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Warhammer 40k RPG: Imperium Maledictum - first rules preview

Warhammer 40k RPG Imperium Maledictum players will create a powerful Patron together - like picking a Crew for Blades in the Dark, it’ll shape your game

Warhammer 40k Imperium Maledictum rules preview - Patron artwork by Cubicle 7, a mysterious figure draped in cloaks, candles on their shoulders, with a single robotic eye, writing in a glowing tome with a quill

Ireland-based RPG publisher Cubicle 7 has revealed the first rules for its forthcoming Warhammer 40k RPG Imperium Maledictum via the company blog on December 16. The Patron system will involve your whole playgroup, collaboratively designing a powerful benefactor whose interests you will serve.

Cubicle 7 highlights that the players’ Patron would be an important part of Imperium Maledictum when it announced the game in November. The latest blog post gives more detail on the key relationship between players and their Patron, saying: “You are a deniable and often expendable asset that can be used to advance their interests, and tossed aside when you are no longer fit to serve their purpose.”

While there will be premade Patrons for players keen to get stuck right in, Cubicle 7 says that creating a Patron is an activity for the whole playgroup, and one that will greatly shape your campaign.

You’ll start building your Patron by picking which of the Warhammer 40k Factions they serve: Cubicle 7 mentions the Adeptus Mechanicus, Astra Militarum, and Inquisition. We’d bet more than a few cred-chips that the Astra Cartographica, also known as the Rogue Traders, are in the mix as well.

Warhammer 40k Imperium Maledictum RPG rules preview - illustration by Cubicle 7 of three holographic figures, a gunslinger, staff-wielding psychic and an acolyte holding parchment, between two skulls fitted with cybernetics

While the choice of Faction will influence how your campaign unfolds “more than any other”, the blog details other aspects of your Patron you need to lock down. A Patron’s Duty is the role they fill in service of their Faction, their Motivation describes their long-term goals, and their Demeanour determines how they interact with the party.

Players can choose Boons that their characters will enjoy because of their Patron: Cubicle 7 gives the examples of a stock of bolt weapons from a well-armed Patron, or fake identities from a subtler handler. For every Boon, the GM is allowed to secretly pick a Liability that will make life complicated for the party, from an old enemy to a deep obsession.

From the sounds of it, the Patron system has a lot in common with building a Crew in Blades in the Dark. The blog post also highlights another system that Blades fans will recognise: “Patrons have relationships with other factions that ebb and flow during the course of the game — often because of player actions during missions.”

Blades in the Dark made it onto our list of the best tabletop RPGs, and it has a focus on a tight band of misfits acting outside the law and suffering awful consequences, a close thematic match for Warhammer 40k. At the same time, Imperium Maledictum is confirmed to be a d100 system, and a “spiritual successor” to the Warhammer 40k RPGs of the 2000s and 2010s, so it certainly won’t be running on the Forged in the Dark game engine.

Warhammer 40k Imperium Maledictum RPG rules preview - painting by Cubicle 7, a red shuttle craft approaches colossal megastructure, an industrial anthill, surrounded by a continuous cityscape and vast pools of liquid

Wargamer can also exclusively reveal a new piece of Imperium Maledictum Artwork, showing Hive Rokarth on the planet Voll. Hive Rokarth “scrapes the very edge of space, visible from orbit the moment it crests the horizon”. Voll is a prize world of the Macharian Sector, its “vast acid swamps a source of useful industrial chemicals and lethal toxins alike.”

If you’re keen to get Warhammer 40k to your RPG game night right now, Cubicle 7’s Wrath and Glory offers high octane action in the 41st millennium, has one of our favourite tabletop rpg dice systems, and has a Humble Bundle running as we speak. We also recently gave our Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader alpha impressions for the upcoming CRPG from Pathfinder: Kingmaker developer Owlcat games, if you prefer your adventures into the grim darkness of the future to be digital.