Warhammer Wrath & Glory quick character build

Roleplaying in the grim dark future

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Wrath & Glory is a tabletop RPG system for Warhammer 40,000. I found it through a Humble Bundle sale, and recently I read through the book and ran a test game. I enjoy the system and intend to run more games, but I know that building a character can often be intimidating for new players. In this post, I explain the quickest way to build a character for Wrath & Glory using its Archetype build method.

1. Know the framework

Before you start, talk to the Game Master to find out what Framework and Tier the game is using. The Framework determines which of the many Warhammer factions you can choose from, and essentially sets a moral compass for the game (no small feat within the Warhammer universe). For instance, a game that uses a Framework with the Imperium as the protagonist probably means that Orks are off-limit to you, while a game with Orks as the protagonists means the Imperium's probably off-limit. A Framework that uses Rogue Traders as the protagonists probably mean nothing's off-limit.

The game's tier informs how much XP you start with. You get 100 × the Tier number in Experience Points (XP) for your character build, and you'll use that XP to buy character attributes in the next steps. There are 4 Tiers:

  • Tier 1: 100 XP
  • Tier 2: 200 XP
  • Tier 3: 300 XP
  • Tier 4: 400 XP

Write the Tier and Framework on your character sheet.

2. Archetype

An Archetype defines what your character does for a living, and what Faction within the vast setting of Warhammer 40,000 they belong to. Archetypes are listed starting on page 22 of the core rulebook. Even more are available on page 100 of the Forsaken System Player's Guide.

Archetypes are specific to Tiers, so select only from Archetypes within the Tier of your game.

Each Archetype entry on page 22 of the core rulebook has a page number by it. Turn to that page for the description and stat block of the Archetype you're considering.

Write down your Species, Archetype, Faction, and Keywords at the top of your character sheet. When you see a keyword enclosed in square brackets, replace it with something specific to whatever you want your character's background to be. For instance, all Adepta Sororitas Archetypes have a [ORDER] Keyword, which you can replace with a holy order, like Order of the Martyred Lady, or Order of the Bleeding Heart, and so on. Adeptus Mechanicus Archetypes have a [Forge World] Keyword that needs replacing, Orks have [Clan] keywords. You can pick something you already know about from official lore, or you can make one up. Not all Archetypes have a replaceable Keyword.

Write down Archetype Abilities in the Talents & Abilities field of the back page of your character sheet.

Write down your Wargear in the Wargear table at the bottom of the first page of your character sheet.

Do NOT record your Attribute ratings or Skills yet.

Deduct the cost of the Archetype from your total XP.

2. Species

When you choose an Archetype, it includes your species. The core rulebook says "bonus Attributes, Skills, or abilities are also included in your Archetype package", but none of the species abilities are actually listed in any Archetype stat blocks, so you have to look them up yourself. The stat bonuses for your species are in the Species table on page 29 of the core rulebook, or in the species section of the Forsaken System Player's Guide.

Write down your Speed in the Speed field in the right column of your character sheet.

Write down your Species Abilities in the Talents & Abilities field on the second page of your character sheet.

These are all included in the price of your Archetype, so don't deduct anything from your XP.

3. Attributes

Most Archetypes have suggested Attribute rankings listed in the Archetype stat block, but they cost extra. You haven't paid for them yet. If yours provides a suggested list, write the Attribute rankings on your character sheet in the Attributes section, and deduct the cost from your total XP.

If you're playing an Adeptus Astartes, you don't get suggested Attribute rankings. I don't know why not. Primaris Astartes has them, but not Adeptus Astartes. It's not a problem, though, you can adjust them manually with your left-over XP.

To boost the attributes of an Adeptus Astartes Archetype, write down the base Attribute Rankings as provided in the stat block. Then turn to page 24 and refer to the Attribute Costs table to see the cost for boosts to an Attribute Ranking. You don't have much XP to spend, so just buy a Fellowship (FEL) score, because for some reason no Fellowship is provided in Adeptus Astartes stat blocks, which seems odd for a faction that literally calls each other "battle brother". Remember to deduct the cost from your total XP.

Regardless of what Archetype you're playing, don't worry about having an awkward amount of XP left over. You can boost a Skill or a Talent in the next step.

4. Skills

Your character has skills, but like everything else they cost XP.

Skills are described on page 121 of the core rulebook. Normally, you'd buy skills using the costing chart on page 25 but to make it quick and easy, just buy the Suggested Skills listed in the stat block.

Once again, Astartes is the exception. For some reason, the Skills for Astartes are provided as part of the Archetype. If you have some left over XP, you can probably use it up here by buying small boosts to a Skill or two.

Once you've got your skills chosen, write them in the Skills section of your character sheet. Whether you bought the suggested skills or you had to boost existing ones piecemeal, deduct what you spent from your total XP.

5. Talents

Talents are abilities unique to your character. Most Archetypes have a list of suggested Talents to help you decide what might be thematic for your character. Unlike Suggested Skills, there's no listing for XP cost because ultima tely you have to decide on one or two talents, and you have to budget for them. By now, you've spent most of your XP, so you can spend whatever you have left over on Talents. This is it, there's nothing left to buy.

Talent descriptions start on page 128, and each one lists its XP cost along with special requirements. There are a lot of talents to look through, and you should browse them to find some tricks you want your character to know. Look at the Talents suggested, go to the page number of the talent, read about it, and choose the one or two you like and can afford with your remaining XP.

Once you've got your Talents chosen, write them in the Talents & Abilities section on the back of your character sheet.

6. Wrath

All characters start with 2 Wrath points. Write that in the Wrath field in the right column of your character sheet.

7. Everything else

Most fields of the character sheet are notated with gray text to show how to calculate other important values. For instance, Conviction is equal to your Willpower, while Defence is equal to your Initiative minus 1. You can fill these calculated fields in, or you can just wait until they come up during the game.

8. Play the game

You're ready to go! Grab a handful of 6-sided dice, a miniature if you're playing with battle mats, and play. Here's what you need to know.

Playing an RPG is mostly just talking with friends about what you would do in some pretend situation. What would you do if a spaceship full of aliens boarded your smuggler ship? Would you hide or would you grab a las-pistol and fight? Or some mix between the two? Or would you use diplomacy?

At some point during the game, the Game Master will ask you for a Test and give you a Difficulty Number (DN). Add the number of the most applicable Attribute (Strength, Toughness, Agility, Initiative, Willpower, Intellect, or Fellowship) and a relevant Skill, and then roll that many six-sided dice. One of your die needs to be different from the rest. That one's your Wrath die.

Any die that lands on a 4 or 5 is a success ("Icon"). Any die that lands on 6 counts as two Icons (also called an "Exalted Icon"). If you've got Icons equal to or greater than the Difficulty Number, then you've succeeded in whatever you were trying to do. If your Wrath die rolls a 1, bad things happen, but if your Wrath die rolls a 6 then something extra good happens.

That's all the rules you need to know for about 80% of the game. There are some special rules for combat, and some cool things you can do with both Wrath and Glory points, but you'll learn about that as you go. Playing the game is the best way to learn it, so find a gaming group and start a game before your Commissar decides you're more trouble than you're worth.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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