THE WFRP STORY XI: FORCES OF FANTASY

This post continues my history of WFRP1, which started here.

In 1984 Warhammer took a new direction and began a journey that would lead to a second edition of the game in the following year. The first step on that journey was Forces of Fantasy. This was a supplement for WFB1 which I believe first appeared in March 1984. It was described in WD49 (January 1984) as “forthcoming” and the first ad for it appeared in WD51 (March 1984).

Forces of Fantasy.png

Its presentation is similar to WFB1: three black-and-white booklets in the now familiar Xerox type.

Volume one, titled ‘Forces of Fantasy’, contains army lists. The armies are mostly for the creatures described in the WFB1 bestiary. They contain, for example, a different collection of goblin subspecies than later editions: goblins, great goblins, night goblins, red goblins, hobgoblins and orcs.

There are, though, some changes from WFB1. Slann make an appearance, following their introduction in the first Citadel Compendium. There are no night elves, but dark elves instead (who are stated to have pale skin and red eyes).

There is a Chaos army list, which mentions beastmen, demonic beasts and Chaos hounds. It also makes several references to the Realm of Chaos supplement, which had already been advertised, but was not published until much later.

There are four human army lists that correspond closely with historical armies: the North (based on Vikings), the West (crusading knights), the East (Arabians) and Orient (Japanese).

The second volume, ‘Fighting Fantasy Battles’ contains a miscellany of rules and background material. It includes and expands the rules amendments in the first Citadel Compendium and the ‘Arcane Ramblings’ flyers. It also introduces three levels of hero: Minor Hero, Hero and Mighty Hero.

In addition it contains background text for the first eight Regiments of Renown boxed sets, which Citadel produced to accompany Forces of Fantasy. This material provides a wealth of new information about the Warhammer world at the time, as will be seen in part XII. What is most striking about this background material is how different it is from what had come before. Irysia and Horvenghaast have disappeared in place of more familiar places like the Old World.

The content of the 1983 flyers is, in fact, nowhere repeated in Forces of Fantasy. I interpret this as an implied rejection of the prior material. Again the end of 1983 seems to have been a cut-off point in Warhammer‘s development.

The final volume of Forces of Fantasy is ‘Arcane Magicks’. It includes a handful of new spells, a large number of magic items (including runes and the power weapons of the Old Slann), random treasure tables and a few new monsters (genie, Chaos chimera, hydra, swarms and a revised balrog).

White Dwarf did not review Forces of Fantasy until July 1984 (WD55). It gave a moderately positive opinion and a 7/10 rating. It did, however, end with a belated barb regarding WFB1 itself:

The additions will undoubtedly improve it and hopefully not just complicate it. The number of additions do raise one question: why was Warhammer so jam-packed with glitches in the first place?

– Jon Sutherland, White Dwarf 55

Forces of Fantasy Review

The next post will look at the Regiments of Renown.

Title art by Christos Achilleos. Used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.

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