I m not sure if this belongs here or in RPG, as I feel Warhammer Quest kind of straddles the line between the two. I am also unable to create a tag for Warhammer Quest, so it's tagged Warhammer Fantasy.

Since Warhammer Quest went out of print back in 1998, I think no rule has inspired more argument than Death-blow.

There seem to be two main camps for this rule.

  1. A monster must be on full wounds and be slain outright with a single attack in order to activate the Death-blow.
  2. Any melee attack which inflicts enough damage to kill the monster will activate this rule, regardless of how injured the monster was.

The rulebook says the following:

DEATH-BLOW (Killing a Monster with a Single Blow)

Sometimes a Warrior will hit a Monster so hard that he kills it with a single blow. If this happens he can carry on his attack to the next Monster, getting a chance to kill him too. This follow-on attack represents the mighty swing of the Warrior's blade hacking down his foes in one monstrous blow.

If there is another Monster standing in an adjacent square to the Warrior's initial target, and that is still within the range of his attack, the swing of his blade may catch it too. Roll to hit and wound the Monster as normal. If this Monster is also killed with a single blow, the blow carries on round in the same direction to the next Monster, and so on.

This mighty blow, which we call a death-blow, stops when the Warrior fails to kill a Monster with a single blow, or his blade meets an obstacle such as a wall or another Warrior.

Note that if you kill a Monster with a single blow from an arrow or other missile weapon you do not get to carry on to the next Monster, as you cannot hit more than one target with a single arrow.

Only Warriors may make a death-blow, not Monsters.

Warhammer Quest Rulebook, pg 24

So, how do people feel this rule should work RAW?

What do people think are the RAI?

Are there any official sources/FAQs for this question?

2 Answers 2


Rules as Written

The use of the phrase "kills it with a single blow" does suggest option 1, that the monster must go from starting wounds to zero wounds as a result of the attack. This is reinforced by needing to kill each following enemy with "a single blow" or the Death-blow stops.

Though I have seen suggestions that the rule should be interpreted as "if the blow would kill it in a single blow", meaning a wounded monster may trigger a Death-blow if the attack inflcited more than it's starting wounds regardless of current wounds. This would allow you to trigger a Death-blow off wounded monsters, but still require the blow to be able to kill them even if they were unwounded.

Rules as Intended

A user on bwarhammerquest.runboard.com claimed to have corresponded with one of the GW game designers about this exact question.


I wrote to Gav Thorpe recently and asked about the Death-blow rule in Warhammer Quest (posted below). With his hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of playtesting behind him, here was his reply on January 11, 2013:

Q: Gav, you have to tell us, after 17 years of uncertainty in Warhammer Quest, does a Monster have to be on full Wounds when you strike it in order to cause a Death-blow? We beg you, please end the controversy once and for all!

A: From what I can remember (and it was a long time ago) there was no restriction on deathblows other than to kill the enemy in one hit. If previously wounded, that just makes it easier.

Gav Thorpe's response suggests option 2, if a wounded enemy is easier to Death-blow, than you must only need to inflict it's current wounds to trigger a Death-blow, making it akin to the D&D feat Cleave. This seems to contradict the RAW however.

I have also been advised that in the recent iOS remake of Warhamer Quest, Death-blow also works as described in option 2 (not owning an iOS device I am unable to confirm this).

Official FAQ

To my knowledge the only official Wahammer Quest FAQ was in Deathblow Magazine issue 3, and they did not mention this rule.

There is an unofficial FAQ, this contains many questions marked as clarified by Games Workshop UK, but it also does not mention this rule. http://wquest.free.fr/faq/wq_faq_index.html


I think it really comes down to how hard you want the game to be, and how much you would rather RAW as opposed to RAI.

By straight RAW (option 1) the game becomes harder, as if you must inflict their starting wounds in a single blow you will not be able to Death-blow very much at all past the first few levels. This will make it slower to clear monsters and cause the party to take more damage.

The RAI version (option 2) that any killing blow will trigger a Death-blow will make the game easier, as you will get "more attacks", allowing you to kill monsters faster. This also means even high level characters will continue to make regular Death-blows.

Update - Option 3?

Interestingly, the new Warhammer Quest video game provides a 3rd interpretation of the rule, which is kind of a combination of the two. In this game you make a deathblow any time you slay an enemy with the first attack that hits it that turn.


Quest is hard enough when using option 2, if you look at the in game world; stating wounds is irrelevant, as you kill a foe you feel inspired and move on to the next, who cares if the elf coward put an arrow in him first? Your Troll Slayer Axe must taste blood

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