Date Posted: 06-04-2022

Creating The Imperial Zoo for WFRP

The Imperial Zoo

An honest writer doesn’t plagiarize themself!’ has been my mantra for a while now, especially while I was working on The Imperial Zoo for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. When it comes to the creatures of the Old World, I suffer from a unique problem – many of the words already written on WFRP beasts are mine. I designed and wrote The Old World Bestiary in 2004 for the Second Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, along with Ian Sturrock and Chris Pramas. Two editions later, it remains a well-loved book. If you’ve ever looked at an Old World Warhammer Wiki, you’ve probably read bits lifted from it. So, you can imagine my trepidation when Cubicle 7’s Dom McDowall asked me to write a brand-new creature book for a new edition.

From the beginning, we wanted the new book to be from the Old World, with varied perspectives that could be subject to interpretation. The Imperial Zoo’s ostensible primary author, Theodosius Schreiber, generally presents what he’s been told as honestly as he can manage, but some of Theo’s sources are a bit suspect, and he certainly has his own biases as well.

More than that though, I didn’t want to write ‘just’ a monster book; I wanted to create something that would help GMs with their campaigns in the Old World. If I wrote a book that presented the creatures of the Old World merely as a list of stats, then they would appear to be nothing more than challenges to be killed — and I would be signaling to GMs that is exactly how they’re supposed to be used.

The intent of The Imperial Zoo is not just to give a list of targets, it is meant to give GMs and Players ideas. It shows how the folk of the Old World regard the creatures in their midst, which hopefully helps lay the foundation for adventures. It is a book of inspiration and perhaps a better story than you may expect if you pick it up expecting to read ‘just an RPG monster book’.

C7’s Dom McDowall, Pádraig Murphy, Dave Allen, and Elaine Lithgow supported my vision for The Imperial Zoo from the beginning, and worked to expand sections to make them better still. The whole WFRP team worked hard to make The Imperial Zoo a standout volume, and we think it shows. The original plan was to only have a standard volume of The Imperial Zoo, but after reading my early drafts, Dom and Pádraig decided there absolutely should be a Collector’s Edition as well. Especially because, as an in-world book, we could do a version of its cover exactly as it might appear in the Old World. We hope you’ll agree that the end results is something you would be proud to have on your shelf!

Feedback from earlier editions suggested we include  ‘proper treasure tables’ in the Old World Bestiary. With this in mind, we included the section on ‘Gorey Riches’. The response to The Imperial Zoo has been awesome so far, and it’s been gratifying to see how many folk on the Rat Catcher’s Guild on Discord were delighted with that section. (It seems the question ‘How much is this thing worth anyway?’ has come up in many WFRP campaigns over the years.) Certainly, the section on Alchemy has also gone over well. Long-time WFRP players can tell you Alchemists used to have their own Career back before the hoighty-toighty Gold Wizards seized the title. 

Finally, I confess I didn’t want to write anything that would put the Old World Bestiary in a bad light. I think that one’s still a fun read, too.

You can now pre-order The Imperial Zoo (Standard or Collector’s Edition) and receive the PDF straight away on our webstore here.




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