A roleplaying game has combat, at least a fantasy one does, so you’ll probably want someone in your party that knows how to swing a sword. While not every Career in WFRP is good at combat, that’s what this Class of Careers are for- the Warriors! From basic fighters to Old World classics like the Slayer and Warrior Priest, this Class is more diverse than most would think (and it’s the only Class to start with a hand weapon!). So strap in and get ready to swing those weapons!
(High Elf, Human, Wood Elf) Cavalrymen fill a particular, and powerful, role in combats. Charging in on their steeds, a timely charge by heavy cavalry can break enemy lines and throw an army into panic. In WFRP though, you’ll likely have to leave your horse at the door. Cavalrymen are fearsome fighters, most often from horseback, which makes perfect sense with their Income Skill of Ride (Horse). This boosts their Status as well, starting at a hefty Silver 2 and increasing to a mighty Gold 2 by Tier 4- Cavalry Officer. One of my favorite things about this Career is that you can build it to fit a few different archetypes. You can go with Ranged (Blackpowder) and play a pistoleer, firing from horseback from a safe distance or focus on Skills like Melee (Cavalry) and charge into combat with a lance. Either way you choose to build your cavalryman, there are plenty of Skills and Talents to make them a formidable fighter: Language (Battle), Melee (Basic), Intimidate, Leadership, Lore (Warfare), Combat Aware, Roughrider, Trick Riding, Combat Reflexes, Warleader, and Robust all will help keep you alive and dealing out damage. Their Characteristics are perfect fits for the Career too, starting with WS, S, and Agi, they add BS, I, and Fel later on, boosting their combat and non-combat abilities throughout their Career advancements.
A PC cavalryman will be a strong addition to a team, either striding into combats resplendent in armor, or harrying the enemy from range, either way dealing damage. Out of combat, cavalrymen bring the respect and wealth of their position to the party, able to mingle with levels of society the rest of the party might not be able to. An NPC or enemy cavalryman seems more difficult to fit, depending on your campaign. They could be a mentor for a younger PC or maybe the campaign is based on a mercenary company lead by a Cavalry Officer who makes life difficult for the PCs, or maybe they’re a corrupt officer leading a group of mutants on a rampage across the Empire. Or maybe you made an awesomely badass Chaos Knight using this template and some mutations! That’s the best part of these games, you can do whatever you want!
(Dwarf, Halfling, High Elf, Human, Wood Elf) Guards typically come in two forms- standing guard outside a door, and bodyguarding someone close by. Either way, they have to know how to fight. Good thing their starting Characteristics fit this well, with WS, T, and Agi (later gaining S, I, and Int). Perception as their Income-Skill makes a lot of sense too, guards need to be on their toes when on the job, and aware of their surroundings. They make decent money and are fairly well respected as well. Their Status starts at Silver 1 and can increase up to Silver 5 if they survive to a Guard Officer. While they don’t break into the Gold Status, guards are respected, but still servants or part of the working class. Their Skills and Talents make them good at what they do though, with Skills like Gamble, Gossip, Melee (Basic)(Polearm)(Two-Handed), Cool, Dodge, Heal, and Leadership, they can get a group out of trouble quickly. Their Talents help to end combats quickly too: Strike to Stun, Reversal, Strike Mighty Blow, Jump Up, Combat Master, and Furious Assault. Some of these, like Reversal, are rare Talents that help higher Tier guards stand out from other melee fighters.
PC guards will need a good reason to be adventuring, but luckily they can have one built in- they’re the guard for another party member! This can lead to some fun moments, especially if they’re guarding a noble or a wizard that will likely treat them as a servant, but maybe they can become friends over time? Otherwise, maybe they’re a retired or even fired guard who wasn’t so good at what they did. NPC guards are typical combat fodder, but a named, enemy Guard Officer could make life very difficult for a party, especially in an urban campaign. Or maybe a guard who’s patron was killed by the party now has a vendetta against them?
(High Elf, Human, Wood Elf) Knights are what the cavalryman wishes they were! Knights are preeminent melee fighters in the Old World, and they have the stats to back it up. Right out the gate they have S, I, and Agi as their starting Characteristics to increase, followed by WS, WP, and Fel. A little surprised they don’t have T in there, but they have the armor to make up for it. Melee (Cavalry) is their Income Skill, and they are going to like rolling this one with their high Status. Knights are renowned and looked up to and so start at Silver 3, increasing up to Gold 4 as a Knight of the Inner Circle. Their Skills and Talents make them a force on the battlefield like Athletics, Heal, Ride (Horse), Cool, Dodge, Melee (Any), and Leadership. Their Talents are where they really shine though: Roughrider, Study, Warrior Born, Shieldsman, Strike Mighty Blow, Fearless (Any), Warleader, Stout-hearted, Unshakable, Inspiring, and Iron Will. I even had to look up what a few of those were, they’re quite unique to the knight! Not only are they great at slaying enemies, they are leading the party to be better and working as a team (at least in theory).
A PC knight has a few ways they can create their character. They could be a member of one of the Knightly Orders like the Reiksguard, Knights Panther, or Knights of the White Wolf, or they could be a Freelance or a young noble trying to impress whoever they can. Maybe they’re a Bretonnian Questing Knight on the search for the Grail. I like the idea of a Freelance knight that plays like a Ronin Samurai, trying to regain their lost honor after losing their lord.
(Dwarf, Halfling, High Elf, Human, Wood Elf) Our good friend Mammoth from GPoPA made the world his pit. Instead of fighting for money or glory in a ‘civilized’ pit in a city, he made the Devil’s Bowl of Talabecland his pit. Mammoth joined the GPoPA gang during the campaign and made a splash with his aggressive attitude and desire to fight whatever could present a challenge (it wasn’t much!). He used the starting Characteristics of WS, S, and T well but also had access to I, Agi and eventually Fel. His Melee (Any) Skill would have been his Income skill if he cared about having money. Instead he let others have his share and pay for whatever when he was forced out of the wilderness. Though his Status was rising steadily through the Career Path from Brass 4 to Gold 2 if he became a Pit Legend. Mammoth used his fighting skills to survive in the forests of the Old World like Athletics, Cool, Dodge, Endurance, Intimidate, Melee (Brawling), Perception, and Consume Alcohol. He had access to some pretty cool Talents as well, like: Dirty Fighter, In-fighter (a favorite), Iron Jaw, Reversal, Ambidextrous, Dual Wielder, Combat Master, Frightening, Furious Assault, and Reaction Strike. While he didn’t use all of these, he mixed and matched and was unique compared to other pit fighters that could take a very different tact from him.
Mammoth is a great example of how a pit fighter doesn’t have to be pigeon holed into a singular type of character. Pit fighters can be quite versatile, and might have access to the most kinds of Melee skills. You can make them exceptional at one, or dabble in a few, like Mammoth did. An enemy pit fighter will put the party through their paces and make their lives difficult in combat, thought they don’t have much else going on.
(Dwarf, High Elf, Human) Got a job where someone needs some intimidating or roughing up? Hire a protagonist! Need someone gotten rid of? A hitman or assassin is what you’re looking for, and they’re protagonists too! Bullies extraordinaire, protagonists are violence for hire in a body. While they have a reputation for exalting in wanton violence, some do have a code or a line they won’t cross, but the best (worst?) will do just about anything for money, which is why their Status goes from Brass 2 all the way up to Gold 1 as an assassin. Protagonists get the job done with their starting Characteristics of WS, T, and Agi, adding I, BS, and Fel later on, they can take a hit and dish it out. Melee (Any) is their Income Skill which is backed up by Athletics, Dodge, Gossip, Haggle, Intimidate, Bribery, Perception, Cool, and Ranged (Thrown)(Crossbow). They know how to make the most coin for their work and get it done swiftly. Talents that help them at their cruel tasks are: In-Fighter, Dirty Fighting, Menacing, Warrior Born, Combat Reflexes, Criminal, Reversal, Careful Strike, Marksman, Relentless, Furious Assault, and Strike to Injure. If the employer wants someone maimed, they know how to do it.
A PC protagonist will likely be the black sheep of the party, as inflicting violence on others isn’t exactly the ‘good guy’ way to do things all the time. Though, they will help in keeping the party alive during combats with their skills! An enemy protagonist can be a long-term harassment to the party, especially if as assassin has been hired against them, they’ll be lucky to get out of there alive (or at least a few Fate short!).
(Dwarf) Slayers, most commonly known as Troll Slayers are another extremely “Warhammer” Career, you’re not going to find them in other RPGs (unless someone is stealing!) A dwarf that has sullied his honor to the point where it dishonors his clan and family and cannot be undone except by death in glorious combat against a worthy foe. Troll Slayers are the most common, because that is if the first foe sought out. Trolls are mighty creatures and dying in combat against one is a great way to restore honor in death. Of course, if you happen to slay the beast, you need to look for something bigger! Next up would be Giant Slayer, followed by Dragon Slayer, and the mightiest of Slayers- Daemon Slayers! As wondering vagabonds trying to be killed by monsters, the Status of Slayers is… not good. Brass 2 from start to finish. If a Slayer does earn money, it will go towards better weapons- but never armor! Wearing any armor beyond a simple leather jerkin goes against the Slayer code. Slayers begin their sojourn by traveling to Karak Kadrin, the Slayer Keep, and taking the oath at the Shrine of Grimnir, the dwarven god of battle. They shave their head down to a tall mohawk that they keep up with fat and dye their hair and beard orange like Grimnir’s was. After this, they use their Skills and Talents to find and fight the biggest and nastiest things they can. Skills like Consume Alcohol, Cool, Dodge, Heal, Lore (Trolls), Melee (Basic)(Income Skill), Intimidate, Melee (Two-Handed), Outdoor Survival, Ranged (Thrown), and later Lores (Giants, Dragons, Chaos) help them do what they do best. Talents up their effectiveness in combat, especially Dual Wielder, Fearless (Everything), Frenzy, Hardy, Implacable, Furious Assault, and Combat Master. They even have a completely unique Talent, Slayer, that allows them to hit harder, counting their opponent’s TB as their SB when attacking and dealing more damage on Criticals against targets bigger than them! The Characteristics they can improve make a lot of sense, starting with WS, S, and WP, then later gaining T, Agi, and I (these guys are going to have a LOT of Wounds!).
Slayer PCs make perfect sense in the Old World, though fighting toughs and bandits don’t fit well in their code, a Slayer will always be pushing to find something more worthy of their death. An NPC Slayer works well for the party to hire or find in the wilderness as a hangers-on if they need help with combats. An enemy Slayer would be more difficult to fit into a campaign, but maybe one of the party members had a hand in why the dwarf took the Slayer oath, or maybe the party stole a monster from the Slayer, or even- Grimnir forbid- the party saved the life of a Slayer and they can never forgive them! They might even be seen as a worthy foe and must give the Slayer a worthy death or be killed themselves!
(Dwarf, Halfling, High Elf, Human, Wood Elf) Talking about soldiers, of course we have to talk about the famous Mina, Town Guard from A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure. Wilhelmina Fischer (played by the amazing Dani) grew up in a small town in Ostermark called Seisdadt, a lake town known for their fish, crazy Uncle Chet, and beastmen attacks. After losing her friend (more than?) Kurt to one of these attacks, Mina decided she wanted more than to be a member of the town militia and traveled to Altdorf to join the state armies. She got distracted by a group of people on the way there, and the rest is podcast history. As a soldier, Mina has a respectable Status starting at Silver 1 and she could increase it up to Gold 1 if she stays and becomes and Officer. Of course, as a rank-and-file fighter, Mina becan with useful Character advances in WS, T, and WP. Later she could add BS, I, and Fel. Her Skills are mostly combat-focused like Athletics, Cool, Dodge, Melee (Basic) (her Income Skill), Play (Drum or Fife), Melee (Any), Ranged (Any), Heal, Leadership, Perception, and Lore (Warfare). Soldiers have some awesome Talents as well, allowing them to survive on the front line: Marksman, Warrior Born, Drilled, Rapid Reload, Shieldsman (Shieldsmaiden), Combat Aware, Unshakable, Warleader, and Inspiring. Like we’ve seen with other Careers, you can build a Soldier to focus on melee fighting, ranged, or even both! They also are easy to build as a classic ‘sword and board’ fighter with a shield that makes them quite tanky.
To play a solider fight not fit perfectly in every campaign, soldiers belong in the army, not galivanting around the countryside adventuring. They might be between military campaigns and do some adventuring, or on an extended lead. Completing an adventure before the soldier must return to their post could fit in a suspenseful ticking clock into an adventure! NPC soldiers often act as guards in cities and towns or watch patrols. Fighting soldiers is a bad idea for most parties with their skills and equipment they are more than a match for most adventurers that aren’t also Warriors. Enemy soldiers will likely fall into leadership roles like sergeants and officers, that could lead entire units against the party, making them extremely dangerous.
One of my favorite things about the soldier Career is that it was expanded into a few different Careers in Up in Arms like Halberdier, Swordsman, Spearman, Handgunner, and Archer (grab a PDF version here and help out the PCN: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?affiliate_id=3002007).
(Humans) Warrior Priests are kind of like the clerics of WFRP. Zealots that can perform Miracles (NOT magic!), are usually covered in armor, and aren’t afraid to tell others when they’re wrong. Warrior Priests can fill a multitude of roles in a party and are just awesome. Just like the soldier and wizard Careers, the warrior priest has been expanded upon in various publications. Up in Arms gave us warrior priests of Myrmidia, Sea of Claws gave us sailor-priests of Manaan and even priests of Stromfels! Warrior priests are well respected and earn decent coin from their cult, starting with a Status of Brass 2, increasing to a moderate Silver 4 as a Priest Captain. While most warrior priests evangelize while fighting with the armies of the Empire, just as many become wandering priests, espousing the word of their god to those living across the Empire that might be lost. This makes a lot of sense with Leadership being their Income Skill. Their breadth of abilities are shorn up by other Skills like: Cool, Dodge, Heal, Lore (Theology), Melee (Any), Pray (for Blessings), Charm, Entertain (Speeches), Intimidate, Intuition, and Lore (Warfare). They have a unique and functional set of talents as well to help with their social, combat, and Miracle abilities: Bless (Any), Read/Write, Strong-minded, Inspiring, Invoke (Any) (for Miracles), Holy Visions, Pure Soul, Fearless (Any), and Holy Hatred. Like a few other Careers (Nun and Priest), they have the ability to invoke Miracles of their chosen god that can be quite powerful. Their lesser Miracles, known as Blessings, are great ways to increase the prowess of their party and show the power of their god. Their Characteristics to advance are diverse as well, starting with WS, T, and WP, later gaining S, I, and Fel. Here we have the typical problem that bugs me. Leadership is their Income Skill, but they can’t advance their Fel (without paying double) until Tier 4!
PC warrior priests are easy to fit into any party, wandering the Empire trying to convert the plain citizens. Playing a warrior priest can be very fun too, getting to make grandiose speeches and performing Miracles to help those in need. Other characters can find their truth along the way, like Carl Withacee from GPoPA who didn’t become a warrior priest until going through two other careers first! He decided his connection to the sea and Manaan was more than surface level and now wants to pilgrimage to Marienburg to the central temple to the god of the water. NPC priests are perfect for mentors, healing, or other Miracles. Enemy warrior priest would be incredibly dangerous, using Blessings, Miracles, and the power of their congregation behind them. An entire cult could be turned against the party, making their lives dangerous indeed.
Do I Know How To Do That?
Done with Careers (for now) next will be the Skills and Talents Chapter! I’ll start with just the skills, cause they are kinda the meat and potatoes of how this game works. Until then, make sure to check out our Patreon at patreon.com/professionalcasual for all kinds of awesome content. Also, if you’re looking for any of the books I’ve mentioned throughout the article, head over to beardeddragongames.online/shop or if you’re in our Discord, tag Anthony with anything you need!
Dan is a founding member of the PCN, GM/host of “A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure,” and “Settling the Southlands” as well as a player in The Lost Omens Podcast, and The Slithering. Dan is also a novelist and writer of adventures.