Warhammer: Alone Against the Night
A Note to Them What Know The Fluff
I will not be using the Warhammer background from current ed. Most of the lore will be taken from 3rd ed WHFB. Also as a character you know nothing about the powers of darkness, elves, dwarves, The Old Ones etc. Most people who know things about these topics are burnt the few who aren’t either do the burning or are in charge of the people who do the burning.
Warhammer is a low fantasy Tolkien inspired world with a geography and history similar to that of our world during the early 1500’s. The games prime locale is The Empire the largest of all of the human realms in The Old World. Into this world are the usual fantasy fare of creatures and races Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Orcs, Goblins, etc.
In a nutshell Warhammer is Call of Cthulhu set during the early Renaissance in a Tolkienesque fantasy world. The players will only be able to play humans, so the rest of this page will only deal with the world from the human perspective.
Magic is there but most people are afraid of it and its usage is strictly controlled. The peasantry are at best well trained humble craftsmen happy to settle down and raise a family and have a quiet life at there worst they are illiterate and superstitious. The gods do answer your prayers, at least there are enough recorded events of this occurring for people to be convinced of this. Unlike most fantasy settings Warhammer takes place in a world that is at a similar level of development as our own during the Renaissance, I’m choosing to used early to mid 1500’s as a relative time. This means that unlike most fantasy settings there are not just nobles and peasants with the military off to one side. In Warhammer there is a burgeoning middle class and merchant’s and guilds are rapidly developing a power base whilst the established Nobility tried to deal with these jumped up commoners. The old feudal system is still in control but it is already starting to buckle under the mounting pressure.
I say low fantasy because most players will not have access to anything more magical than a stone with a hole in the middle of it. The only players that will have access to magic are Wizards an Priests. Magic weapons are very rarely left lying around most are owned by someone and usually someone powerful. Magic is also not a toy it is a powerful force that must be respected and using it carries a price.
Witch hunters burn kind and helpful magic users who’s only crime was not belonging to once of the official sanctioned magical institutions because of the potential risk the pose. It is better to have to burn 10 illegal magic practitioners to destroy one dangerous user than it is to spare the 9 safe ones and let the one dark practitioner go free. As each dark adept is an ally to the Dark Gods
Warhammer is a dark fantasy where the good guys are simply a lighter shade of grey than the bad guys. Most wars are fought over trading rights or resource land grabs, the Realms of Men are no more united than our own and are just as petty.
The players may chose to walk the path of the righteous or just do what needs to be done to get the job done. How ever the players chose to act there is no requirement to be shining beacons of light, sometimes doing something and doing nothing is the difference between good and evil.
The player characters will start at almost the bottom of the heap in terms of social standing. Brave adventurers are not a warmly welcomed sight in taverns as they tend to be viewed with suspicion by the town/village folk who’s knowledge of the world ends no more than 10 miles from where they were born, your coin is welcome though. Even in urban environments adventurers are viewed with suspicion by local watch officials who don’t like well armed combatants wandering around their cities, if means they my miss their coco break.