Forge World is a term associated with Warhammer 40,000. In-universe, it applies to planets owned by the Adeptus Mechanicus devoted entirely to manufacturing. Out-of-universe, it applies to a division within Games Workshop that specializes in large and finely-detailed models.
The first meaning of Forge World is if you took Games Workshop and leveled it up a few times. It's a sub-division of GW and produces resin-cast models for 40k, Fantasy Battle, Battlefleet Gothic, and Epic. Forge World grew from one of the oldest official giant stupid model projects, the early 40K lead Thunderhawk Gunship, which was originally created as a limited edition and routinely thrown at people who won GW contests. The Thunderhawk proved so popular that GW realized there was a serious market for giant stupid models, and thus Forge World was born to provide them, starting with Baneblades and suchlike, working up to full-sized 40K Titans. Over time it's since gone about producing its own range of models and rule sets for a huge array of different factions, and even has its own home-grown Imperial Guard variants (the badass
Death Korps of Krieg (or at least codified what was once little more than a doodle in the 3rd Edition IG Codex) and Elysian Drop Troops). The awesome-looking Chaos Renegades for Lost and the Damned also came from here.
More recently, Forge World has been spitting out gloriously beautiful and horrendously expensive Horus Heresy-era models, meaning every mark of Astartes Power Armor, Cataphractii Terminators, and older patterns of Rhino and Land Raider. This, in turn, creates the best and worst things ever; re-built, revamped Rogue Trader models. The horrible, goofy weapons, tanks, and dreadnoughts are back, in wonderful, goofy new resin kits. They all look amazingly terrible (and terribly amazing), but the icing on the cake includes Primarchs like Horus himself and fukken JETBIKES. Yes, Forge World put out pre-Heresy Jetbikes, and they are everything you hoped and dreamed for (provided you hoped and dreamed for resin dicks with Spess mahrienss inside them), including a new forgotten weapon type (the Volkite). And now they also have Mechanicum models too- because who doesn't want to play around with the oft-forgotten Imperial Robots?
In addition, many of their older models (read: all the ones you want) are no longer available and command even higher premium prices, and all special models (read: all of them) require an attendant overpriced supplement containing rules that tell you how the hell to actually use it, since just including these as a printable PDF on the site would remove a valuable opportunity to steal your moneys. These are called Imperial Armour Volumes, and are handily abbreviated by everyone here as IA (and then a Volume Number). People who claim they have these either do not actually have these and instead have .pdf copies / only have one or two (generally out of date) and treat them like Gutenberg Bibles / have like 4+ and are way too rich for their own good.
Also responsible for the Forgeworld Reserve Phenomenon.
As of April 1st, 2016 (and no, it doesn't appear to be an April Fools joke), Forge World has apparently jumped onto GW's "Last Chance to Buy" bandwagon and has decided to do some housecleaning on their product range. Thankfully, it's mostly obscure bits that likely hardly anyone ever bought or used, but notable losses include the Ork Kill Krusha Tank, Macharius Omega, and almost the entire MKIV Dreadnought line, both Chaos and Loyalist.
In conclusion: "Five hundred quid for a fucking titan? If I ever find the fucker responsible I'm going to beat them to death with their own HHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhnnnnnnngggggg-". Note: Look at the new Warlord titans, 900 POUNDS for a titan, 1240 with weaponry.
*This doesn't mean to imply that you're limited to only two models unless you happen to be a serial killer or a corrupt mortician.
- Alan Bligh, who unfortunately died of cancer on May 26, 2017, and who was responsible for the creation of many rules concepts eventually used in the Forge World rulebooks. Read an obituary written by fellow GW writer John French here.
- John French
- Andy Hoare
- Neil Wylie
Things Forge World Loves
- Your money
- The Horus Heresy
- Tau Battlesuits (XV9s!! fap fap fap) (XV107s!!! fapfapfapfap)
- IG Tanks
- Have we said your money?
- Daemon Engines
- Red Scorpions
- Terminators, all the Terminators (except for the robots originating from a certain movie, even though Games Workshop lifted from that movie to make a race of robots for their setting)
- Titans and the price to go with them
- TEH BANEBLEHDS
- We may as well say it again, your money
- Charging 100$ for a book
- Space Marines
- Dreadnoughts (they actually sell autocannons!!!)
- Death Korps of Krieg
- Adding an extra "0" to the end of reasonable prices
- The word "siege" attached to everything
- Turrets & Immobile scenery
- Units that are broken to play against
- Your Opponent's money
- Selling towing vehicles to move that immobile scenery around
- Bringing civilian vehicles to battle. Seriously, a Sentinel Power-lifter?
- Papa Nurgle
- The Orks, when GW won't love them because they aren't serious enough
- Your Money
Things Forge World Hates
- Poor people (eg. most of the editors of 1d4chan).
- Making sure their rules all have models.
- Making sure their models all have rules.
- Making army lists (the rules for their models are fine; their lists, on the other hand, are not).
- Making sure their stuff is balanced.
- Spell Checker.
- Proof reading books before release for rules/timelines/basic logic errors (supersonic transports that cannot land?).
- Warhammer Fantasy
- Lord of the Rings
- Chaos that isn't Khorne or Nurgle
- Adeptus Astartes units that aren't vanilla marines. (Seriously, is there ANYTHING that is Blood Angel/Dark Angel/Space Wolves exclusive?)
An Alternative Point on the Price (which is your soul, by the way)
While it’s a tradition of neckbeards everywhere to bemoan having to pay an arm, leg, testicle and unicorn blood for Forge World, it could be argued that Forge World’s high costs do have the beneficial side effect of taking some of the overpowered weapons and wargear that are supposed to be rare in the fluff, and bringing them into the tabletop while still making them rather rare in the meta, as comparatively few people are willing or able to fork over the teef for the models and rules. This is a good thing because, well, everybody wants a Titan, but do you really want everybody to actually have one? This way, it’s a bigger deal when this stuff actually shows up on the tabletop, as it should be, and if you’re the sort that doesn’t like to go up against that sort of cheese you’re not likely to run into it too often.... or at least that's how it WOULD be if Forgeworld units weren't such a mixed bag these days. Not everything they make right now is overpowered, in fact if they aren't they tend to be absolute shite.
A case in point of what happens when that little status quo is disrupted, with the release of affordable plastic Contemptor dreadnoughts and Cataphractii terminators, and with Angels of Death giving us non-Forge World rules for them, you can bet that everyone and their squig is gonna have the damn things now, even with the rather dumbed-down rules compared to Imperial Armour.
You'll occasionally find arguments online or perhaps within local gaming groups about the validity or "official-ness" of Forge World products. This has become less prevalent in recent years as the general perception of Forge World has become more mainstream, though every now and then the prejudice rears its ugly head, usually when your opponent won't let you play the FW model you forked out a small fortune for.
Lets make one thing perfectly clear: Forge World (and Black Library) is Games Workshop. They share the same trading address and legal identity. It is not a subsidiary company (which would be a separate legal entity, but owned by the parent) nor is it a licensee (which is a third party permitted to use the IP).
By comparison, Citadel Miniatures was founded as a subsidiary company and had its own separate projects outside of Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 (so your opponent can Rage when you tell him your Forge World model has more direct legal provenance than his old metal models). GW also acquired Sabertooth games, which operated as an independent subsidiary, but both were eventually absorbed back into Games Workshop.
So, back to the issue with Forge World. Many people had an innate dislike for the fact that Forge World models and rules were not actually declared by Forge World *or* Games Workshop to be "officially" part of the game; they would refuse to allow them on the tabletop, since they did not come from a Games Workshop primary rules source (such as a Codex, or the Big Rule Book). Forge World eventually started printing prefaces in their books explaining that their rules were official; but some still claim that since "Games Workshop" itself hasn't come out and said it, that they remain unofficial. However, since the spines of FW's books have always had the Games Workshop logos on them and the inside front cover have the legal copyright and property notices from GW, this argument seems specious at best; rather, much like how the Big Rule Book has no actual explicit declaration that rules from White Dwarf are "official", the Imperial Armour books themselves should be considered as canonical (what ever that means in 40k) as GW sources.
However, as with White Dwarf, GW hates you far too much as a gamer and customer to label any of their rulebooks/codices with edition numbers, much less ensure that their FW rules are always kept up to date with the current edition, and unlike Codices where you can typically determine the edition at a glance, a lot of Forgeworld books superficially "look" similar and may even have exactly the same name (to date there have been FOUR books with the title "Imperial Armour Apocalypse" but only two of them have sub-titles). This can be a major reason the rules are banned at tournaments, and an opponent might object for the same reason they might object to fighting a Squats army under the current rules - however "obvious" the rules translation might be, some people are uncomfortable playing games across too wide an edition gap, as rules interactions may make no sense at all and/or have utterly pathological balance ramifications. Update this has become pretty much irrelevant with the release of 8th edition where forgeworld have released complete indexes for pretty much their entire line.
We all know how litigious GW can get with regards to "unofficial" products using their copyright, so you can bet if it wasn't official/legal Forge World would have had their asses handed to them, but it would seem absolutely stupid to sue the guys in the next office over in the same building as you.
So next time you get to the table and your opponent starts whining about your Forge World models not being legal, just batter him over the head with your Imperial Armour book, which will be an order of magnitude heavier than his little codex and claim your victory by default.
As an additional side note - this has nothing to do with the perception of FW rules being either powerfully unbalanced or too focused on the narrative, but on reflection, that's no different from the skub surrounding codex creep and painful nerfing already rampant within "core" GW material. So what's new?
If a Tournament Organiser decides that they don't want to include Forgeworld rules then that is entirely their prerogative as they will want the tournament to be as balanced or as hassle free as is reasonable, especially since FW have a tendency to publish their rules with minor variances across multiple "in-date" books, which can be a nightmare to manage, especially where some books have "current" rules alongside other rules which have been superseded elsewhere.
But these organisers (if they are smart) will also likely restrict "core" army selections too, so no Unbound lists or may exclude certain FOCs, because in the end which is more unbalanced and cheesy? The guy who takes a contemptor dreadnought in his Combined Arms detachment or the guy who take an unbound army of Heldrakes? (Ha Held Rakes sound scary)
All that said however, there is a somewhat valid reason why someone may be a bit "model-shy" around Forge World rules; and that is information. There are 16 armies in 40k, and each dex tends to have more than one valid build; the Astra Militarum alone has six (tank heavy, artillery heavy, balance, flying circus, infantry spam, veteran spam). From a player's perspective, throwing MORE armies, rules, and models at them only compounds how much they need to consider. By counting Forge World, the number of army lists jumps to over 28 without considering supplements or mini-codices with only a handful of options, and again, each list can be played in more than one way, and then there are the (admittedly handful) of differences between Forge World and Games Workshop about the same model "is that the vanquisher with the coaxial? or not?" and then on top of all that you need to consider allies. While Forge World is legal from any logical standpoint, people are not logical, and may be daunted by just how much new information they have to learn in order to make proper gameplay choices and not lose, because they did not know that the Death Korp can give orders to artillery. Again, though Forge World is by any standard as legal as any codex, the other player may feel intimidated by your Space Marine siege army just because he does not know for sure what it can do and chose to walk way from it the same way he would if you brought an unbound army made of nothing but riptides.
The second, fluffy, definition is a type of Imperial Worlds that refers to an entire world converted into a factory; one that runs at high capacity, even for its size. They produce everything from laspistols to Land Raiders to Titans, so they are needed to keep the Imperial war machine trundling forward. Because of their nature, the Adeptus Mechanicus highly regard these worlds as holy places, and the Mechanicus owns just about all of them, which is fine since there are only a few of them and the Mechanicus is best at maintaining that shit. Losing a single one is considered an unacceptable loss by the Mechanicus, and the Imperium as well since it'll be harder than fuck to fill in those planet-sized gaps in their industrial sector. In the fluff, there is actually a forgeworld called 'Zpandex'.
A few Forge Worlds of note are:
- Accatran - Makes all the wargear for the Elysian Drop Troops. Their Titan Legion, the Legio Destructor is the largest of all the Titan legions and their constant battles against Orks have made the Legio Destructor increasingly unorthodox in its outlook and behavior (read: Orky), and they have the awesome battlecry, 'big death, Big Death, BIG DEATH!'
- Agripinaa - One of the Forge Worlds in the Eye of Terror, too bad Typhus turned one of their Agri-Worlds into his own little Daemon World. Has kept itself independent and Chaos-free since the fall of Cadia by "recruiting" refugees into its Skitarii legions, and occasionally making them into servitors.
- Anvilus - Prime maker of the Land Raider before the Heresy, as well as the main guns of everyone's favorite Legboat. Described as the only serious rival to Mars for manufacturing output. Taken over by Horus's forces during the heresy and presumably destroyed afterwards.
- Arachnus - A forgeworld that seems to specialize quite heavily in big fucking lasers. They're the assholes that produce the "Heavy Laser Destroyers" that are sometimes mounted on Deredeo Dreadnoughts, as well as the Disintegration Rays that are used by Custodians.
- Atar Median - Founded by exiles from Phaeton. Home to the Legio Atarus (Firebrands).
- Deimos - One of the moons of Mars, a micro Forgeworld. Deimos is pretty much the size of an asteroid and shaped like a potato, that made the old-school patterns of vehicles that we players refer to as "heresy era". After the Horus Heresy it was displaced and put into orbit around Titan to provide all the goodies to the Grey Knights instead. So it's now a moon of a moon. The functionaries of Deimos are mind wiped at both ends to prevent them knowing about daemons, but the moon still maintains three knightly houses with complementary skitarii, ready to assist the Grey Knights should they need support. Because attending to one order of Knights wasn't enough, they need four to really be satiated.
- Phobos In case you're wondering about the other moon: Phobos in 40k was covered in guns literally as Mars' last line of defense. In reality it is expected to slam into Mars at some point in the future. Though to be fair by 'future', we mean about 30 or 50 million years. But that's before you build a shit ton of guns on it, and they can probably fly it somewhere like they did with Deimos, so who knows what it's orbit is now. The Beast Arises series seems to hint at Phobos being missing from accident during a test to try and teleport Mars out of the Beast's Waaagh!-path. Interestingly: Phobos has a Monolith on it, no seriously.
- Graia - The last known makers of the Rapier Laser Destroyer, and incur misfortune (like getting attacked by Orks in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and then eaten by the Tyranids) because GW hates the Rapier. Poetically, Forge World loves Rapiers.
- Gryphonne IV - Got wrecked by the Tyranids, although some pretty cool artillery and Chimeras made from there still roll with the IG.
- Incaladion - A Forgeworld on the fringes of Imperial Space and constantly raided during the Age of Strife, it was home to the Legio Fureans 'Tiger Eyes'.
- Jupiter - I know right? Bet you didn't know about this one. The Imperial Navy's foremost shipyard and drydock. It only makes ships. It is a hotly contested Imperial political debate as to whether Jupiter is soverign to the Mechanicum or the Imperium. They went totally green though, the hippies.
- Kai - Once relatively close to Eye Of Terror. Due to an unfortunate flux, the Eye expanded and engulfed it. Managed to maintain an Imperial presence for a time, considering that their weapons didn't have to obey the laws of physics. Eventually, they had to barter their services (and guns) to various daemons and Chaos Legions inside the Eye in return for protection. Made the legendary Kai Guns during this time. Chaos being Chaos, the Machine Smiths of Kai got eradicated in the battle between daemons wanting their dakka fix. GW being GW, the hundreds of other strange and mystical weapons forged on Kai during its time in the Warp will never be elaborated upon.
- Karuva I - A Forge World (continent-spanning Manufactorum, to be precise) which is capable of producing over 100 Baneblades at any given notice. The status of this world is unclear, although it was likely abandoned or destroyed during the Karuva conflict of Dawn of war: Soulstorm. (Dawn of War III confirms that Gorgutz won the Kauruva Conflict)
- The Lathes - Actually a group of three Forge Worlds in one system, named Het, Hesh and Hadd individually. These planets all have an extremely odd orbit around their parent star, which somehow results in their native ores having unusual properties because of "gravity fluctuations". Besides being the center of production for the Calixis Sector, their most famous exports are Lathe-forged Blades, which use the aforementioned ore to basically be indestructible, able to stand up to even power blades.
- Lucius - First colonized by Battletech players from the late Eighties. Maintains the ancient Legio Astorum, better known as the Warp Runners, and supplies Death Korps of Krieg. They have exclusive patterns for some Titans which are cheaper to produce, but not as sweet looking as Mars patterns. Didn't get super-heavy tank STCs for a while, which is why they were one of the few major Forge Worlds that launched Macharius tank production when it's STC get re-discovered, while most others frowned on it as a "poor man's Baneblade". Unlike most other Mechanicus, they favor white robes for both their priesthood and skitarii, probably because its a color of hot plasma. So yeah, those unusually white-robed engineseers from the Ciaphas Kain novels are probably Lucians.
- Mars - The big boss of the other forgeworlds and the go-to guy for stock patterns of weapons. Home to the original three titan legions, the Triad Ferrum Morgulus: Legio Ignatus (Fire Wasps), Legio Mortis (Death's Heads), and another Legion that GW keeps under lock and key (Tempestus?). Has a giant shipyard called the Ring of Iron in orbit, which claims to be one of the largest human constructions in existence.
- Metalica - Home to the Legio Metalica. Also known as Metalicus due to GW not wanting to get sued. They maintain the only known Imperial Titans capable of out-rocking the Gargants made by the Goff Rokkas. They also provide most of the adeptus mechanicus forces fighting on armageddon at any given time.
- Mezoa - A Volcanic Forgeworld where no Titan can walk for fear of falling through the planet's crust. Was besieged during the Horus Heresy and the Gothic War.
- Mordax - The one that got taken over by the Orks. They named it Mordakka (Yes really...) and Blood Ravens-ed the titans on it. If this is even canon anymore, nobody has any flipping idea, as it was part of the old 13th Black Crusade thing.
- M'Pandex - Also called Z'pandex, Mappandax and Zaphadak. You may commence laughing. (The original joke may have been that, during the Rogue Trader days, the Imperium needed a Forge World dedicated just to making all of the 80's-style spandex it would chew through.)
- Orestes - Supplied the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, but got attacked by Chaos Titans. And won. Dan Abnett wrote a book about it. Presumably get overrun by Chaos with the rest of segmentum during the Night of Thousand Rebellions.
- Phaeton - Used to be where the standard Leman Russ, Chimera and Basilisk patterns came from, before GW changed the models to the Mars pattern. Home to the Legio Osedax (Cockatrices).
- Ryza - Makes all the coolest plasma stuff because nobody else could keep their act together. Their Titan Legion is the awesomely named Legio Crucius (Warmongers). After fighting Orkz for so long their Scitarii have the most badass warcry among other Forgeworlds: "Red in Cog!"
- Sarum - Forge World closely alligned with the World Eaters. Purged after they turned traitor.
- Stygies VIII - Makes awesome guns and ammo, as well as the (apparently rare) Leman Russ Vanquisher. Cannot keep their act together, losing two whole Titan Legions to Chaos and having to get another legion transplanted in. Also is a moon. Also their tech priests constantly get into fights with Deathwatch killteams due to their intense interest in xenos technology.
- Tigrus - Overrun by Orks. Originally made/discovered the Vanquisher Cannon, the Fellblade and several other Great Crusade-Era vehicles. Most players generally consider the Orkish takeover a good thing, seeing as this world now makes the Kill Tanks from IA8.
- Tolkhan - IA Vol. 1 gave us this gem. Oh Rogue Trader, how you haunt GW to this day. We love you so. Incidentally, it is home to the best named Titan Legion ever: Legio Pallidus Mor.
- Urdesh - A Forge World in the Sabbat Worlds Sector, and contested heavily during the Sabbat World's Crusade. It was a more general-purpose Forge World, in that it produced all sorts of munitions, from Lascarbines to Autocannons to APCs and much, much more. Its specialty, however, was a large number of tank designs, most notably the AT-70 Reaver and the AT-80 Brigand. While not quite as useful as Leman Russes, they were capable enough for the PDF in the sector. It remained under control of the Blood Pact army of Chaos until sometime towards the end of the Crusade. The Tanith First (And Only) face off against a lot of production from this world.
- Vanaheim - Known for producing its its own pattern of the Medusa and Basilisk with a unique gunshield as well as being the Forge World of origin for the Salamander and Centaur.
- Voss Prime - A prime example of Imperial fail, has no idea what to do with plasma. Still manages to maintain the goofily-named Legio Invigilata though. On the other hand, made lasgun 2.0 called Voss Pattern Lasrifle (it was awesome) and supplied whole Solar Auxilia with it (20-25% of the IA), and no, being a highly standardized force those did not use other patterns. Who cares about plasma when you manufacture enough flashlights to light the whole Galaxy up? Also makes Vulture gunships and Lightning Strike Fighters. Supplies several patterns of ship with a distinctive eagle prow design (notably to the Armageddon fleets), though additional fail on Games' Workshop's part means that three of those were produced for all of two weeks before getting their molds permanently shitcanned.
- Xana - A neutral Forgeworld that tried to play both sides during the Heresy, only for the Loyalists to fuck their shit up. Taken over by a hardcore motherfucker named Anacharis "I Eat Primarchs For Dinner" Scoria and became the first of the Dark Mechanicum Hellforges. Now drifts through the warp, selling Hellblades, Hell Talons and Harbinger Bombers to Chaos Warbands.
- Zhou Arkkad - The Anarcho-Capitalist Forgeworld that decided it was best to buddy up with the Thousand Sons. Their mistake led to their Forge World being razed during the Heresy. It would be re-founded in M41, and the schematics for the Crassus and Praetor found there. Once home to the Legio Xestobiax (Iron Vigil), who used heretekal Psi-Control cores in their Titans. It is unknown if this made Xestobiax titans Psi-Titans or not.
|The Planets, Systems, Regions and Sectors of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Homeworlds:||Holy Terra - Mars|
|Primarch Homeworlds:|| Baal - Barbarus - Caliban - Chemos - Chogoris - Colchis |
Cthonia - Deliverance - Fenris - Inwit - Medusa - Nostramo
Nocturne - Nuceria - Olympia - Prospero - Ultramar
|Planets:|| Armageddon - Cadia - Catachan - Krieg - Kronus |
Sacris - Scelus - Taelus - Vraks - Zayth
|Daemon Worlds:||Plague Planet - Sortiarius|
|Systems and Regions:||Solar System - Jericho Reach - Kaurava System - Halo Zone|
|Types of Worlds:||Agri-World - Death World - Forge World - Hive World|