A Love Letter To Narrative 40k

40k Narrative

I felt it was time for me to tell you all just how much I love narrative 40k.  

I would like to start with a little disclaimer that you should play any style of game you and your opponent are wanting to play. If you want to play super-honed lists to compete on the top table of a huge competitive event, then my friend, that’s OK with me. It’s up to you, I’m not going to argue, but maybe I can persuade you to try, even just once, something a bit different.

I feel sometimes that people’s perception of “narrative” gaming is super-unbalanced games with made-up units and rules. I’m sure it can be that, and I’m sure the people playing that way love it, and respect to them. But you can add as much “narrative” seasoning as you like. Start small and you might want to keep adding. 

Here’s a few of my suggestions of how you can go about it:

Name your characters

This is by far the easiest and least intrusive step. Mighty feats deserve mighty titles! While you’re at it you could try to convert your characters to be wielding the relics you assign them.

Theatre of war

There are plenty of supplements out there that can provide extra rules to represent the battlefield you’re sparing on. The last in the Psychic Awakening series, Pariah, has an abundance of them, from Tomb worlds to daemon planets. Again the game is yours so when you use these feel free to use as many or as few of the rules as you like. 

Narrative mission

One of my all-time favourite 40k supplements, Vigilus Defiant, has so many amazing narrative missions, a campaign and much much more. You can even play out the timeline of events if your group has the mentioned armies, or just swap them out for armies you do have – don’t worry, I won’t tell. 


The 9th Ed 40k rulebook’s highlight element (in my opinion) is the Crusade section. It adapts well to slow-grow projects, as you start with a 50 Power Level army to select from and then you need to spend resources to increase that amount. Your units earn experience points to spend on stuff like unit upgrades and improved weapons but if they get wiped out in a game they might earn permanent disadvantages called Battle Scars. I can’t wait for our gaming group to start our first campaign! 

If you want to know more about Crusade please try the Realm Rift Podcast episode 1. 

Well I hope some of my suggestions have tempted you to try a little sprinkle of narrative within your gaming. Maybe someday I’ll see you at a narrative event and I’ll be writing your warlord’s name in my book of grudges.