Warhammer Fantasy (setting)

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Warhammer Fantasy is a high fantasy fictional universe created by Games Workshop and used in many of its games, including the table top wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) pen-and-paper role-playing game, and the MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

Warhammer is notable for its "dark and gritty" background world, which featured a culture similar in appearance to Early Modern Germany crossed with Tolkien's Middle-earth. "Chaos" was central to the setting, as the forces of Chaos are unceasingly attempting to tear the mortal world asunder. The world itself was populated with a variety of races such as humans, high elves, dark elves, wood elves, dwarfs, undead, orcs, lizardmen, and other creatures familiar to many fantasy/role-playing settings.

The first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) was released by Games Workshop in early 1983. Prior to this release, the company dealt primarily with the importing of American role-playing games, as well as support and review of gaming products, either through their White Dwarf magazine periodical or as separate commercially available products. The game was a mix of a simple rule system with a background that was drawn from standard fantasy themes. The dedication was, in part, "to Michael Moorcock… whose fault it all is". The game thrived, and subsequent supplements added the particular background to the game. Each "Army List" included a partial history and some related aspects such as notable figures or short illustrative stories. With the publication of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in 1987, the setting had moved from background of the game to a full-fledged fantasy setting.

There have been novels set in the same background. Material published in White Dwarf (some of it subsequently republished in the game itself), the Citadel Journal, and a number of other games using the same setting have all added to the background.

Background

The Warhammer world drew inspiration from Tolkien's Middle-earth, but also from Robert E Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Michael Moorcock, as well as history, particularly European history. What is recognizable as the Warhammer World began with the expansion material to the first edition of the game Warhammer, but was formulated as a distinct setting with a world map in the second edition.

The Warhammer World borrowed considerably from historical events and other fantasy fiction settings. The Old World is recognisably Europe approximating to a variety of historical periods including the Renaissance - the Empire being set over what is modern Germany - medieval France, Roman Italy and Celtic Britain. Many events are lifted and modified directly from real-world history, including the Black Plague and the Moorish invasion of Spain, and others from original fantasy sources. Like Middle-earth, Warhammer's Dwarfs are declining in population, and a Great Necromancer is reborn after the defeats in his Southern stronghold.

Of the races that inhabit the world, Rick Priestley identified their origins as being based on British themes, the dwarfs are like blunt-spoken Yorkshire men, Elves having a touch of Southern England and received pronunciation about them, and the Orcs speaking with a working class London accent.

Races and nations

The fictional Warhammer races and events are described, below, using in-universe tone.

There are numerous nations and races in the Warhammer World. Mankind, the most prominent, often proves to be the most susceptible to the corrupting influence of Chaos. Most of the featured human nations are based in the Old World (analogous to real world Europe). The Elves were the first truly civilized race to walk the world. Brought into creation by the Old Ones, the Elves showed a natural talent for magic and superlative skill at arms. The once glorious civilization of the Elves was torn asunder many thousands of years ago by a bitter civil war, resulting in the sundering of the race into three distinct kindreds: the evil, twisted Dark Elves, the proud, noble and magical High Elves who continue the ancient traditions from before the sundering, and a third group as the rustic, sylvan and mysterious Wood Elves. The High Elves inhabit the magical island of Ulthuan (analogous to Atlantis), while the Dark Elves inhabit the continent of Naggaroth (correspondent to Canada and the north parts of North America in the real world), a desolate icy wilderness and the Wood Elves live in the forests of Athel Loren.

Dwarfs are an ancient, grim, and determined race integral in the founding of the Empire. Dwarfs are the greatest craftsmen in the Warhammer World, a skill largely matched by the Chaos Dwarfs who split from their brothers after being corrupted by Chaos.

In the jungles of Lustria are the Lizardmen who were created by the Old Ones to aid in their great works. The Slann now lead the Lizardmen blindly, via ancient prophesies containing almost-incomprehensible instructions from their fallen gods. The culture and aesthetic of the Lizardmen are heavily inspired by those of the Aztec and Mayan cultures, and the New World continent (Lustria) which they inhabit corresponds to Central and South America in the real world.

Orcs and Goblins, and their kin (also known as Greenskins), are relatively primitive and disorganized, but their instinctive belligerence threatens the various nations. Their violent nature can be noted to commonly cause all-out wars among their own kind. They are found predominantly in the forests and mountains of the Old World, in the jungles to the south and stretched across the steppes to the East, but their kin can be found all over the world, inhabiting almost all continents and adapting to their environments. Thus there are many sub-species of Orcs and Goblins such as Black Orcs and Night Goblins.

Many races have fallen to, or been engendered by Chaos. The barbaric Warriors of Chaos (formerly called "Hordes of Chaos") invade the civilized nations from the far northern Chaos Wastes. Beastmen, the half-man half-beast products of Chaos are found in the dark forests of the Old World. Also a product of Chaos are the shrewd and evil ratmen, the Skaven, whose vast, subterranean and labyrinthine "Under-empire" riddles the earth and where the giant rats make all of the rules.

The Chaos Gods are the flaws of humankind personified; the inner literal daemons of living things come back through a magic medium to torment and kill. The ultimate victory of these forces is often hinted at, highlighting a strong assumption that sentient beings are fundamentally flawed and will eventually bring about their own destruction via the forces of Chaos. This is especially tragic in light of the outside, non-Chaotic forces that threaten civilized beings, including rampaging Orcs, political strife, and general warfare.

The forces of Chaos were introduced into the Warhammer World by the "Old Ones": star-travelling gods responsible for the creation of most of the setting's sentient races. These Old Ones were brought low by the daemonic forces inadvertently unleashed by the collapse of their Warp Gates (one at either pole), leaving their creations to fend for themselves. This backstory also provides an easy explanation for the variety of familiar fantasy races, and provides a logical framework for them to fit in. Ogres and Halflings, for example, are closely related. Both are resistant to the mutating effects of Chaos energies (fuelled by hearty appetites and efficient metabolisms), but have opposite physical templates.

Besides these, there are the Undead, who are a result of the black sorceries devised by the first necromancer, Nagash in the long distant past. His legacy has left the Tomb Kings in the hot desert lands of Nehekhara to the south of the Old World, the Vampire Counts in the Old World itself and Nagash in his own city of undead.

Fiction

Outside of games, there have also been numerous novels and short stories by various authors set in the Warhammer world, the most famous of which are the Gotrek and Felix novels by William King. The Gotrek and Felix series was taken over by Nathan Long, starting with Orcslayer in 2006.

Early in his career, Kim Newman wrote several Warhammer novels under the name 'Jack Yeovil'. Some elements from these books (in particular his heroine Genevieve Dieudonné) later reappeared in the award-winning Anno Dracula series. Early novels were published as "GW Books" by Boxtree Ltd, but more recently novels have been under Games Workshop's publishing arm, the Black Library.

Warhammer Monthly was a comic book, published by Black Library, which ran for over 5 years. As well as the fantasy settings, it also included strips set in the other areas of the Warhammer Universe.

Generally running concurrently with Warhammer Monthly was Inferno! — also published by Black Library — a magazine which compiled short stories and occasional unconnected illustrations set in the various fictional backgrounds of Games Workshop.

Recently Games Workshop licensed out the rights for comic books. Boom! Studios are currently working on a series of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 (40k) comics, written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton. The first was the Warhammer 40k strip Damnation Crusade, but this was followed by one in the fantasy universe: Forge of War. When this was finished, they again started with a new series located in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Their newest project is called "Warhammer - Condemned by Fire". This series features a witch-hunter fighting the Chaos minions in the remote regions of the Empire.

Locations

Chaos waste

The Chaos Wastes is a fictional place in Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world setting. The Chaos Wastes are a vast warped, cold and barren wasteland to the north (and probably also the south) of the habitable areas of the world. It is referred to by the Norse as Shadowlands and sometimes as Umbra (or Umbra Chaotica). The Wastes are mentioned in many of the Warhammer sourcebooks. It borders Cathay, Naggaroth, Ogre Kingdoms and Norsca and the Eastern Steppes. Norsca and the Eastern Steppes are considered to be part of the Wastes.

The Chaos Wastes are inhabited by various mutated flora and fauna, Daemons, Chaos monsters (including Beastmen), Greenskins and the barbaric human tribes of the Norse, Kurgan and Hung who worship Chaos gods whose influence is strong here. A great Chaos Portal between the material world and the Realm of Chaos spews raw magical energy, the stuff of Chaos, into the world. Several other, lesser rifts also exist in the wastes. Unstable energies change the climate, radically causing mutations to anybody moving there.

  • Champions of Chaos travel to the wastes to gain respect and rewards from their masters. The mightiest of these champions may even become a Daemon Prince. Followers of different Chaos gods constantly battle in the Wastes, until a powerful enough warlord unites the different tribes and starts a Chaos incursion to some location of the Warhammer World.
  • The mighty empire of Cathay has built a huge wall, known as 'The Great Bastion' (similar to the Great Wall of China) to protect their lands from invasion from the Chaos Wastes. The Dark Elves also maintain a series of watchtowers in order to prevent incursions into Naggaroth by the denizens of the Chaos Wastes.
  • Huge Chaos Monoliths are a common sight in the wastes.

Dark Lands

The Dark Lands are a location in the Games Workshop's fictional Warhammer Fantasy setting. It is roughly analogous to the real world steppe land east of the Urals and to Mordor of Tolkien's Middle-earth.

On maps released by the Games Workshop the Dark Lands are a vast area of wasteland between the Worlds Edge Mountains and the Mountains of Mourne. They are said to be ruled by warring tribes of Orcs and Goblins, except in the very north where the Chaos Dwarf Empire dominates. To the south west is the Plain of Bones where the remains of many dead dragons can be found. This area draws practitioners of necromancy and the Undead. To the south east are the Dragon Isles which are often cited as a desirable, if dangerous, location for voyages in search of riches to aim for. On its southern coastline in the river delta region lies the human frontier settlement Pigbarter. It is a common target for Gnoblar thieves.

The Dark Lands frequently feature in Warhammer literature as the source of Orc and Goblin invasions that plague the Old World. In many respects this is based upon the successive real world invasions of Europe by mobile eastern groups from the steppe land, such as the Huns and Alans. The name also derives from the Medieval legends of a Land of Darkness often perceived in the legends to be in a roughly analogous location to its Warhammer counterpart. The Dark lands also have a substantial population of Ogres and their goblinoid slaves, the Gnoblars.

Estalia

Estalia is a fictional realm in the Warhammer World setting and appears in games from Games Workshop.

Estalia is the Warhammer equivalent of the Iberian peninsula. The region's kingdoms, cultures and political situation are modelled after medieval Spain and Italy. In fact the name "Estalia" is a mix-up of the names España (Spain) and Italia (Italy). Estalia is located in the Southern Old World, a peninsula to the south-west of Bretonnia bordered by the Irrana and Abasko Mountains to the east, the Great Western Ocean to the north and west and the Southern Sea to the south. Far from the front lines in the wars against Chaos, Estalia has remained politically fractured, with rival kingdoms vying for power and influence between each other and against the neighboring city-states of Tilea, such as Tobaro, which lies across the Abaskos from Bilbali.

Estalia is dominated by two powerful port cities, Bilbali and Magritta. The rivalry between the two - and between each and their Tilean neighbors, for that matter - has endured for centuries. Estalia bore the brunt of Sultan Jaffar's invasion from Araby, which was eventually driven from the peninsula by a combined force including knights from Bretonnia and Legionaries from Tilea. Estalians take great offense at being referred to as Tileans, or at being addressed in the Tilean language by accident. The peninsula is renowned for its Diestros, skilled duelists who ply their skills across the Old World.

While the old Black Library novel Zaragoz detailed the eponymous city in the peninsula, relatively little of Estalia has been published in recent years. It has most prominently included in the release of the Dogs of War army book in the 5th edition of Warhammer, as well as in the BL novel Fell Cargo.

Khemri

An undead nation in the fictional world of the Warhammer Fantasy setting, Khemri is home to the Tomb Kings, an army composed of skeletons and various decayed creatures. The theme of the army is based on the culture of Ancient Egypt, with an emphasis on its more morbid tendencies such as mummification. Correspondingly, the hordes of skeletons are led by withered liche-priests who used a proto-necromancy/death magic (less potent and sinister than true necromancy practised in the modern Warhammer world) and resurrected kings and princes. Khemri was originally called Nehekhara, of which Khemri was a major city.

History

Pre-Nagash

Khemri was the first human civilisation to emerge in the Warhammer Fantasy World as a cluster of kingdoms nominally ruled by a High King. Its people fought with chariots and blocks of infantry, supported by archers and supernatural allies.

Nagash

Eventually a young noble known as Nagash was born. He was the oldest son of the current king. Instead of becoming the heir as eldest sons other nations would, he was forced into the ranks of the Liche Priests as the Grand Heirophant, a living sacrifice to the Gods. Later after becoming a high priest, he killed his younger brother and usurped the throne. His rule was terrible. During this time he began the construction of the black pyramid as a 'magnet' for dark magic. He also began studies into an elixir of life using human blood. Due to his dark nature combined with his tyrannical rule, the other kings rose up against him and he was forced to flee his homeland. The kingdom of Lahmia was eventually corrupted as well by vampirism, thus causing another series of wars culminating in the other kingdoms destroying Lahmia, causing the vampires to spread to all corners of the earth.

Death of a Nation

In time Nagash returned with vast armies of the dead he had perfected through his newly developed necromancy. Although he was initially defeated by the armies of Khemri, he then unleashed plague which decimated the people of the land and when the Great Necromancer attacked again he committed mass genocide with little resistance, obliterating all remaining life from the land.

The Great Ritual

Nagash's plan now reached its final stage, using the incredible amounts of power he had accumulated combined with mined warpstone and massive numbers of sacrificed Orcs he cast a mighty spell to muster all the dead in the world to his call, especially the now-dead Khemrians. With this army he planned to rule the world and transform it into an eternal kingdom were only he ruled. Nagash was assassinated by the last living Khemrian (King Alcadizaar, who Nagash had taken prisoner), with the help of the Skaven, who forged a mighty blade specifically to kill the Great Necromancer. However, Nagash completed his ritual before his death, awakening all the dead of Khemri from their tombs.

The Rule of the Dead

The dead raised by the ritual were free of Nagash's rule, but only the Tomb Kings and Lich-Priests were sentient. When they awoke they were less than pleased at the current turn of events, having expected to be reborn as gods in the afterlife, not dusty mummies. The enraged Tomb Kings then proceeded to re-establish control over their now dead subjects with mixed degrees of success. This state of affairs has remained the same into the modern day where they continually fight amongst themselves, other nations and (the resurrected) Nagash. The lesser Kings and Princes are (more or less) ruled over by Settra, first and greatest of the Priest-Kings.

Norsca

Norsca is a fictional place in Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world setting. It is analogous in position within the "Old World" to Northlands and its human occupants, the "Norse", are a fantasy version of the Norse peoples (including the vikings).

Norsca has a heavily indented coastline and is otherwise mountainous. To the North lies the Realm of Chaos (also called Shadowlands by Norse, Kurgans and Hung and known as Chaos Wastes), to the south beyond the Sea of Claws lies the Empire and to the east and Southeast the Eastern Steppes and Kurgan nation and the kingdom of Kislev, respectively. Between Norsca and Kislev is a wilderness area called Troll Country. Norsca is usually referred to be part of the Chaos Wastes; as the area is very close to the Wastes and is suffused with the corrupting power of Chaos.

Norsca was originally populated by both High Elves and Dwarfs. Humans came to this land long after them. Norse Dwarves still remain and often come into conflict with the Norse tribes, but Elves have left the land. There are many ancient elven ruins. One of these mysterious places is the Forest of Knives, in the middle of Norsca, where an ancient Elven temple is located. But this place is extremely difficult and dangerous to reach.

Norse Dwarfs

The Norse Dwarfs is the most northerly of the Dwarfs of the Old World. While related to the Dwarfs in their strongholds to the South the separation over the years has led to some changes and the Norse Dwarfs have taken on some more wild characteristics compared to the mainstream of Dwarf society.

Norse Dwarfs are featured in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP1) supplement Dwarfs: Stone & Steel and also in the (WFRP2) supplement Tome of Corruption.

  • The main stronghold (capital) of Norse Dwarfs in Norsca is Kraka Drak. Other major holds included Sjoktraken (port), Kraka Dorden, Kraka Onsmotek, Kraka Ravnvake.
  • In the 2008 Warhammer Fantasy Battle (7th edition) book: Warriors of Chaos, features story about the destruction of Kraka Drak. This is done by "High King" Valmir Aesling. Valmir was a great general of the mighty Chaos Champion and Everchosen Asavar Kul, so this story probably happens during the time of "World War III" (IC circa 2300), but it is implied to have happened shortly after the defeat of Asavar Kul. Even though the story gives the idea that Kraka Drak is totally destroyed, it is still featured in many sources that are dated after the war. One possibility is that hold was retaken by the Norse Dwarfs sometime after the war (or not totally taken by the invading Chaos Horde). Or it could be a simple oversight on the part of the writers.

The Norse

The Norse are in the description and in the models produced similarly to the Vikings. They are described as great seaborne explorers, traders, reavers, and slavers who have built and maintain colonies in Lustria (the Warhammer world's version of South and Meso America). Models released and entries in publications such as Warhammer Armies for 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle and the Man O' War naval game is clearly based on the Vikings.

Main information about Norse can be found from the Liber Khorne which is Volume I of Liber Chaotica (other Volumes also have stories involving Norse characters), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP2) supplement Tome of Corruption and Hordes of Chaos supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Some information can be found from many other Warhammer sourcebooks, for example Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP2) supplement Realm of the Ice Queen, which has little information about Norsii migration. There was also the large article about Norse for the use of Warhammer Fantasy Battle in the Citadel Journal Issue 6. Also Norse Marauders make an appearance in the mercenary supplement Dogs of War and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP3) Liber Carnagia adventure Crimson Rain (there is some information present on Norse customs and culture as well), which is part of Omens of War supplement. Various novels dealing with Norse characters, such as Wulfrik, Palace of the Plague Lord, Valkia and so on, also includes a lot of information regarding their culture.

  • Their entries in the Warriors of Chaos army book state that they are 'the epitome of the Warriors of Chaos'.
  • On average, the Norse tend to revere Khorne the most out of all the Chaos Gods.
  • Original people that migrated from Norsca to settle the pre-Imperial lands were called the Norsii. They were the ancestors of current Norse tribes. They were driven back by the Southern peoples back to their homeland due to their violent and devastating raids on other tribes.
  • Biggest (main) tribes of Norsca are: Aeslings (northern tribe), Baersonlings, Bjornlings, Graelings (northern tribe), Sarls, Skaelings and Vargs (northern tribe). Liber Khorne mentions also Brennan's, but this tribe is not mentioned in any other source which may mean that they are the actually minor tribe. Possibly under one of the biggest (main) tribes.
  • In the Wulfrik novel for Warhammer Heroes, it is mentioned that the Rieslings prey on Kurgans and regularly pillage their lands. It is also said that the Norse, in general, keep trade relations with Kurgans, to whom they sell slaves.
  • The Norse, particularly the Rieslings, keep trade relations with the Chaos Dwarfs for Chaos armor and weapons. Chaos Dwarfs can often be found working for the Norse in their smithies.
  • There are many minor tribes or clans among the Norse, which are mentioned in many published sources. These included Fremen, the Hound, Iceblade, Ironpelt, Snaegr, Sortsvinaer, Stormfang, Stormraven, Ten Bear, Thunderbear, Ursfjordings (Bearmen of Ursula), the Crow Brothers of Winterpyre and the Gorehunt tribe.
  • The Norse tongue is a complex language with over a dozen tribal dialects. Structurally, it bears many similarities to Khazalid, the language of Dwarfs, but it is corrupted by the intrusion of words from Old Reikspiel and the Dark Tongue.
  • Norse mint small silver coins called Sceattas. The coins feature the crude likeness of the tribal King from which it originates. Norse do not use gold for currency, rather they melt down gold coins to make jewelry.
  • Norse law-system is called Wergild. It is similar to the actual Werglid system of law that was used by the Anglo-Saxons; every class of individual that a person can murder is set with a specific amount of Norse Sceattas that the murderer must repay to the concerned party, or they can instead be subjected to a punishment of the hurt party's choice. The administration of wergild is overseen by the Jarl. The holy men of the Norse do not have a worldly wergild that their attacker must pay; as the Chaos Gods themselves will avenge any slight made upon their priests.
  • Norse "nobility" is usually referred as Jarls. But chieftains among the tribes are sometimes referred as Jerg. Jerg can have Jarls under his ruling. The highest rank is King, which usually rules one of the biggest (main) tribes. High King of Norsca is mentioned in some sources and this means that one of the tribal kings has risen to rule most of the tribes. Norse Jarls and Kings tend to be powerful Chaos Champions or those who otherwise bear the marks of the Gods in some other fashion.
  • Among the Norse are berserkers and "Ulfsarks" (shape-changers into either a wolf or bear). These shape-changers are called Ulfwerenar by the WFRP2 supplement Tome of Corruption. They were also mentioned in a short story in the 6th edition Hordes of Chaos supplement 'the Weres of Fjirgard', where it is said they are fallen Chaos Champions and a type of Chaos Mutant.
  • Because Chaos Wastes (and changing raw energies of magic and Chaos) are very close to Norsca, various mutations and warped effects are so common as to be universal among the Norse and even the terrain. Norse view these as marks from the Gods.
  • The port settlement of Skeggi is a Norscan trading post and colony on the Lustria coast.
  • In the latest edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle the Norse, along with the Kurgan and the Hung are described as the predominant Chaos Marauder tribes.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP1) supplement Marienburg: Sold Down the River has the history which details many Norse raids against the Marienburg. Also, it says that Rothenburg agents manage the Royal Trading Hall in Olricstaad, which is a capital of High King Svein (current year for this information is 2512 IC or 2513 IC). This is somewhat noncanon, as later sources dated in this period state that the Norse have no High King and there is no mention of Olricstaad in any other source.
  • During the Storm of Chaos Archaon gathered his generals, The Four, amongst the Norse. Archaons the Four are featured in the Hordes of Chaos Special Characters.
  • Archaon's predecessor—Asavar Kul, also recruited his three generals from the Norse tribes: Engra Deathsword of the Vargas, Sven Bloody Hand of the Graylings, and Valmir Aisling of the Aisling tribe. Sven Bloody Hand and his Norse warriors also destroyed the Kislevite city of Erengrad during the Great War of Chaos.
  • The first Everchosen of Chaos, Morkar the Uniter, was a Norse.

Norse religion

Norse religion is dynamic and complex, featuring a broad pantheon. Norse worship mainly Dark Gods using human sacrifices. These Dark Gods include Chaos Gods Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch. Norse have many names for these Gods. But Norse also worship other beings (many seem to be Daemon and Daemon Princes) and spirits of ancestors and heroes. There also seems to be other Gods, which might be Gods that are not related to Chaos.

Main themes for Norse pantheon include War, Desire, Decay, and Hope. Their Pantheon rarely features just a single God per theme, rather they may have several. Norse religion is featured in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP2) supplements Tome of Corruption and Tome of Salvation. Also Liber Chaotica features Chaos Gods. In the Hordes/Warriors of Chaos supplements for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, it is stated that the all the Norse recognize the Chaos Gods as the masters of these various lesser deities and pay their highest religious devotion to them.

  • Norse do not have official priests and their holy men are called usually Vicki or Shaman. These individuals are almost invariably Chaos Sorcerers. Norse may use different names for their holy men, like "Bloodfather", who worship Khorne and are powerful warriors who bear his mark and who receive visions of carnage from him. Among them, these holy men are viewed with fear and they are basically untouchable because Norse fear the wrath of Gods.
  • Skaeling tribe workshops a Daemon God named Mercedes (believed to be a dark reflection of Manann), which dwells beneath the Sea of Claws alongside the Four Chaos Gods. Mercedes is also acknowledged by the other Norse tribes, but he is not worshiped as he is invoked in curses made during maritime mishaps. According to the Liber Carnagia, the Skaeling have also dedicated followers of Khorne.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP2) supplements Tome of Salvation features Lesser Ulrican order called Order of the Winter Throne, which followers are simply called Ragnarites. There are secluded monasteries also in Norsca where also is orders legendary cave-system where mysterious Throne of the Snow King is located.

Fiction

Outside of games, there have also been numerous novels and short stories by various authors set in the Warhammer world. Some happen also in Norsca. Some novels involving mostly Norse characters and places are C.L. Werner's Palace of the Plague Lord, Forged by Chaos and the Wulfrik, Valkia and Sigvald novels for Warhammer Heroes. The Legend of Sigmar novels also displays the Norse as the main antagonists of the first two books. Slaves to Darkness, by Gav Thorpe, also shows the Norse tribes as important supporting characters to the Imperial born Chaos Champion protagonist.

Norse in other games

  • In Man O' War, the Norse ships are Dragon ships and Kingships which resemble the Viking longboats complete with square-rigged striped sails and carved dragon prows.
  • The Norse are also available as a team in Blood Bowl where they are skilled blockers but have poorer armor than most other teams.
  • Norsca and the Norse are featured in the Warhammer Online (WAR) MMORPG computer game published in 2008. The player can choose to play the side of Destruction and there to choose Norse character. Also, Norse invaders are found many places in the game and Norsca is actually one game-zone. Norsca zone features only small part of Norsca between Troll Country and Sarl territory in the southern Norsca. The Norse marauders featured are the warriors of the Raven Host and are worshipers of Tzeentch. Though followers of the other Chaos Gods amongst the Norse are also featured in a non-playable capacity as enemy creatures.
  • The protagonist of Warhammer: Mark of Chaos's Chaos Campaign is a Norse Chaos Champion known as Thorgar the Blooded One.
  • Norsca is featured as a playable army in the game Total War: Warhammer as part of a DLC pack, you can choose to play as one of two Norscan factions, one who is led by Wulfrik the Wanderer, and the Other which is a sub-faction is led by Throgg the Troll King.

Miniatures

Citadel released a range of Norse miniatures in the 1980s but these are now out of production but examples of individual Norse models are still available for Blood Bowl.

Miniatures of Norscans mostly exist now as Marauder and Chaos Warrior miniatures. Though they can be painted and assembled in such a way as to portray any of the three main Chaos humans—Norse, Kurgan or Hung.

The Southlands

The Southlands are a mythical location in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, closely corresponding to real world Central Africa. The Southlands lie south of the Land of the Dead and are dominated by dense swamplands and rain forest. The southlands are inhabited by lizardmen, savage orcs and forest goblins, and small tribes of what adventurers call the "Dark Men", who are content to live at peace with nature and seem to have the protection of the Lizardmen.

Lizardmen are the primary power in the Southlands and have five temple-cities, though one was ruined. Due to centuries of separation from their Lustrian brothers, the spawnings of saurus have become slightly rare and so skinks dominate in both civil life and warfare. Although similar in climate and culture to Lustria, the Southlands remain much less explored by human or High Elves and thus the Slann of the Southlands are said to have a much more complete set of Old One prophecies as they have not been pillaged by treasure hunters. However, the Slann practice of embalming their dead under pyramids is said to have had a major influence on the early Khemrian civilisation in the Land of the Dead, which suggests they were not always so isolated. They are reported to have come in conflict with the fabled "Lost Hold" of the Dwarfs, Karak Zorn, which is said to be located somewhere in the mountains of the Southlands.

The Southlands are believed to be the original homeland of the Dwarfs, where they began as simple cave dwellers using crude stone tools, before following the chain of mined riches up the mountain chain towards the north.

When the Skaven Clan Pestilens ravaged Lustria, they were driven out by Sotek and they migrated to the Southlands. Sotek also took action against them here by sending jungle swarms to destroy the clan.

Sylvania

Sylvania is a fictional land of dark forests in the Warhammer Fantasy which is home to vampires, ghouls, and other beings. It is a cursed land plagued by the undead and suffers from warpstone meteorite falls. Once ruled openly by the vampire counts, the Von Carsteins, now it is ruled secretly by vampires of other lines. Treaties between the vampires and human nobles have created an uneasy peace.

To the west is Hunger Wood, the lowest populated place in Sylvania, infested with spirits. It is a boggy marshland that sends any who loses their way to their deaths.

Worlds Edge Mountains

The Worlds Edge Mountains are a significant geographic location in the fictional setting of the game of Warhammer Fantasy.

To the east of the Old World lies the ancient and impossibly high Worlds Edge Mountains. This snow-capped mountain range officially extends from the Nehekhara in the far south, up into the far north past Kislev, before branching west into Norsca. They separate the desolate Dark Lands in the east from the civilised lands of The Empire and Kislev in the west.

Though the unbroken chain of mountains reaches into the Southlands from the Worlds Edge Mountains, the peaks south of the Nehekharan deserts are technically part of the Great Mountains chain.

They are a prominent scene for many main events in the histories of the Dwarf, Orc and Goblin races.

Notable Features

The High Pass is the northernmost route traversing the range, and descends into the lands of the Troll Country before its road leads eventually into the city of Praag in Kislev. A very popular invasion route for the marauder tribes of the west and the Orcish Warlord Grimgor Ironhide's greenskins hordes.

Peak Pass is the next most northerly passage across the mountains. It is overlooked at its eastern starting point by the greenskin fortress of Gnashrak's Lair, and at its western end by the Dwarf Stronghold of Karak Kadrin. In olden times it enabled Dwarfs to travel between the western and eastern fronts of the range. Though its importance has much declined since then and after the Dwarfs had forsaken the mines and watchposts on the eastern frontier. In the present times it must be guarded vigilantly for invading Orcs and Goblins moving from their eastern lairs use it as one of their main attack routes. The Karak Kadrin Dwarfs guard it fiercely against these intruders

The Silver Road is a central route that comes in from the easterly Wolf Lands. Its western opening bypasses The Dwarfen capital city Karaz-a-Karak, while its east is haunted by the Orc-infested ruins of the old Dwarf mine, Mount Silverspear, which is now known more commonly as Mount Grimfang, after the Orcish warlord who captured it. In olden times the pass was the scene of the bloody battles of the Silver Road Wars.

Black Fire Pass is originally named Haz-Drazh-Kadrin by the Dwarfs, which literally translates into human tongue as Passage of Black Flame. It forms a divider between the Black mountains and the World's Edge Mountains and is the main route between the lands of the Border Princes, Karaz-a-Karak and the southern regions of The Empire, travelling along the historical Old Dwarf Road. It is essentially a deep chasm, created when volcanic eruptions tore the peaks in ages past. The pass is identifiable by its eerie cleft high black cliffs and twisted lava along with polished volcanic glass and black vapour leaking from vents at the bases of the cliffs. Orc and goblin tribes in the south use this as their principal route of invasion through the mountains. More importantly, The Battle of Black Fire Pass was played out here, which an alliance of tribes of men of the time before the Empire, and the Dwarfs, engaged a massive invading greenskin army in the pass. The ensuing victory was the beginning of the founding of the nation of men under Sigmar.

Mad Dog Pass, alternately known as Varag Kadrin, was in the days of the Dwarf's greatest power, the chief thoroughfare to the isolated mines of the Dark Lands and the eastern front of the ranges. It is now only occasionally used, and studded with Night Goblin fortresses and their tunnels riddle its steep sides.

Black Water is an immense mountain lake high in the western highlands, and its Black Falls empty down into the Skull River. Known in Khazalid as Varn Drazh. The lake is actually a vast crater, and was filled up with melted ice water from the surrounding snowy mountains. In ancient times a meteor fell from the heavens and punched this massive crater into the rock. Strangely, all around the lake can be found valuable metals and ores. Many Dwarf strongholds were founded around Black Water to mine and refine these meteoric ores, and to take advantage of the raging torrents gushing down the mountainside from the Black Falls, powering waterwheels and machinery. Its black depths are home to ancient and dark monsters. The Battle of Black Falls also took place here, when Dwarf and Goblin armies met on the shores of Black Water. The High King Alrik and the Goblin Warlord Gorkil Eyegouger are both slain while fighting along the edge of the Black Falls. The Dwarf King was not slain by the Goblin Warlord however, but mortally wounded the Goblin, and was then dragged over the edge to his doom. The Goblins were subsequently routed into the freezing waters, and most of them were swept over the falls and suffer the same fate as their warlord. Dwarf Runelord Kadrin Redmane was killed beside the shore of Black Water after being ambushed, leading a mule train to the High King. His last act was to throw his powerful runehammer far out into the Black Water to stop it from being used by the enemy.[1]

Volcanoes

In the south Worlds Edge Mountains, the earth is largely more unstable than in the northern regions. Of the volcanoes in the south there are three worthy of mention, though there are more smaller ones too.

Amongst Men, the largest are named Fire Mountain, Red Cloud Mountain and Thunder Mountain. Khazalid dubs them Karag Haraz, Karag Orrud and Karag Dron. They continually throw forth new riches from the bowels of the world and thus attract many miners, although their settlements are frequently destroyed by eruptions and earthquakes.[1]

Major locations

The Worlds Edge Mountains are a barren wilderness. The Dwarf Strongholds are the only enclaves of civilisation in the region. The Greenskins also have many crude settlements in the mountains, as do the Chaos ratmen, the Skaven. The fallen Holds are also home to these two races.

Karaz-a-Karak means Pinnacle of the Mountains and is also known to men as The Everpeak. Another close meaning is The Most Enduring. This Dwarfen Hold is the largest and most powerful, and is also their capital city. Its lord is the High King of all the Dwarfs. Currently ruled over by High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer. The temples of the venerable Ancestor Gods are here, and is also home to the Great Book of Grudges, a vast account of all wrongdoings and breaches of faith against the Dwarfen race.

Karak Ungor, now known as Red Eye Mountain. Now overrun by Red Eye Tribe Night Goblins, and the first Dwarfen Hold to fall. It sits in the north, overlooking western Kislev.

Karak Kadrin, has a reputation as being home to fierce Dwarf clans. Known commonly as Slayer Keep. Home to the Shrine of Grimnir, and where the Dwarf Slayer Cult makes pilgrimages to. Its King is bound by two incompatible Oaths. That of A King to his People, and that of his family's hereditary Slayer Oath, neither of which he can successfully fulfill without failing in the other.[1]

Cripple Peak is the mountain spire in the south overlooking the Sour Sea. It is riddled with the tainted rock known as Warpstone, which is highly prized by the Skaven and Necromancers. It is the home of the Supreme Lord of the Undead, Nagash. A massive army of skeletal warriors patrols the ramparts of the fortified mountain while their master regains his power after the last time he was defeated. Nagash ordered the mountain to be mined for all of its Warpstone for his use in Necromancy, by his legions of undead and local human tribes which pledged allegiance to him out of terror. The lower regions are known as the Cursed Pit.[2]

Dragons

The Worlds Edge Mountains are also home to many great Dragons. Throughout history there have been many dragon nests discovered by miners, and their hoards are of great proportions. Most of the time these dragons are in a deep slumber. Notable dragons include Skaladrak Incarnadine, Mordrak, Fyrskar and Graug the Terrible.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs, 7th Edition
  2. ^ Warhammer Armies: Undead, 5th Edition
Sources

External links

  • Games Workshop
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Official Game Site
  • The Black Library
  • The Bad Dice Podcast - The UK's 1st Warhammer Podcast, a podcast from the UK dedicated to Warhammer Fantasy
  • BoLS: Warhammer Fantasy Daily Updates
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