can only learn one of these, but it certainly is a much greater damage potential than anything any close combat character can dish out.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: The episodic scenario book The Dying of the Light turns into an escort mission — with a supernaturally annoying escortee — for most of its second half.
  • Loan Shark: "I needed money for some new chainmail so that I could survive the run through Blackfire Pass, so I took a loan from Bruno Ballcrusher back in Marienburg. Orcs massacred the caravan and now I'm impotent and live in a cell with a pedophile, a serial rapist and an elf."
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Fate Points grant you a daily allotment of 'fortune points', which can be used to re-roll your dice.
  • With A Little Luck My Shield Will Allow Me To Parry This And Survive Another Round
  • Made of Plasticine: Not as bad as Dark Heresy due to the lower power levels, but there is some nasty stuff on the critical hit tables with the highest level cleaving the offending body part right off/right in two.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Constant Drachenfels, an incredibly ancient and evil sorcerer, is the most prominent example. He uses it to hide his Nightmare Face.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Taken Up to Eleven by the Judicial Champion advanced class. Judicial Champion has possession of and proficiency with at least six high-quality melee weapons as a prerequisite. This is because Judicial Champions are the representatives of the court in an Trial by Combat, and are expected to duel the defendant with the weapon of his or her choice.
  • Munchkin: One of the most munchkin-hostile game systems in existence. You roll for practically everything, including stats and your starting career, and the book encourages the GM to throw the book at rules lawyers — literally.
    • Though it has to be said, with a little charm cast upon the dice (and no Munchkin is above that), you could get elves who are faster than horses. Then, there was the infamous Naked Dwarf Syndrome.
      • In the First Edition it was also possible to have characters who were physically stronger than Dragons, although they could never take the same amount of damage.
      • On the other hand, even characters sporting Naked Dwarf Syndrome had to be wary given the sheer lethality of the rules. Most attacks had roughly 2-3% chance of killing even the toughest character instantly.
      • In Third Edition, if you want be statistically identical to a Dragon prepare to spend 147 XP to get the same stats, then you will need to spend 30 XP to get the same number of wounds. Keep in mind that you gain 1 XP each adventure — and still aren't frightening, can't breath fire, and don't have claws that do greatsword-level damage.
    • Frankly, a creative use of low-level spells can make wonders. Especially if you try to interpret effects realistically for role-playing purposes.
  • Mutants:
    • The presence of Moorcock-inspired Chaos mutants is a feature that set Warhammer apart from many other fantasy wargame/role-playing systems — and here, they're given all the gory detail they deserve. Being a mutant means everything from being a complete cripple, to merely being an ugly human, to becoming a freak powerful enough to put most X-Men to shame, and everything in between.
    • Players can develop mutations in a number of ways, such as if they tamper with magic, mishandle the local Green Rocks, or get slapped in the face with chaotic energies. Mutating too often and too quickly (or having one of your characteristics depleted to zero by mutations) will cause them to spontaneously transform into a mindless Chaos Spawn. Furthermore, while some mutations have clear advantages, they're also very un-subtle, and the people of the Empire have learned to burn mutants on sight.
  • Nice Hat: The Witch Hunters wear very distinctive hats when they want to be seen. In fact, even seeing someone wearing that hat unexpectedly is enough to force a roll for Save versus Fear.
  • Off with His Head!: The possible result of a Critical Hit.
    Your opponent's head flies off in a random direction, landing 2D6 feet away.
  • 1-Up: The Fate Points. Burn one and you get to survive — by some extraordinary quirk of fate — an event that otherwise would kill you. They're very hard to come by, though, and spending them also reduces your base pool of Fortune Points (which are a renewable resource and serve as a more typical Luck Manipulation Mechanic).
  • Our Elves Are Better: Quite literally; elves have the highest ability score total (two positive modifiers, no negative), a base movement of 5 (about as fast as a horse), don't need to pay tuition fees as wizards, and their career list lacks many of the suckier choices like peasant. They get shafted slightly on Fate Points and Wounds, but not as badly as the Halflings on the latter. This, of course, is all to make up for the fact that getting those fat bonuses mean you have to play an elf. In a setting where, in case it hasn't been made clear already, everyone is borderline racist and takes Screw You, Elves! as something that should be done with any available chopping or bludgeoning implement and plenty of fire.
  • Prestige Class: Advanced careers.
  • Perpetual Poverty: What the player characters will be living in.
    • Going by the rules as written, it is unlikely that a new character can afford to wear a full leather suit and have a decent sword and buckler, if these are not provided by his career.
      • Full leather suit? LUXURY! Your average WHFRP starting character will be lucky if he owns any armour at all. The starting gold (rolled for, of course) is barely enough to buy a character a decent pair of boots.
    • Made clear in the supplement Renegade Crowns (see Rags to Royalty) that even should the player characters become rulers they are still going to be scrabbling for every penny.
    • An especially egregious example of this trope, seeing as the 2nd edition of the game, as it got more and more supplements, got exact prices on every damn expensive thing the creators could think of. The most expensive object in the game would be a best craftsmanship galleon, which following game rules costs a stunning 120 THOUSAND gold crowns in a game where players have much better odds scavenging their equipment than working to make enough money to actually afford pistols or plate armour - both of which at common craftsmanship cost almost 1/500 of the galleon. Yeah... it's basically just a Take That! to players.
  • Pyro Maniac: Any party member or NPC with "Firebug", which includes a halfling in the scenario included in the Second Edition Realms of Sorcery splatbook. Generally speaking one of the more debilitating mental disorders.
  • Rags to Royalty:
    • First the good news: one of the supplements has a campaign allowing player characters to create (or more likely steal) a principality of their own! The bad news: said principality is in the monster/bandit/Chaos haunted Border Princes territory, will probably make Lancre look vast and wealthy in comparison and comes with a court full of people just itching to do to the player characters what they did to the last guy.
    • Some of the better advanced careers are pretty awesome as well; they won't give you royalty, but considering where you start, it's hardly a downturn. With luck, or lawyering the rules of first edition, you can work your way up to generals of mercenary armies, ship captains, and so on. You just will need a lot of it.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In The Enemy Within campaign, the adventurers at one point save the life of an Imperial Elector Count... and learn a lot of embarrassing secrets about his court. So as a "reward" they get sent to Kislev, to an area which is the fantasy equivalent of Siberia.
  • Running Gag: Any references to Rat Catchers or the Rat Catcher career will always mention their most important trapping: the small (but vicious) dog.
  • The Rustler: How many other games offer "Rustler" as a career choice for the player characters?
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Troll Slayers. Most combat-related careers usually have some non-combat related skills thrown in to showcase a diversified lifestyle when not fighting anything. Troll Slayers have three skills and three skills only: Dodge Blow (useful only in a fight), Intimidate (also useful in a fight) and Consume Alcohol (useful for giving you an excuse to start a fight). Justified, as the whole point of becoming a Slayer is to be a singleminded Death Seeker, and you can't leave the Slayer path once you start it.
  • Sanity Meter: Just saw a particularly grisly murder scene? Turned out that filthy hobo that stole the countess' silverware was a Chaos mutant and just revealed it in front of you? Happen to be, or stand close to, a wizard (or an elf) for an extended period of time? It's Insanity Points time! Hope you like crippling alcoholism, mandrake addiction, kleptomania, delusions of grandeur or any other number of not-so-funny-anymore medieval mental illnesses, because you'll be stuck with it for the rest of your career.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Particularly in the rural areas of the Empire, elves have basically the same social problems as wizards. Old World Armoury even mentions an "ear tax" levied on elves, although it's not always enforced. Altdorfers, though, generally avert this trope, since so much weird magical shit goes down in Altdorf anyway.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few...
    • One that comes to mind is from the adventure book The Dying of the Light, wherein a witch hunter's equipment includes a pair of scales and a duck.
    • Another example is from the supplement Warhammer City, where a there's a chaos cult called the Deviants and Decadents (D&D-ers), whose leader is called the Deviant Master (DM).
    • One for Warehouse 13: In one of the oldest official adventures, a ritual to open a demonic portal in the heart of the Empire is set in Warehouse number 13.
  • Simple Staff: The only weapon that priests of Shallya are allowed to use.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: As noted, cynical. Although not as cynical as say, 40K. The random roles system will provide players with less of a party of adventurers than a band of ugly thugs. Combat is brutal and a high-risk affair, a misroll during spell casting may consign your soul to hell. Firearms (of the general arquebus variety) are similarly risky; a misfire can easily kill a low to medium level character. More likely, however, is a misfire that destroys the weapon and all its ammunition... and that is pretty likely, but you can still earn your happy ending. The world may be doomed, but the village behind yon hill can still be saved.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Necoho, the Chaos God of Atheism.
    Necoho requires nothing from his followers; indeed, it sometimes seems that he would rather not have any at all.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial/Could Say It, But...: The bread and butter of Bretonnian society according to the 2nd edition supplement. Many of the chapters on the dukedoms mention a number of regional quirks, most of whom most definitively do not involve cleverly avoiding the iron-bound honour culture of Bretonnia through insinuation and double-speak.
  • Take That!: In first Edition, Bretonnia basically was "ze" Frenchjerklandia.
    • Pre-Revolutionary Frenchjerklandia, to be precise. Also rotten to the bone.
  • Take That Us: The Enemy Within campaign includes a story about a not-so-bright knight who charged a handgunners regiment shouting "Challenge! Challenge!" (and thus invoking the controversial rule from WFB). This being WFRP, he simply got mowed down by one salvo of gunfire.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Bretonnian beer and ale. The wine, not so much. It's mentioned that the quickest way to get ejected from any tavern, inn or ale-house in the Empire is to ask the landlord if his brewer's Bretonnian.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: In one of the oldest official adventures, a ritual to open a demonic portal in the heart of the Empire is set in Warehouse number 13.
    • Also, thirteen is the sacred number of the Horned Rat, the Chaos god worshipped by the Skaven.
    • One of the most dangerous manifestations of Tzeentch's Curse in the 2nd edition is to have a glyph etched into the caster's skin, and if he gets thirteen of these, one of the Ruinous Powers (probably Tzeentch) devours him.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: A very real threat to most adventurers. When your insanities grow too grotesque, when your mutations grow too hideous, or when the peasants find out that you have a wizard (or worse, an elf) in your party, the mob awaits!
  • Total Party Kill: Very easy to achieve for a GM, without even trying. A few monsters — like Dragons and Greater Daemons — are basically only statted so a GM can use them to cause this.
    • More of a Background thing, really — Greater Daemons and Old Dragons are easily the deadliest thing in the tabletop wargame, capable of taking down the best hero characters and wiping out entire regiments of soldiers. The power levels of WFRP characters are far lower than, say DnD ones; a plate-armored knight will be a difficult proposition for the highest level characters, let alone a demigod of war.
  • Vagina Dentata: The mutation where:
    While you sleep, your genitals decide to leave you and run off north to the realm of Chaos, in their place you are granted a toothed orifice which stage whispers lewd suggestions at inappropriate moments.
  • Vancian Magic: Obeys the first law, but not the second and third laws. Also comes with the caveat that every spell has at least a 10% chance of driving the caster insane or causing chaos manifestations, successful or not (the more dice you roll to cast a spell, the greater the chance).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In several published adventures, the players are faced with a dilemma about what to do with non-hostile mutants. For example, Ludwig von Wittgenstein, nominal head of a noble family, lives in a castle run by his evil, insane necromancer daughter and supported by cruel, mutated guards, and he himself has mutated into a giant cockroach. However, he personally has no say in how things are done and is content to stay in his tower, playing an organ and with only cockroaches for company. Despite his mutation, he is a thoroughly polite and decent man - when the player characters arrive, he will welcome them and invite them for a chat about art and/or philosophy, offering them brandy and cigars.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: The Marshlight creatures are ethereal undead that cannot physically harm their victims, instead they mesmerise them and lead them into danger. They are impossible to harm unless hit with a magical weapon which banishes them in a single hit. There is also the Marsh Lights petty spell that allows a caster to create a number of lights within 100 yards of themselves and then send them off in any desired direction.
  • Worf Had the Flu The Enemy Within (1st edition) and Paths of the Damned (2nd edition) campaigns end with the players tangling with (and possibly defeating) weakened Greater Daemons. Normally, these nightmares would be a Total Party Kill just waiting to happen, especially in 1st edition, but in their reduced states they manage to be weak enough to serve as challenging boss battles.