Warmth of Darkness
Edition Setting Differences
The WFRP setting has changed a LOT since 1986, driven by GW’s desire to make tabletop Fantasy Battles more High Fantasy / Heroic to get more 12 year old boys into their bricks and mortar stores. A prime example are the changes made to Karl Franz, the “Deathclaw” Griffon riding General of WFRP2 vs the puppet of WFRP1.
The spirit of this campaign setting is more aligned with WFRP1/WFRP3, 2515. The Storm of Chaos, as per WFRP3, has been retconned as though it never happened. This effectively has changed the setting from post-apocalypse to pre-apocalypse, which I believe to be superior for a Horror/Intrigue/Investigation setting.
Chaos in The Empire
Chaotic forces work discretely, they are unseen and insidious (rather than openly overt of WFRP2). Mutation is rare and if seen it’s usually attached to those who play with things they shouldn’t. Your experience with Chaos and mutation is mostly superstitious stories. It is common for mothers to warn their children off from certain antisocial habits on account of them “making a mutant of you!” Some naive folk believe such scolding even in adulthood, so common superstition in the Old World holds that mutation can result from nose picking, onanism, pulling faces, refusing to wash behind the ears, disrespecting your elders, and so on.
Magic in The Empire
Despite their power, the Colleges of Magic are still largely unknown and mistrusted by the populace. The common citizen of the Empire may find wizards awe-inspiring in theory, but he rarely encounters one in the flesh, and might not be pleased to do so. The existence of magic is common knowledge, but at the same time, it is still a thing of fantasy and wonder, and often only half-believed. Unlike the religious cults, which are seen to help the people and have a practical effect on everyday life, the Colleges of Magic, even in the cultural centres of Altdorf, Nuln, Talabheim and Middenheim, are seen as otherworldly and aloof.
Beyond the cultural centres, all sorts of superstitious nonsense is spouted and believed about them. Wizards are often considered strange and unusual, received with mistrust and suspicion.
Geography of The Empire
Most of The Empire is covered by gloomy, tangled, deciduous forests. Many clearings have been made, to allow cultivation of crops and to provide pasture for cattle and so on. Even so, there are hundreds of thousands of square miles of virgin woodland. Wise folk refuse to venture beyond the forest eaves except on roadways or rivers.
The waterways of The Empire have a vital role to play, for they are the only reliable communication and trade links between provinces, cities and towns. For although the Road Wardens and Toll Keepers do their best to maintain the network, the fact that so many of them need pass through the large stretches of forest mean that they are often plagued by bandits, highwaymen or even worse.
Despite it’s cultural and technological advances, The Empire is still very much wild and untamed.
Steampunk Elements Removed
The steampunk themes introduced by WFRP2 & WFB4 will not be included in this campaign setting (ie Gyrocopters, Airships, Steam Tanks etc), in favour of a more “realistic” low fantasy setting.