Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
"That Was Then, This Is Now."
- – S.E. Hinton
"Life, Death and Rebirth are Inevitable."
- – Rig Veda
Thanks to the turbulent end of said setting, and the, let's politely say, flawed initial launch as well as drastic differences in tone, visual aesthetic, and gameplay, the community from Fantasy was split between those who followed through into Age, and those who responded to End Times metaphorically burning the bridge by simply refusing to cross and remaining Fantasy players who do not acknowledge Age as a successor. Animosity has ebbed and flowed between the two communities (mostly just because like any edition wars conversation, its mostly trolls stirring up the people who are most self-superior to act out).
Some terms that Fantasy fans have coined to refer to Age include:
- Age Of Shitmar
- Age Of Shillmar
- Ugh Of Sigmar
- Groundmarine 40k
- Sigmar and Friends
- Sigmarines vs Rob Liefeld's Chaos Warriors (guest starring WFB special characters)
- Warhammer Lite
- Fucking Bullshit
- Testicular Cancer: The Wargame
- Skub: The Wargame
- Age Of Smegmar
- Sigmar's Big Day Out
- Age Of Skubmar
- Warhammer 40k: In Fantasy!
- Age Of Sigmarines
- Skubhammer 40k
- Age Of Houserules
- Warhammer: New Coke
- SPACE MARINES OOOOON THEEEE GROUUUUUUUUND!
- Why You Should Never Feel Bad Buying Chinese Recasts
- EA Games Presents: Warhammer
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Of course douchebaggery goes both ways (usually thanks to the same people), and Age players also have terms to refer to Fantasy player.
- Those Oldfags (But Not In A Good Way)
- 1 Mechanics
- 2 Setting
- 3 The Four Grand Alliances
- 3.1 Order
- 3.1.1 Stormcast Eternals
- 3.1.2 Extremis Chamber
- 3.1.3 Sacrosanct Chamber
- 3.1.4 Seraphon
- 3.1.5 Sylvaneth
- 3.1.6 Fyreslayers
- 3.1.7 Kharadron Overlords
- 3.1.8 Devoted Of Sigmar
- 3.1.9 Free Peoples
- 3.1.10 Collegiate Arcane
- 3.1.11 Ironweld Arsenal
- 3.1.12 Dispossessed
- 3.1.13 Eldritch Council
- 3.1.14 Phoenix Temple
- 3.1.15 Lion Rangers
- 3.1.16 Order Draconis
- 3.1.17 Swifthawk Agents
- 3.1.18 Scourge Privateers
- 3.1.19 Daughters of Khaine
- 3.1.20 Darkling Covens
- 3.1.21 Shadowblades
- 3.1.22 Order Serpentis
- 3.1.23 Wanderers
- 3.1.24 Idoneth Deepkin
- 3.2 Death
- 3.3 Destruction
- 3.4 Chaos
- 3.4.1 Daemons Of Chaos
- 3.4.2 Host Of Slaanesh
- 3.4.3 Blades of Khorne
- 3.4.4 Maggotkin of Nurlge
- 3.4.5 Disciples of Tzeentch
- 3.4.6 Everchosen
- 3.4.7 Slaves To Darkness
- 3.4.8 Beasts Of Chaos
- 3.4.9 Legions Of Azgorh
- 3.4.10 Tamurkhan's Horde
- 3.4.11 Skaven
- 3.5 The Realms
- 3.6 Scenery
- 3.1 Order
- 4 Gallery
Age of Sigmar "emphasizes the narrative aspect of the wargaming experience, encouraging the play of story-driven scenarios, recreation of battles from lore, and player-created stories", which is Old Games Workshop for "we didn't give a shit about giving players actual rules, so have this threadbare skirmish-game template stuffed with Munchkin-tier bullshit instead." (This was almost immediately recognized as a horrible idea and had vanished by the time AoS 2nd edition harmonized the game rules with 40k.)
Being a skirmish game Age of Sigmar uses round bases and no longer has unit blocks like Warhammer Fantasy. On initial release GW said that using your square-based models was okay because all measurements should be made from the model itself; 2nd edition replaced this blatant retardation with "measure from where the edge of a round base would be when measuring from base to base." Movement trays can still be used.
Rules (aka "What book is it anyway?")
GW like to trumpet that the core rules and "Warscrolls" (all the rules to use one unit in one document) for Age of Sigmar are free by way of the Age of Sigmar smartphone app. This is technically true, but in practice you're going to buy the physical core rulebook anyway because all the rules beyond the bare minimum to play a basic game are "extras" not included in the app. Battletomes include fluff, all Warscrolls for the faction, and "Allegiance Abilities" that give you buffs for fielding a force composed solely of that faction, so you're going to buy that too or be at a competitive disadvantage. On top of this you've got supplements for terrain, extra magic items, and so on and so forth. It's kinda like one of those shitty smartphone games you hear /v/ bitch about constantly, but made of dead trees and costing ten times as much.
As opposed to WHFB where players would have to wait years to get FAQs for rules issues and entire editions for balance updates, Age of Sigmar gets FAQs and errata published online every few months and updated rules and points totals published once a year in the "General's Handbook" series. Naturally, in order to have the up-to-date rules and therefore be able to play in any remotely competitive venue, you need to buy the newest GHB every year.
Three Ways to Play
One of the marquee features for Age of Sigmar, so central in GW's eyes that it was ported to 40k for its 8th edition, is the Three Ways to Play system. By providing three separate "frameworks" that modify the same set of basic rules, the theory is that GW can support different levels of play with a single rulebook, from kids playing on a kitchen table to national tournaments. The practice is somewhat different.
- Matched Play: Build your army using a points system like in any sane wargame. This is what everyone plays.
- Narrative Play: Build your army based on a scenario from an Official Campaign Handbook™. The scenario usually includes extra special rules that reflect the state of the campaign. This allows more flexibility in representing varied forces than Matched Play's points system would normally allow.
- Open Play: Do whatever the fuck you want. When Age of Sigmar was first revealed a big part of the "simplicity" pitch was that this ruleset was the only ruleset. This led to much rage and derision, which caused GW to quickly pivot to the Three Ways to Play scheme in the first General's Handbook.
When Age of Sigmar first released, GW published free Warscrolls on their website for nearly all the models available in the 8th edition of WHFB and advertised that you could start playing right away. Likely because this was the bare minimum needed to keep WHFB players from storming Nottingham with catapults and axes. While these warscrolls are technically still valid, good fucking luck trying to run an army with them as they have never been updated and good old fashioned Codex Creep means that any attempt to field a "Warscroll Compendium" army will be like fielding Witch Hunters against 7th edition Taudar. If you play Tomb Kings or Brettonia, you may not even be able to buy new models. The tagline in fluff states "Not all perished in the destruction of the world. Hidden in shadow realms, alternate dimensions or protected by fell magic, they endured the darkness of the void and emerged once more. Warhammer Age of Sigmar reintroduces these legendary heroes and notorious villains, though not all will come back as you remember them." While some old characters like Morathi have new (expensive, overdetailed) models and rules, as part of 2nd edition's "look, we're totally acknowledging your existence, decades-old fanbase" kick GW spit out some updated rules for named but out-of-print characters under the Warhammer Legends subline. But not for matched play, of course; why encourage veterans to continue playing with rules for their old models when you can make them buy more large kits instead?
The name of every classic Warhammer race was changed, factions were split up and some have been expanded.
The game has four factions known as the Grand Alliances - Order, Chaos, Destruction and Death. Factions within these Grand Alliances may combine forces, such as Elves, Dwarfs and Humans coming together in one army, or you may elect to focus on a specific faction and gain faction specific abilities.
AoS's second edition was released in June 2018. Ghosts were involved. Nerfs and buffs abound, new magic, new location-specific rules, actual fluff this time, the whole shebang.
The new setting is made up of nine Realms. Each Realm represents a magical Wind and its properties (The Realm of Aqshy (fire) has volcanoes and the people tend to be aggressive and determined, the Realm of Hysh (light) is a bright and verdant world with symbolism in everything, the realm of Azyr (Heavens) is Sigmar's personal domain, and so on, and Sigmar ruled (nominally) them all initially. Unfortunately, the ninth Realm is basically the Northern Wastes from the Old World, and is Chaos incarnate. Unlike before where mortals in the Realm of Chaos can expect to go mad and have their souls eaten at any point, barring the mad scholar tasked with mapping it out, now mortals live there like any other Realm; born, raised, kill in the name of whatever Chaos God suits them, die, are raised again in Nagash's Realm of Death unless their patron loved them enough to save their souls by making them Daemons or Daemon Princes.
The Realms are connected through gates called "Realmgates" and several points where they merge (for example: Azyr is above all the other realms and can be seen from there).
So, all in all, the new setting can be summed up as a strange fusion of Stargate fan fiction, mistranslated Norse mythology, and your typical fantasy races. And a lot of Moorcock thrown in. But this is a Games-Workshop setting. It was a given.
After the End Times
These were The End Times. The world is no more, torn apart by treachery and Chaos. And yet... endings beget beginnings.
Listen carefully. Can you hear it? The cruel laughter of dark gods? It dances on the winds between worlds, striving to be heard, for the ruinous powers bore easily, and they seek tirelessly for new realities to conquer. Where there is life, Chaos will find it, and misery and bloodshed will soon follow.
The world is gone, but all may not be lost.
To what does he cling?
And when a world dies…
Before we start we must clarify that some of the narrative of the new setting is subjected to in-universe legends and meta-discrepancies along with surviving rumours before the official material was released, what follows is a sinthesis updated to the Second Edition of the setting, which also takes information from Black Library novels and previous official sources, perhaps in time we may have a tome telling about the Genesis of Age of Sigmar to better understand what happened, until then, here is, at great strokes, the narrative we currently have available.
After falling along with Archaon through the planet-ending Warp Vortex at the ruins of Middenheim, Sigmar, still wielding Ghal-Maraz and separated from his nemesis, was thrown into the Abyss and eventually got a grip into the surviving metallic core of the Warhammer world, together man-god and celestial body were hurled beyond a time and space which no longer existed due the destruction of the Oak of the Ages and the victory of Chaos.
Eventually, after an aeon impossible to measure, both entities, now perpetually connected at a metaphysical level, entered the Mortal Realms, newborn planes of existence aligned and condensed from the Winds of Magic due the laws of the Cosmos, it was upon the skies of Azyr that Sigmar and the core were finally caught by Dracothion the Star Drake, one of the Zodiacal Beasts and a creature of creation and order, feeling a similarly aligned spirit, Dracothion helped Sigmar recover and befriended him.
Legends also tell some beings not aligned with Chaos managed to escape the end of the World, the Lizardmen travelled in their voidships across the Abyss for atemporal aeons, slowly dying until only the Slann remained, these survivors were eventually found by Dracothion, who guided them to High Azyr, the outer space of the mortal realms, where the Slann used their star-born magic to remember into existance the race of lizardmen. The denizens of long lost Lustria, now beings of celestial energy renamed Seraphon, set upon themselves the task of vanquishing Chaos from the Cosmos once and for all.
Some of the narrative of Black Library also suggests that some dwarf clans managed to literally dig a path into the newborn universe, allowing their societies to survive the End Times and arrive to the Mortal Realms, considering the Skaven can do this then is not far-fetched to assume Dwarf runecrafting may create tools capable to cut through space and time, why they wouldn't use this often enough would be a source of many interesting debates, we may also argue some powerful mages may have been capable of such an interdimensional feat.
At this point it is important to notice something very important, given the cyclical nature of the setting (the so called Cycle of the Stars perhaps?), the highly increased powers of the non-Chaos deities and the fact one of the Mortal Realms is a functional afterlife plane, individuals can reincarnate, come back from the death or be reborn into new iterations, allowing at a meta-level to bring back not just Lizardmen and Chaos aligned creatures, but also other mortal beings, in other words, Your Dudes and old characters whoever they were (humans, orruks, duardin, aelves, lizardmen, chaos, skaven, vampires, etc), can come back from oblivion, perhaps slightly changed but ultimately the same at heart, even Bretonnia and the Tomb Kings, whose rules for AoS are available for free at Games Workshop, can be brought back, in fact, due the almost infinite vastness and magic of the Mortal Realms you are basically allowed to create or justify almost whatever you wish, with its appropiate set of rules, something the writers of the rulebooks take advantage of in the fluff section, for example, in the Godbeasts supplement, the existance of the Crimson Monarchy allows for fluffy Tomb Kings armies, and bringing Bretonnian themed armies is easy too, since there have been descriptions of feudal kingdoms with knights in some of the available background.
Black Library writers have come to help too, with the Soul Wars novel basically bringing Balthasar Gelt reborn as a Stormcast Mage and Gotrek Gurnisson entering the Mortal Realms in search for Felix Jaeger.
The Age of Myth
Sigmar, guided by Dracothion, travelled across the realms using the Realmgates, interdimensional portals akin to those once built by the Old Ones, he found tribes of men and other species, rising from their primordial savage state and already enbattled by many horrors such as beastmen, whose origins on the new realms would become a matter of many speculations by the scholars of the setting, maybe they too were hurled through space and time like Sigmar? Or maybe Chaos was already gnawing at the new reality? Sigmar also found the Incarnates, gods from the World-That-Was bound to the Winds of Magic that formed the Mortal Realms, as well as other divinities and beings of great power, he set upon himself to free them and make them join him in his Pantheon to fullfil his grand vision, for Sigmar has decided to bring the peace, order and prosperity he once wished for the now long-vanquished Empire to the Mortal Realms.
Guiding many of his followers to the place of his coming to Azyr, Sigmar built Azyrheim, the Eternal City, which would eventually eclipse Altdorf and Khemri in size, dynamism and prosperity, in time, many other cities, kingdoms and enclaves would be built too, guided and protected by the Pantheon.
Let us talk a bit more about these gods:
Grimnir and Grungni were chained to a mountain in the Realm of the Fire Wind, and refused to give any information to him about how they got there. After freeing them they both pledged themselves to his service. Grungni, who is now a crippled smith god (gotta love that GW creativity), taught the various mortals metalworking and brought their general technological level back to the point where it had been prior to AoS. He then gathered the Dwarfs, now called Duardin, to himself and forged a new mountain Hold called the Iron Karak for them to dwell in. Grimnir on the other hand wanted his debt repaid immediately, so Sigmar requested he fight Vulcatrix, the Mother of Salamanders (with Salamanders themselves apparently being the origin of ALL FIRE, EVERYWHERE) for some reason. Both of them were destroyed in the conflict by shattering into thousands of pieces that rained over the Realm of Fire (while Grimnir's beard was on fire). The fragments of Vulcatrix created the volcanoes that dot the Realm of Fire (which apparently for some reason didn't have any prior and needed an explanation to exist), while the fragments of Grimnir- *THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN CENSORED BY ORDER OF SIGMAR, ON BEHALF OF THE DUARDIN: LONG LIVE SIGMAR, LONG LIVE GRUNGNI, HONOR TO GRIMNIR*
Malekith woke up as the god of the Lore of Shadow who called himself Malerion, completely alone. He searched for other beings and eventually found his mother Morathi, who has "changed" and has the companionship of Daemons made of pure shadow. Eventually they too joined Sigmar (no word on if they're taking back up the old family practices). The two along with the Twins would eventually join forces for a great task.
Alarielle awoke alone, although she still had magical seeds from the old setting. She planted them everywhere and created Fey beings as well as new treefolk, and although she did join Sigmar eventually she nonetheless shunned others in favor of her pod people, the Sylvaneth.
Gorkamorka, the merged Gork and Mork (or is it Mork and Gork?) was found by Sigmar trapped in sapient amber named Drakatoa that had claimed the Realm of Beasts for itself. The two ended up having an arm wrestling match, eventually, Gorkamorka settled to become Sigmar's hunter, slaying all sort of monsters and hostile creatures across the Mortal Realms.
Nagash survived as he had pretty much become the god of Death at this point. Sigmar reluctantly revived him because he needed help in the underworld or something and also knew he could provide a tireless and unending workforce to rise cities and towns for the mortal tribes to live and learn civilization. So of course Nagash immediately went about eating all the other death gods of Shysh and getting all egotistical as he does. Also ressurected some of his mortarchs, even Mannfred, safe in the knowledge that as the God of Death he can impose his will on any Undead.
Eventually Sigmar stablished the seat of his Pantheon in Azyr's Mount Celestian, close to Azyrheim, although the gods also had their own residences in the other Mortal Realms. Initially, all went well; Nagash formed a proper afterlife that does not include any Chaos soul-eating and had Undead do the bulk of the construction efforts. Grungni continued teaching mortals of technology and smithing, and Gorkamorka continued his task of killing dangerous wild creatures, which kept the greenskin god entertained, hence the Mortal Realms prospered, coming to surpass the kingdoms of the World Before Time
the sourcebook expands further upon the civilizations of the Mortal Realms, their rivalries, commerce and industry, artistic and cultural development, concepts such as progress, tolerance and peace promoted by the God-King.
This Utopia will not last, the Chaos Gods attacked, seeding corruption among the inhabitants of the Mortal Realms and convincing them to open the metaphysical gates to begin the invasion in exchange of power and immortality. Soon great invasions and turncoat armies ravaged the Mortal Realms, putting to the sword entire civilizations, but the new pantheon was strong, as were their servants, and Chaos was driven back, suffering defeats.
For a time the Pantheon held back the forces of Chaos, but then the cracks began to show, and the Chaos Gods brought Archaon, now titled as the Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse, to do their will, worsening the situation as he forced the disparate forces of Chaos to work together while the Pantheon started to disintegrate.
Gorkamorka, entirely SICK of Sigmar's sissy "civilization building", broke from the pantheon by forming a one-god WAAAGH through all eight Realms and the Warp, then embarked on a return trip the same way until Sigmar broke him back into Gork and Mork (or Mork and Gork?) where they settled into the Realm of Beasts.
Alarielle abandoned the defense of the Realms in favor of only fighting within her own Realm, the Realm of Life, to defend it from Nurgle using guerrilla warfare and ambush tactics, a decision which cost her and her realm dearly.
The efforts of Order were further weakened when Tyrion and Malerion left to find Slaanesh. While most of the Chaos Gods, including the now ascendant Great Horned Rat, were already playing the Great Game, Slaanesh was too glutted with aelf souls, becoming vulnerable to the machinations of other divinities, he/she/it went to hide to better digest so many victims, something which will come to be a terrible mistake, as the aelven deities succeded in a great ritual which captured the Dark Prince and forced him/her/it to regurgitate the devoured souls of the aelf race.
The Age of Chaos
Finally, at the battle for the location containing a Realmgate to each Realm, Nagash backstabbed Sigmar and the rest of Order due to the (unspecified) manipulation of Tzeentch and Archaon as well as his own resentment that Sigmar was in charge instead of him, then fucked off in a mad dash back to the Realm of Death. Sigmar chased after Nagash in anger before realizing "OH FUCK, THE BATTLE!" and returned to see Chaos had laid siege to each Realm. Sigmar, disgusted, called on Tyrion and Malerion to take a moment from kicking Slaanesh in the tummeh and help him and the mortals forge a magical barrier preventing Chaos from entering Azyr (or the all-seeing Tzeentch from seeing past it), then shut the gates to the Realm and began preparations to defend against the incoming siege (makes you wonder why the hell he didn't think to do the same to EVERY realm before Chaos showed up). Nagash returned to the Realm of Death thinking he's won only to find the fucking Skaven had blown up his Black Pyramid. AGAIN. Archaon appeared and blew Nagash the fuck up, although Nagash's soul survived (he controls the afterlife now, where the hell would he go? Detroit?) and began reforming his body (so Nagash was reset back to pre-End Times, although he can actually appear on the battlefield now if he wants to).
Chaos laid waste to all eight Mortal Realms and ruined all the civilizations built up during the Age of Myth, leaving only hidden strongholds and fugitive enclaves. Sigmar gave up fighting them and retreated to Azyrheim to build his army of Stormcast Eternals.
Running out of things to kill, Khorne then attacked the ENTIRE REST OF CHAOS, allowing the inhabitants of the realms a bit of a breather. Also, the Great Horned Rat is now a Chaos God. The other three Chaos Gods thought very little of him, although Skavenblight was allowed to become a section of the Realm of Chaos (due to the mistakes of the Skaven however, it half sunk back into the material plane which in turn gives Skaven the ability to appear in any of the Realms at will). Even Archaon believes himself above the Skaven among the Chaos faction, and he spits in the face of the Great Horned Rat directly.
The Age of Sigmar
The player-driven story of the game starts 5 centuries after the beginning of the Age of Chaos, when the very weave of reality is starting to collapse due the triumph of the Chaos Gods, it is during these years that Sigmar has been spiriting away warriors doomed to heroic last stands against Chaos from all across the Mortal Realms, reforging these brave souls at the massive floating city of Sigmarabulum into Stormcast Eternals, these will be the super-soldiers needed to save the Mortal Realms, capable to match the servants of Chaos with the divine power of the God-King.
The Storm of Sigmar is unleashed upon the Mortal Realms, it's a teleportation of armies of Stormcast Eternals upon enemy territory, their initial objective the retaking of the sealed Realmgates, allowing Azyr to deploy more and more of their centuries-nurtured forces through these portals without taxing the energies of the God-King while achieving beach heads which can eventually become enclaves of civilization, secretly Sigmar is racked by doubt as the Stormcast Eternal project still has flaws, the delicate reincarnation process not yet perfectioned, unfortunately the forces of Order have been running out of time, and the attack cannot be delayed anymore unless the Mortal Realms collapse utterly into the Realm of Chaos.
In the first battles of the post-release story, Sigmarines battle Chaos in four locations.
- Hammers of Sigmar VS Khorne's Goretide (starter box factions) in the
HellfireBrimstone Peninsula of the Realm of Fire: Jacos, a Lord-Celestant of the Stormhost, is killed by the leader of the Goretide Khul while another Lord-Celestant named Vandus called down lightning in a suicide attack to destroy Khorne's Realmgate to the mortal Realms. Relictor Ionus then blew up Khul's skull pyramid, preventing him from ascending to Daemonhood. Jacos was lost in the Warp, Vandus was Reforged. The first Age of Sigmar novella The Gates of Azyr covers the first part of the campaign.
- Celestial Vindicators VS Tzeentch in Chamon: CV's intially attack to reclaim Ghal Maraz, and discover Tzeentch was going to absorb the Realm of Metal into his own and the ritual was interrupted 99 days early. Tzeentch's forces hold them off and capture many CV souls to prevent Reforging, forcing the Stormcasts to regroup. This event leads then to the Silver Road to find the bulk of the Duardin race, although Tzeentch's forces also discover it. The Sigmarines seemed doomed until the inevitable Tzeentchian backstabbing conga and layers of plans and pawns finally come into play, made worse when the Changelords and Kairos Fateweaver got involved. During the thousand-man villain monologue cacophony the Sigmarines were able to reach Ghal Maraz, and when one of them touched it Sigmar was able to bomf his army and sacred weapon back home before unleashing a Thundernuke on the fortress. Meanwhile, the Lions of Sigmar were sent to find the Metal Duardin but found something "far darker" (theorized to mean Chaos
DwarfsDuardin). Sigmar then decided that since he had his favorite toy back, it was time to get directly involved in the war again.
- Hallowed Knights and Astral Templars plus Sylvaneth vs Nurgle and Great Horned Rat plus Beastmen: A Lord-Celestant collapsed Nurgle's Realmgate from within, and is trapped in his Garden now. After the Order forces mop-up the Chaos, Alarielle's crazy treefolk befriend the Sigmarines and they begin to reclaim the Realm of Life. But not after a Great Unclean One pollutes the last pristine lake in all of Gyrhan. The war ends with the Sigmarines barely scraping a victory due entirely to the Celestant-Prime arriving and defeating the leader of the Nurglites, Torglug The Despised, at the cost of the lives of Alarielle and her daughter, the Lady of Vines. The Sigmarines plant a seed containing Alarielle's soul in the ground where many of them died in hopes she'd be reborn
Humanas a warrior queen of rapetrees rather than a totes cray-cray queen of gardening.
With the resolution of the above plots, the following wars were established.
- The Anvils Of Heldenhammer Stormhost are sent to make a truce with Nagash, and discover Neferata defending her kingdom of
New LahmiaNulahmia against Slaaneshi invaders and rush to her aid.
- Archaon, sick of being on the sidelines, heads to Mount Kronus in the Realm of Fire to kill Vandus and the Hammers of Sigmar. He slaughters the fuck out of them, no holds barred.
After that the forces of chaos moved onto the capture of massive entities known of Godbeasts, which are beasties capable of small scale exterminatus on their own at the least, with Dracothion itself being the strongest of their number. The forces of the Hallowed Knights and Knights Excelsior fought in the Great Green Torc to stop the World Titan Behemat, father of giants.
Now, it seems that Nagash has been very busy behind the scenes and is making a power play that could massively expand the influence of Death. The other factions are trying to stop it, and so far it's not going well for them. Each Grand Alliance get themselves a new champion of sorts: Death gets a ghost one-handing a bastard sword, Order gets a Sigmarine who's job it is to rebuild the stuff that the rest of his Brotherhood just ruined, Destruction gets a really, really fucking high Grot and Chaos gets an axe wielding marauder queen sporting an awesome rack. As in, her helmet has two gigantic sets of horns. What'd you think I meant?
Malign portents is bound out to mark the "end of the age of Hope" and bring the grimdark back, as well as expand upon how the Realms work and how the fuck normal human beings can live in a place that's all made of metal. The short stories released with Malign Portents certainly cash in the grimdark people wanted - Stormcasts killing innocents, vampires coaxing humans to the side of death to save them from Nurgle’s plagues (which are lovingly detailed, with exploding maggot-filled pustules and weeping sores), humans being dragged down under the earth by skeletons to suffocate just after they managed to survive the razing of their village...
The only Chaos faction making gains are a group of Slaanesh worshipers under command of the warqueen teaming up with the mortal followers of othe Chaos gods to find Slaanesh (they're headed in the right direction, but reaching Slaanesh is the problem). The Destruction champion's plan so far seems to be to just throw armies of Orruks and Grots into Shyish and hope everything works out. The Order champion is trying to figure out what is going wrong and recently halted his attempts at rebuilding to take the fight to the undead.
Nagash's plans are gaining ground and showing no signs of stopping. He has Arkhan and the Black Disciples making a series of inverted versions of the Black Pyramid. These have been drawing magical energy and acting as lodestones and power amplifiers (they float in the air and there's more than one, so no Skaven tunneling trickery will work). Mannfred's going around doing a series of terrorist attacks against particularly powerful enemies of Nagash in the realms (did GW just reference the post-9/11 spate of Islamic terrorism?). Neferata is using her cults to manipulate society and turn high-ranking people into vampires (she seems to be focused on subverting Azyr). The habits of the various other factions seem set to come back to haunt them (no pun intended), eg; among Order, all the corpses of people sacrificed by the Daughters of Khaine become skeletons in the armies of Death. One particularly grimdark story (involving the last survivors of a town suffering a zombie apocalypse with the Death champion leading the zombies) has confirmed a horrifying fact; Nagash has found a way to indefinitely contain the souls of Stormcast Eternals (The only other way to contain them was to chuck them in the Realm of Chaos, but they can walk right back out if they survive long enough to find a portal. While Nagash can contain them if he killed them personally, if he gets distracted they go straight back to Sigmar). At this rate, the only beings that seem able to resist the clutches of undeath are Chaos Daemons, Seraphon and Sylvaneth.
The whole thing culminates in something only known as the "Necroquake", after Nagash builds the Great Black Pyramid, which this time flies and is upside down. The Skaven ruin Nagash's master plan to raise the dead from all over the Mortal Realms and fundamentally alter the nature of magic in the process due to the arcane backlash. Now the realm of Shyish has been fundamentally altered, where before as various after-lifes in the realm would move towards the edge of the realm as they lost relevance to various mortal populations and be destroyed. Now instead magic and the irrelevant after-lifes move towards the centre of the realm into a a giant vortex of death magic called the Shyish Nadir, the opposite of all the other realms. This is a corruption of Nagash's original plan for all the souls to automatically go to him but now even he can't handle the insanity at the centre of the realm indefinitely or fully excess the souls or magic at the center. He can only access the magic in the Nadir for brief periods otherwise even he risks being ripped apart by it (the Nadir itself had been tainted by Chaos thanks to the Skaven so the magic within it is not entirely compatible with him). While Nagash hasn't become all-powerful as he had hoped due to the rats fucking him over yet again, he's still gotten much stronger than before and now has a massive army of angry ghosts at his command.
Yeah, the grimdark is certainly back.
As mentioned above, Nagash' great Necroquake shook the hell out of the fabric of the already-unstable Realms, causing two major things to happen - Magic got Endless, meaning that certain very powerfull spells can now keep themselves going indefinitely, drawing on the inherently magical nature of the Realms until they are forcibly dispelled. Some spells just keep going for ages and ages, ruining whatever they can find. Some even become infamous, inviting great magical hunting dispellers to take coin to hunt them down and dispel them.
The other, perhaps more important part is that the dead spirits of the Realms have gotten very restless, and very, very fucking mad. Ghosts and ghasts rise from their graves to punish the living for being so damn alive, all at the behest of Skeleface el Hat Grande, who's shaped them to ironically reflect their crimes in life. They are led by a new Mortarch of Grief, Lady Olynder. Sigmar sees Nagash' play and raises him the Sacrosanct Chamber, the guards of the Anvil of Apothesis, which recreates Stormcasts after death. Thus begins with the Soul Wars, with all four Grand Alliances scrambling to claim the souls of the dead released by the Necroquake for their own goals.
The Four Grand Alliances
The factions united under Sigmar, interested in beating the shit out of Chaos and... well, just kind of surviving. Races are no longer homogenous; Dwarf, Elf, Human, even some Undead live and dwell alongside each other with all previous conflicts forgotten. Some cultures from the past world survived, and new ones have appeared as Sigmar united the mortals from many settings lost in the Warp.
Unfortunately Sigmar cannot keep the other Incarnates in check. Nagash and Gorkamorka fucked off to make their own factions with blackjack and hookaz, many of the
Dorfs Duardin bound to Fire need payment to become loyal, and the three factions of Elves Aelfs keep taking off to do their own shit. .
On 3/25/16 most of the Order armies in the game other than Lizardmen, Stormcast Eternal and Sylvaneth had a lot of their miniatures discontinued, Bretonnia taking the blunt of the cut as being squatted. The old armies of the Empire, High Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves and Dwarfs being restructured in new factions.
Sigmar forged his Realm out of Azyr, Wind of Heavens, into the realm of Azyrheim and took small mortal tribes which had been hiding from Chaos in the Warp and with the help of Grungni forged them into immortal beings of flesh and blood clad in armor made of a pure refined metal called... Sigmarite. These beings were dubbed the Stormcast Eternals (prepare yourself for facepalm lore writing, as the Stormcast Eternals storm things stormingly with their stormhammers just as much as Space Wolves wolf things wolfishly with their wolfguns, and even worse is coupled with GW's boner for fauxus-Latinarium), and were created to be the perfect defense against the Chaos Warriors and similar opponents, who run roughshod over regular human settlements.
The Stormcast are truly immortal, as upon dying Sigmar reforges them back to life back at base. Each time they're reforged however, their soul is weakened like brittle metal; they lose intelligence, emotions, and memories in small increments, which is later revealed due to be because of Sigmar not fully perfecting the reforging process, as he had to rush them to have them finished in time to save the realms. Thus on their way back to Azyr, Nagash, who covets these very strong souls, tears at them to bring them back down to Shyish, tearing away bits of them in the process. This is then coupled with the reforging process itself which is highly traumatic to the soul itself, with some not even surviving the reforging process. It is shown that Stormcast that are resurrected more than once begin to lose their personality and individuality and start to become cold and unfeeling. In addition the reforging process takes longer with each reforging and new sigmarite is needed to craft new equipment if it is lost, slowing the process down even more. Thus forcing the stormhosts to make gains against their enemies to allow time for reforged Stormcasts to be sent back to reinforce their allies. Sigmarite itself is actually mined from the metal core of Malus (the old warhammer world) and while in theory it is a limited resource the fact that the supply is basically the size of a planet and Sigmar (being a god) could likely find more if needed means that for all practical purposes it is in limitless supply. Assuming the reforging chambers in Azyr remain intact of course. Additionally, it is possible for their souls to be lost to the Warp if something obstructs the recall process during which their only hope is for a Relictor to try to reclaim it; and even then, it's a toss-up if they actually catch the free soul before Big Daddy Skellington gets them. In addition, the soul recall process is not perfect and can be prevented by magical means or being lost (realm of chaos) in certain places.
They travel from Realm to Realm via lightning bolts that strike the ground and makes the 'Casts appear in a brilliant flash of light.
Each group of the Stormcast belongs to one of the Stormhosts, which we don't know exactly how many there are. although it seems there are more than 8, since each realm is unimaginably vast, and only 3 Realms have been covered so far. Unless Sigmar is ignoring those Realms till later... Each Stormhost is somewhat analogous to a well-known 40k chapter of Space Marines. Foremost amongst them are the poster child faction, the Hammers of Sigmar who bear the regal blue and gold and the Astral Templars who are the monster-killer Stormhost, the cursed and brooding figures called the Anvils of Heldenhammer who were born as a faction of emo kids, the Hallowed Knights which are the spiritually consecrated warriors immune to Chaos and so horrifically mangled they were battle-scarred at birth underneath that armor, the Celestial Vindicators who sport a spiffing turquoise armor which somehow ties into their role as Sigmar's new Witch Hunters, the gold with purple Lions of Sigmar whose power is that they are dreadfully mysteeeeeeerious, and the silver and green Knights of the Aurora are chosen for speed and rapid deployment (and have a warrior chamber called "Borealis" lead by one Arturo Boreas).
According to Josh Reynolds the Eternals were not all human men, and were forged out of all mortals Sigmar found. Under the armor could be a woman, an Aelf, an Orruk (ok maybe not, but it would cool though!), anything not aligned to Chaos or a Daemon (and even that can be changed with a good wackin' with Ghal'Maraz). So if anyone asks you about Female Space Marines from now on, give them Stormies and female miniature heads. Furthermore, you can have your lore-friendly Ork Space Marines. Although this does raise a few interesting questions, like red Stormcasts being faster than the others...
Only Undead Sigmarines seem to serve as "Relictors", flag-bearers who draw slain Stormcast souls back to Sigmar. In one story, a Relictor hears Nagash's words "A tithe for a tithe, a soul for a soul" during a battle which suggests the Skelepope has something nasty up his sleeve for the Stormboys. See, Nagash doesn't like it one bit that people who die doesn't go to him, and see Sigmar as a liar and a cheat, who tries to take power from him, which isn't all wrong, when it comes down to it.
Thanks to their bulky appearance, massive fucking bodies, and design that's obviously meant to get the attention of Space Marine players, they are known to most of the fanbase as "Sigmarines".
The Stormcast Stormhosts are all led by the "Celestant-Prime", a former righteous king who was granted part of Sigmar's own essence upon becoming the first Sigmarine and gifted with Ghal Maraz once it was reclaimed. He is stated to "slay a Daemon with one blow, setting the spirit within free to make its way to Azyr". The implications for this are interesting, the most obvious being Sigmar is recruiting Daemons by purifying them Saint Cuthbert style. In Balance of Power, One of Nurgles Champions is struck with Ghal Maraz and reforged as a stormcast eternal himself, after being judged by Sigmar himself (making Sigmar's Judge Hammer a literal hammer).
There are a few theories as to the past identity of this figure, the most likely being Karl Franz. Before anyone says "but he was EMPRAH, NOT KING!", the Stormcast Eternals battle tome refers to Sigmar's old empire as a Kingdom, and thus would consider Franz to be its King. It's probably NOT Settra, since Settra was an egotistical, tyrannical dick who would be the big bad of the setting if it weren't for bigger dicks like Malekith, chaos, the skaven, the vampires and Nagash... maybe Settra's not so bad, but he's still probably not the Celestant-Prime.
Although it is (very) easy to hate on them, it is only fair to say GW may have had "good" intentions regarding their purpose in the game. They appeal to 40k players, yes, but also have maximum "your dudes" options while also not requiring going into very much detail or put in a lot of thought ("These are the (two words, from a thesaurus) and they are (two colors). They (basic behavior) and originated (cool quirk, or favorite race/faction from Fantasy)"). In fact, so long as they have that bulky armor and praise
the sun Sigmar while hating Chaos you are fully in acceptable range of plausible lore. They are easy to paint, and their immortal nature means there is not a sense of picking a losing or dying out race. Furthermore they give non-villain sides a faction to whom death is laughable. Only the similarity to 40k with the fact they came bundled with massive changes to existing lore and disappointing rules cause the hate to really pile on so easy. That and the fact the word storm has lost all meaning to those reading their fluff anyway. Had they been introduced in 8e or End Times, it's possible they would be much less scorned among the general fanbase.
Despite many fans and critics saying that the Stormcast eternals are carbon copies of the Space marines, Black Library Josh Reynolds had this to say otherwise:
- "Well, for starters, Space Marines are chosen as children, tortured by SCIENCE!, and then drafted into an eternity of being monastic murder machines whose sole purpose is to hold up the crumbling foundations of an omnicidal dystopia in the name of a rotting carcass that eats psykers like chiclets. They're emotionally stunted orphans who were brainwashed and weaponized before being unleashed on a galaxy where EVERYTHING is trying to kill them. They never even had a chance to be people before someone turned them into a gun instead.
- Stormcast, on the other hand, are dead heroes, chosen for their valour and faith, resurrected and sent to free the Mortal Realms from the abominations currently running the show, on behalf of a benevolent God-King (Though benevolent is seriously up to debate). They're traumatized heroes who had lives, personalities and histories prior to being crammed into primary colored hulkbuster armor and filled full of lightning so that they could go save their descendants from the eldritch horrors of a nightmare dimension. They endure death after death, losing a bit more of their soul each time, in order to prevent anyone else from suffering the fate which befell them.
- One group are so far removed from humanity as to be utterly alien. The other group are so human it causes them pain. One group feels little in the way of emotion, the other group feels emotion as strongly as they did before death. One group hates and fears the alien. The other group allies regularly with space-lizards, skeletors and green monster-men. One group is the personification of the grim future in which they live. The other is a thing born of hope.
- The similarities are cosmetic: big guys in easily paintable armor sell better than little dudes with fiddly bits. But the context for those cosmetic similarities is quite different. Think of it this way...Space Marines are Batman and Stormcast are Captain America. Both are super-heroes, both wear costumes, both punch bad guys, both save people. But they ain't the same, are they?"
Really makes you think. Sadly, GeeDubs bit the hand that fed them by telling Josh to shut up and state that anything he says outside the books he writes for them is not canon.
More recent lore from novels and books has begun taking some interesting angles to the Stormcasts, and how they think of themselves and their mission. Apparently, regardless of how much lightning and awesome they've been pumped with to become a Stormcast, they are, by all means, still mortals in armor. They feel all feelings a mortal person would, they need to eat and sleep and they fear death and pain just like any other warrior. In fact, the novels makes it a point that no one has yet to see a Stormcast regenerated more than three times, and many fear how they'll be, since twice regenerated Stormcasts are noticably cold, ruthless and unfeeling, to the point of being automatons. Sigmar apparantly sees this issue, and wants to correct it, but has no means for it without risking an all-out war with Nagash.
Overall, as Josh makes it clear above, lore makes the Stormcasts out to be a special force of superhuman armoured warriors, but there's where the similarities to Space Marines end. Stormcast need to eat regularly, may or may not need sleep and they feel and makes it a point to keep it that way, and they don't want to die. Grimdark Sci-fi Superwarrior versus Noblebright Fantasy Superwarrior. Dark versus Light. God versus Man. The gladiatorial match of the worl- Wait no that's something else.
However the most recent lore actually seems to validate the comparison: After being reforged so many times, the Sigmarines have become increasingly Grimdark and detached, mirroring that of the Adeptus Astartes. Many of them have even started to develop mutations not unlike the Geneseed flaws. Ironically it seems that by attempting to move them away from Noblebright, GW has made them more like Space Marines than ever before. Oops.
It's noticeable that with more muted metallics, they are not as unappealing. Dull silvers or coppers with dark washes and earth tones appeal to many more than the gaudy gold and high-contrast coloration and many have taken advantage of the "any race" lore to clip off their Persian 300-style helmets and replace them with Dwarf, Orc, Elf, and skeleton heads.
Holy shit, we had those things back in fantasy, guys.
Forgesworn Eternals: the first /tg/-approved
Sigmarines that ride the hermaphrodite children of the hermaphrodite star god Dracothian. Now folded into Stormcast Eternals as a singular faction, the idea is basically this: the stormcast are angels, and no horses can carry their heavy asses, so only three other species are willing to rub backs with stormcast groins: stardrakes, dracoths, and gryph-chargers.
Stardrakes are dragons. No, they're more awesome than dragons, because they're elemental lightning given form. They spew lightning and are totally noble creatures in the fluff, and usually gets laughed off the table in actual play in the hands of all but the greatest of tacticians. Dracoths are mini-stardrakes that serve as heavy cavalry that shits cheese with every step they take. Gryph-charges are chocobo theropods that serve as light cavalry and can teleport across the table because obviously the stormcast need more mobility options on top of their deepstrikes.
While gryph-chargers are not part of the extremis chamber (they are part of the vanguard chapter), they represent the rapier of the stormcast army, trusted to hit deep into enemy territory and leave before their foes know what hit them. When in a proper battlefield, dracoths are called upon to break lines and shatter flanks with their thunderous charges (both in fluff and on the table), and when shit hits the fan, stardrakes are called down to even the odds, usually by smashing everything and then teabagging the corpses of daemon princes and chaos behemoths.
The Sigmarines' wizards. Normally they guard the Anvil of Apotheosis, but following the Necroquake Sigmar has seen fit to have them join the rest of the Stormcasts in battle.
The Lizardmen reached the new setting with their flying magical pyramids, which got Dracothion's attention. After communing with the Slann, Dracothion learned of the destruction of the World that Was, leading him to eventually meet Sigmar. They then followed the trail that Dracothion's tears left until they reached Azyr, when the Lizardmen disembarked in "High Azyr". Their new Slann caste, "Starmasters", began scanning everything that exists and formulating a Great Plan to change the rules of the Great Game. New weapons and armor made of stars were forged, and the Slann recreated the environment of Lustria using their minds to return DINOSAUZ to existence
The lizards must also have made a stop at the Mushroom Kingdom on their way to the Nine Realms, because they’re loading up to the eyeballs with STAR POWER (Playing the Star Theme when fielding Seraphon is optional but recommended)! Seriously, there’s enough star and celestial references with the Seraphon that they can join Khorne, the Stormcast Stormternals, the Fyreslayers and the Space Wolves in the Chronic-obsession-with-sticking-their-theme-words-into-everything club.
They are described as reptilian warriors made of Azyr who appear out of nowhere, making them the other Order Daemons alongside the Stormcast Eternals (except the Seraphon have the 'daemon' keyword on their warscrolls, The Sigmarines do not). The Slann can summon in the Lizardmen troops as if they were Daemons as a result, and whenever Chaos-aligned warriors try to call upon their masters through Realmgates the Seraphon can reroute it to their Realm and assault the supplicating edgemasters.
They are the only faction to get a Warscroll that changes their fluff without making it fucking stupid in the process. It seems that they will survive relatively unchanged from a fluff perspective, as theirs is the only rulebook with reasonable fluff and none of the silly rules (but you have Skinks who teleport ANYWHERE and shoot, and you can summon UNLIMITED copies of ANY warscroll, so it seems the Lizardmen cheese-fest is here to stay). Contrary to Whineseer rumors stating that the lizardmen were getting squatted, Seraphon are the first old army to get their own Battletome and are mentioned in the other factions fluff far more than they did in WHFB.
Its worth noting that previously, Seraphon was the dragon mount of Malekith. It is unclear if in setting if anyone remembers that was her name, or who Malekith even is at that matter. Weird flipping reskinning has happened in /tg/. (i.e. 4e D&D Archons). At any rate, whoever wrote Malekith's AoS war scroll remembers, since it specifically mentions his dragon mount by name and Malekith can use her breath weapon.
Seraphon got their first important lore in AoS when, in a White Dwarf battle between Be'lakor's personal army and Seraphon, Terradon Riders managed to kill him with rocks. Read that again; as revenge for End Times, Lizardmen made rocks fall until Cuck Undivided himself died. Although there's dispute on canonicity, any actual conversation on the topic usually results in a heavy Skubfest between Lizardmen and
Chaos Taco'bel fans (although its worth noting the most likely explanations are it really was him or that Changeling had taken his form again; either way, Chaos got rocked rolled defeated most humiliatingly).
During their first proper lore, Lizardmen are portrayed as almost angelic beings who appear from the stars. Of particular interest, a mummified Slann with a golden mask rained down meteors from the sky using his mind, wielded the powers of a god, and whose soul is more ancient than the first Daemons. While they fought, the stars rearranged into the grinning face of a frog with red eyes.. FUCK. YES. Nurgle
Warriors Mortals awaited a Realmgate opening to Nurgle's Garden, which instead opened to the Lizardmen. When the warband leader managed to kill one, it exploded into a flash of light which cleansed ALL the incurable diseases from his hand and removed their rotted immunities to harm. Even better, a watching Skaven was plagued by horrific nightmares of Lustria, Skaven being sacrificed and all the horror the Lizardmen inflicted on the ratmen through the ages. It seems that Sotek kicked the Horned Rat's ass so bad during End Times that the new Skaven instinctively remember and fear the Lizardmen.
As at the end of October 2015, the Seraphon/Lizardmen were mysteriously missing from GW's website... only to return a week later with round bases, Age of Sigmar boxes, and a new Battletome. Said Battletome states that Vampires can't feed on the Lizardmen as they have Light magic in their blood, and that the Slann hatched a new Great Plan which involves taking advantage of how the Chaos Gods are incapable of learning or changing their motives. With omniscient view of the Realms (something the Chaos Gods don't have, as it mentions this gives the Slann a look "many moves" ahead of their enemies), they now have their own Great Game which involves sending their forces to the exact spots at the exact times needed to weaken Chaos, Death, and Destruction (plus any uppity Order) to ensure that THIS TIME the Chaos Gods will die. tl:dr Slann have out-Tzeentched Tzeentch.
The Sylvaneth are forest spirits of the Wanderer Aelfs. Led by the goddess Alarielle, the new treefolk were made from "Soulpods" she created. After Sigmar retreated to his realm, she considered herself a free agent, opposing Nurgle who seeks to claim the Realm of Life as his own. For some reason, all of Alarielle's soulpods became female Dryads and male Treekin, which makes sense only in the context of using existing models, but when looked at from a lore perspective Alarielle clearly had saved a LOT more female souls, and the only males she saved were the biggest. Lotta jokes that can be made here, hard to decide...
Branchwraiths are the unsleeping priestesses of Alarielle, who call the trees to awaken and kill the shit out of the enemies of Alarielle.
Later, the Sigmarines aided the Sylvaneth in eradicating a Nurgle infestation they were having leading to them rejoining Order.
The damage Nurgle managed to deal was permanent and his forces were sure to be back causing Alarielle to let out a scream which rang through the Realms, letting all beings know "NATURE WILL TREEFUCK YOU!" in a call of eternal war without surrender.
During the Age of Chaos, Alarielle cut off her hand, growing a new one then cultivating the hand into a new Branchwraith Demigod, the replacement for Drycha called The Lady Of Vines. The LoV is Alarielle's favorite daughter (dawww), created in summer and despite any corruption or defeat she burns away the taint to bring optimism and youthfullness despite now being ancient in her own right. She seems to be a replacement for Aliathra from The End Times. LoV led the bulk of the Sylvaneth. Then, one book after being introduced, the Lady of Vines was killed.
Although Alarielle lost the Ariel portion of herself during End Times, she retained the Wood Elf season shifts and everything about her changes as the Realm of Life does. After dying, Alarielle survived as a seed (don't ask questions you know you won't get any answers to) and was planted by the Sigmarines in a place where many of their own died in the hopes of making her a warrior queen that isn't completely insane.
With the new release the Sylvaneth range has expanded to include some EPIC models such as:
Kurnoth Hunters: Mini (Realative term) treelords that can be fielded in units. Seem to be the new bridge between dryads and treelords (Replacing treekin). There aesthetic is almost identical to the tree lords (Aka awesome) and can take a number of cool weapon options from swords to giant ass bows!
Spite Revenants: look like a cross between a ghost and a vampire... and a tree (Obviously). represent the more freaky side to the forest and are filled with bravery reducing RAGE! (See Drycha)
Tree Revenants:The REAL wood elves (No seriously they are elves+trees) They are actually the reincarnated "souls" of elves that Alarielle Salvaged from the oldworld and as such retain there predesssesors martial skill and a little personality.
Branch Wych: The OTHER dryad hero. A Swaps out the branchwraiths swirly nipples for a big scythe like weapon.
Drycha: the RAGE tree is back! And this time she has stolen something from the 40k universe. No seriosly! Drycha is now depicted as a medusa like Spite Revenant sporting what can only be described as a "Grey knights Dreadknight made out of wood" As usual she is suitably pissed at everything.
Alarielle:Another god tier model. Alarielle is now in her "warrior mode" and looks like a cross between old worlds Ariel and some giant amazon warrior. she has also pinched Orions spear. Oh and a final minor point... She riding a a HUGE ass Beetle (Its like rhino sized). Pretty original (Genuinley)
With her revival as a baddass warrior maiden with her pet beetle (who wouldn't want one?) Alarielle leads the Sylvaneth to war against her foes while she allows Drycha to rampage around seeing her as a necessary evil. The Durthu model has been made canon by introducing them as the "Sons of Durthu" who basically take the roll of Honor Guard treelords for Alarielle.
In addition to this the Sylvaneth society has now been opened up showing the sylvaneth as being divided up into various little families (wargroves) usually with a treelord ancient leading it.
The Fyreslayers (formerly known as the Red Slayers, the name abruptly changed midway though production likely so it's easier to copyright; note how the impossible to copyright "fire" is spelled with a much more patent-friendly "fyre"), are a faction for Order that doesn't even really pay lip-service to it, unlike the Exiles (Dark Elves). They're mercenary Dwarfs, formerly the Slayers, that worship Grimnir instead of Sigmar's buddy Grungni and won't help the Sigmarines and friends out unless paid in gold. So, in a world that was ripped to shreds from the sphincter out, these guys only care about gold. "Ur-Gold", specifically. Fyreslayers believe Ur-gold is made up of the shattered fragments of Grimnir, something fans predicted as soon as the lore dropped despite it being held as a reveal months later.
Ur in German means old or ancient, and given the fact Keepers of Secrets who think they can become the new Slaanesh call themselves the "Ur-Slaanesh", the word Ur seems to be synonymous with divinity or godhood in Age. It is worth to mention that in a 40k Black Library book and the 4th edition Ork Codex, an Ork character named Kaptin Badrukk had false teeth that were made of Ur-Gold as well. To quote, "[his teeth] are plated with an alloy of adamantium and priceless ur-gold stolen from the Palace of Undying Light" causing mass speculation once again that 40k and
Fantasy Age will crossover in the future. In 40K, Ur-Gold is gold mined from Terra itself.
Fyreslayers were created by the battle between Grimnir and Vulcatrix, and aggressively spread throughout all of the Realms to bring the gift of volcanoes and Grudges. They are now divided by Lodges rather than Holds, and each Lodge is essentially led by a supreme leader called a Runefather and his many, many MANY sons. Its ultimately up to each Runefather to decide who the Lodge fights, who they ally with, and who is lying about not having gold. Every single plane a Lodge is established in changes it greatly; the generic Slayer-like Fyreslayers hail from the Realm of Fire, but Fyreslayers in the Realm of Shadow are more like Dwarf Dark Elves while those in the Realm of Death would be like stunty Nehekharans... if only...
Zharrgrim is the name of the religion of the Fyreslayers, Auric Runemasters are the priesthood . They are personally responsible for the gold madness of their kin. Auric Runefathers command the Runemasters. The Runefather's children are the Auric Runesons, who rule in his name as the nobility although only one can replace him if he dies; the rest must either become ineligible to ever become a Runefather (so no Dwarf Hamlet) or strike out on their own to form a new Lodge, like Dwarfy queen bees. All subgroups within Lodges are called Fyrds which are each led by a Runeson, and represent the models you will be putting on the table. The entirety of the Fyrd militaries of a Lodge are called the Grand-fyrd and represent the thousands of Fyrds assembled (so to be a Runefather, you need to be quite fertile). It falls on the Runefather to dispense gold to his people on a personal basis, as too little or too much will drive them mad. They also have GeeDubs trend of spamming theme words as the fiery Fyreslayers fire things with their flaming firestaffs just like the storming Stormcast with their stormy stormhammers and the wolfy Space Wolves with their wolfish wolfguns.
So Fyreslayers are stupid, and dicks, but they're Sigmar's stupid dicks...except they aren't, because they'll work for Chaos against Sigmar too if given a better counter-offer. At any rate, the previous gold fever of the Warhammer Dwarfs is now magnified tenfold; Duardin may give no fucks about the lures of Chaos, but gold corrupts them and drives them to outright madness now. Grudges no longer mean anything once gold is involved, but the Fyreslayers still put a great emphasis on honour and oaths. It's just that nine times out of ten, the only way to get a Fyreslayer to make an oath is to offer him some gold. That said, Fyreslayers are as serious about oaths as classic Dwarfs ever were, one story involves a Runefather who swears an oath to never part from his fallen son's Magmadroth until the Chaos Lord who killed him is dead, and he sticks to this oath even as the Chaos Lord's juggernaut pins the Magmadroth upside down and the Runefather has to drop his guard and allow the Chaos Lord to impale him in order to hang on to the lava dinosaur, and he still kills the Chaos Lord before dying and falling from the saddle. Say what you want, but the dedication to oaths that these guys have is as hardcore as the Dwarfs of old. Another Runefather even refused the promised payment of ur-gold because the Fyreslayers failed in the mission they were hired to complete, and would only accept payment once their oaths to complete their mission were fulfilled. That said, enough ur-gold can convince a Fyreslayer to do almost anything. Oaths are oaths, but gold is gold.
Runes are far more important now, and are often forged directly into the skin of Duardin using Ur-Gold.
Fyreslayers seem to have taken the often shirtless quality of the Slayers to an extreme. They now prefer thongs and aprons as attire.
One thing to note is that despite there being two Incarnates of Fire in The End Times, one a dwarf and one an elf, there's no sign of any
fire-elves fyre-aelves. Yet...
Another new addition to the Age of Sigmar are these guys. You see, back during the early days of the Age of Chaos these Duardin fought against the invaders just as everyone else did. Realizing victory was impossible, they started to think of ways to escape the shitshow the Mortal Realms was about to become, and took the unusual step of turning their backs on the old traditions. Using a substance called "aether-gold" they were able to power their technology to incredible heights and bugger off to safety. With the return of Sigmar to the Realms they've decided it's high time to set their airships aloft and do some good old-fashioned adventuring!
Aesthetically they have a far more scientifically-advanced look than anyone else in the game. Their look has many people citing Warmachine and it's steampunk style as an influence. Each of these Duardin is clad head-to-toe with gear and armour which protects them from adverse effects of the local environment. This means that whatever else you can say about them, they possess far more common sense than most - these Duardin are exploring hostile, unknown lands and treat them as such!
The Kharadron live in meritocracies in huge, Laputa-style flying cities and send out expeditions to find aether-gold, a substance that they both covet like all dwarves covet gold, but it also the literal fuel source that powers all their technology, and without it their massive flying strongholds, called Baraks, would lose power and fall out of the sky. Being a merit-based system, only the most kickass and profitable duardin can become Admirals or governors, and should they repeatedly fail to prove themselves are demoted back into the regular rank and file, where they could prove themselves again or stay in obscurity.
The Kharadron are, much like the Fyreslayers, only on the side of Order because Order tends to backstab you the least. Long ago, when the ancestors of the Kharadron were struggling to stay safe in the Age of Chaos, the other Order factions abandoned them as a lost cause like an bunch of shitty assholes. The Duardin remembered this, and now refuse to help others unless offered something in exchange (almost universally Aether-Gold). That being said, if the Kharadron have useful trading partners that are threatened, the Kharadron will jump in to help, but not out of sentimentality, but instead out of pure pragmatism. After all, a living ally is more profitable than a dead one. This means that although they're mercenary assholes who will fight for anyone for the right price (even Chaos), they're smarter than the Fyreslayers who abandon or betray allies at the first glint of Ur-Gold.
Devoted Of Sigmar
Part of the remnants of the former Empire models. Any humans, or any race really, that is in Sigmar's religion. Flagellants, Priests, and Witch Hunters. What, you thought you were getting new models? What do you think you are, Sigmarines?
Usually after the other armies of Sigmar have cleaned out an area they move in to cleanse it of Chaos and other dark powers. While generally noble individuals they can be highly zealous in rooting out chaos followers and dissidents. Purges and public executions being carried out by Witch Hunters and priests are not unheard off.
Like their old world counterparts they also function of spreading the faith of Sigmar. While they respect the religions of the other gods of Order they make no illusions that they believe that theirs should be the predominate faith. And they can be pretty territorial about that.
The rest of the human race. Any people not sworn to Chaos pretty much, which are all Holy Roman Empire German because reasons. Demigryph Knights, plus everything else is called "Freeguild".
Whether as reincarnated defenders who were killed during the fall of the old world or descendants and reclaimers of their lost ancestral culture Fallout-style, Humans still exist in their old forms and are amongst the most numerous and wide-spread races in the Mortal Realms. Thus allowing kingdoms similar in appearance to the old setting (like The Empire, Bretonia, etc) to exist along with completely unique cultures that have sprung up in the millennia since the old worlds destruction. Most humans are loyal to Sigmar but some follow other gods (with some sworn to Alarielle or Grungi or even Nagash in certain circumstances) but due to the sheer size of the Mortal Realms there are many smaller civilisations that remain hidden and neutral to the larger wars between the Grand Alliances.
Prior to the birth of the Stormstormst Eternals the Humans played a pivotal role building civilizations and fighting in Sigmar's name, with the Free Peoples being the most numerous of Sigmars armies and Order in general. They labored to build the Tzeentch-proof wall, and follow Sigmar's vision in their own unique ways. Following the great war to retake the realms the Freeguild serve as the standing armies of Order who move in after the Stormcasts have moved on and The Devoted of Sigmar have cleansed the place for the most part to construct the permanent fortresses and serve as local garrisons and pretty much any military roles that aren't cool enough for the Stormcast Eternals (what? you thought the golden boys would actually dig trenches, thats so beneath their talents). Currently they serve as the main line defenders of Sigmars Cities with the Duardin and Aelfs serving as reinforcements and basically serving as the Order Factions Cannon Fodder armies in the narrative. Hey its a dirty job but someones got to do it.
The Magic specialists among the Free Peoples. Founded initially from various magic users who arrived in Sigmars realm after fleeing Chaos. These indiviudals banded together to share their knowledge and continue their research into the arcane. Often served as magical support for Order armies operating and creating the Magical devices to aid their allies in battle. Such as the Celestial Hurricanum among other devices. Essentially serving a similiar function to the Ironweld Arsenal except with magical devices instead of technology.
Human and Dwarf artillery and weapons of war. Includes Steam Tanks and flying machines. They were created to facilitate the distribution of mechanical knowledge from the Disspossesed to the rest of the Order factions. Thus their ranks contain both free peoples and dispossesed. They mainly serve as the artillery crews and engineers for Sigmars armies. Operating things like big cannons and rocket launchers.
The Ironweld also maintain and operate the Orders war machines. They have a heavy steampunk vibe and include many marvels such as a functioning airforce, squadrons of steam-tanks and other steampunk marvels. Amazingly they even operate greater marvels like steam powered piston-legged mobile fortresses.
They mostly serve as support functions to Free Peoples and Disspossesed armies where their engineering prowess and heavy weaponry have ended a siege, defended a city from certain doom or turned the tide of a battle many a time.
Dwarfs. Interestingly they have old-school Slayers called the Unforged, who are basically the same except Slayers swore to find death in battle due to breaking an Oath while Unforged are simply insane due to being mindfucked by Chaos. Otherwise they're what we knew from Warhammer Fantasy, sans most of the artillery and war machines.
After the initial falling out of the pantheon of Order, Grungni was the first fellow god Sigmar sought out, and he helped him forge the Stormcast Eternals. Awww, what a bro! He also found the Duardin living in a land called Anvrok where they had established mountain Holds and..."cloud mines". This turned out to be the Kharadron Overlords mentioned above but you can be real sure people were confused as to what that meant for a while.
The Duardin who worship Grungni are absolutely loyal to Sigmar, although they rarely venture out of their own lands unless summoned as the race as a whole have taken to hermit-like lifestyles, moving as "work gangs" and lending their expertise to those who will pay for it. Many of the Free Cities around the Realms are partially or fully designed and built by them. Just wait, soon we'll know if they have a huge mountain kingdom that was taken from them by a monster.
The Celestial Vindicators (teal metal (Lot like Rusted copper) with gold trim, white details, and reddish leather) are the Sigmarine faction assigned to dwell with the Steamheads, and were Sigmar's emissaries to them.
The new Elves of the setting are called "Aelves" and are no longer a single race but have been subdivided into various subfactions. Many Aelfs were trapped within Slaanesh's belly while he hid in a cave trying to digest them like some creepy fucking porn you'd see on the internet until Tyrion, Teclis, Morathi and Malerion captured the Dark Prince and made him/her/it spit them out. While others managed to avoid Slaanesh and gradually made their way to the Mortal Realms on Malus (the old world) or drifting through the void, where they eventually gained physical form again in Azyr under Sigmar's protection.
Most Aelves fight for Order and unlike the previous setting do not universally follow the Aelven gods, like Tyrion for instance (along with Teclis, who somehow managed to come back to life). Many Aelves serve Sigmar and his armies (as assasins, auxillary, scouts/messengers, etc..) and may even hold him in higher regard (considering he technically presided over many of them personally after the old world was destroyed this does make sense). Tyrion has ascended to godhood and his power over light somehow managed to render him permanently blind; as a result, he's dependent on Teclis to help him with basically anything that requires sight. No word on how Teclis feels about this. Both are currently looking to create their own new races of Aelves from freed souls.
The Eldritch Council is the High Elves from the Saphery army list, including Wizards, Swordmasters of Hoeth, and Loremasters. Plus the Wizard on Dragon.
They mostly serve as magical experts and support Wizards to other Order armies, due to being some of the most powerfull magic users around. They are based mainly in Azyr. But a few venture out occasionally to aid Sigmars armies.
Former devotees of Asuryan, now worshiping the Ur-Phoenix, one of the eight great God Beasts of the realms (Because worshipping Sigmar and Dracothian is too mainstream and as Aelves they are far too cool for that). Brought back from death by necromanc-*BLAM*THE WILL OF THE UR-PHOENIX! Once they are resurrected they swear an oath of silence from then on as they fight alongside Sigmar's armies.
Phoenixes, Anointed, Phoenix Guard, and not-Caradryan.
If you thought renaming wasn't painful enough already. Chrace. White Lions of Chrace, Lion Chariots.
Anyways they are a monastic warrior brotherhood that would fight for the betterment and safety of Aelfs everywhere. At least until most were killed when chaos invaded. After Sigmar fucked off and closed the gates of Azyr those that remained traveled around with their lion campanions protecting the weak and fighting evil (with mixed results). When the forces of Order returned they once again joined back up to aid Sigmars armies and take revenge for their kin.
Caledor. Dragon Princes, which are now called Dragon Blades, plus the Prince on Dragon model.
Noble Aelf lords who happen to be really good at riding on Dragons. Now are looking to retake their ancient kingdoms after running like peasants during the age of chaos.
The miscellaneous category of Highborn. Skycutters, Chariots, and Shadow Warriors. With the Spire of Dawn box, this faction now includes Reavers, Lothern Sea Guard (now Spireguard) and the Warden on Griffin.
Prior to the fall of the realms to chaos the Swifthawk Agents essentially served as a glorified postal service, acting as messengers between the Aelf empires and the other Order factions. When chaos conquered everything and things went tits-up they either fled to Azyr or held-up in secret fortified Waytowers that served as bastions as Chaos conquered the rest of the land. With Sigmars armies retaking the realms the Swifthawk Agents have moved to reestablish their old communications networks and now serve as the main messengers and communication network for the forces of Order. With their Waytowers serving as well defended headquarters across the realms.
In addition, the Swifthawk also serve as scouts for Sigmars armies.
The old Dark Elves like the High Elves have been divided up into various independent subfactions that actually no longer exclusively serve Malerion/Malekith. Technically speaking Dark Elves no longer exist, instead the subfactions that comprise the old Dark Elf range are just regular Aelves with more bloodthirsty/dangerous occupations than others and many even serve Sigmar directly and fight alongside other Order armies. As for Malerion after forming a new body for himself using nothing but his own bitterness and reuniting with Morathi (who somehow managed to survive being dragged into the Warp by Slaanesh, and then made it to the realm of Shadow like Malerion did), he agreed to work with Sigmar as part of the forces of Order. Even as a god, Malerion/Malekith seems doomed to be stuck living with his mother.
Scourge Privateers are Aelf pirates. Kharybdiss, Scourgerunner Chariot, Corsairs, and the Fleetmaster.
Fleets of Aelven raiders that sail across the Mortal Realms in search of plunder and riches. Usually by raiding other civilisations and plundering ruins. They also specialise in beast slaying/capturing. Usually they do so to get their rare meats and organs to sell in the Free cities or to capture them to serve as mounts for other Order armies. The Kharibdyss imparticular is a favourite among the Scourge Privateers and often capturing them to use as war beasts.
Khaine may have died, but his heart still lived. A faction of Khaine-worshipping aelves led by Morathi, who is leeching off of their worship in the hopes of becoming a goddess (and was transformed into a winged Medusa-like creature due to her little stay with Slaanesh between AoS and the End Times); while Khaine could be reborn through the worship and sacrifices of his servants, he won't be so long as Morathi keeps redirecting all of the worship intended for him to herself. They have the Witch Elves, Doomfire Warlocks, and the two kits; Cauldron of Blood and Bloodwrack Shrine. They also have several new units formed from elf souls that retain a degree of Slaaneshi corruption, much like Morathi herself: the serpentine Melusai and the bat-winged Khinerai.
Morathi, having managed to claw her way out of Slaanesh's asshole, eventually teamed up Avengers-style with Malerion, Tyrion, and Teclis to beat the shit out of the Dark Prince(ss) and make him/her/it puke up all the tasty aelf souls he/she/it had swallowed after the End Times. The souls got divvied up more or less equally between the four, but Morathi - being Morathi - decided to enact some trickery that sent more souls than her allotted share her way. This had the unfortunate side effect of causing Slaanesh's orgy buddies to start a crusade into Ulgu in an attempt to free their god(dess), but it also meant that Morathi was able to start building up her own forces. Long story short, she realized that what few aelves remained were way more into the idea of worshiping Khaine than they were into worshiping her, so Morathi - again, being Morathi - tricked everyone into thinking that Khaine totally spoke to her and told her that she was his Oracle. (Side quest: Morathi tried to bang Sigmar, Nagash, and a sea monster and got slapped down by all three - literally, in the cases of Nagash and the sea monster. Hat trick!) So now the Mortal Realms have thousands of shrieking religious nutjobs running around, committing murder in the name of their god, and generally being assholes to everyone else around them. Pretty par for the course in the Warhammer universe, actually... except this is a rare case of the god actually condoning wanton murder in their name.
The Daughters of Khaine, as would be expected from a faction devoted to the "good" god of murder and bloodshed, are a little bit out of place among the rest of their Order comrades, and are almost unilaterally viewed with revulsion and varying levels of distrust because of their methods of "worship" (not to mention they worship a god of murder who's worshiped through murder and sacrificing people, vs Sigmar who loves civilization, Alarielle who nurtures life, Grimnir who loves blacksmithing...) Not a bad way to view them, considering their propensity toward the abduction and murder not only of the agents of Chaos, Death, and Destruction, but of Order as well. They're tolerated - just barely - by their fellows, however, because they're just so goddamned good at killing that removing them from Sigmar's shallow pool of allies would deal a significant blow to Order's ability to combat The Bad Guys. And quite honestly any naysayers have to concede that it is far more beneficial having them fight alongside their forces rather than against, as Order has enough enemies already, and the last thing they need is another murder god working against them.
However, the view of individual Temples can vary somewhat, with the various Daughters forces divided between different temples that have differing cultures. Some keep to themselves mostly in Temple-cities, while others can be surprisingly sociable, founding temples in Order Free cities to spread their faith and even intermingling with the locals (such as with bladed dance displays and pit-fights being quite popular). Incidentally also giving your average Order individual a somewhat neutral opinion of them in general with many a city saved by their welcome intervention. While others are just crazed berzerkers, traveling around the realms slaughtering anything they can find (chaos mostly thankfully) or operating as mercenaries. Unsurprisingly, they're pretty good pals in the lore with Alarielle's Sylvaneth due to their zeal in protecting the Realm of Life (and a shared sadism and hatred towards enemies that the Dreadwood Wargrove has), the fact that Sylvaneth probably make poor sacrifices to Khaine with their lack of blood (and their ability to make the trees around you smash you and your city to pieces), and probably also their tendency toward episodes of batshit insanity.
Most of the troops of the Aelves that survived the purge, all Dark Elves. Black Guard, Dreadspears, Darkshards, Bleakswords, and both the Sorceress on foot and the Sorceress on Dragon.
Shadowy cults that are centered around a sorcerous leader, and occasionally a male wizard and their disciples and followers. They normally keep to themselves and are less well regarded than the more well known Eldritch Council who they tend to avoid. Their forces are predominately aelves but they also recruit other races on occasion.
They covens are viewed by the rest of Order in a similar vein to the Daughters of Khaine. In that others are somewhat wary of them due to their dark practices and secretive nature but are tolerated due to their help in fighting chaos and great skill in sorcery.
Dark Elf Assassins and Dark Riders. Operate similiar to their old world counterparts but with a new purpose. Shadowblades operate as Sigmars and Orders secret police. Quietly eliminating things like chaos cultists, dissidents and general trouble makers with the general public being none the wiser.
Cold One (now called Drakespawn) Riders and Chariots, the Dreadlord on Dragon, and the War Hydra. The Order Draconis edgelord cousins. Also looking to retake their lost kingdoms and are super pissed-off about it. Still ride into battle on black dragons, though now with only so many dragons to go around some have had to find alternative beasts to ride to compensate (like the Drakespawn). Incidently that would likely make them prime customers for Scourge Privateers and their fantastic beasts.
All surviving Wood Elf models plus the Sisters of Avelorn. Aelves that followed Allarielle in Ghyran. Well until they ran like the tree hugging cowards when chaos starting steamrolling Ghyran and abadoned the goddess and Sylvaneth cousins to their fates during the Age of Chaos. Even with the Age of Sigmar bringing new hope to Ghyran Allarielle is still pissed at them. Their mission now is to follow the way and place down waystones to bring nature to realms outside azyr hoping that their goddess will forgive them.
A new take on the Sea Elves from the early editions of Fantasy, sometimes nicknamed "Teclis' Sea-Monkeys". Teclis's attempt to reconstitute the Elves from The-World-That-Was resulted in them going horribly wrong because they kept having PTSD-style flashbacks to their time with Slaanesh. Many of them were also bald, blind or both. Many of them even have souls that are slowly losing their strength and thus have extremely short lives. The only way to fix this is harvest the souls of others
Dark Eldar Drukhari style. Teclis tried to find out what was wrong with the aelves, but they resisted his attempts to investigate, and he eventually declared them a mistake. They fled, and when he decided to start killing them off the aleves renamed themselves Idoneth Deepkin and decided to start a new life under the sea (unaware that Tyrion talked Teclis out of killing them off). They move around using Whirlways, Realmgates that are underwater.
So between their dark attire, hunger for souls to replenish their own and living in a remote location with interdimensional travel, they're like the Dark Eldar but with the torture fetishes replaced with an oceanic motif and they aren't a society of sociopaths. They also mostly regret that some of them have to harvest souls to survive and aren't atheistic like nearly every Dark Eldar bar the Incubi and Ynnari; fittingly enough, many of them follow Mathlann and the soul-essences that they can conjure in battle often manifest in the form of the deceased sea god. Like the Daughters of Khaine, they're aligned with Order but are generally viewed with suspicion due to their raids on humans, aelves, and occasionally Sylvaneth when they're running low on souls. Unsurprisingly, this also makes them unpopular with Death since Nagash hates everyone who tries to claim the souls of the dead other than himself.
In battle, they summon a magical ocean called the ethersea that allows them to deploy powerful aquatic creatures in battle and use their skills at fighting underwater, even when they're hundreds of miles away from any body of water.
The spooky side of things. Same goals as Order, but they don't play nice and their secondary goal is ruling over the survivors after Chaos is gone. In the war-torn Mortal Realms, the unquiet dead are plentiful indeed. Some have the power to bind the slain to their will, from the most bestial corpse to the most kingly of specters. Their revenant armies walk abroad in every realm, grave-cold blades hacking into warm flesh whenever their masters seek dominion over the living. They all originate from the realm of Shyish, formed from the Afterlives of this setting and the wind of death.
Shyish is considered the best-defended realm after Azyr because;
- Being the Afterlife for this setting means any mortal who dies and don't get taken by Sigmar or Chaos go here since Shysh now is "every Netherworld that ever was, or will be" where the Winds of Magic themselves die.
- Theoretically this gives them one of, if not the, most numerous army, with the dead of seven realms plus their own.
- Undead don't need rest or nourishment
- They can pop up anywhere at anytime with necromancy.
- Every enemy of theirs that dies is at least one more soldier for Shyish
- Bonus points for being spooky.
Three guesses who rules this faction... no undead, and very few otherwise, can rival Nagash, the Great Necromancer – even Sigmar himself has cause to fear his name. Nagash came back with the Wind of Death, took control of the Afterlifes in the new setting and formed the realm of Shyish. He allows living mortals to remain in his realm, but they must worship him (probably to provide blood for the vampires to feed off too). This departure from his "... turn the entire world into a kingdom of death, where no action would be taken except when he willed it" plan suggests he may have learned something from all his experiences. Nagash also brought back some of his Mortarchs; Arkhan (obviously), Neferata and maybe Krell. Mannfred was stripped of his title of Mortach and exiled to a place of constant decay due to his End Times betrayals of Nagash. Nagash has no mercy or regret in him, and has less than none for Mannfred; yet strangely Mannfred still got to keep his Dread Abyssal (didn't think Nagash gave severance packages) and was later promoted back to Mortarch. He's not allowed in parts of the Realm of Death as Arkhan gives him a warning before blasting him when he attempted to bring Sigmarines for a peace meeting.
tl:dr; Nagash is Darkseid as a gigantic skeleton and Shyish is Apokolips plus the afterlife.
Ignoring his epiphany about teamwork from the End Times thanks apparently to Archaon and Tzeentch realizing they could not defeat a united Death and Order and slipping stupid pills into his...well, not even that makes sense...whatever they did to make him go full retard, he fights the forces of Chaos alone, and ended up getting defeated personally by Archaon. Still unwilling to accept defeat and too proud to accept a place in the forces of Order, he is currently in the state he always seems to be in: gathering power, just about to return. Some things never change. Since then Archaon has taken over most of the Realm of Death, and has trapped most of the souls of the dead in a giant cage which prevents Nagash from accessing them.
Nagash still has the same old goals:
- Destroy everyone else, rule those willing to bow down to him.
- Eat Chaos, become supreme god of spooky. Because that worked so well the last time he tried it.
Despite his "betrayal", he still allowed some Undead to remain in Sigmar's service. However Nagash DOES NOT LIKE what Sigmar is doing with the Stormcast Eternals. Nagash sees those souls as his and Nagash is unable to stop them from returning directly to Sigmar in order to be reborn unless Nagash personally kills them himself.
Death has a nifty new special character it could also feasibly share with Order, technically just a named human Banshee called The Silver Maiden from the Realm of Metal. In life she was Celemnis, a Swordmaiden of the Argent Sisterhood. Daughter of a powerful Wizard and one of the greatest heroes of a region called Anvrok, she used her own hair to create magical swords that could even harm incorporeal foes like spirits and Daemons. When Tzeentch's warbands invaded, they slaughtered the citizens of the city and brought her to their leader Ephryx. For refusing to fuck him, she was boiled alive in silver, causing her and many other spirits wielding her swords to remain in the Shattered City, bringing misery and death to anyone who doesn't belong. Spoooooooky.
Then the Sigmarines came and their undead chaplain convinced her they were the good guys and that it was pay-back time, so she proceeded to chop all the Tzeentchies down and show the Stormcasts where Ghal-Maraz was, swell gal.
Neferata's domain of Nulahmia (no, seriously, "New Lahmia") has fallen under siege by Slaaneshi. Slaanesh... of all the Chaos armies... because apparently some Chaos Lord wants to try a bit of Mortarch minge. That's quite a thing to sneak past the kiddies, GW! Anyway, we last saw her accepting help from Stormcast Eternals looking to renew ties with the Undead on Sigmar's behalf before Nagash himself crashes the party like the attention whore he is and agrees to hear the Stormcast diplomats out.
Notably, despite no non-Daemon soul escaping Nagash and the Undead being eternal now, the only characters from the entire Warhammer setting to return are Nagash, Mannfred, Arkhan, and Neferata. All the other Mortarchs are gone, as their models have been renamed to generic counterparts (cue cries out outrage from all the fans of Vlad and Krell). Finally, in an act that sent ripples of pain throughout the fanbase, the Tomb Kings faction and all their models were given the axe without even a sentence explaining their absence in Age of Sigmar (even "they died on the way to their home planet" would've been better than nothing). There has been a recent shoutout to the Tomb Kings; a ghostly figure trying to get the aid of a soldier mentions being an overthrown king and "lost Nehekhara" in his entreaty; which got a few fans excited over who it could be.
So far Death is the smallest grand alliance with the least amount of new models for it, the fewest subfactions, the fewest new books (so far only having the Flesh Eater courts), and the least amount of attention from GW in terms of lore. It also seems to be portrayed as perhaps the weakest grand alliance, having the only faction leader who's lost in single combat so far and seemingly the least influence in the nine realms. Hopefully in time this will change. They recently got a new rulebook, which while there are no new models (yet), there are a few new units, a special character and some nifty spells and magic items. Malign Portents gave them the star treatment, showing Nagash plotting behind the scenes to become the supreme power of the Mortal Realms and very nearly succeeding.
Legions of Nagash
With the exception of the Flesh Eater Courts. All the following factions are also part of the Legions of Nagash that can take all of their units.
Nagash, Neferata, Arkhan, and Mannfred plus the Morghasts. See more on DEATHLORDS here
The Vampires. Do note that soulblight refers to the curse that turns them into vampires, the individuals are still called vampires.
There's loads of mansions and hold held by vampires ruling their own little corner of the Realm they inhabit, though most of them still bow to the Skelepope. Their leader under Nagash' rule is our gal Neferata, ruling her citystate of... Nuhlamia. They've also gained a new special character called Prince Vhordrai, created with the Zombie Dragon kit; he attempted to overthrow Nagash but failed due to the fact that he didn't realize how fucking stupid this idea was. As a result, Vhordrai is bound by Nagash to a great castle that can appear in any Realm as a staging ground for military movement away from Shyish, leading his Blood Knight armies against his will.
Necromancers and the Mortis Engine.
Zombies and the Corpse Cart.
Skeletons, Wights and the Shadespire Warband the "Sepulchral Guard."
Strigoi and ghouls. Note that if you want a Strigoi Ghoul King, you still have to buy the Zombie Dragon/Terrorgheist kit or seek the internet for a good ol' Strigoi vampire. Fucking cheap sons'a... Hilariously the Varghulfs are also there, and heroes to boot.
In the new canon, the Ghouls and not-Strigoi began with Ushoran of all beings, who managed to survive the destruction of the old setting at the expense of anything vaguely resembling sanity and was imprisoned in something called the Shroudcage by Nagash. He escaped and created a kingdom of monstrous undead due to his madness being contagious, and gathered living beings from the Realm of Death to him. As a result, most of the Flesh-Eater Courts are actually still alive (Ghouls are not undead, but rather starving former peasants and soldiers that have been infected with Ushoran's delusions after consuming flesh from the feast of an Abhorrent Ghoul King where the courts foul powers gradually mutate them into Crypt Ghouls, with their appearance worsening over generations). Instead of being bestial monsters marauding the wilderness like werewolves, the Abhorrent Ghoul Kings are tragic figures like King Lear who see a court of magnificent marble and silk-wearing courtiers but instead are the scarred and tainted wearing rags. Also the Abhorrant Ghoul King grotesque appearance is explained as they are created from Ghouls instead of ordinary humans, thus why they look more primitive and repulsive, and that different strains of Ghouls present in the Flesh-Eater Courts is due to the Abhorrant Ghoul King feeding their blood directly to certain members. Thus creatingly more intelligent and/or more powerfull followers, with some of these select few eventually being given the true vampires curse and being turned into new Abhorrant Ghoul Kings who can found new insane/glorious kingdoms of their own.
Some are so delusional that some see Nagash as Sigmar, a benevolent golden deity. Some are in rebellion against him, on the side of the Carrion King. Some ally with Chaos, or other factions. Unlike the Warhammer Fantasy Strigoi who run around naked and can only used half-chewed bones and looted rusty implements as weapons, the Flesh-Eater Courts have a more Skaven-like degree of refinement but without the mad science. This is due to the Ghoul Kings being able to impose their own unique brand of insanity onto their followers, altering their perception of reality; in one story Ghouls snarling and fighting with their claws over the entrails of an Ogre suddenly see each other as soldiers in arms, who address each other kindly and share their "loot" as kinsmen as soon as their lord (who they see as a shining knight on a horse speaking with another knight) passes them. Another sees himself as a knight who has lost his sword and is forced to rely on his fists leading an army of men clad in bright livery who fight monsters, and completely ignores his own monstrous reflection in the eyes of his enemy as he tears into the neck of what is really a human. Thus the Flesh Eater Courts can never be persuaded that they are living a lie, as their delusion can alter itself to account for every possible situation that would otherwise reveal their true nature and appearance and all members of the court are bound to the same shared delusion.
Some manage to organize and even appear as somewhat pitifully trying to emulate what can be called "Bretonnian", but still only look like devolved creatures in tatters.
The Flesh-Eater Courts represent the only living faction in Death where the majority (barring the Abhorrant Ghoul Kings who are vampires, along with other savage vampires like Varghulfs who serve as champions/muscle) are technically alive and the only faction not directly under Nagash's control, as the Carrion King went rogue and vanished from the Realm of Death. All beings are welcome among them, and those who are foolish enough not to play along with their warped view of reality are likely to become food that the Ghouls drag back to whatever cave, ruin, or giant corpse of a monster their Ghoul King thinks is his "palace". They have currently spread throughout the Mortal Realms and can be found almost everywhere, where they recruit from the starving, dispossessed or already cannibal (cannibal cults or tribes make excellent recruiting grounds for Flesh Eater Courts) portions of the population.
While technically part of Death, the Flesh-Eater Courts are too batshit insane to be considered loyal to any Grand Alliance- they draw from all of them, ally with all of them, and fight with all of them with no rhyme or reason. The entire rest of the Death faction is hunting down Ushoran, AKA the Carrion King, AKA the Rot-skinned King, AKA the Blood Rose Prince, AKA Sumeros the Summerking, AKA whatever new title his followers have given him this time. He's been sighted everywhere, caught never. Any being with information is expected to report sightings to the Mortarchs, who dispense rewards accordingly.
Ghosts, the Death herald andthe Knight of Shrouds. When the Necroquake happened, countless spirits of the dead were released. Naturally, a lot of them were pissed off even before Nagash enslaved them and forcibly reshaped them in a manner befitting their deeds in life. They are led by the Mortarch of Grief- a new character called Lady Olynder who can kill her enemies by filling them with so much sorrow that they lose the will to live.
The forces uninterested in beating Chaos, or more specifically not caring about who it is that they beat. Destruction is now more chaotic than Chaos, to the point even Tzeentch cannot really predict or control them with any degree of certainty.
Most of Destruction is the former Orcs & Goblins, led by Gorkamorka, the two-headed combined form of the old gods Gork and Mork (or is it Mork and Gork?), who separates back into the two when greenskins fight each other. Confirmed that Gork is the brutal one while Mork is the sneaky one, though that has been implied if not outright stated for years with any implication otherwise being a joke. He was initially interested in Sigmar's plans until he got bored and led the savage elements of the reborn world on a massive reality spanning WAAAGH and finally settling to his realm made of Ghur, the Wind of Beasts. Now they're predictably trying to get in as many fights as they can, and don't really give a fuck about exactly who it is that they're fighting.
The posterboy of Destruction is Gordrakk, the firstborn son of Gorkamorka/Gork and Mork (or was it Mork and Gork, because even Gordrakk isn't quite sure) dubbed the Fist Of Gork, and was the first greenskin in the new setting. All beings of Destruction bow to him as their absolute Warboss for being the 'ardest, the absolute pinnacle of both Brutality and Cunning at once. Gordrakk is directly connected to his gods, who are present with him at all times. He sees them as "more suggestions of shapes than shapes themselves, but powerful for all of that" who feud or cooperate in his presence and gently whisper their will and interests to him. He notices that all other beings of Destruction follow their mood, but only he is aware of why a WAAAGH! can form out of beings who hate each other or turn in on itself out of the blue. And gave 'is boyz ork armour. Nice.
Orcs Orruks, the literal 'ardest. They take the place of the Black Orcs, who look upon these superior greenskins with envy as they pry armor off of dead Warriors of Chaos and pound it into shape with their fists into a magnificent covering (see The Worf Effect for an explanation). Remind you of anyone else?
Ironjawz are the elites among all Destruction, who do not even tolerate the existence of weak and lesser things than themselves.
- Ardboys, which are the rank and file of the Ironjawz. Not technically born of Ironjawz, Ardboys are simply any
OrcsOrruks massive enough to be tolerated among them (who in the previous Warhammer would be Warbosses). Thought to be a silly and eccentric lot due to them desiring musicians when all other Ironjawz see it as a waste of weapon-holding hands, marching in disciplined ranks while other Ironjawz are individually focused on getting themselves into the battle as soon as possible, and using cloth to make banners differentiating themselves which Ironjawz see as pointless. Most Ardboys wear helmets.
- Brutes, the elite among the Ironjawz. They aren't stupid so much as ignorant on an unprecedented scale, they ONLY understand fighting. Not war, not tactics, fighting. They have only one goal; smash. When they encounter a wall, they smash it. When they encounter a tree, they smash it. When they encounter things that move, they smash it. When they go to the red light district to get it on, they smash i- no wait
- Gore-gruntas, basically the boars of the old setting with more muscle and spiky things. Dire Dire Boars. Gore-gruntas eat almost anything, and the metal that they shit out is called Pig-iron and used to form the weapons and armor of the Ironjawz.
- Megabosses. Megabosses are Ironjawz that have killed a lot. Like, a whole fucking lot. You think you know killing; these guys wrote the book on it, if they could write in the first place. The more fights an Ironjawz survives the bigger they grow, and when none is larger that Ironjaw is the new leader making Megabosses the best of the best (sir, with honors!).
- Weirdnob Shamans. Orruks with almost no control over their own bodies due to the insanity required to channel the magic of Destruction and its out-Chaosing chaotic nature through them. They twitch, squirm, spasm, drool, gibber, and cause extremely random fucking shit to happen.
- Warchanters Ironjawz mostly think music is pointless, but Warchanters are percussion masters whose entire job is to take anything that can be held and hit anything else to create a loud noise like a drum beat which causes flashmobs of Ironjawz similarly hitting random things in rhythm.
- Maw-krushas Giant Wyvern-looking things. Have the personality of Brutes. Ridden by Megabosses. Their physiology works on the same system of "clap your hands if you believe" as 40k Orks, as they can fly despite their wingspan being too small to lift their bulky, rotund physiques; however the book suggests they're so belligerent even gravity doesn't want to mess with them.
All the vanilla Orc models that survived the great purge of models at the release of the Destruction book. Orcs are the weakest and smallest (the older models still in production), Orruks are the Boyz, they have Boarboys and Boar Chariots still, a Warboss, Shaman, and a Warboss riding a Wyvern.
They still represent the majority of the Orc/Orruk race. They are the ones who'll raze and destroy a city out in nowhere, and they're a nasty bit of action when they're on the Waaagh, even for the more powerful factions available in Age of Sigmar.
Savage Orcs. Including Savage Orruks, Savage Orruk Boarboys, Shamans, and Warbosses. Shamans are technically called Ju-ju Doks now and the orruks aren't naturally primitive anymore, but have been driven mad by the waaagh!'s power. Or just by being hit by lightning, suffering from hallucinations due to infected wounds, or just staring at the sun for too long. They are led by Wurrgog Prophets (aka not Wurrzags) plus their second-in-command Wardokks and their elite are called Maniaks. They go around hunting monsters in the realm of beasts and use ju-ju to transfer the killed monsters' strength into their various bone weapons and charms. Wow, I'm starting to bone.
The Night Goblins, Spiderfang Grots, Troggoths and Gargants Have joined forces under the worship of da Bad Moon. Led by Skragrott the Loonking and kept together by taking way too many psychadelic mushrooms, they fight an insane crusade to somehow permanently keep da Bad Moon in the sky to usher in an era of perpetual darkness.
Forest Goblins and their spiders. For more information see Gloomspite Gitz.
Ogres, now called Ogors (ffs), with an even worse faction name. Leadbelchers, Butchers, Gorgers, Scraplaunchers, Ironblasters, Ironguts, rank and file Ogres, Tyrants, and Gnoblars which are now just "Grots" with different models.
Ogres Ogors. Stonehorns, Thundertusks, Yhetees (many fans were angry over these surviving while their favorites were squatted), Hunters, Mournfang Cavalry, Sabretusks. Now they are a tribe of nomadic snowy weirdos [alfrostuns to themselves] who bring winter wherever they go and fight to eat [and their appetites are still huge]. Cue the sticking theme words EVERYWHERE with icefall yhetees, icebrow hunters, frost sabres, frostlords, frost hunters [reaches for gun to shoot GW...]
One-eyed swamp creatures from WAY back.
Archaon the Everchosen was tested once again by each of the Chaos Gods following the End Times, as they wanted him to turn to them as their new supreme champion he again defeated their challenges without feeling any loyalty towards them, and each granted him new powers until he was a demigod, and Incarnate of Chaos itself. Great Horned Rat attempted to give him a blessing upon joining the pantheon, but Archaon refused it and spat in GHR's face. Demigod Archaon has been given the title of "Grand High Marshall of Chaos" (so much for Chaos being Chaotic (think of him as a great khan)), and basically has free-reign to do whatever the fuck he wants for whatever reason (everything Be'lakor wanted but could never have). Interestingly, this creates an entire new position in Chaos hierarchy without it being clear if Archaon can command Chaos Gods who are not part of the Great Game, if he has supreme authority over all of the Daemon Princes, and so on. As a side note, Dhorgar changed from a Daemon horse to a $100 Daemon dragonish thing.
Slaanesh gorged himself on souls during End Times until he was so bloated he was unable to move (just like those creepy porn comics you've read about), and spent post-End Times (before or after Archaon's second ascendance isn't clear) hiding in a cave while digesting. Tzeentch manipulated Khorne into attacking the armies defending him, which allowed the Aelfs Tyrion and Malerion to kidnap him which removed him from the Great Game while enabling them to retrieve all the souls of Elves killed in End Times and possibly even before then (some have taken advantage of the undefined explanation of exactly who the Aelfs are to say Eldar have come to a Warhammer Fantasy setting). Slaanesh's forces, who are justifiably freaking out that their god(dess) is missing, are currently invading Ulgu in search of Malerion for clues as to where their god(dess) is. To quote White Dwarf, "THE FORCES OF CHAOS HAVE ARRIVED... BUT WHERE IS THE DARK PRINCE?" The other Chaos Gods are actually happy he/she/it is gone, but the Chaos Gods have always hated each other so that's to be expected. In reality Slaaesh is Currently trapped between the realms Ulga and Hysh and is slowing being drained of the Aelven souls it devoured by Malerion, Morathi, Tyrion and Teclis. Things were going well until Morathi double crossed the others to pull a secret spell to steal more souls than was initially allocated to her (and perhaps to get a dig at the other four). Which unintentionally resulted in the weakening of its prison and allowing Slaanesh to send out SOS on its location to its followers who are right its trail. In addition this also weakened the prison itself so its only a matter of time before it breaks loose.
After the end of the old world and his ascension, Archaon spent his time obliterating many universes and slaying kings and what not. He recieved a vision from his (apparently now un-smashed) third eye which foretold the events until the release of Age of Sigmar, with the final vision being Archaon apparently killing Sigmar (although Order fans that were unamused with ANOTHER "Chaos wins" spoiler ending to this universe noted that in Archaon's vision, Slaanesh was still gone). The Chaos Gods sent a Champion each (Tzeentch, Nurgle, Khorne, Great Horned Rat) to kill Archaon but each was defeated, with Dhorgar feasting on their souls which resulted in a Khornate head, a Tzeentchian head, a Nurglite head, and the two tails that Great Horned Rat's servants have.
Once Chaos had taken 7/8 of the Realms, with Sigmar as the only holdout, Khorne basically screamed "WILDCARD, BITCHES!" and blitzed his way into Nurgle's Garden and Tzeentch's Maze, allowing the other factions to reclaim their lands (although the Daemon-wrought damage now makes them resemble something out of Brütal Legend). Archaon's Chaos armies only defeat came at the hands of Morelion and Morathi in the Realm of Shadow, a place which now fascinates him.
Chaos continued its Saturday Morning Cartoonification when Be'lakor was killed by Seraphon, more specifically; Skinks riding pterodactyls dropped rocks on him until he popped. Although this happened in a White Dwarf battle report, and Be'lakor's model was only used to represent a generic Daemon Prince, others have defended it saying that White Dwarf has access to all Warhammer models and thus had no reason to use Be'lakor unless it was Be'lakor in narrative and a weaker model on the tabletop for balance reasons. Others have suggested it was only Changeling, pulling the same trick he did in End Times. Regardless, the Seraphon still managed to close the portal. See: Skub.
It's been theorized that Nurgle's almost single-minded obsession with the Sylvaneth is because he wants to claim Alarielle as his new waifu. No word on whether this means he'll keep her as is or make her the Poxfulcrum; who was retconned from Isha to Shallya in End Times, then secretly replaced by some elf wizard called Kalara in Araloth's Realm of Chaos excursion.
The Great Horned Rat's been doing very little on his own at first glance, mostly having Clan Pestilens work closely with Nurgle's forces in the Realm of Life. However it may be worth noting that GHR is literally the god of a race who pretty much have a monopoly on backstabbing the guy above you and taking their place, and with Slaanesh missing Nurgle is currently the weakest of the classic Chaos Gods. Based on this, there's some recurring theory that says that GHR has a backstabby-ulterior motive for getting so friendly with Nurgle.
One of the confirmed tribe names for Chaos humans is the Gjallervolk, obviously the direct replacement to the old Warriors
Same old, same old. So to recap:
- Khorne wages war on Sigmar, all the time. The Blades represent most of them.
- Nurgle is obsessed with Alarielle, since she's sexy feral Isha, and has grown to hate all of Death as well.
- Slaanesh is missing, his forces are split between those trying to find him/her/it and those trying to replace him as "Ur-Slaanesh", the main contender for which is a Keeper of Secrets named Luxscious and Archaon since 'Everchosen' briefly touches on majority of Mortal and quite a few Daemon worshippers are using him as a 'go to' figure for veneration. On a meta-level, loads of people somehow made themselves believe that Slaanesh was being squatted altogether. Expect "This is proof that Slaanesh is being axed" memes on every comment section related to the Dark Prince. Fortunately this was later untrue with the Dark Prince alive and well and likely to be making a return sooner or later after it breaks its priosn.
- Tzeentch is still fucking around everywhere being an annoying shit, but Games Workshop is finally letting him get shit done; he arranged for Slaanesh's capture and tricked Sigmar into losing Ghal-Maraz (Sigmar got it back but that's still something). Fun things too, he also indirectly helps Order sometimes. During the Realm of Life Campaign, Tzeentch did his part sabotaging Nurgle's plans in the Realm of Life. He wanted Sigmar to get his cities up and running so that he can extend his influence and do more plotting in those new mortal bastions. He's the Chaos God most likely to side with Order temporarily just to mess with the other Gods' plans.
- Horned Rat is now the Great Horned Rat, a fully-fledged Chaos God. This changes no one's opinion on him, much to his chagrin.
- Archaon is the top dog in charge of all Chaos, hates and is hated/loved <3 by everyone else oh and will kill that damn Rat thinking it's one of the Gods. Archaon is simultaneously hated and loved by the mortal Chaos followers; some find him to be all a-okay, others hate him and find him to be an overly arrogant prick who should just fuck off to his precious All-Point.
Say goodbye to Slaanesh kids, daddy/momma is goin' bye-bye.
Daemons Of Chaos
Host Of Slaanesh
Since Slaanesh has been demoted, his faction is now all of his Daemons and exclusive mortal followers. Note that Sigvald is now a generic model Chaos Lord Of Slaanesh, with no special rules.
Long story short the big four Aelven gods (Malerion, Morathi, Tyrion and Teclis) managed to capture Slaanesh in a trap between the realms of light and shadow and are slowly freeing the Aelven souls it devoured. While the trap is held Morathi's attempts to steal more than her share of souls has weakened the trap and Slaanesh is slowing freeing itself and is even sending out distress signals to its followers. So yeah not like this traps going to last long. Anyways..........
Most of his followers currently are still aiding Archaon and is lending their strength to the fight against Order. These are referred to as Invaders and for the most part the faction is being governed by Slaanesh's Greater Daemons who have taken up the main godly duties (bestowing boons, gifts, answering prayers etc..) while some have actually looked to worshipping Archaon as the new Slaanesh. No, seriously. They think Archaon has a personality inside him that deep down wants to be the little girl. They call this being "Placebo" (no, seriously, this is actual GW lore).
The rest are split between those looking to rescue Slaanesh who are referred to as Seekers and those looking to BE Slaanesh which are referred to as pretenders and are trying to pass themselves off as Slaanesh reborn.
Though currently the Seekers seem to be making progress and are currently right on Slaanesh's trail. So its likely only a matter of time before they find it and all those Greater Daemons and Mortal champions that were passing themselves off as the NEXT Slaanesh better hope their god is forgiving when it gets back.
Blades of Khorne
Khorne's faction, Consisting of his mortal and daemon followers. Their Blood warriors look like Worldeaters. Oddly enough, theirs were the only miniatures to receive approval from the Warhammer Fantasy fanbase although many have complained the new Daemon resembles something from 40k, with a hint of Alien except with a skull in its mouth. Said Daemons are the "Khorgoraths" who are mortal men so infused with Khorne's magic their skin becomes like liquid boiling blood with skulls bubbling within, and in time they come to resemble Khorne himself not unlike how Great Unclean Ones resemble Nurgle.
Some are cannibals, and consume the flesh of their foes almost exclusively (preferably while the meal is still alive interestingly enough, as it goes against many of Khorne's common themes of killing on the battlefield). Doing this, they believe, imbues them with the divine power of Khorne. This actually makes sense if you know your shit regarding the spirituality of cannibalistic practices. In fact it's rather similar to a pre-Islamic Turkic practice that held that drinking from the skull of your enemies allowed you to devour their souls and gain their power.
Khorne's initial army (in Aqshy, anyway) was led by a warlord named Khul, who wanted to become a Daemon Prince and constructed a giant pyramid of skulls in order to earn the highest possible position. He had planned to cap it with a Sigmarine skull, although in the actual battle with the Sigmarines he was not able to actually secure the skull despite killing the Sigmarine while a Sigmarine skeleton ironically blew up the pyramid. He kicked Vandus Hammerhand's gold-plated ass pretty well in Nick Kyme's War Storm, so kudos to him for knocking the Sigmarines off their high fucking perch, albeit temporarily. Archaon in 'Balance of Power' did a number on Vandus by virtually cutting him in half and killing him outright which he laughed about it later after massacring the rest of his stormhost 'The Hammers of Sigmar'.
The mortal humans known as bloodbound are specifically a Khornate-flavored addition called Bloodreavers. It has been noted that the Bloodreavers seem to have a mixed-race feel, suggesting the Mortals are no longer just not-Björk-Björks and not-Mongols anymore. Nonetheless, they have fair hair, vaguely Scandinavian-sounding names like "Skargan", "Hroth" (which, depending on what you read, either means "gore" or "fame" in Old Norse), Volundr, and use patronymic naming conventions, so they are basically Norscans from the Old World. However, some argue that the presence of dark-skinned people in the Bloodreavers ranks points to them being ethnically diverse. These people forget that the WoC of the original setting also had non-European people among their ranks - the Kurgan and Hung - and that this did not change the fact that the Warriors of Chaos were basically Death Metal stereotypes about Vikings. So it will likely have as much bearing here as it did there. Also, the miniature for the Exalted Deathbringer is an eight foot tall blond bodybuilder with a massive Viking beard and Death Metal hair, so yeah.
The bearded Blood Warrior miniature (the one who uses a skull as a beard clasp) has been lauded throughout the intrawebs as the best miniature in the starter set due to having the largest beard of any mini GeeDubs has ever put out, even compared to their Dwarf models.
Khorne's new warriors all have names alluding to their deity's blood and decapitation fetish.
- Red Headsman
Maggotkin of Nurlge
The OTHER guy who gets all the new models also has his own faction, although it consists of Nurglite
Warriors of Chaos Mortals and Daemons. Appeared in Black Library book Ghal-Maraz (which actually is two novellas) messing around with the realm of life, sadly for them they got most of their story getting kicked by the Stormcasts, but then again, in the End Times these guys nearly wipe out the Empire all by themselves and in the beginning of the novella they had just conquered most of the realm of life, besides they put a great fight against Alarielle, forcing her out of hiding, so all in all they are not that incompetent.
Disciples of Tzeentch
Tzeentch's mortal followers and Daemon followers. Unlike the roaming hordes of Khorne and Nurgle, Tzeentch prefers to operate using cults that make their homes in civilized cities, meaning while the other gods are declining as Sigmar brings civilization to the realm Tzeentch is thriving. Their basic troops are the Kairic Acolytes, cultists who masquerade as normal citizens but in times of war use magic to transform their bodies into muscle-bound ideals of the human form. In addition to humans sorcerers, many cults also include covens of Tzaangor beastmen (many of whom were former humans mutated by worshiping Tzeentch). The Gaunt Summoners, while not technically part of these cults, are respected enough by them that when one shows up, they follow their orders.
Archaon, the Varanguard who are Chaos Lords who renounced their (insert faction god) to be one of Archaons chosen in forever service to him and him alone.
Games Workshop FINALLY decided to
give the often-neglected Tzeentch some love throw Tzeentch a bone with the new Gaunt Summoner models (which look like techni-color Hellraiser-style Cenobites). According to GW; "Originating from deep within the Realm of Chaos, the Gaunt Summoners are powerful daemon sorcerers of Tzeentch. Archaon exerts an iron grip upon their souls - they are not only favoured by the Everchosen for their abilities, which are prodigious, but for their helpless devotion to their masters’ twisted whims. Able to twist reality with their dread incantations and engulf whole armies in deadly warpfire, the Gaunt Summoners were responsible for some of the most horrifying atrocities committed during the Age of Chaos. Only nine of these bizarre, faceless creatures exist at any one time, and it is an exceedingly rare event to see more than one appear at any time."
As for Archaon himself? As the newfound Meme indicates, he is now powered solely by ANIME.
- Catches a bolt of Azyr lightning in his hand and crushes it with his hand into nothingness.
- His contempt is so intense that it shatters the earth beneath his feet.
- His and his men's acts of butchery and slaughter caused a Lord of Change that viewed them to weep quicksilver tears of anguish.
Archaon's ultimate goal is to destroy the Chaos Gods still, and while he's their greatest servant they are actually afraid that this can really happen. They continually send their greatest warriors to kill him in random encounters, but like a JRPG character he only grows stronger. Archaon intends to claim all of the Realms in order to gain the power to destroy all of Chaos and rule over a godless kingless united Realm for eternity, but he has to be careful in doing so. He cannot kill the being who controls that Wind (Nagash as Death for example) outright or the Realm will collapse. It will only be his if he holds them until he can somehow extract the former Incarnates from them.
He fights for the freedom of all men, yet also enjoys killing and torturing all beings and comitting genocide against reality.
tl;dr Archaon is Malal now. Or the Emperor.
Slaves To Darkness
All the generic Warriors of Chaos, plus the Daemon Prince. Generally, they're pretty tough with warriors able to take two wounds a piece and can do some serious damage ( 2 attacks on 3+/4+, rerolling ones to hit if you take double weapons). The bargain price of this, however is fewer bodies and effectively no ranged units. That being said, there are plenty of fast attack options to bog your enemy down, a fair amount of fodder (Marauders) and a good amount of wizards, so make sure you have at least two, one for Mystic Shield, and the other for arcane bolt attacks at the start of every turn, at least.
Beasts Of Chaos
Beastmen, monsters, and
giants gargants (re)combined into a singular faction after 2nd Edition came out. Originally split into Brayherds (most beastmen along with the various Tzaangors), Warherds (bigger beastmen like minotaurs bullgors), Thunderscorn (Dragon Ogres Ogors), Chaos Gargants, Monsters of Chaos (Cockatrices, Chimeras, Razorgors, Chaos Warhounds, Jabberslythes to be precise. Though not every monster in the Monsters of Chaos faction got the Beasts of Chaos keyword for some reason) and Chaos Spawn when AoS originally launched. As a singular faction, the tags of Brayherd, Warherd, and Thunderscorn are treated the same way as Stormcast Eternal chambers, with certain units counting as battleline with the right general. Fingers crossed for other scattered factions (Skaven, Grots, etc.) to get the same recombination treatment.
Currently they represent the mutated and Beastly hordes of Chaos undivided. This includes anything from from Beastman to the various chaos-born monsters that they summon or enslave to use as beasts of war. Contrary to what a layman might think they do not necessarily fight for the Four chaos gods. Obviously some of their number have sworn to one of big four Chaos gods and are now worshippers but for the most part they have no real allegiance to any of the plans of the chaos gods and fight simply to destroy and tear down civilisation as its their very nature. They are one of the few forces in the Chaos Grand alliance that can be said to be largely independent of the Chaos gods or the Horned Rat and are simply fighting and spreading chaos as they are creatures of pure chaos itself, thus if their actions benefit the the four gods (and the horned rat) than good for them. Some on the other hand venerate their own god of sorts Morghur, the first Beastman. They wish to continue his plan to plunge all the Realms in endless chaos by tearing down all civilizations and erecting enough herdstones to alter reality itself. While others feel worshipping any god is itself a form of Order and follow none but themselves. Obviously they show respect and fear of the chaos gods, but they look down on the outright worship practised by other forces of chaos (like the Slaves to Darkness or Bloodbound. In there eyes this form of chaos worship is itself a form of Order and thus wrong and weak).
The Origins of the various hordes of the Beasts of Chaos is vague and their are multiple stories but it is known that they were not created by any of the Chaos gods directly (with the exception of the Tzaangors who were first created through the power of Tzcheench) and are said to have been spawned from the raw, aligned powers of chaos. Thus they see themselves as the true children of chaos unlike other followers who only follow chaos out of fear or for rewards from the Gods themselves. To them chaos and destruction is literally in their DNA and to them fighting and spreading chaos is as natural as eating or sleeping.
Currently also share the various Tzaangors with the Disciples of Tzeench.
Legions Of Azgorh
Pretty much every Forgeworld Chaos model not in Legions Of Azgorh. Currently a sub-faction of Nurgle.
They still exist. They are still aligned with Chaos and are still backstabbing little shits.
The Great Horned Rat ascended as the God of Blight (no doubt annoying Nurgle since that's supposed to be his job) and the fourth major Chaos God after Slaanesh's disappearance, but only the Skaven worship him (although any rogue insane humans who consider it would probably be turned into Skaven, making it a self-fulfilling rule) and the other gods (along with Archaon) look down on him, seeing him as a scheming usurper rather than a true equal. He's hoping to get more power, and the Skaven do remain numerous as all fuck.
The day Horned Rat was accepted into the Four, Chaos drew Skavenblight into itself as a fifth realm in the Daemon-controlled Warp, which was renamed Blight City. In true Skaven fashion however, they dug their burrows too deep and accidently sunk Blight City halfway back into the material plane. This turned out to be a blessing as now Skaven can travel anywhere from Warp to material plane at will and bring anything Chaos friendly with them at the moment with.
Skaven thus far have only been seen supporting Nurgle militarily. But "the Great Horned Rat" will rise; given that the Great Horned Rat's M.O. is scheming and treachery and that, with Slaanesh MIA, Nurgle's the weakest of the original Chaos gods, Nurgle getting backstabbed may happen in the future.
It's also possible that, given the treacherous nature of Skaven, they may fight other chaos factions. Could this mean the Great Horned Rat is GW's attempt at a second Malal?
The old Warhammer Fantasy Skaven Clans are now types of Clans; what was once Eshin is now tens of thousands or more of Clans just like Eshin. Because there are as many Elves as the plot demands.
Skaven as a faction are only generic characters, Skaven Slaves, Thrott The Unclean, Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth, Tretch Craventail, Lord Skrolk, Queek Headtaker, Deathmaster Snikch, and Warlord Spinetail.
The plague rats in Clan Pestilens. They are shown to be working a lot with nurgle rotbringers into taking the realm of life.
Sneaky motherfucker Skaven still. Formerly Clan Eshin.
Clan Moulder are still monster makers. Also have the ordinary Rat Swarms.
Clan Skryre. Rocking the magitek hard.
The Skaven warriors. Clanrats, Stormvermin, Warlords, and the Verminlord Warbringer. As all Skaven players will notice this makes no sense at all.
The former Grey Seers. Basically the Skaven Priesthood. NOT ACTUALLY THE MASTERS OF THE OTHER CLANS.
The Realms is essentially a group of nine gigantic planes à la Planescape with a few additional sub-planes here and there, boppin' about in a magical, aetherial pea soup. Each Realm was created by amassed magic from each of the magical Winds, which causes each of the Realms to be made more or less entirely out of that type of magic (so Aqshy is at best as hot as central Australia in the summer and at worst like a plasma furnace). Realms are not unending, but they span such a huge area that you'd spend almost a hundred years to get from the center to the edge of a Realm. Those Realm-gates seem important now don't they?
The further from the center of a Realm gets, the weirder it gets as well - to take Aqshy again, the center is hot and sorta barren, but hospitable at the very least, but as you get towards the edges at the Realms, shit gets weird. This is where you get the unending caves without a sky found in Chamon or the flying, burning volcanoes and rivers of magma and stuff where the Sigmarines and the Khornebois fought in the beginning of Age of Sigmar. However, if you get too far from the center, the energies of the Realm fucks you up and changes you - it might make you into a tree, kills you and turns you into sentient bones, mutate you, you get the point.
The central areas are getting more and more habitable, and you'll find cities and stuff here. There are mortals in all the Realms, though some of them absolutely fucking sucks to live in, like Shyish. Take Hades, combine it with Hel and make it five-thousand times as dreary and you have a shining summer day in Shyish.
To get from one Realm to another, you'd need to go through a Realmgate. It doesn't need to be a gateway per say; some mystical shit might allow you to travel through a cave or over a sea or sleep under a tree some other nonsense.
The Realm of Sigmar, related to celestial bodies and lightning-bolts, more info here.
Grey and covered in mist and illusion. Inhabited by beings known as Shadowkin, and a red eyed god. No word on perpetual pendulum being there too...
Ulgu and Hysh fly around each other, and when Ulgu covers Hysh it is night in the other Realms. How does that work in a place without direction? Who the fuck knows.
The realm of the dead, home to the afterlife of the mortal souls not dedicated to Chaos, and Nagash's dominion. Due to the nature of the realm if the beliefs of enough mortals in the realms is strong and numerous enough it will form an actual afterlife in a portion of Realm. So for example if a civilization believes that when they die they go to a paradise of abundant beauty then it will form in Shyish and their soul will drift there to rest for however long their soul lasts (yeah another thing souls aren't necessarily eternal, they will eventually burn out and dissipate into the aether, though it is implied that there is another existence in the ether beyond the mortal realms that souls can go too, nobody knows for sure but means that the Shyish isn't necessarily the true end of souls. This process can vary depending on the strength of the soul so can range anywhere from a few years to millennia if not forever). The various afterlifes can range in appearance to however the individual civilisations pictured them. From beautiful heavens, to barbaric Valhalla where warrior spirits battle for all eternity, to hellish regions were "evil" souls will be tormented for eternity. However these afterlifes are not eternal, if mortals lose their belief in that particular afterlife and begin believing in another than that afterlife will gradually move to the edge of the realm as the belief in it fades until it hits the edge of the realm and is destroyed along with all the souls that are within it. And eventually in its place new afterlifes will take its place until belief in them fades and they are replaced in a endless cycle.
This is not to say that all that exists in Shyish is undead. There are many undead of course but many mortals live in the realm as well alongside the dead. Though this is not as bad as you might think as many undead are benign and could even be deceased family members of the living (so a village could actually be populated by mortals and their recently deceased living side-by-side) who reanimate themselves due to the inherent magic of the realm. While Shyish isn't exactly Ghyran it has many areas that are perfectly habitable and infact even beautiful. For instance many mortals actually live within and settle in the various afterlifes within the realm (though one would hope that they don't get dragged to the edge as the afterlife fades in relevance). Due to this their are many independent kingdoms in the realm ruled by both either the living, the dead or combination of both. However all respect the authority of Nagash even if they are not directly being ruled by him as he claims rulership of all the realm (even if some areas more tenously than others).
Shyish recently changed following the Necroquake. Nagash attempt to conquer the realms backfired spectacularly thanks to Skaven sabotage of his great ritual (seriously he is like 0-3 against those guys). Anyways due to the contaminated ritual the magic and souls of the realm now move towards the centre instead of the edges. Now as an afterlife runs its course and is no longer believed in now moves towards the centre of the realm and is destroyed in a huge vortex of death magic rather than heading towards the edges and being destroyed. The vortex grinds the afterlives back into pure death magic in a giant swirling black hole. This has caused Nagash many problems as not only did he wreck his capital but not even he can handle the death magic in the centre completely due to the chaos taint within the ritual and can't tap into its full potential (he can only stay there for brief periods to charge up, but any longer and even he starts to feel the tainted death magic ripping him apart). Otherwise the realm still functions as normal for the most part (with the edition of endless spells and greater Nighthaunts running around).
FIRE. Home to the fiery Fyreslayers. The flaming fireterrain can vary from being akin to the surface of the sun, to being merely volcanic, all the way down to being a mixture of Australia and California Phoenix country in summer in the coldest regions.
In the far north of Ghur is a series of icy mountains called the Ice-Kingdoms of Gjoll, where Nordic-themed humans dwell. So do lots of monsters, including Merwyrms who have now sided with destruction (wtf?!)
Looks a lot like a Conan-The-Barbarian style savage world, with a little heavy metal album cover thrown in.
A realm full of light, duh. A place governed by symbolism, reason and order where everything has more than one meaning and hidden symbolism. It was Tyrion and Teclis's crib until Archaon kicked their punk asses out like an angry landlord and let Tzeentch get first dibs.
Ulgu and Hysh fly around each other, and when Hysh covers Ulgu it becomes day in the other realms. Slaanesh is imprisoned inbetween the two realms.
Chamon is a land of constantly changing landscapes, filled with many rare minerals and alchemic secrets.
Also there are also weird clockwork cyborgs and liquid metal rivers. Though not to fear for its inhabitants as like all the realms (except Shyish now) it is much more livable towards the center of the realm but gets crazier the closer to the edges you go where the land constantly changes and weird land topography starts to happen.
Tzeentch took this realm as its secrets and shifting nature fit the Chaos god like a glove and unlike khorne or nurgles chaos followers his forces still maintain cities and governments with talk about farming and fishing and shit. Thanks to Tzeentch's minions not being full of retards this realm is still greatly under chaos control and hasn't yet seen the devastating blows from the other factions like Khorne did in Aqshy and Nurgle did in Ghyran, outside of a few key battles during the Realmgate Wars.
The Kharadron Overlords, has several of its most important skyports in this realm due to the abundance of Aethergold in the region. In addition many Duardin Disspossed make their holds in this realm as its rare metals and malleable nature suits them well. Their is no god that rules the realm officially, though it could be argued that the Duardin god Grungi is most associated with this realm.
Trees, trees and more trees. Alarielle and her tree-friends hang out here and do a bit of gardening. Quite similar to the Realm of Beasts, only with more of an emphasis on life (duh) and nature over stark craggy canyons and shit. Contrary to popular belief the realm of Life is not an endless forest but actually contains all kinds of different land areas. However regardless of its regional location any area of Ghyran is full of life. So even a desert or craggy area in Ghyran will be fill with desert animals and plants and will be much more abundant than a similar area in another realm. The realm obviously has been greatly valuable as a source of crops and arable land which many civilizations take advantage of. However great care must be taken when logging, as this can easily draw conflict with local Sylvaneth communities. The realm also contains many varied and fantastical creatures and landscapes, though not anywhere near as dangerous and wild as the creatures and lands of Ghur the realm of Beasts. Ghyran serves as the main home of the Sylvaneth, but virtually every race has members that reside in Ghyran (even undead). Currently much of Ghyran is still corrupted by Nurgle and is embroiled in the war of life to reclaim the realm by the forces of Order from Nurgle's forces.
Currently Sigmars forces of Order have made many in roads into Ghyran. Such as the establishment of several new free cities and a loose-alliance between Sigmars forces and Allarielles. The War of Life to claim the realm from Nurgle is still far from over but real gains have been made in recent centuries following the Realmgate Wars. Ghyran has four major cities: Sigmar and his boys established the youngest and largest of them, Hammerhal Ghyra, which has a realmgate leading straight to the ream of fire, with its own city, Hammerhal Aqsha. The others are called the Seeds of Hope. The Living City was sung into existence by Alarielle herself in a matter of days, but is mainly inhabited by anyone not a treeperson. Greywater Fastness is an industral hub, bringing smog and lung cancer into the realm of forests. Needless to say, the locals were not amused, which caused violence and big loss of life on both sides. Thanks to Alarielles intervention the city is at least allowed to stay alive, instead of being starved out but Alarielle also promised a future reckoning for the harm they've caused. Lastly, Phoenicium is a proud aelven city from the age of myth that got sealed in amber. You know, like Pompeii, but more like an insect, especially since Ghyran has volcanoes that spew sap instead of lava. When the city was rediscovered, two phoenixes sang and flew around it, melting the amber and allowing for recolonization.
Chaos (Guess Who)
The former underground city of Skavenblight is now a part of it, and thanks to the Skaven somehow tunneling through the bizarre geometries in the endless void they sunk themselves halfway through to reality in some mindfuckey way that adds a metric fuckload of questions which get handwaved as "It's Chaos, you can't explain shit". Skaven can use it to to tunnel through reality itself with the exception of Azyr currently. The process is highly unrealizable and just as likely to lead into a volcanoes than an intended destination.
This is like the London underground if it was simultaneously connected to the New York & Chinese subway system. It is a station with gates leading to all realms including Chaos. This is where Sigmar and friends, using the power of friendship (hah), held off the forces of Chaos before Nagash, being the asshole he is, buggered off. During the age of chaos Archaon built his huge house here and this is from where he controls his EXbawkshueg army. The forces of Chaos call it Eightpoints, and Archaon's ultimate fortress the Varanspire is built at the center of it, where the gates leading to the Realm of Chaos are.
A self-enclosed globe of reality created by the Slann from part of Tzeentch's Domain, with access to the heart of the Crystal Labyrinth of Tzeentch when the stars are right.
|The Nine Realms of the Age of Sigmar|
|Aqshy - Azyr - Chamon - Ghur - Ghyran - Hysh - Shyish - Ulgu - Realm of Chaos|
- Baleful Realmgates are all over the Realms and are basically Stargates. Each has a twin, and based on the tabletop stats many have their twins so close they are on the same battlefield. Why exactly something that only transports you a mile or so away is important isn't exactly clear, but hey! Those fuckers, your shit! Beyond that, those entering it run the risk of being eaten by Daemons rather than transported (even actual Daemon armies of the Four suffer this, with...
interesting implications),actually it turns out this is because the Slann have been redirecting them, and like old scenery Wizards can channel magic from it.
- Ophidian Archways are things that survived the previous Warhammer world, and they are...mysterious. Apparently there's a bunch of them, each is covered in images of Sigmar (which is apparently the new "skulls errywhere" design) as well as screaming visages in horror (not actually found on the model). Any being who passes under them while feeling fear has their soul sucked out, added to the images. Those same spirits sometimes come to life and attack those who pass under it. Once again, why the fuck anyone would want to control these is unknown, especially since this one doesn't even boost the magic of Wizards around it. GW advertises it as "modular", meaning you can combine them.
- Numinous Occulums are Sigmar's special structures that are directly connected to the Winds of Magic carved with symbols of Sigmar such as gryphons and Mallus as well as scenes showing the destruction of the old Warhammer setting. They consist of a walkway leading up to a gilded cage showing celestial bodies, and it appears to have once been part of a larger building. Wizards can spin the cage portions to access the future and past in order to change both (basically granting just any old asshole the powers belonging to Tzeentch). As a result, these can be assumed to be EXTREMELY FUCKING IMPORTANT.
- Dragonfate Dais is a magical site with a boiling pool of...something surrounded by glowing runes, with a stairway leading to a circle surrounded by three statues of Dracothian crowned with bowls of burning skulls. The entire thing is covered in symbols of the members of Sigmar's pantheon, and beings can use them to attempt to contact and request aid from any divine being from Tyrion to Great Horned Rat.
- Chaos Dreadhold is a category of scenery rather than an actual single set (no, seriously, it has its own category under "Scenery" on their website). Depending on how many components you own, it is either the Malefic Dreadhold, Ironskull Bastion, Direstone Redoubt, Magebane Wall, Skullcoven Forge, Octadic Dreadhold, Summoner's Helgate, or Infernal Realmfort which each have different rules (behind a $20 paywall to even know if you don't want to buy all the models and get them). The full fortress, called "Fortress of Grim Corruption", is a whopping $1,120 'murrican and £680. Note that although this is supposedly a generic Chaos fortress, every single piece of advertising and fluff relating directly to the model makes an allusion to Khorne only.
- Witchfate Tor: It's still around, with some magical upgrades meaning the tower somehow survived the destruction of the old setting. Or is the Tardis, since GW may as well steal that too at this point. Still out of production.
- Garden of Morr: Morr may be gone forever, but Nagash stole his shtick as the new god of death. Garden
s ofParties of MorrNagash are now simply a naturally occurring part of the landscape in the Realm of Death and basically kept their 8e rules with minor alteration. Unlike most of the other old scenery, the Garden is actually still being made and is available to purchase.
- Sylvaneth Wyldwood/Citadel Forest: Yep, it's the same old overpriced aquarium/railroad trees on a base you've come to...know exists. Still in production unfortunately.