Follow TV Tropes


Tabletop Game / Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Go To
In the grim darkness of medieval Europe you will roll peasants and die of cholera. Have fun!

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 Tabletop RPG set in the Dark Fantasy Crapsack World of 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; the core rulebooks were released in June (PDF) and July (hardcover) of 2018. Cubicle 7 are also working on Warhammer Age Of Sigmar Soulbound, a successor RPG set in the world of the Warhammer sequel, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.


The original rulebook was often praised for its remarkably bug/exploit-free game engine. The game has been praised for its immersive 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.
    open/close all folders 

    Tropes #—D 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Action Survivor: Careers range from gun-slinging highwaymen, assassins, wizards tapping into the forces of creation and plate-armoured knights, to farmers, taxmen, university students and common thieves. Your enemies include (among other things) sanity-blasting daemons, perverse cults worshipping those daemons, flesh-eating beastmen, Magitek-armed Rat Men, and The Undead. If you don't start out as a combat- or magic-focused career, you are essentially this trope by default in the average campaign.
  • The Alcoholic: Alcoholism is rife in the Old World, as might be expected in a setting where every sip of water could kill you, hope is rare, and life is nasty, brutish, short, cheap and difficult. The skill list even includes Consume Alcohol, and there is a good chance you will need to use it in any given session.
    • Halflings and Dwarfs are even heavier drinkers than Humans, and start with Consume Alcohol as a racial skill.
    • In various editions, characters who are traumatised have a chance to take to drinking to numb their pain: the "Terrible Thirstings", as it's known.
    • The The Enemy Within campaign features numerous alcoholic characters, including a pair of coachmen, an itinerant ex-Engineer, several dozen perpetually-drunken beggars and an entire village of Dwarfs. Most notable is Josef Quartjin, who drinks almost constantly, but this doesn't hinder him at all.
  • Alien Geometries: The capital city of Altdorf is slightly Bigger on the Inside and impossible to map, so people have to navigate by landmarks and instinct. The oddity comes from the elven magic used to make space for the Colleges of Magic — not to clear space, to make space.
  • All Swords Are the Same: A Zigzagged Trope. The majority of common one-handed weapons — regardless of whether they're swords, axes, maces or other diverse implements — are lumped together as "hand weapons" with no statistical differences whatsoever. In 2nd edition, two-handed weapons like greatswords and mauls are similarly blanketed as "great weapons". However, there are still numerous weapons that stand as their own, unique categories, such as rapiers, halberds, different types of bow and firearm, and so forth.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Subverted with the Norscans, a race of humans primarily associated with the forces of Chaos. While the tribes of Norsca's northern reaches (closer to the corrupting influence of the Chaos Wastes) are almost entirely villainous, the tribes closer to the south are mellow enough that honest trade with Kislev and Marienburg is frequent. In Marienburg especially, hiring rugged northmen as bodyguards is said to be rather fashionable among the upper classes, particularly with the noblewomen. However, it should be noted that Southern Norscans are still, well, Norscans, and therefore are still violent barbarians who revere the Chaos Gods. In 2nd edition, Norscans were fully playable as adventuring characters, initially represented by the "Norse Berserker" career in the core rulebook before gaining a unique racial template and career list in Tome of Corruption.
      • Double Subverted by other material from the setting that implied that the Norscans living or frequently trading with the Empire were either exiles or at least looked down upon in their societies, however.
    • Double Subverted by the Kurgan, who are essentially the Warhammer World's equivalent to Turko-Tatars. Much like the Norscans, they have a rich cultural and spiritual existence and see the Chaos Gods through nuanced, localised interpretations. Some Kurgan tribes are known to have links with the northernmost Kislevite people, and indeed, are related to them. Despite this, the text makes note that a Kurgan player character would normally never interact with the people of the South, except in combat or as part of a Master-Slave relationship.
    • Played straight by the Hung, a barbarian tribe of the Wastes who are said to be stupid, savage bastards even compared to the Norscans."Word of a Hung" is a northerner slang term for a promise that everyone knows will never be honoured. A Hung tribe might surround a village and demand all the village women be handed over to avoid the village being burned to the ground, and then the moment the women are in their arms, burn the village down anyway. Because they can.
  • Ambadassador:
    • The Grey Guardians are sought as diplomats for their wisdom and tact, but their usual job is basically traveling wizard secret Hardboiled Detective or spies, with the grit and cunning that implies.
    • Ambassador is an advanced career in 2nd edition (originating from Realm of the Ice Queen), and its entries are mostly high-end careers such as captain, high priest, and wizard lord, which means they're already quite powerful characters before taking the job.
  • Annoying Arrows:
    • This was a rather serious flaw 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. Even worse, skilled melee fighters got multiple attacks each round, while ranged attackers could only get one tops (or even less if they used crossbows or firearms, which had longer reload times). So arrows were powerful against your average thug, goblin or newbie adventurer, but almost useless against a knight, chaos warrior or orc warlord. In addition to this, 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. However, missile combat uses a Sudden Death Rule that is, as a rule of thumb, more deadly than normal Critical Hit rules.
    • In 4th Edition, bows scale in damage as your character's strength increases, while guns and crossbows do not. That said, the amount of strength needed for an average adventurer with a bow to match the most basic gun is extreme (strength bonus 6 or higher).
  • Anomalous Art:
    • When studied, the painting "A Grim Feast" causes the viewers to slaughter his entire family. A legend tell Girardi del Vors murdered his wife and her two male lovers after he found them in his house then used their blood and fluids to make this painting before hanging himself.
    • "The Blessed Ones" painting causes any viewer to gain one Insanity point and, if one drop of blood falls on it, unleashes two Unholy Ones who try to trap the viewer in the painting forever.
  • Anti-Villain: Karitamen the Death Scarab, the Big Bad of the 2nd edition adventure Lure of the Lich Lord. A sidebar called "Evil vs Undead" lampshades this, pointing out that he is ultimately a complex person with multiple motivations and virtues as well as vices, most of whom he would hold even if he wasn't a millennia-old Tomb King. The final encounter between Karitamen and the player characters is left up to the GM and can be solved nonviolently, with the book only pointing out that certain actions (like defacing his tomb or killing his best friend) will make him respond appropriately.
  • 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.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix:
    • In 1st edition, armor and shields "hinder conjurations and create magical disharmonies", increasing the Mana cost of spells proportionally to the weight of the armour and interfering with the spellcaster's mana recovery.
    • In later editions, armour and shields disrupt the Winds of Magic around the spellcaster, penalizing their spellcasting rolls and thereby increasing the chance that any given spell will fail. There are exceptions, like the 2e "Armoured Casting" Talent reducing the penalty and 4e Alchemists suffering no penalty from metal armour.
  • Armour Is Useless: In 1st Edition, 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. Later editions hugely increase its value.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Herrimaults outlaw bands are made up of the criminals and assorted undesirables of Bretonnian society — runaway serfs, levy dodgers, poachers, Sweet Polly Olivers who were found out, disgraced nobles, failed rebels, and everyone else who got on the nobility's bad side, united in a quest to strike back against Bretonnia's stifling social order.
  • Artificial Limbs: Combat, accident, and disease are all common causes of limb loss in this setting, and player characters are not exempt. Things like peg legs and hand-hooks are commonly available replacements, though a player character who has one installed to replace one that's lost does have to spend some experience practicing with it before they regain full functional use of that limb. For those characters who have a staggeringly improbable amount of money to spend, they can commission an "engineering marvel" which completely duplicates the function of a lost limb or eye.
  • Astrologer: Astronomy is an academic skill that can be used to read hints about the future. "Astrologer" is a career available to PCs and NPCs, but the most respected are the Celestial Wizards, who augment their studies with real precognitive magic.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Extreme gigantism is one of the most common mutations caused by Chaos on normal animals; while most cases aren't quite extreme enough for this trope (giant rats and spiders, for instance, are "only" the size of a wolf), others, like fen worms (common marsh snakes turned into 20- to 30-foot long monsters), certainly are.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • In the 1st edition, it was almost impossible to use thrown bombs without catching yourself in the blast as the maximum throwing range was only a yard further than the damage radius. This was corrected in errata and later editions.
    • Most of the third-tier careers in 2nd edition — 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 for 2nd edition. 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 for 2nd edition. 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: When using the Tome of Corruption sourcebook, and the 2nd Edition rules, a player can create a heroic character from the heavily muscled, and fair haired, barbaric northern tribes of Norsca. While later lore in the main game made the Norscans almost totally tainted by Chaos, at the time the Tome was released the Norscans were more neutral, and could at times be heroic and friendly to other human nations.
  • Barefoot Poverty: The 2nd Edition sourcebook Old World Armoury remarks that most Imperial peasants do without shoes, preferring to clothe the "important" parts of their body first, but this wasn't really reflected in the illustrations until 4th Edition.
  • Being Evil Sucks: In 2nd Edition, it's entirely possible to play the ultimate Villain Protagonist and become a Warrior of Chaos or Chaos Sorcerer, climbing your way up the ranks with the goal of eventually becoming a Daemon Prince. Unfortunately the gods are extremely fickle, and when you get their attention they're just as likely to slap you with more debilitating mutations as they are to reward you with a cool daemonic weapon. If the Eye of the Gods finally deigns to judge your worth and you have more mutations than Gifts of Chaos at the time, you'll be deemed a failure and transformed into a Chaos Spawn. Even better, you can't leave these Chaos-related classes once you start them, and the descriptions of the classes indicate that as the player character climbs up the tree, they begin to slowly forget who they really are and why they started doing these horrible things. By the time the player reaches Exalted Champion of Chaos, the description plainly states that the character's original identity has withered away to nothing, and their behavior by this point is really just a combination of insanity, instinct and the dominating influence of their chosen deity.
  • Beneath Notice: An actual Talent in 4th ed. Much like the trope, it makes people of a higher social status than you ignore your presence as long as you're not acting in a way that draws attention to yourself. Furthermore such characters will find you an unworthy opponent and refuse to use bonuses when attacking or wounding you.
  • 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 chain in the Second Edition WHFRP game was this at its purest. The second rank of it is even called a Chaos Knight.
    • Also from Second Edition, the Black Guard and Knight of the Raven careers serve as heroic examples. Both are black-armored knightly orders devoted to Morr, the god of death. The Black Guards are sentries who protect large cemeteries and temples of Morr from intruders who would defile the crypts and gravesites, such as tomb-robbers and necromancers. The Knights of the Raven belong to a militant sub-sect of the cult, and instead take the more proactive role of hunting down vampires and other undead monsters. Both groups specialize in ranged weaponry to counter the superior close-combat power of the undead, which most conventional knights would dismiss as a craven tactic.
  • Black Magic: The Dark Lores, chiefly Chaos and Necromancy. Where the conventional arcane lores involve specializing in the powers of a particular Wind of Magic, such as aqshy or ulgu, Dark Lores utilize a discordant, haphazard mix of the Winds known formally as dhar. Dhar is inherently corrupt, and comes with a risk of developing a variety of Red Right Hands when misused, which inevitably drives most users insane. Practitioners of the Dark Lores are hunted down and killed wherever they are found, either by the witchhunters or the Colleges of Magic (who see the "black magisters" as a dire threat to both the world and the reputations of better wizards).
  • The Blank: One of the Mutations that can be inflicted by Chaos exposure causes the person's facial features to crawl away, leaving them completely blank. They somehow retain their senses of sight, hearing, and smell, and lose the need to eat and drink, but are forever hungry and thirsty.
  • Blob Monster:
    • Chaos slime is a substance resembling a runny, pink or blue liquid produced under somewhat unclear circumstances; it's generally assumed to be a residue left after a daemon is banished and/or to be produced by and eventually consume certain mutants. Regardless of origin, it's living and fairly aggressive, forming parts of itself into tendrils with which to lash at passing creatures.
    • Huge, mindless amoebae were a halfway-common monster in 1st Edition, then disappeared until
  • Blood for Mortar: The Ritual "Father W'soran's Architect" creates a 50-foot stone tower to the spellcaster's specifications. Its ingredients include a Stone Troll's skull and a map of the tower drawn in a mason's blood.
  • 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.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Knights of the Grail describes the Forest of Châlons as being the haunt of "Undead, Beastmen and Undead Beastmen".
  • 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.
    • The second edition is set in the aftermath of the "Storm of Chaos" campaign for Warhammer's sixth edition (itself an example of this trope for Warhammer). According to lore snippets from Paths of the Damned, the Storm was ended at the Siege of Middenheim by Valten and Karl Franz catching Archaeon in a pincer movement and sending his armies fleeing, with no indication that the final events of the wargame Storm of Chaos took place either. On top of this, Third and Fourth edition has no indication of Storm ever having taken place, leaving it discontinued from both wargame and role-playing game.
  • Camp Follower: The job is codified as a basic Career, offering training in a broad range of practical skills. Flavor Text describes them as a versatile, surprisingly well-organized group who do various odd jobs around the camp, as well as scavenging and offering "personal companionship".
  • Character Alignment: In-Universe. 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Good: Altruistic and prefer justice over law, and generally don't believe in Pay Evil unto Evil.
    • 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, but will also scoff at Neutral or even Good characters for being "too soft" or "lacking self-control".
  • Character Level: Instead of gaining levels of "wizard" or "warrior", characters instead start with a career and a set of skills from that career. They can then advance their skills and stats in a way restricted by their current career (for example, servants can increase their agility, but not their leadership). In 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition finishing a career (having completed all available advances for that career) let you switch to a new career, while in 4th edition careers have tiers (for example: The "soldier" career goes recruit -> soldier -> sergeant -> officer) where unlocking tiers gives you access to new advances (much like in Dark Heresy's first edition).
  • Charm Person: In The Thousand Thrones, the plot revolves around a young boy named Karl, who was born as a mutant with an particularly potent example of this power. Anyone who hears his voice — even if its only a single unassuming word — needs to pass a difficult Will Power test or become instantly and fanatically loyal to him. Within a short span of time he gathers a veritable army of thralls, who hold him up as the true reincarnation of Sigmar. Karl himself isn't remotely evil, however; he's just a normal boy with a superpower he can't actually control, and his followers are clearly shown to be projecting their own hopes and dreams onto his presence.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: Generally averted across editions. While most items are priced in gold crowns, their prices are generally single-digits. Following the wealth guidelines in 4th edition, an unskilled labourer would be able to buy a decent knife with a week's wages, while a hand weapon such as a sword or an axe is achievable for most middle class careers within a month or so.
  • Chef of Iron: Second edition's "Realms of Sorcery" book gives us two spells in the Lore of Fire that lend themselves to magical cooking. Flashcook causes food to be instantly cooked to the caster's content or causes water to instantly boil; while Taste of Fire turns food incredibly spicy (to the point where only Bright Wizards can stomach it), grants alcoholic effects to non-alcoholic drinks, and makes already-alcoholic drinks more so. Given that the Lore of Fire is easily the most combat-focused lore in the game, any Bright Wizard who knows these two spells qualifies as this trope.
  • Chest Monster: Shiners are a type of giant amoeba that inhabits damp, dark places such as ruins and spreads itself thin over objects, giving them a shiny, glittering appearance that makes them seem more interesting and valuable than they would otherwise be. When treasure hunters or tomb robbers try to grab a shiner's perch, its shoots gouts of acid at them.
  • City of Adventure: The Fourth Edition starter set comes with a "Guide to Ubersreik" book, detailing that city in the southern Reikland, it's surrounding territories, and containing plenty of adventure seeds for everything mentioned.
  • Classical Cyclops: The 1st Edition core rulebook's description of Giants mentions that there are multiple kinds distinguished by unusual features, specifically naming the one-eyed Cyclops as an example. No other mention of such beings is made in later material, however.
  • Cold-Blooded Whatever: Lakemen are a variant of Beastmen that resemble misshapen humanoid frogs, but also possess gills and crustacean pincers. Justified, as they're creatures of Chaos and Chaos habitually causes living things to develop drastic mutations with no regard for taxonomy or sense.
  • 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.
  • Conspicuous Consumption:
    • Bretonnians who are granted a special exemption from one of the country's reams of sumptuary laws tend to flaunt their privilege. Some lords even grant "rewards" that they expect the recipient to enjoy to embarrassing excess, like permitting a commoner to wear red clothes in the hope that he'll drape himself head to toe in crimson, or the right to wear a large bright green false nose.
    • Some careers require entrants to have expensive high-quality clothing, jewellery, and other trappings of wealth to flaunt their means.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The first book of the 2nd edition Paths of the Damned campaign is set in Middenheim, and the lore given about the city makes numerous offhand references to the events of The Enemy Within, which transpired years ago in-universe. At one point, the players even encounter a leftover cell of the Purple Hand.
  • Critical Hit: In three general varieties:
    • "Ulric's Fury!" from 1st-3rd edition, in which you roll a natural 10 on a weapon's damage roll. If you succeed a Weapon Skill test, you get to roll another 1d10 and add the result to the first roll. If you roll another 10 after that, you get to roll another dice without a test, and another, and another... With some luck, Ulric's Fury can be a dramatic One-Hit Kill, wiping out a target's wounds and crossing directly into a huge Critical Hit Value.
    • There's also a page of critical hit effects once you deal damage beyond 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.
    • In 4th ed, critical hits happen when you succeed at a test in combat by rolling doubles (so 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, etc). When this happens you immediately inflict a critical wound on your opponent, no matter how injured or uninjured they may currently be. Critical hits can even occur while you're parrying an opponent's blow, making melee combat much more chaotic and deadly for both sides.
  • Critical Failure:
    • 1st-3rd editions had critical failures occur during spell casting by rolling doubles on your spell die, or with certain unstable weapons when rolling a 96-100 on your attack rolls. Results 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.
    • In 4th edition, fumbles are the counterpart of critical hits and occur when you roll doubles but don't succeed on your test. Because combat rolls are opposed rolls, this means you can both fumble and win a round a combat at the same time as long as your opponent rolls even worse, leading to situations like your slayer beheading that enemy goblin but accidentally getting his axe stuck in his own leg (or in the back of the party elf) in the process.
  • 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.
  • Death Seeker: Yes, flagellants and Dwarf slayers are playable in all four editions, and yes, you are expected to act like it if you do. In 2nd edition, the "career choice" for a slayer went troll slayer -> giant slayer -> daemon slayer -> glorious death.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Quite a lot of it, especially in the Knights of the Grail supplement concerning the Kingdom of Bretonnia.
    • Sadly true to the medieval period, women in Bretonnia are forbidden from owning property or managing their own affairs. If you want to play as a female adventurer in Bretonnia, you might have to pretend to be a man. Even visiting women aren't unlikely to prefer to pretend to be a man to make things run more simply for the duration of their stay.
    • Xenophobia is seen as a virtue, and openly espousing tolerance is viewed with deep suspicion. Justified because the ever-present danger of Chaos keeps everyone on their toes. It's noted (particularly in later source books) that the large cities of the Reikland are the most cosmopolitan and tolerant places one's likely to find in the Empire, and the xenophobia gets worse the further out into the sticks one goes.
    • People with mental disorders are treated with revulsion and suspicion, tolerated only if their condition invokes either humour or pity. Many people believe that insanity is contagious and Witch Hunters have no tolerance for those with mental disorders and put most they encounter to the flame or sword — which is ironic as many of them suffer paranoid delusions so severe that they'd be institutionalized themselves if they lived in our world.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Downplayed. 1st and 2nd Editions both have campaignsnote  with a weakened Greater Daemon at the endgame, which puts it in the realm of possibility for a party of powerful, veteran adventurers to defeat — probably at significant cost. Daemon Slayers also need to have killed a "daemon of note" to enter the career. Mostly, though, entities like Greater Daemons or Ancient Dragons are intended to be used for cutscenes, not as personal foes.
    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.
  • Dodge the Bullet: In 1st-3rd edition you were allowed to dodge, but not parry, any incoming ranged attacks. As of 4th edition this is no longer possible unless your opponent is at point blank range (usually within 5 squares or less).
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • Most, but not all, Halflings go barefoot, weather permitting.
    • In all editions of the Death on the Reik chapter of The Enemy Within, the PCs come across an eight-year-old girl named Liza Sauber who "goes about barefoot". Averts Barefoot Poverty, above, as her employer-cum-guardian Elvyra Kleinestun is a well-off pharmacist, so the reasonable assumption is that she goes barefoot because she prefers to. It's not treated as a big deal in the narrative, despite the fact that the floor of the house she's encountered in is covered in broken glass.
  • Druid:
    • Among the Colleges of Magic, you have the Jade and Amber orders. Jade wizards wield the Lore of Life, which is associated with plants, while Amber wizards wield the Lore of Beasts, which grants them control over animals and Voluntary Shapeshifting. Both groups largely eschew the urban lifestyle of most magisters and prefer to live out in the wilderness, and tend to dress much like stereotypical fantasy druids (with Jade wizards even carrying Druidic Sickles as a symbol of their order).
    • On the divine side, you have the cult of Taal and Rhya, joint deities of the natural world — Taal is god of the untamed wild, while Rhya is goddess of fertility and the harvest. Among the strictures of the cult are rejection of modern technology and industry, and instructions to live in harmony with nature, so their followers are most often woodsmen, hunters and farmers. The miracles used by their annointed priests, fittingly, are based around living off the land; Taal's miracles favor hunter/gatherer practices, while Rhya's miracles concern safety and fertility.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: Second Edition features a campaign set in the fallen dwarfhold of Karak Azgal, an expy of Erebor that was laired by a dragon. The dragon is long gone, but the vast underground city is filled with monsters and dwarfen wealth, resulting in a Boom Town of opportunistic treasure hunters and adventurers known as Skalf's Hold (named for and founded by the dwarf hero who slew the dragon). The dwarfs maintain strict control over access to the underground; dungeon delvers are required to pay a toll to enter and a tax on any relics they find. Eventually a second, seedier boom town called Deadgate sprang up outside of Skalf's Hold, filled with merchants and diversions extracting coin from adventurers.

    Tropes E—H 
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original First Edition rulebook has a few oddities compared to later editions and post-5th edition Warhammer Fantasy:
    • There's 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).
    • Sigmar is mentioned briefly as a regional "lesser deity" and protector of the Imperial Family, implying he is a rather minor god.
    • 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.
    • The sample PC used to explain various rules is called Clem Shirestock, while the premade human PC at the back of the book is called Mellory, and the halfling is Soho. All of these sound much more appropriate to a culture equivalent to Britain rather than the Holy Roman Empire. Furthermore, the elf is called Bianca, leaving Jodri the dwarf as the only one whose name actually fits the background.
    • Apart from the rulebook, the 1st edition adventure Dying of the Light deserves a special mention, since it features Fimir, the gods of Law, and even a Chaos sorcerer of Malal — despite GW apparently having lost the intellectual property rights to him!
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: Jade Wizards go barefoot to better feel the flow of Ghyran, the Wind of Magic that deals with the earth and life.
  • Enemy Mine: Bretonnian nobles are often at odds with the Herrimaults, forest-dwelling bandits who fight the nobility to help the peasants. The nobles and Herrimaults, however, will still join forces or at least cease hostilities to deal with the worshippers of Chaos — the Code of the Herrimaults has a special proviso allowing them to ally with tyrants in order to oppose the Ruinous Powers.
  • Even the Loving Hero Has Hated Ones: The Healer God Shallya is a beloved pacifist who preaches compassion and mercy towards all living things... except followers of Nurgle the Plaguemaster, who are the only beings her cultists' magic can harm.
  • Evil Laugh: Though it's tongue-in-cheek and left to the Game Master's discretion, an evil laugh is listed as a prerequisite to enter the Vampire Count career, alongside other Card-Carrying Villain traits.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The Dark Lores (Chaos and Necromancy) have a 10% risk of adding a Red Right Hand to your character's appearance or psyche whenever they trigger Tzeentch's Curse. Chaos in particular also deals in far more disfiguring mutations, though you don't necessarily have to be evil to be affected.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: While characters can suffer mutations from numerous sources, being actively aligned with Chaos is the easiest way to end up with hideous and logic-defying physical alterations. In 2nd Edition's Tome of Corruption especially, many of the "Gifts of Chaos" bestowed upon Chaos-worshipping PCs involve mutating the physical aspects of daemons (such as having your face replaced with that of a bloodletter). However, if you develop more mutations than your body can physically withstand, you'll degrade into a mindless Chaos Spawn, a freakish nightmare that can only barely be recognized as having once been human.
  • Evil Overlord: In Second Edition, the Exalted Champion of Chaos, Cataclyst and Vampire Lord careers are essentially this, and the Vampire Lord has the required "trappings" to back it up:
    Army of the Undead, Ambition beyond Possibility, Control over the Fate of Kings and Empires, 2d10 Fanatical Devotees, Enormous Lair (Palace, Castle, Labyrinth, Stronghold, Tower, etc.), 3 Magical Items, Pride beyond Hubris, Wealth beyond Avarice.
  • Evil Tainted the Place:
    • The Winds of Magic can be attracted by extensive use of certain kinds of magic in the mortal world, which means areas that were once the site of Chaotic rituals or the lairs of necromancers tend to have a persistent aura of dhar (Black Magic), which only makes these places more attractive to evil sorcerers.
    • Blight, a spell from the Lore of Nagash in second edition, allows a necromancer to suck the life and vitality out of a full square mile of landscape. Water becomes poisonous, plants wither, animals will instinctively avoid the place, and the region will quickly develop a reputation for being haunted. This lasts until a jade wizard comes along with the Cure Blight spell to purify the area.
    • Rebirth In Blood, a second edition Ritual Magic that can resurrect vampires, must be performed on "accursed land" where a great tragedy took place — This could be a battlefield that was witness to a brutal slaughter, a village where everyone died of plague or turned to cannibalism, or the ruined city of Mordheim.
  • 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.
  • Expert in Underwater Basket Weaving: Some NPC stat blocks include useless joke skills, which usually tie into the character's personality but are unlikely ever to be rolled in gameplay. Standouts include "Whine", "Eat Spaghetti", and "Wear Clothes".
  • Eye of Newt:
    • Each conventional spell can consume a specific material "ingredient", ranging from a common substance (e.g.: butter) to something rare and/or expensive (e.g.: a ruby). In 1st edition, the ingredient is needed in order to cast the spell. In 2nd, it grants a small bonus to the spellcasting dice roll and is optional (except for the Spirit magic of Hag Witches). In 4th, it's optional and suppresses Magic Misfires.
    • Ritual Magic spells consume thematically linked ingredients that are almost invariably rare, expensive, bizarre, and/or a Sidequest in and of themselves to obtain. For example, the ritual to cause an earthquake requires a large diamond, a dragon's tooth, and a gong blessed by a dying priest.
  • Familiar: Some spellcasters can bind an animal as a familiar or create their own through alchemy. Familiars can spend experience on their own "career" equivalent and can grant unique abilities to the spellcaster, such as a Psychic Link or an extra chance to avoid a Magic Misfire.
  • Fantastic Racism: All over the place. Dwarfs despise all elves (to the degree they gain the talent Animosity (elves) in 4th edition) and distrust halflings, high elves look down on dwarfs and wood elves and consider humans useful but dangerous, wood elves look down on dwarfs and high elves (and Athel Loren and Laurelorn wood elves consider each other's approaches foolish) and consider humans dangerous, humans consider elves odd outlanders, and that's not going into their plain old regular racism against humans of other nations and cultures... The only playable race to avoid this (on both ends) are the halflings, and that's mostly because everyone else considers them Beneath Notice. And anything that resembles a mutant deserves death by torture (emphasis on "resembles", if you're normal but really hoarking ugly don't be surprised if the locals try to draw and quarter you).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Warhammer world is implied to be an alternate offshoot of our world where man holds a tenuous grip on the world at the best of times, roughly around the late 1400's.
    • The Empire is very strongly the Holy Roman Empire. Even within the Empire, there is the provinces: Reikland is Austria, Middenland is Prussia, Wissenland is Switzerland, Averland is Bohemia, Stirland is Hungary, Hochland is the Black Forest, and Sylvania is Wallachia if it actually really was run by vampires. This is also served with a side of influence from The British Empire — Nuln for example with its smoking skyline, advanced steampunk technology and steam-powered lifting bridge has a lot of Victorian London about it.
    • Bretonnia is a fusion of medieval France and England, with King Arthur... but wrong.
    • Kislev is a mix of Poland-Lithuania and medieval Russia. Estalia is Spain and Aragon, and Tilea is Renaissance Italy.
    • The Norscans are Vikings. Giant, Daemon-worshipping Vikings on crack.
    • Should your travels ever take you out that far, to the east there are the large and ancient human kingdoms of Ind, Cathay and Nippon (India, Imperial China and Japan). Separating the kingdoms of the east from those of the west are Ogres... Very big and very hungry Mongol Ogres. To the northwest of the Empire and Bretonnia is Albion, a mysterious island seeped in fog and cold rain, populated by ornery naked warriors and dancing druids. To the south are the Border Princes (a Balkan-like region with many small countries), the kingdom of Araby (a combination of "Arabian Nights" Days and the Ottoman Empire), and south beyond that is lifeless desert and unexplored jungle stretching for mile after mile. Across the ocean to the west of the Old World lies Ulthuan, the Atlantis-like home of the High Elves, and beyond it the two continents of the New World. The southern one, Lustria, is home to Mayincatec Lizard Folk and Amazons, while the frigid northern one is home to Dark Elves as well as Beastmen, Orcs and worse.
  • Fantasy Gun Control:
    • Averted in the setting: firearms are in wide use by NPCs, from the Empire's steam-powered tanks to Skaven ratling guns. However, because guns are expensive to buy and maintain, dangerous to the user, and not that much more efficient than bows and arrows, they're often overlooked by player characters.
    • Fluff-wise, Bretonnia has it in an interesting way, because the old ban on crossbows technically doesn't forbid new black-powder weapons. 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. Note that Bretonnia's actual navy already employs cannons, because they technically don't operate on Bretonnian soil.
  • Fate Worse than Death: There are quite a few, most involving Chaos.
    • Gain more mutations than your body can stand (or roll up a specific mutation) and you permanently devolve into a hideous, mindless nightmare of flesh called a Chaos Spawn. Have fun rolling up a new character while your party struggles to fight off what remains of your previous one.
    • There are several instances (such as a spectacularly bad bout of Tzeentch's Curse, reckless use of teleportation powers, or displeasing the Chaos Gods should you serve them) where a character is simply plucked from reality and tossed into the Realm of Chaos to be the plaything of daemons for eternity.
    • 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 combat takes 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.
    • Another example from these adventures are Zahnarzt and Muuthauwg, two daemons of Khorne who rebelled against him, but failed. Khorne punished the former by annihilating its physical body, and the latter with a curse that would utterly destroy it should it kill a mortal, or even cause a mortal to be killed. Since Khorne's daemons live for blood and killing, these are indeed terrible punishments!
    • 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.
  • Fictional Constellations: The Empire distinguishes constellations such as the Big Cross and the Piper. Crosses over with Fictional Zodiac since many assign influence on these constellations based on the day of birth.
  • Fiendish Fish:
    • Reik eels are immense eels found in the Reik river that can reach ten feet in length. They're carnivorous, but only attack humans when their elvers are threatened. As Reik eel elvers are considered a delicacy and subjected to a lively fishing trade, such attacks end up being extremely common and entirely capable of ending the lives of overconfident fishermen.
    • In Bretonnia, the river Sannez is home to a large population of carnivorous fish with a taste for human meat and a tendency to devour anyone who falls into the water. The local humans, for their own, have a taste for carnivorous fish meat, and have developed a habit of using their own hands as lures — it's a highly effective method, as it goes, as long as you can spare a finger or five.
  • Fiery Redhead: Any Bright Wizard of seniority will have coppery or red hair, and will be well ready to set any problems alight.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Shallyans provide conventional and magical medical care to the public, are well aware of the "nubile young priestess" stereotype, and therefore assign their oldest priestesses to suspected "dove fanciers". Canny adventurers sometimes fake this in hopes of getting the most senior healer.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Necromancers displeased by what can be done with unaltered human corpses occasionally stitch together and animate immense "Patchwork Men".
  • Frog Men: Lakemen, a variant of Beastmen native to the lakes and rivers of the forests of southern Lyonesse, resemble misshapen humanoid frogs with pincers and gills in addition to whatever other individual mutations they may have. They're as evil and vicious as any other Beastman, and prefer to attack amphibiously. They sometimes travel up rivers for very long ways to attack unsuspecting villages.
  • From Zero to Hero: Many of the starting careers are the dregs of society, but player characters who survive the Early Game Hell can rise to eminence — even a peasant farmer can become a powerful noble, a Wizard Lord, or a mighty champion.
  • Gangbangers:
    • A player can be one, if they so chose. Careers such as Racketeer and Thug explicitly serve as muscle for criminal gangs.
    • The 2nd Ed. sourcebook Shades of Empire has a chapter that goes into detail about various street gangs in Altdorf's port district, with particular focus on a trio of influential gangs referred to collectively as the "Dockers". As the name suggests, they originated from work gangs who formed fraternities and informal unions, and frequently get involved in bloody turf wars with each-other.
  • Giant Animal Worship: In The Old World Bestiary, certain tribes of swamp-dwelling goblins are said to worship hydras, giving them sacrifices and offerings to divert their wrath and appease their hunger.
  • 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).
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The "dramatic injury" head injury result in 4th ed will leave your character with one of these: So impressive, in fact, that it makes social rolls more successful if the scar would be relevant to your attempt (like telling the story of how you got it, as an example).
  • A Good Way to Die: Human characters in 4th ed all begin with the "Doomed!" talent, which must be filled in by the player during character creation with the way in which that character has been foreseen to die. If the character (somehow) manages to die in exactly that fashion, that player's next character gains half the dead character's totally accrued XP as a bonus upon creation.
  • Gonk: Whereas most other games's art has very good-looking people, Warhammer is famous for averting that. That hunchbacked, grossly fat oaf with a lazy eye and hairy warts is not a mutant, that's a representation of the average Old Worlder. Even the elves aren't pretty in the first Warhammer editions — more scars and eye-patches than a pirate crew. Though there is some movement away from the "everyone is fugly" character depiction.
  • Good Luck Charm: Genuine lucky charms are single-use items that let a character reroll a test or No-Sell one successful attack against them. The trick is in distinguishing the real thing from the fake trinkets.
  • 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.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Archaon the Everchosen is portrayed as this in second edition, which is nominally set in the immediate aftermath of the Storm of Chaos. Although his armies were routed at Middenheim, much of the Empire's northeast — particularly Ostland and Hochland — have been totally sacked by the armies of Chaos. Stragglers from Archaon's hordes infest the wilderness, while beastmen herds and Chaos cults galvanized by the recent warfare do everything they can to sabotage the reeling Empire and tip the scales back in Archaon's favor, contributing to the Adventure-Friendly World.
  • 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.
    • Used rather egregiously at the end of the second-edition campaign Terror in Talabheim: After leading a heroic resistance effort to liberate the city from the occupying Skaven, the player characters are quickly shooed out of town, and the leaders of the city work to cover up the entire conflict so life can go back to normal. A subversion is also present; unknown to everyone, a small commemorative statue depicting the party is erected deep within the local Temple to Myrmidia, with a plaque that simply reads "We remember".
  • Groin Attack:
    • You can't aim for the crotch for extra damage, but Critical Hits to the torso can result in low blows which stun the opponent, render them helpless, or stop them from taking any actions.
    • The 2nd edition 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 Second Edition and you're a Norscan with a mutation, congratulations! You can start as a badass Chaos Marauder, and can later become a Warrior of Chaos! 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).
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: The premise of the Ex-Convict basic career in 2nd edition's Career Compendium. The description points out that those who survive a sentence to one of the Old World's numerous prisons tend to come out as much harder criminals than they were previously, or are otherwise return to crime after finding their opportunities limited by their criminal past.
  • A Head at Each End: Amphisbaenas are snakes native to the Lustrian jungles with an additional head in place of their tails. This is patently against basic biology even for the setting, and amphisbaenas are thus assumed to be touched by Chaos to some degree.
  • Healing Hands: A specialty of the cult of Shallya, whose magic can cure wounds, poison, disease, and even insanity. Other arcane and divine spellcasters gain more limited healing options, depending on the edition and their specific type of magic, with the purifying magic of the Light Wizards coming closest.
  • Healing Potion: 1st Edition Potions of Healing are Magic Potions that restore wounds, cure poisons, and negate magical maladies. In subsequent editions, Healing Draughts only restore a limited number of wounds (and only work on lightly wounded creatures in 2nd Edition), but can be brewed by any herbalist.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ratcatchers are noted to live dangerous lives in the Old World because the Skaven make it a priority to get rid of anyone who starts talking too loudly about the "bigger rats". Many ratcatchers actively suppress information on Skaven to avoid this.
  • Hidden Badass: Any Grey Wizard who doesn't want to be known as such will instead easily appear as anyone else at all, and no one should want to be surveyed by one...
  • Holding the Floor: The "Blather" skill allows characters to spout nonsense to distract onlookers, who are unable to act while they "wonder if you are drunk, crazy, or both".
  • Horny Vikings: The Norscans, who are a race of superhuman Chaos Vikings, make an appearance as a playable race in the Tome of Corruption supplement 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, is 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.
  • The Highwayman: An advanced career in 2nd edition, highwaymen are flamboyant figures that regard themselves as being a cut above common outlaws. Their required trappings include nobleman's garb and a mask, and their advance scheme is built around becoming a charismatic, horse-riding gunslinger (with some fencing skills for good measure).
  • Horse of a Different Color: In the second edition Bretonnia rulebook, Knights of the Grail, we are introduced to the Hagranyms; Chaos-spawned mutant horses used by the orcs of the Gray Mountains of Couronne in lieu of the traditional orcish riding pig. They are able to climb mountains as readily as any mountain goat, are voracious carnivores, and are far smarter than the orcs themselves; their "alliance" stems from the fact that the hagranyms are so vicious, sadistic and cruel that they think it's worthwhile feigning dumb so they can have the opportunity to maim, kill and eat creatures other than animals (or stray orcs). The native Couronnese haven't figured out that the hagranyms are both fully sapient and Always Chaotic Evil, leading to disastrous attempts to tame them.
  • Honest Rolls Character: Mandated in early editions, which resulted in completely random character stats and careers. Some people made house-rules around this, while others found "making do" part of the charm. Fourth Edition doesn't strictly enforce this, giving other options for generating stats and choosing a career if a player has a specific character concept in mind, but it does encourage this by granting characters bonus starting experience points scaling with how much randomness their player was willing to accept in their creation.

    Tropes I—L 
  • Immortals Fear Death: In second edition, Vampires need to test for Insanity Point gain if they suffer damage from any of their many possible weaknesses, the most universal being fire, sunlight, silver and blessed weaponry.
  • Innate Night Vision: Creatures with Night Vision can see clearly up to 30 yards in dark conditions, but not total darkness. Only humans lack it among the playable races: dwarves, elves, and halflings all have Night Vision, as do goblins and many other monsters.
  • Involuntary Dance: One Ritual can force the target to dance until they die from the strain. Worse, the curse spreads to anyone who sees the dancer, and all victims remain entirely aware of what's happening to them.
  • 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 Item: Some NPCs have unique skills such as Sweep Corridors, Wave To Crowds, Walkabout or Spaghetti Eating.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Herrimaults play this very straight, unusually for the setting. They're a loose-knit group of outlaws and runaway peasants forced to flee Bretonnian society for a variety of crimes and misdeeds (poaching, levy dodging, getting too close to a noble's horse, etcetera), with some disgraced nobles and Sweet Polly Olivers thrown in. They fight against Bretonnia's stifling caste system and oppressive nobility, live in hiding in the woods, and protect the peasantry from both the Beastmen and Orcs in the forests and the worst of the nobles' punishments; unsurprisingly, they're quite popular among the poor. The live by a very strict code requiring them to uphold chivalry and protect the helpless, and are very protective of their reputation — groups claiming their name do turn up with less than scrupulous intentions, but are very quickly targeted by the more genuine Herrimaults. Their name outright comes from a variety of hooded cloak they wear — like the real-life legend did — and they're also called Hoods, Hoodies, and Wood Hoods.
  • 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.
  • La Résistance: The Second Ed. campaign Terror in Talabheim features a large-scale invasion and occupation of the city by a skaven army partway through the story. The player characters end up spending the rest of the campaign as part of an underground resistance movement against the ratmen.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Well, a dagger, but the sentiment and end result are the same. In the introductory fluff piece for the second edition's Player Handbook, a Witch Hunter is having a conversation with an old friend, a Sigmar-Priest, and reveals he's discovered the priest is a Chaos cultist. Instead of going through the usual process of Burn the Witch!, he offers his old friend a chance to kill himself, which the final lines reveal he took.
  • 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. This is reflected in the fluff too. The Moot sent a large contingent of Halfling scouts, skirmishers and couriers as their contribution to the war effort during the Storm of Chaos, and while many scoffed at first, a disproportionate number of them received commendations of some sort.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Downplayed from 2nd Edition onwards. Magical Lores have top-tier gems, like powerful Herd Hitting Attacks (like a firestorm that lasts until everything within is dead), instant-death effects, and healing all of a character's physical and mental damage, that have greater potential than any close-combat fighter. However, most magic powers don't grow in potency, all of them threaten nasty Magic Misfires, and each spellcaster is limited in the breadth of spells they can learn, so mundane fighters and support characters remain competitive with them throughout the game.
  • Liquid Courage: A mug of Bugman's Ale makes the drinker immune to Fear for up to 10 hours, but is so potent that it skips over the usual process of inebriation and straight to Alcohol-Induced Idiocy.
  • Literal Change of Heart: A risky bit of Ritual Magic lets an alchemist transmute their heart to living gold, making them permanently immune to all emotional pain.
  • 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."
  • Loony Laws: The Bretonnian sourcebook "Knights of the Grail" mentions that nobles have effectively unlimited authority in their dominions, the power can go straight to their heads, and result in some interesting laws on the books unless directly countermanded by order of the king. As an example, the book mentions how, due to a previous ruler, legally speaking, every male of a certain age in one province must shout "griffon fingers!" to the sky while saluting it on the evening of a full moon, though the nobility is sane enough to pretend the law doesn't exist.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • It's stated in the 2nd edition Bretonnia sourcebook Knights of the Grail that the merchants of Bretonnia rely heavily on exploiting a combination of this and Exact Words to get around the exploitative and antiquated legal system of their country. For example, by rule of law, peasants (which every merchant technically is, by Bretonnian definitions) are expected to pay a tithe of 9/10ths of everything they produce to their local lord... but the precise wording is "everything they make", as the law was drafted in a time when society consisted of warriors, craftsmen and subsistence farmers, who operated on a barter economy. As merchants don't actually make anything themselves, they technically don't have to pay any taxes (although in practice they pay bribes to keep the nobles following their logic; as most Bretonnian nobles have titles and lands, but no cash, they happily see things the merchants' way). The merchants are even known to use their influence to lobby for stricter, more literal interpretations of the ancient rulings precisely to keep exploiting their loopholes.
    • One prominent example of this is the importation of firearms. Whilst Bretonnian knights are forbidden the use of any ranged weapons, as they are considered unchivalrous, the only law on the books specifically against ranged weapons is explicitly against crossbows. As such, the merchants do a sporadic trade in firearms, although it's noted that some nobles find them a bit unsettling, for reasons that are obvious when you think about it. Meanwhile, the Bretonnian navy uses cannon indiscriminately, since they're never fighting on Bretonnian soil.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Part of Skaven's communication is exuding scents. Unfortunately for their leaders since they're all a bunch of Dirty Cowards, Skaven are liable to all rout from the battlefield once enough of them begin secrete the Musk of Fear and cause the rest of them to be just as terrified.
  • Louis Cypher: The 2nd Edition vampire sourcebook mentions a historical vampire named Louis Cypher, who attempted to invade the elven homeland of Ulthuan and has not been heard from since.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: If you're "lucky" with mutations, you can gain a number of useful abilities. Poison secretion, shapeshifting, multiple limbs, weaponized extremities, the list goes on. Unfortunately, every single one of them is a death sentence if discovered, the majority of mutations are far less useful, and gaining too many of them at once will doom your character to become a feral Shapeshifter Mashup.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic:
    • Fate Points grant you a daily allotment of "fortune points", which can be used to re-roll your dice.
    • Creatures with the Hatred special rule are allowed rerolls in close combat with the object of their hate.
    • The Lore of the Heavens has several spells that bestow Fortune Points or grant the target a reroll while the spell is active. They're described in-universe as either manipulating the target's luck or granting foresight.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields are starting trappings for many melee-focused careers, granting benefits to parrying or opposing melee attacks in most editions. They can also be used to Shield Bash, but have low damage.

    Tropes M—P 
  • 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.
  • Magic Knight: Bright Wizards are trained to not only set the enemy's frontline aflame, but also to fight with their own.
  • Magic Misfire: As the Winds of Magic are drawn from the Realm of Chaos, strange and unpleasant things can happen to wizards who get careless about their spellcasting. Random phenomena can occur alongside the intended spell if the user draws too much power at once — they can can be as harmless as causing milk to curdle in your presence and your hair to stand on end, or as dire as unleashing arcs of lightning or summoning unbound daemons. In 2nd Edition, miscasts (called Tzeentch's Curse) are caused by rolling doubles or triples, while in 4th Edition they occur whenever a casting attempt scores a Critical Hit (and are accompanied by a boost to the spell's power).
  • Magic Potion: Unlike non-magical "draughts", potions require the brewer to have magical potential and can achieve outright supernatural effects, like regrowing a lost limb. They're also more dangerous to make and can produce bizarre Magic Misfires as they age.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: A variation appears in the Lichemaster adventure. The players must rally the terrified inhabitants of a remote mountain valley to repel an invasion of undead. The catch is that the player characters aren't that much stronger than the peasants they're leading. Rather, their chances of success hinge on protecting a number of exceptional individuals living in the valley — such as experienced fighters, leaders, and healers — and persuading some of them not to quit when the going gets tough (each one requires a different approach).
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Constant Drachenfels, an incredibly ancient and evil sorcerer, is the most prominent example. He uses it to hide his Nightmare Face.
  • Mana: 1st Edition spellcasters gain a pool of Magic Points from their career and level. Every spell has an MP cost to cast; MP can be regained through rest, meditation, and/or ritual observance, depending on the class. Later editions do away with this mechanic.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Bloodsedges are a type of tree that feeds on living animals by grabbing them with its branches and holding them against its trunk, where powerful acids quickly turn it into fertilizer. A copse of these things can devour an entire war party passing through them.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Partially. The Empire is in the 16th century technology-wise, and the printing press and gunpowder (as well as the magic used for Mundane Utility) has significantly changed a lot of things in its cities, but past the city walls the peasants and serfs still haven't benefited from much social change over the last few centuries. Played entirely straight by adventures set in Bretonnia, where an entrenched noble class actively works to keep the entire country in Medieval Stasis and Fantasy Gun Control is actively enforced on Bretonnian soil.
  • Medieval Stasis: Bretonnia's sourcebook goes into a lot of things that have conspired to keep the country in effective technological and societal stasis since its founding several centuries ago — most of which boil down to "the nobles have all the power and they want to keep it that way". Add in the way the Cult of the Lady and reverence for Gilles le Breton and his Grail Companions actively encourage said noble class to recapture his glorious past and, well... it's also all but outright stated that their religion is all a big sham cooked up the neighbouring Wood Elves of Athel Loren so they can use the kingdom as a buffer state, and they suppress any industry the Bretonnians try to get going too.
  • Medieval Universal Literacy: Averted. Being able to read and write is a skill independent of learning spoken languages, and only a relative handful of career paths (usually related to academia or nobility) allow new characters to be literate right out the starting gate.
  • Mega-Microbes: Amoebae of considerable size live within the rivers and swamps of the Empire. They're entirely mindless, often mistaken for jellyfish — or, less charitably, for living vomit — and in most ways act like the regular microscopic kind. They usually stick to the water but will crawl onto land when hungry enough, and will attempt to engulf and digest whichever parts of a larger creature — like a human — they happen to be able to reach.
  • Military Mage: Defied. Wizards as seen in the Warhammer Fantasy wargame (who can buff or flatten entire regiments of troops with a single spell) are not playable in any edition of the roleplaying game. The spells they use are referred to as Battle Magic spells and are not available to player characters (although some spells available to player characters are basically low-powered versions of spells from the wargame), and Battle Mages are described as very rare and require specialized full-time training to master Battle Magic, as well as having official duties that makes them unusable as player characters. Playable mages represent either apprentices who may graduate to becoming Battle Mages after finishing their career track and retiring, or those who explictly never had the talent needed to make the cut to Battle Mage in the first place. As such, player character wizards are never in danger of being drafted, because being player characters means they aren't powerful enough to serve as military mages.
  • Minion Master: The Dark Lores of Chaos and Necromancy both feature spells that create minions for combat — Necromancy can reanimate corpses as zombies, while Chaos summons daemons. Generally, zombies are weak and mindless but can be mass-produced (a necromancer can reanimate and control one corpse for every point of Will Power he has, to the game's cap of 100), while daemons are much stronger but very risky (a wizard must not only succeed in casting the spell itself, but must also succeed a Will Power test or the daemon(s) will ignore the summoner and do whatever they want. This is never a good thing).
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: In 2nd edition, the halberd (itself a real life example of the trope) uniquely can count as either a "spear" (gaining the Fast quality) or a "great weapon" (gaining the Impact and Slow qualities) when performing a melee attack, at the user's discretion.
  • Mole in Charge:
    • In Paths of the Damned, Claus Leibnitz, the deputy high priest of Ulric in Middenheim, is a key member of a Khorne-worshipping Chaos cult called the Crimson Skull, which has taken root among the Ar-Ulric's elite Teutogen Guards.
  • Monty Haul: Averted, as almost all the magic items around are legendary relics like the Runefangs — items like these aren't going to be lying around in a dungeon or available in a shop. The exceptions to this are if you have a Dwarven rune priest that can make permanent runes in your party or if you're playing a Chaos Champion (which has its own complications). Additionally, there won't be heaps of gold and jewels to haul off; treasure is going to be taking that dead bandit's rusty sword and selling it for scrap metal. Good luck buying a gun or plate armour.
  • Muggle Power: People's opinions on wizards tends to vary. At the very least, it is logical to fear the undeniable power of any wizard, the Logical Extreme more or less being the Witch Hunters' existence.
    • Light Wizards are, unusually, generally trusted for their lives of healing and banishment of evil, even to Witch Hunters.
    • Celestial Wizards' prophetic abilities are valued among nobles and military and are usually wealthy for their service, though their predilection for potentially giving disturbing, truthful portents or turning up the moment someone needs help tends to mean people will probably be nervous around them.
    • Gold Wizards are known as aloof, ostentatious, self-absorbed egotists and this is pretty much entirely true. At least they do excellent research for the Empire's gunnery and artillery and can magically improve their allies' armor and weapons while weakening the enemies.
    • Jade Wizards' are distinct with their druidic garb and fairly-isolated hereditary caste, but their powers of health and literally Talking to Plants are highly valued to the Empire's armies.
    • Amber Wizards normally shaman hermits that keep utterly away from society's trappings, are Not Good with People (indeed, they commonly enjoying unsettling any city folk that come across them), and even Imperial armies may be confounded by their refusal to consider anything resembling tactics for battle plans, but their magic's sheer power is highly effective in battle and they are totally committed to fighting Chaos and magical enemies such as Beastmen even for their normal, solitary lives.
    • Bright Wizards are Magic Knights that do not shy away from the frontlines of battle — indeed, much of a Bright Wizard's training once they've been declared sufficiently disciplined is practical combat drill — and all know of their use as mighty forces in times of war. However, their magic's unsubtle power of Stuff Blowing Up and its wizards being as tempestuous and aggressive as the flames they wield lead most to understandably fear them.
    • Grey Wizards are distrusted as a rule (though their Order's dedication to anti-corruption frankly means any who have a reason to distrust them are untrustworthy themselves, and their illusion magic means it's simplistic for them to not be known to you as a Grey Wizard anyway...).
    • Amethyst Wizards are probably the most disliked of all, even by other wizards, with their morbid fixations leading them to eerily speaking very little (they even prefer to speak telepathically among each other) and looking barely any less lean and pale as the skeletons of the dead, but Dark Is Not Evil and Shyish's Magisters regard it their duty to undo the effects of Dark Magic and necromancy, making them one of the few that the people of the grim and neighbor-to-Sylvania province of Stirland can count on being interested in.
  • Muggle with a Degree in Magic: Several careers allow characters to study the academic theory of magic or even learn a Language of Magic without necessarily being able to use magic themselves. A Language of Magic is necessary but not sufficient for spellcasting, and magic theory is neither.
  • Multi-Melee Master: The Judicial Champion advanced career from 2nd edition. 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.
  • The Musketeer: Enforced by the rules. Depending on edition, handguns can take between one to several full rounds to reload and preventing the character from doing anything (including moving) in the meantime, and the majority of enemies you can expect to encounter fight hand-to-hand. As a result, most gun-using characters without a death wish pick up the use of a melee weapon to go with it, even if merely a hand weapon.
  • 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 many 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 penalty-inducing mutations) will cause you 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 kill mutants on sight.
  • Mystical White Hair: Celestial Wizards and Light Wizards often have their hair turn pure white from exposure to their Wind of Magic as a minor Mark of the Supernatural.
  • Nerf: Many high-level spells were taken directly from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle wargame, but drastically weakened by careless unit conversion. In WFB, a top-level combat spell is an equivalent of a cannon hit or arrow barrage at half a mile (one miniature represents 10 soldiers or so). In WFRP the same spell is roughly equivalent of a blunderbuss shot at 50 meters. Still useful, but nowhere near as impressive.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Consume Alcohol is a Skill Score that can be trained like any other. A veteran drinker with a high enough Toughness score can likely knock back around twenty drinks in a row before they suffer any mechanical effect and has a decent chance of staying upright after thirty.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The Lure of the Lich Lord module for 2nd edition concerns a small patch of the Border Princes fought over by three would-be kings, who fit these archetypes. Haflok is a templar of Sigmar and just wants to keep people safe from greenskins and chaos, becoming a ruler mostly by accident. Levellian is a self-interested control freak who wants to be king to satisfy his own ego and lust for power, and unwittingly has a chaos cultist as his main advisor. Finally, Fatandira is trying to establish enlightened rule in the Border Princes to prevent the prejudice that killed her parents from happening to anyone else, and is willing to be as pragmatic as necessary to serve those ends.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, pooping is an important part of the Dung Ages Old World. Whether it's being afflicted by the "Bloody Trots" from supernatural sources or just a bad pie, having Beastmen mark their territory or a Jade Wizard spell (there's a spell where they sustain themselves with magic — they don't need to breathe, drink or eat. But they do need to poop and it comes out a brilliant green). It can even affect combat, when a character (usually a wizard) loses bowel control and takes a penalty in the middle of battle.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The Realms of Sorcery books in 2nd ed describes wizard Player Characters as essentially washouts from the Imperial Colleges of magic; civilian wizards who, despite their skill at manipulating the Winds, can't make the cut to become Imperial Battle Mages. Similarly, elven wizards are little more than journeymen and apprentices, who may be ready to begin training to become High Elven Mages/Spellsingers at the time they finish the Wizard Lord career. Actual Battle Magic, i.e. the spells that get used in the Warhammer Fantasy wargame, are not available to players in any edition.
  • Non-Action Guy: The vast majority of all available careers are this, having little to no way to advance in weapon or ballistic skills or weapons training. Depending on how your advanced careers options you could eventually avoid this in 2nd and 3rd edition, provided you lived that long.
  • Occult Detective: The secret day jobs of the Grey Wizards (or Grey Guardians). Their shadow magic primarily dealing with creating illusions gives them a slight bit of Magician Detective too, though the Grey Wizards are certainly not so showy as to regularly perform to an audience. Their vow of poverty, shabby Grey College and usual style of dress (when they want to let you see it) of voluminous robes & face-obscuring hats or hoods gives them some more similiarities to a Hardboiled Detective's trenchcoat and meagerly living as well. Their mandate is to root out corruption and the enemies of the Empire's ideals causes for strict rules that they must never attempt to strive for their own or a patron's profit and leaves them so divorced from political manoeuverings that the Order of Shadows has killed more of its own members for failing its zero-tolerance constraints and consider the potential that they must deal with the possibility of the Emperor himself falling to Chaos.
  • 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.
  • Old Magic:
    • Runic Magic is an extremely ancient art practiced solely by the dwarves, and even they have only a few who've mastered it. Part of it is because many were lost in the destruction of the dwarf empire, another because they only pass down knowledge orally, but also because dwarves are very long-lived and dubious of the skill of anyone who hasn't been a runesmith for at least hundreds of years.
    • 1st Edition has the Druidic magic of the Old Faith, a nature-based human religion that predates both the Colleges of Wizardry and the pantheons of the Old World. Later editions drop these mechanics and describe the Old Faith as having been subsumed into the cults of various nature gods.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Boy, are they. Aside from the variety of common daemon types aligned to the different Chaos gods, second edition's Tome of Corruption contains a system for randomly-generating unique daemons of the "least", "lesser" and "beast" varieties. You're encouraged to create daemons that are as strange and memorable as possible, with the aid of the book's d1000 mutation chart.
  • Our Elves Are Different: 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. Of course, getting those fat bonuses still only partially offsets the fact you have to play an elf in a setting where, in case it hasn't been made clear already, the majority of people are superstitious racists who take "Screw You, Elves!" as something that should be done with any available chopping or bludgeoning implement and plenty of fire.
    • In second edition, the Wizard Lord career is described as the epitome of what a human spellcaster is capable of, and any wizard who reaches this level is among the most powerful and influential practitioners of magic in the Old World. For an elf who reaches this career, they are considered to have finished basic training by the standards of the elven loremasters.
    • In 4th edition elven wizards can specialize in multiple lores of magic as long as they have the willpower and have obtained mastery in all lores they currently have, while humans can only ever pick one. The elfbow is also the most powerful non-blackpowder weapon in the game, though unlike in 2nd edition there are no classes that start with one.
    • 4th edition does balance elves in one way roleplaying-wise, by forcing them to spend an endeavour staying in contact with their own people whenever you have downtime. This means elves aren't able to do as much outside of adventures as other players.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes appeared in the first edition of the game were they were described as a rare subspecies of Dwarf. They strongly resembled the D&D version, being nimble pranksters with a talent for illusions and some skill with engineering and smithing. They were never a prominent part of the setting, only being included as an optional PC race in a White Dwarf article (and the memorable Hercule Poirot parody NPC, Alphonse Hercules de Gascoigne, in the With a Little Help From My Friends adventure.) Gnomes were phased out entirely in later editions of the setting, though there have been fanmade rules to retro-fit gnomes for Second and Third Edition. They returned officially in 4th edition in the Hard Nights & Rough Days sourcebook, where they are described as a halfling-like race who have long been persecuted by Imperial witch hunters due to their innate affinity for Ulgu, which means that even non-wizard gnomes are able to use some illusion magic. They are characterized as very clannish, stubborn and surly, and mostly live in seclusion; if they do deign to travel in the Empire, they usually disguise themselves as halflings, which tends to require padded clothing (gnomes are naturally slender, compared to the chubby halflings) and, for males, shaving off their beards.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Regular mermaids resemble human or elven women with clawed hands and fish tails instead of legs, and can range from being supernaturally beautiful to twisted, monstrous and hag-like. Scholars believe them to be Chaos mutants who stabilized enough to breed true, while Kislevites call them rusalkis and believe them to be the ghosts of drowned women come to lure the unwary to watery graves. They live along rocky coasts and use hypnotic songs to lure ships onto reefs for the sheer hell of it, utilize little technology beyond crude stone tools, and worship Triton.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As typical, the vampires of the Warhammer world are split into five distinct bloodlines (Von Carstein, Lahmian, Blood Dragon, Necrarch and Strigoi), though independent vampires are possible. The second edition book Night's Dark Masters features a system for customizing vampires for your campaign, which also reveals that no two vampires ever have the same powers or weaknesses — instead, vampires possess five random weaknesses (the defaults being sunlight, fire, silver, blessed weapons, running water and a pair of specific herbs), and gain two random vampiric powers each time they climb up a special career chain (one common to their bloodline, one normally associated with a different bloodline). So you can have a vampire carrying a virulent plague in his bites, who can transform into a cloud of mist to flee danger, but who also spontaneously combusts when struck by ithilmar and is averse to the sight of an innocent person's tears.
  • Our Witches Are Different:
  • Peeve Goblins: Jabberwocks, monstrous and rare Chaos creatures, are a recurring bogeyman among Imperial peasants and tend to be blamed for ills that strike without apparent cause — for instance, if a line of washing is blown over by the wind, it's said that the Jabberwock came and knocked it down.
  • 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 added more and more supplements, placed 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.
    • Enforced in Fourth Edition, where it's easy for any character to make a little money (with some classes making more than others) but very difficult for characters to keep money between adventures. Any money a character doesn't take time and effort between adventures to "bank" is automatically lostnote  by the start of the next adventure, with players encouraged to come up with a narrative justification for it. In this way, a financial reward is virtually always a good way to keep the party motivated to come back together for another adventure, while encouraging them to splurge their rewards quickly before others have a chance to relieve them of their accumulated coins.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • 2nd Edition's Old World Bestiary includes a story about a human child meeting face to face with a Minotaur beastman, but instead of killing the kid, the Minotaur tells him to go back home and return when he's big enough to be a Worthy Opponent and a better meal. Given the standards of the Beastmen, who usually kill and eat humans on sight, this is downright charitable.
    • The same book's chapter on The Undead provides the tale of a scholar who traveled to distant Bel Aliad to find a cure for his dying wife, poisoned by a jealous rival. When his guide's greed for Nehekaran treasures gets them both captured and brought before the resident Tomb King, the mummified ruler listens to the scholar's story and spares his life (though the guide ends up executed). According to an undead priest who served as a translator for his master: "My lord commands me to tell you that he, too, loved once. He too would have travelled to the ends of the world to save his love. I am to show you the wisdom you seek."
    • Beastmen often adopt mutated infants found abandoned by their human parents in the wilderness. Known as "gaves", they're considered to be gifts from their gods; even if they have no horns, they aren't subject to the same stigmas reserved for ungors, brays and adult human mutants.
  • Pike Peril: Stirpikes can reach twenty feet in length and are the largest freshwater predators in the Empire. They're highly aggressive, and will gladly devour anything that crosses their path.
  • Prestige Class: Advanced careers in 1st-3rd editions require you to finish a basic career from a list of prerequisites before you can enter one.
  • Projectile Spell: Spells like Fire Ball and Lightning Bolt are classified as "magic missiles". These require line of sight to their target and, depending on the edition and the particular spell, might need to be aimed like missile fire and/or strike a random part of the target's body like a physical attack.
  • Prophet Eyes: Wizards of the Light Order often gain monochromatic white eyes from exposure to the White Wind of Magic, which represents Light, enlightenment, and purity. The change doesn't impede their vision.
  • Pyromaniac: 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.

    Tropes Q—T 
  • 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.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Marquis Frederic Desfleuve, ruler of Castle Desfleuve in Gisoreux. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her father was too heartbroken to ever remarry, so he raised her as a man. She's proven to be an extremely capable lord, and so far the only problem with it is that she doesn't have an heir, and can't exactly produce one without giving her secret away (something that would cause a ton of trouble, as women can't be knights, wear men's clothing, inherit land, etc.).
  • Rapid Aging: Ungol Hag Witches' unique Spirit magic causes rapid aging as a Mark of the Supernatural. It's a combination of a cosmetic effect and actual physical degeneration and can be so extreme that the Hag's appearance becomes a Supernatural Fear Inducer. Luckily for them, their magic can also prolong their natural lifespan, perhaps indefinitely.
  • 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.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Disfiguring mutations are an obvious sign that someone is in league with the forces of Chaos, as the Ruinous Powers love to inflict them on worshippers as both rewards and punishments. Various Chaos-centric careers in 2nd edition's Tome of Corruption require at least one mutation before they can be entered, in addition to their conventional trappings.
    • The Dark Lores can inflict a milder form of this trope on their caster when mishandled, which can range from an Undeathly Pallor to a persistent stench. Those with magical senses can also see the miasma of dhar on a black magister by way of Aura Vision.
    • The Arcane and Divine lores invert this trope, as while their casters can develop physical aspects associated with their chosen deity/wind of magic, they usually serve to mark them out as being particularly powerful or blessed.
  • Restoration of Sanity:
    • Priests of the Healer God Shallya have access to a spell that cures one form of madness in the target, though it's considerably harder than healing physical wounds.
    • Gold Wizards have a spell that can transmute an unstable mind into a stable one, removing a number of Insanity Points. However, if the wizard fails the Channeling test to cast it, it has the opposite effect.
    • Surgeons can operate on a person's brain in hopes of removing insanity points or even curing permanent madness. However, failure can cause anything from permanent intelligence loss to death.
  • Resurrect the Wreck: One Ritual in 2nd Edition lets a Necromancer raise a sunken wreck as a Ghost Ship. It's crewed by the undead remains of its old sailors and travels at an even speed regardless of local wind or weather.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language:
    • The war-torn rural province of Ostland has a distinct local accent, featuring plenty of odd pauses and Kislevarin loan words, that's stereotypically associated with poverty elsewhere in the Empire.
    • The heartland province of Reikland has a local accent that's associated with wealth and power in-universe. Though the local peasants don't see much of either, well-off people often play it up with lessons in elocution.
  • Ritual Magic: Present in Second Edition, ritual magic is a significant step above regular spellcasting but is significantly rarer, with every ritual inscribed in its own unique tome and needing to be committed to memory as a purchased talent. They're also more time-consuming, with even the shortest rituals requiring hours to perform. Rituals have esoteric, hard-to-come-by ingredients and special conditions that must be fulfilled, as well as harsh consequences should the ritual somehow fail (in most cases, applying the ritual's effect upon the caster instead of the intended target).
  • Rule Playing: In early editions, character creation is completely random aside from race and sex, including their stats and the starting career that governs their advancement. Want to play as a wizard? Better hope you don't start the game as a dung collector instead!
  • Running Gag: Any references to Rat Catchers or the Rat Catcher career will always mention their most important trapping: a small (but vicious) dog. In second edition's Old World Armoury, a stat entry on common dogs specifically notes that rat catcher dogs have the "Warrior Born" talent (granting +5% to their Weapon Skill characteristic).
  • The Rustler: Available as a career choice for characters in 1st edition, indicated to be the "two-bit" variety of thief who steals individual livestock for simple coin. In 2nd Edition, cattle rustlers from the Border Princes are said to the most common worshippers of a minor god named Gunndred, who is the patron of violent criminals and those who spread fear. Such rustlers are noted for being exceptionally cruel and spiteful individuals.
  • Sacred Flames: The Sacred Flame of Ulric is believed to allow the city of Middenheim and its people to endure for long as the flame stays lit. According to one legend, when Magnus was being accused by the High Priest of Ulric of being a blasphemer, he willingly walked into the flames to prove Ulric's favor, and he didn't get burned.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training:
    • Troll Slayers in 1st and 2nd edition. 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, put your prior life (and skills) behind you, and you can't leave the Slayer path once you start it.
    • Downplayed in 4th edition: Slayers start out with enough skills to know how to get around in the world as a half-mad Death Seeker, get very good in knowing the weaknesses and habitats of the monsters they regularly slay, and on reaching Dragon Slayer level have gotten enough grisly stories under their belt to know how to entertain others with them. Their Talent pool is still entirely geared towards combat.
  • 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.
  • Science Wizard: The Imperial Colleges of Magic require their students to train in academic knowledge skills alongside their magical studies. In particular, Celestial Wizards and Alchemists often specialize in astronomy and science, respectively.
  • Scratch Damage: In 4th Edition, a successful attack deals a minimum one Wound even if Damage Reduction from the target's armour and Toughness score would reduce it to zero. In earlier editions, the target can No-Sell those attacks.
  • 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 the capital anyway.
  • Self-Deprecation: 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 Warhammer Fantasy Battle). This being WFRP, he simply got mowed down by one salvo of gunfire.
  • 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.
    • In 4th edition, the section for armour opens with a very poor choice of words on personal defence by a certain Corporal Nobbs.
    • The Fourth Edition "Guide to Ubersreik" has a group of out-of-town veteran Ratcatchers move into the city, buying up a dilapidated old inn house for a headquarters. They left the sign of the old inn up outside the door, with the inn's logo being a particularly "fat shark"note  and drawing a rat in it's mouth over the painting.
  • Signature Headgear: The Witch Hunters wear distinctive wide-brimmed hats when they want to be recognized. In fact, even seeing someone wearing that hat unexpectedly is enough to force a roll for Save versus Fear.
  • Simple Staff: The only weapon that priests of Shallya are allowed to use. Wizards typically start with these as well, though they're likely to swap them out for more versatile weapons.
  • The Six Stats: Included in the core Characteristics that are tied to specific Skill Scores and affect secondary abilities: Strength (encumbrance and melee damage), Toughness (Damage Reduction), Agility (Action Initiative in 2nd Edition; named Dexterity in 1e), Intelligence, Willpower (intuition and mental fortitude), and Fellowship (social skills). Characteristics also include Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, and other edition-specific additions. They're ranked from 1% to 100%, indicating the chance of succeeding on a challenge of average difficulty, with an average score of 30% for a human with no special training.
  • Skill Scores and Perks:
    • Skill scores are ranked from 0 to 100 based on the character's attributes and special training. They include basic skills (e.g.: Gossip) that can be used without proficiency at a penalty and advanced skills (e.g.: Healing) that require the user to be trained, and are rolled for skill tests.
    • Talents are character features with a discrete, static benefit. This might be a numerical bonus to a skill or attribute, a new way of using a skill, or an entirely new ability or feature.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: As noted, cynical. Although not as cynical as say, 40K. The random rolls 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.
  • Smithical Marriage: The classic adventure "A Rough Night at the Three Feathers" involves a couple checking into the inn under the name "Herr and Frau Johann Schmidt". They're actually a count's heir and the daughter of a wealthy family of boatbuilders carrying on an affair.
  • Spell Levels: 1st Edition spells have a category and level (from Petty Magic to Level 4) that determines which type and level of spellcaster can access them. Later editions do away with spell levels.
  • Stat Death: Creatures generally die if their Toughness score is reduced to zero, such as from disease or poison. Some supernatural attacks and maladies can kill their victims by draining other stats.
  • Stock Medieval Meal: Typical poor peasant rations are rough bread and malodorous pottage, while common fare usually consists of ale, bread and cheese, and stew or pie. Or, as 2nd Edition describes it:
    Loaf of Bread: The staple fare of the Old Worlder's diet.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Necoho, the Chaos God of Atheism from First Edition.
    Necoho requires nothing from his followers; indeed, it sometimes seems that he would rather not have any at all.
  • Stupidity-Inducing Attack: The 1st Edition Battle Magic spell Steal Mind temporarily reduces its victims to a drooling vegetable capable of doing little more than gibbering and eating grass.
  • Subsystem Damage: Attacks affect a specific body part,note  which is either determined randomly or targeted in exchange for an attack penalty. Body parts don't have their own Wounds but can suffer distinct effects from a Critical Hit, like disabling a sword arm, getting a Tap on the Head, reducing movement speed, or damaging a piece of armour.
  • Supernatural Suffocation:
    • One spell in the Lore of Shadow conjures up Tendrils of Darkness to strangle the target for as long as the spellcaster concentrates, first forcing them to try to resist the effect every turn, then starting to deal progressively greater damage after they succumb.
    • One of the potential effects of a catastrophic Magic Misfire is that the spellcaster is unable to breathe for one to ten minutes.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: 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.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Sadly true to the medieval period in real life, in Bretonnia women do not manage their own affairs or own property. So if you want to play a female character, you'll have to pretend to be a man. Fortunately for such women, Bretonnian culture is some combination of being so hidebound/polite that any woman pretending to be a man in Bretonnia automatically succeeds in doing so, no rolling for tests necessary. Apparently it's common enough that at least one Knight killed in battle per year in Bretonnia turns out to be a woman.
  • Take That!: In first Edition, Bretonnia basically was "ze" Frenchjerklandia. Pre-Revolutionary Frenchjerklandia, to be precise. Also rotten to the bone.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Bretonnian beer and ale, in stark contrast to their wine. 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.
  • Team Pet: Many Bretonnian mercenary bands are officially "shepherds" for legal reasons, and usually have a sheep as a mascot to provide the necessary legal figleaf.
  • Thieves' Cant: Thieves' Tongue is one of the "Secret Language" skills, allowing characters to add secret meaning to innocuous speech through "signifiers, body language, and/or code words".
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Clerics of Shallya must take a vow not to kill a living creature except in self-defense. This rule is waived in case of followers of Nurgle, god of disease and decay (it also only applies to living creatures, so "killing" daemons or the undead is fine). In the first edition, clerics were also forbidden to kill humans in any situation, even in self-defense (again with the exception of followers of Nurgle).
  • 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, due to how incredibly lethal combat can be with just a few unlucky dice rolls. 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.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Introduced in the 2nd Edition's Denizens of the Empire Supplementary text, Hansup the Ogre Watchman is, according to his description, "[...] too stupid to be tricked, cajoled or bargained with." It also states that he's so familiar with the town's law (having taught himself to read using the town's charter) that he immediately catches lawbreakers in his net to be sorted out by his boss should he witness them doing anything illegal.
    Methodical, implacable and scrupulously honest, Hansup is a rogue's worst nightmare.
  • Tracking Spell: The spell "Finding Divination" reveals the direction to the target — either a specific item or the closest example of a generic item. It does not, however, reveal the distance to the the target or any barriers in between.
  • Transformation Horror: Chaos mutations follow several aspects of the trope, particularly as described in Tome of Corruption which features a massive 1d1000 table of results:
    • Mutation Horror: When a character gains their first mutation, they'll potentially be subject to further mutation every time Morrsleib the Chaos Moon waxes full (an event that is entirely random), only "stabilizing" after they manage to resist one of these additional changes. Favored servants of the Dark Gods are likely to never stop mutating, as their masters inflict new transformations to reward or punish them.
    • Terminal Mutation: The Chaos Spawn mutation is a variant — Rather than killing the mutant, it instead turns them into an insane, feral Shapeshifter Mashup. Mutants can also succumb to spawn-dom by suffering more individual mutations than they can withstand, at which point they suddenly start mutating uncontrollably as their minds and bodies give out under the metaphysical strain.
    • Mix and Match Mutation: All mutations stack with each-other, which can quickly reach absurd levels — Nothing prevents an unlucky mutant from eventually becoming a three-armed slug man with inside-out skin and a flaming skull. Appropriately, mutants can gain the Frightening or Terrifying traits based on their accumulated deformities, thanks to the in-universe Body Horror.

    Tropes U—Z 
  • Undead Child: The necrarch vampire Madame Kalfon, from 2nd edition's Night's Dark Masters. After showing magical potential as an infant, her Bretonnian parents feared that she would be abducted by The Fair Folk, and so abandoned her in the Grey Mountains in the distant hope she would be taken in and hidden. While she was indeed found and raised by a band of mutants, who named her Heloise Kalfon, her magical potential soon came to the attention of a local necrarch who believed a twelve-year-old vampire thrall would be easier to control. He was proven wrong after he subjected Kalfon's surrogate family to horrible experiments, which led to the girl pushing him from the balcony of his tower to his demise by impalement and sunlight. Taking the title "Madame Kalfon" to sound more grown-up and intimidating, the child necrarch has taken her former master's tower for herself, teaching herself the art of necromancy and developing a talent at cobbling together Flesh Golems from different corpses and species. An adventure seed describes her tower as "a macabre place adorned with twisted corruptions bred from the diseased mind of a naughty child. Zombies shuffle about, dressed in party costumes, whilst toys fashioned from rotting flesh litter the floors."
  • Unequal Rites:
    • The split between the various arcane and divine lores is the biggest one — despite working on similar basic principles and even using the same Arcane Language skill, they are mutually exclusive to one another. The Church of Sigmar in particular glorifies priests capable of casting miracles, while at the same time being vehemently opposed to "witchcraft" and only barely tolerating the Colleges of Magic. Meanwhile, thanks to their corrupting influence, the dark lores are condemned by both sides, and their practitioners are hunted down on principle.
    • Probably the worst sufferers of this trope in the Old World are the Hedgefolk, reclusive shamans and wisemen who maintain ancient, pre-Imperial traditions of magic. The rise of the Sigmarite faith led to the Hedgefolk being percecuted as witches and heretics, and their refusal to come out of hiding when Loremaster Teclis founded the Colleges of Magic also made them the target of magisters, who have a standing policy of rounding up magic-capable individuals for training. All of this has led to the Hedgefolk dwindling in number, and the "blessed few" vital to their culture are constantly at risk of being killed or abducted.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: In a story hook from Sigmar's Heirs, some children steal a bunch of notes from a scholar on a dare, and upon seeing it contains some weird funny notes and symbols, decide to "play magic" in the woods. Unfortunately, it's a summoning ritual for an ancient Chaos warrior that was buried alive beneath a circle of standing stones near the town.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: Unicorns are said in-universe to only suffer the pure to ride them, which many take to mean the virginal and chaste. However, there are also tales of unicorns bearing wounded noble knights to safety even that knight was very certainly not innocent. This is generally taken to mean that they prefer riders of strong moral character, but they're also notoriously choosy about such things — even the elves, who have a much closer relationship with unicorns than other races, only produce one or two maidens per generation who can ride the creatures.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In large swathes of Bretonnia, "shepherd" means "mercenary". Nobles are expected to defend their own lands, and hiring mercenaries to do so would be dishonorable. However, shepherds by tradition have far more independence than other non-nobles and often go to strange places to find pastures for their flocks. This means that sometimes a very large group of heavily armed "shepherds" will head off towards a known beastman sighting with a bag of gold the lord "dropped" in their packs and a flock consisting of one sheep.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Frequent in the Imperial capital of Altdorf, where strange and exciting stuff happens on a day-to-day basis. Rogue wizards, foreigners, elves, dwarfs, daemons, plots to overthrow the Empire, the mere presence of the Colleges of Magic, and the fact that there's so much subtle magic in the environment that the city's already confusing layout doesn't entirely make sense at times. The locals have developed a famous habit of shrugging off even the most bizarre events as just another day in the capital. However, careful observers will note that Altdorfers are still freaked out by scary or dangerous things — its just considered rude to openly make a fuss.
  • Vagina Dentata: One mutation causes your genitals to ditch you in your sleep and run off to the realm of Chaos. In their place, they leave you with "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 dangerous supernatural phenomena, successful or not (the more dice you roll to cast a spell, the greater the chance).
  • Villain Cred: The Old World Bestiary contains descriptions of major intelligent races and monsters found in the setting, accompanied by quotes from a variety of scholars, people with first-hand experience of them, and the beings themselves when they're intelligent. One recurring commentator is Rikkit'tik, a scholar from Clan Eshin, the Skaven clan specialized in assassinations, poisoning and general subterfuge. Most of his comments are terse instructions on how to dispatch the creature in question, but in the section on hobgoblins, a goblin breed notable for being a pack of treacherous, conniving sneaks who win their battles with poisoned knives in the dark, he says "I kind of like these green-things. They show... promise."
  • Villain Protagonist: In Second Edition, with the right books, it's possible to play parties composed of Beastmen, Skaven, and Norscans. Players can even side with the Ruinous Powers and become Warriors of Chaos.
  • Walking the Earth: The work of a Grey Wizard's sniffing out corruption or a Light Wizard's banishing Chaos or dark magic is never done, and they are frequently personally moving on to the next task.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: In 2nd Edition, the Lore of Shallya boasts the miracle Purify, an uncharacteristically combat-oriented miracle that deals an Armor-Piercing Attack and can potentially stun its victim. The catch? It only works on beings associated with Nurgle, dark god of plagues and Shallya's Arch-Enemy.
  • 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.
    • Tome of Corruption points out that while many denizens of the Empire have little problem condemning mutants if they're someone they don't know (or like), attitudes change fairly quickly once they or their loved ones experience mutation themselves. Families that experience the birth of mutant children usually decide to either hide the baby or abandon them in the woods rather than kill them or consign them to Witch Hunters. Those who wholeheartedly supported euthanization of mutants suddenly become determined to avoid the pyre themselves. If a player gains a mutation, the GM is encouraged to play up the ensuing dilemmas and use them to emphasize just how insidious Chaos truly is.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The rules for Poisoned Weapons take a moment to highlight how horrible it is to use the saliva of a rabid animal, both for the prolonged, torturous death it inflicts and for the risk of causing a rabies outbreak.
  • When Trees Attack: Bloodsedges are a type of tree that feeds on living animals by grabbing them with its branches and holding them against its trunk, where powerful acids quickly turn it into fertilizer. A copse of these things can devour an entire war party passing through them, and the Wood Elves believe them to be holy protectors of the wild.
  • White Magic:
  • 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.
    • The Marsh Lights petty spell allows a caster to create a number of lights within 100 yards of themselves and then send them off in any desired direction.
  • Words Do Not Make The Magic: Knowledge of a Language of Magic is necessary but not sufficient to cast spells; a character also needs the ability to channel the Winds of Magic to power those spells.
  • 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, but in their reduced states they manage to be weak enough to serve as challenging boss battles.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: