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Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook

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Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook
3rd Edition FCover.jpg
Author(s) Rick Priestley, Andy Chambers, Gavin Thorpe, Ian Pickstock, Jervis Johnson
Cover Artist John Blanche
Released October 1998
ISBN 1-869893-19-0
Preceded by Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition Rulebook
Followed by Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook

Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook, is the 3rd core rule book for the Warhammer 40,000 game published in October 1998. It was released as a black and white softback book.

This book also introduces a new logo for Warhammer 40,000 taking on a darker colour theme over 2nd Edition's brighter colour scheme. This logo was used largely unchanged (besides an update in the next edition to desaturate the green) up until the release of 9th Edition where it was replaced with a more modern interpretation.

The book, sometimes reffered to as the Big Black Book, contained rules that although similar to the first two editions, were greatly simplified, removing many of the more difficult ideas of the previous versions in an attempt to streamline the game. This was heavily criticized at the time by more veteran gamers, who had become used to the tables, charts and templates that had been employed previously, as it was seen as being too simplistic and had eliminated much of the fun for that audience. Nevertheless, the modesty of the newer rules opened the game out to a wider (and much younger) audience.

The book itself was written from a much more imperio-centric point of view, and contained large quantities of information on the basic structure of the Imperium, from Imperial planetary classifications to the Imperial dating system and more. It also departed from the previous edition in its much more pessimistic outlook; Appearing much more grim and dark than it had previously. Lines between good and bad were blurred to the point that they were almost unrecognizable. In addition it contained background for many armies as well as simplistic, pre-codex army lists for the Space Marines, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, Eldar, Chaos Space Marines, Imperial Guard and Orks, as well as a small Sisters of Battle list with various heroes of the Imperium such as Confessors and Preachers. These lists were succeeded by the various codexes that were released subsequent to the rulebook.

The cover, illustrated by John Blanche, depicts the Black Templars chapter.

The 3rd Edition rulebook was succeeded in August 2004 with the release of the Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition Rulebook.


In the nightmare future of the forty-first millennium, mankind teeters upon the brink of extinction. The galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by ravening aliens, and threatened from within by malevolent creatures and heretic rebels. Only the strength of the Immortal Emperor of Terra stands between Humanity and its annihilation. Dedicated to His service are the countless warriors, agents and myriad servants of the Imperium. Foremost amongst them stand the Space Marines, mentally and physically engineered to be the supreme fighting force, the ultimate protectors of Mankind.

Wars rage over airless moons, in the dark, twisted depths of hive worlds and in the cold wastes between stars. From the immaterial realm of warp space, malicious entities send their unspeakable minions to slaughter the Emperor's chosen. Everywhere, soulless spectres and slavering monsters are poised to extinguish the life of humanity.

There is no time for peace.

No respite.

No forgiveness.

There is only WAR.



Authors, Artists and Coworkers

During the production of this book, the following persons were involved considerably.

Game Design & Developement
Rick Priestley, Andy Chambers, Gavin Thorpe, Ian Pickstock and Jervis Johnson
Assisant Games Developers
Iain Compton, Andy Kettlewell and Warwick Kinrade
Lindsey Priestley, Talima Fox and Jake Thornton
Cover Painting
John Blanche
John Blanche, Alex Boyd, Wayne England, Dave Gallagher, Des Hanley, Neil Hodgson, Nuala Kinrade, Paul Smith, John Wigley and Richard Wright
Citadel Designers
Tim Adcock, Dave Andrews, Colin Dixon, Chris Fitzpatrick, Jes Goodwin, Gary Morley, Aly Morrison, Trish Morrison, Paul Muller, Brian Nelson, Alan Perry, Michael Perry and Norman Swales
Wargames Terrain Modellers
Owen Branham, Mark Bedford and Mark Jones
Miniatures Painters
Stuart Thomas, Ben Jefferson, Martin Footitt, Chris Smart, Richard Baker, David Thomas, Dave Perry, Torben Schnoor, Neil Green and Adrian Walters
Alan Merrett, Chris Colston, Jim Butler, Matt White, Mark Saunders, Nick Davies, Simon Burton, Andy Banks, Steve Averill, Simon Smith, Andy Bacon and Owen Crisp
Anthony Bath
With Thanks To
Robin Dews, Tom Kirby, John Stallard, Gordon Davidson, Adrian Wood, Pete Haines, Jim Cash, Fred Reed, Tuomas Pirinen, Ben Marlow, Tim Huckleberry, Jeremy Vetock and Ted Williams