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Luke Johnson Q&A: World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide

Warcraft and d20 fans discussed details of the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide (HPG) with Luke Johnson, Developer of the World of Warcraft RPG Books line. You may catch a glimpse in this Q&A of what Blizzard Entertainment and White Wolf Publishing have brought to fans of World of Warcraft.

Welcome Luke Johnson, it is nice to discuss with you again details of the World of Warcraft RPG Books

Thanks. Good to be here.

The first question is addressed to newcomers or to those who recently got started with the Alliance Player Guide. Is the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide a replacement for the Warcraft: Alliance and Horde Compendium, or is it an update? If so, do you recommend acquiring the Compendium?

Getting a copy of the Alliance & Horde Compendium is difficult these days. It’s no longer in print. The new Alliance Player’s Guide (APG) and Horde Player’s Guide (HPG) are pretty much replacements for the compendium. They’re for the new edition, for example, and are much more detailed. And everyone give a big hello to Amber, one of the Warcraft RPG Book writers, who is here with us today! *clap clap*

The Compendium is only available as a PDF download – for those who are interested.

What on Earth inspired you to take so much time and put so much effort into a book based on a three year old online game, and do you expect it to be worth it financially and/or ‘worth it’?

I honestly can’t tell if you’re serious or not. World of Warcraft is a couple years old now, but its popularity has always grown. The books have always been worth it.

Which races are mentioned in the Horde Player Guide RPG Book?

The “New Races” chapter includes half-ogres, half-orcs, and jungle trolls. Chapter 2 includes four creature classes, allowing you to play monsters from level 1; that makes them sort of like races, right? The book includes creature classes for the abomination, centaur, ogre, and ogre mage.

Could you reveal the 15 Classes and variant classes, and tell us something about each?

The answer will be long, but sure! Here we go:


Melee Hunter: A hunter who focuses on melee instead of ranged.

Wandering Hunter: He draws his power from different types of terrain, rather than different animals (i.e., swaps aspect of the hawk for aspect of the desert, or something)

Uncorrupted Necromancer or Warlock: You don’t go evil, but you don’t get as many feats

Battle Shaman: The most paladin-ish of shamans

Far Seer: A shaman variant based on the WC3 hero unit

Hidden Warlock: Focuses on concealing his nature and has the spells to do it.

First, I’ll let Amber mention the ones she designed.

Thanks, Luke! I designed two prestiges classes: my favorite is the Lightslayer. The lightslayer is a Forsaken prestige class whose members dedicate themselves to war against the Holy Light, particularly the Scarlet Crusade.

The second, the Spirit Walker, is primarily for tauren, though other races might select it. The spirit walker communes with ancestral spirits to gain power.

Bone Crusher: He&Mac226;s big and can tear you apart

Dark Ranger: Like the elven ranger, but for Forsaken-types. Based on the Warcraft 3 hero unit.

Hexer: A witch doctor who focuses on curses.

Plagueshifter: He does well with disease, with a particular emphasis on the Scourge.

Potion Doc: He does potions, mon.

Primal: Taps into his animalistic side.

Pyremaster: An orc mystic who burns the dead.

Shadow Ascendant: A Forsaken who becomes more and more like the Darkness.

Spirit Champion
: A warrior who draws mystic power from his ancestors.

Spymaster: A master spy.

Techslayer: Focuses on destroying technological devices.

Some fans were curious as to why Prospector Brann Bronzebeard is narrating the Horde Player Guide, instead of an Orc Seer, Nazgrel (Thrall’s advisor) or someone such as Drek’Thar (Thrall’s mentor); or Eitrigg the Blackrock orc – for example – may know the history of both the Shadow Council and New Horde history better than most orcs; or why not use a Tauren Crone or Lorekeeper Montarr, and Lorekeeper Raintotem?

Brann is an authority on all this stuff. We also had a bit of a meta-plot going, with Brann working on his book and such. Also, I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Brann’s voice. One of the best compliments I’ve received about one of our books was “That was a good read.” That’s an accomplishment for an RPG book, I think, and that was Lands of Conflict: the first Brann one.

I always ask this question, How involved is Chris Metzen in the development of the World of Warcraft RPG Books, and how is your interaction with him through development? (Note to newcomers: Chris Metzen is Blizzard Director of Creative Design, who writes the Warcraft storyline since 1994)

Blizzard, especially Chris Metzen, are very involved in our books. My understanding is that Chris and several other guys at Blizzard Entertainment are big pen-and-paper RPG fans.

Could you explain how a Necromancer or Warlock can be uncorrupted? That is a bit confusing.

Maybe I should quote a bit of the text from the book:

“Some are strong enough to resist the will of the Legion and of the dark powers they wield; they, in turn, bend their wills to mastering demonic and necromantic secrets while remaining immune to their taint. These are the uncorrupted necromancers and warlocks, and they spread both distrust and hope wherever they go.”

Basically, they’re just made of tough enough stuff.

Do fans get some Jungle Troll and Forest Troll new lore in this book?

Oh yes. We have sections on both culture and history for both troll types.

On page 162, you cover the Grimtotem Tribe. Do you explain how Magatha Grimtotem joined the Horde? If not, what could you tell the Tauren fans about the tribe?

Well, Amber here wrote that section; maybe she’d like to answer?

Certainly, Luke. The best part about working on the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide (HPG) was delving into the history and culture of the various races. The tauren section covers a lot of history, and does include sections on the Grimtotem, and Magatha in particular. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the chapter does discuss Magatha’s personal history, as well as the Grimtotem clan as a whole and their relationship with the rest of the Horde.

Who are the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow(page 160)? Are they related to the Shadow Council?

That’s the Forsaken’s religion; it’s like a twisted version of the Light. They are not rela
ted to the Shadow Council.

Another eye-catching topic in the Horde Player Guide is the addition of Centaurs. Does it have something to do with Pariah the Centaur in Desolace? And what will the Tauren think of
such a unholy alliance with the Horde? Explain.

I will again quote a bit of text from the book:

“Rumors speak of one or two tribes, however, that overcome their evil natures in hopes to join forces with the Horde. They would prove valuable additions, as their speed, strength and knowledge of the wilderness are great.”

What will the book say about Rexxar and the Mok’Nathal as part of the Horde?

Time for another quote from Chapter 1!

“Recently, half-ogres reappeared in the world, following the exploits of Rexxar, champion of the Horde and the greatest Mok’Nathal to ever live. While still rare, more and more half-ogres come out of the woods each day, trying to find a place to call their own.”

Obviously there’s more detail on the Mok’Nathal there, and Rexxar is also discussed in the section on ogre culture and history.

Does the Horde Player Guide offer bios of the Horde leaders: Thrall, Sylvanas, Cain, Vol’jin, others?

We talk about those guys quite a bit. They don’t get stats, but certainly we discuss their role in the Horde.

How canon is the lore in the Horde Player Guide in the spectrum between the game and the RPG book?

Well, since I’m not an official Blizzard spokesman, I don’t think I have the authority to answer that question. However, given everyone’s dedication and hard work with these books, my understanding is that it’s pretty canonical.

What could you tell us about the upcoming World of Warcraft RPG: Monster Guide?

It covers monsters. wink

Jeff Moller
And it’s full color!

Recently you revealed a new RPG Book to be released in the future, possibly titled Dark Factions. What should fans expect in it?

Ah, I’m glad you mentioned that book. Because it’s awesome. You can expect a lot of statted NPCs … Dark Factions is unofficially subtitled the “Independent Player’s Guide”, because it’s like the Alliance and Horde Player’s Guides, but for independent factions and races. And Jeff Moller here worked on it. He wanted to create dozens of stat blocks, for reasons I still cannot comprehend.

Will there be Pandaren Lore and Rules (Core Classes and PrCs) in the dark factions book? (Courtesy of Xelloss)

Luke: Yep! One of the races we cover is the pandaren. You’ll see the pandaren written up as a new race, as well as at least one racial iconic class for them: the Wardancer. There’s also a couple prestige classes designed with pandaren in mind.

By the way, I should mention that Dark Factions isn’t quite set in stone; everything I mention about it could, theoretically, change.

Could you describe the Prestige Classes?

Sure. For the Pandaren one is the Brewmaster, based on the hero unit in Warcraft 3. The other one is called the Pandaren Transcendent. Here’s a quote:

“These are the pandaren’s ultimate heroes: Spiritual avatars capable of summoning vast storms of lighting, smashing mountains with their terrible fists, and breathing winds into existence.”—- Pretty rockin’, eh?

Anonymous Fan
How many people can play at a time?

As many as you like! Though any more than 7 and it gets a little clogged.

Jeff Moller
As many as your GM can juggle.

If you’re new to pen-and-paper RPGs, you want to check out the “What is the Warcraft RPG” article on the website

My personal website is at

Thanks for having me, all!

Thanks, Luke, Amber and Jeff Moller. Hope to see you again soon for the Monster Guide Q&A. Any further questions you could not get answered here, you may contact me here, and I will forward them to Luke. He will reply.

  • You may find all World of Warcraft RPG Books Here (in paperback or PDF download)

  • Wow RPG: Horde Player Guide Description at the Official Warcraft RPG website.
  • Previous interview with Luke Johnson.

dh (Wowirc)
Thanks to everyone that took part – hopefully Luke and the team answered some questions for you =]

Special thanks to dh and Tranqer from IRC Server for setting up the Chat bot and moderation.


Scott Bennie (plagueshifter, pyremaster, orc and half-orc history, military units)

Richard Farrese (primal, shadow hunter, jungle troll history, military units, ?Unearthing Bael Modan?)

Bob Fitch (?Unearthing Bael Modan?)

Bruce Graw (feats, hexer, techslayer, Chapter 5, ?Shrine of the Scarab?)

Luke Johnson (Chapter 2, potion doc, spirit champion, creatures)

Adam Loyd (Chapter 1, bone crusher, dark ranger, shadow ascendant, spymaster, wilderness stalker, Forsaken, ogre, and troll history, Cult of Forgotten Shadow, tactics, military units, creatures)

Andrew Rowe (Chapter 7)

Amber E. Scott (feats, lightslayer, spirit walker, Chapter 4, tauren history, Grimtotem tribe, military units)

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for (formerly

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