Continuing on from the first Worlds of Inspiration Article which highlighted Dark Sun and the Discworld, today we look at another distinct setting.
Home to three editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, many editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and multiple novels, this world is a dark copy of Earth in geography, populated by typical fantasy races such as the high elves, lizardfolk, dwarfs, dark elves and humans of the Old World.
Here there are tribes of Norsca who have thrown in their lot with the forces of Chaos and the ancient empires of the Lizardmen repelling explorers looking for the lost treasures of their sorcerer-priests. In the Old World dark cults perform forbidden rituals in the bustling cities, giving succour to the mutants who live on the fringes of civilisation and planning the downfall of civilisation.
Although this may at first seem to be your typical copy of medieval earth, there are a few things that make this world intriguing. The first is that it is set a little later, into the renaissance period, with a certain amount of technology up to the use of unreliable gunpowder weapons.
Most definitely dark fantasy, there is also the hidden menace of chaos and corruption, represented by the Chaos Gods and their worshippers. It is the details that make the Warhammer World worth looking at, such as the Colleges of Magic, the under-empire of the skaven (rat-men), the distinctive dwarf slayers with their death wish and the detailed explanations of mutations caused by contact with warpstone and worship of the chaos gods.
One thing that gave the Warhammer World a distinctive feel is the RPG, where the characters of the players are not mighty heroes in the making, but start from more humble beginnings in careers such as Hunter, Alchemist's Apprentice, Barber-Surgeon, Militaman and the infamous Rat Catcher with his iconic small but vicious dog!
Either of the first two editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay give an overview of the Warhammer World, with the RPG systems built around the setting. The third edition (from Fantasy Flight Games) gives information but is more focused in the base game on the area of the Reik.
For more details about some of the races of the warhammer world, it may be worth looking at some of the older army books for Warhammer Fantasy Battle as these may be cheaper to get hold of.