The First Books

The Rogue Trader (RT) (2: 1987) started it all. Originally slated as a Roleplaying Game with strategic elements, the RT provided a unified equipment cost for all weapons and technologies. Race creation was included with this system.
"Chapter Approved" (1989) introduced new rules for Robot & Dreadnaught construction, Terminators, Army lists (Marine, IG, Squat, & Harlequin), Commisars, Medic (w. crit rules), and support weapons. Excellent illustration in the vein of RT.
"Slaves to Darkness" (1988) was the first 'adult media' GW produced. They should have stayed with it. The system is a crossover for Chaos in the WH Fantasy and 40K worlds. It contains rules for the Khorne and Slannesh Armies, as well as the most detailed (d1000) chaos rewards chart I've ever seen. Rules for Possession and the Ordo Malleus also adorn these pages.
"The Lost and the Damned" (1990) was the second "Realm of Chaos" hardback. It contianed detailed accounts of the Horus Heresy, the Emperor's last battle, and army lists for Nurgle and Tzeentch. Most interesting were the rules for the Sensei, blood-kin children of the One True Emperor.
The "Gold Compilation" (1991), aka "The Rare Golden Book", contains the rules for Assault Terminators, Chaos Terminators, Grey Knights, Eldar (history and army list), Genestealers, and a change in the basic Marine profile from T3 to T4 and +1 Ws.
"Waaargh: Orks" (1990) was a VERY detailed sourcebook on Ork Kulture. It contained NO RULES, but added immensely to the character of the Ork race. Ork tactics such as trade and vassalship are discussed.
"Ere We Go" (1991) is the first proper Ork Codex, setting a precident for detail and scope that would follow all army lists to follow. It detailed Ork technology, weapons, bionic gear, and was filled with fiction that is still reprinted in Ork publications today.
Now "Freebooterz" (1991) is a proper Orky Codex, packed full of the strangest things in Ork society, including: Hybrid Genestealer Orks; Flambouyant Ork Pirates; Chaos Orks; and my personal favorite - the Possessed Warphead. Deamons don't possess Orks, Orks possess Deamons like trapping a genie in a bottle.
In an attempt to fix major problems with the system (vehicle toughness and mass combat), the "Battle Manual" (1992) was released. It included new profiles for all weapons, new Hand to Hand rules, and overwatch.
Packaged with the "Battle Manual", the "Vehicle Manual" revolutionized the system by adding threshold penetration to vehicles. The penetration of each weapon was formula based, so it remained compatible with all variations of the system.

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