Broken Realms Saga
The Broken Realms Saga (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love AoS) was an ongoing narrative event in Warhammer Age of Sigmar that led into its Third Edition. Consisting of four main books, as well as a series of short stories published on the Warhammer Community website, this narrative leap bears a lot of similarities to Warhammer 40,000's most recent story series, the Psychic Awakening. However, Broken Realms has something that Psychic Awakening failed to give its readers: Actual Stakes!!
Indeed, in every book released, there are massive and dramatic shifts in power that fundamentally affect the direction of the Mortal Realms. A manipulative and subversive quest for divinity, the two biggest egotistical nerds in all of Warhammer going at each other, old characters reemerging and making their mark, new characters and factions making their appearances, the very nature of the Realms being dramatically altered, Sigmar and his golden bois getting taken to the cleaners, BE'LAKOR BEING AN ACTUAL THREAT, etc.
We are keeping the spoilers low but we recommend you read the books, they are actually very fun and help flesh out a lot of Age of Sigmar characters and their interactions.
- 1 Story: The Clobbering
- 2 Story: Cursed Gift
- 3 Book One: Morathi
- 4 Book Two: Teclis
- 5 Book Three: Be'lakor
- 6 Book Four: Kragnos
- 7 Reception (Here be Spoilers)
Megaboss Bokkrog fights a challenger and loses, only to be knocked out instead of killed. When he wakes up, a shaman is preparing him for the coming of a god (later revealed to be Kragnos).
Story: Cursed Gift
Morathi learns about the properties of the realmstone of Chaos - now dubbed "Varanite" - and decides its just what she needs for her plans after testing it on a few Witch Aelves.
Book One: Morathi
The first book of the saga kicks things off by having Morathi decide to finally realize her aspirations of godhood. After "collecting" an ancient artefact used to collect souls from Slaanesh's gut from the Idoneth, she decides to sic her old "buddies" Sigmar and Alarielle as well as the vengeful Katakros at the Varanspire, Archaon's special hideout, while she picked up some of the realmstone.
She uses the realmstone and the artefact to open a rift right into her ancient enemy's gut, and managed to eat the souls of all the Phoenix Kings...except for Aenarion. She hesitated eating him because of their past, but he wasn't having any of it and split her in half, one half being her elf wizard self and the other being a monstrous serpentine thing. She hops out of her portal and then fuses with the essence of Khaine, essentially becoming her own god.
With this power in hand, she forces the Idoneth, who sought to reclaim their trinket, to join her in raiding the city of Anvilgard. She takes it over and renames it into Har Kuron, marking a definitive end to her alliance with the God-King. The stormboys fought back, but they eventually fell back after Morathi and the Celestant-Prime had a parley and he agreed to let her keep the city in exchange for...something.
Story: The Price of Treason
In Har Kuron, formerly Anvilgard, a group of humans are rescued by a group of Scourge Privateer elves from being executed by the Daughters of Khaine. This is because some of the humans and elves there are loyal to Sigmar and don't like Morathi.
Story: Thicker Than Water
Akhelian King Sythus Nemmetar reflects on the Idoneth's newfound alliance with the Daughters of Khaine during a battle against humans and Lumineth... and doesn't like it. Even moreso for Sythus since he's forced to fight alongside the Hag Queen Nyrithia, who mutilated half his face when the Idoneth attacked Hagg Nar (it doesn't help that Nyrithia trolls Sythus about it mercilessly).
Three brothers hiding in a cave are found by an Ogor Mawtribes army and drafted into Gordrakk's growing WAAAGH! Also, the three brothers are Mega-Gargants.
Story: The Hateful Stasis
Slaaneshi Chaos Lord Gestharyx gets tired of waiting while battling against the forces of Khorne, and is reassured of Slaanesh's latest plan by the daemon herald Glavia Sinheart.
Story: The Squint
Skragrott tries to make sense of the prophecies from his Fungal Asylum as he marches alongside Gordrakk's Waaghh in Ghur. One of his captives, a magister of Tzeentch, attacks him while giving some major prophecies, but Skragrott takes him down with the help of the Bad Moon itself.
Story: The Golden Son
Sigvald and Glutos battle against the Fyreslayers and try to outdo each other, only stopping their bickering when a certain pair of daemons introduced in the Broken Realms saga tell them to go to Excelsis in preparation for a "feast".
An account of the Lumineth Realm-lords working with humans in the city Settler's Gain from the POV of a human university professor. They give the humans totally-not-second-rate accommodations and magical gear and also educate them... which definitely does not include "re-educating" them with magic.
Story: The Path Of Futility
Mannfred von Carstein binds a Nurgle daemon and attempts to interrogate it, but the daemon breaks free, forcing Mannfred to kill it. Mannfred also makes his own plans and believes that Nagash will fail.
Story: The Joust Of Kings
Ossiarch Bonereapers Tithemaster Vokmortian and Liege-Kavalos Horrek play Age of Sigmar's version of the board game 4D chess. During the game, they discuss about Nagash's latest plans. The story reveals quite a bit about what the Bonereapers do in their downtime (and that they actually get downtime).
Book Two: Teclis
Deciding that the whole Necroquake business was going on for too long, that Sigmar was dragging his feet and that Nagash's harassment of the realms was getting too much, Teclis warned Nagash to stop it or be stopped. Nagash predictably told Teclis where to shove his threat.
After surviving a literal gheist tsunami, the forces of the Lumineth Realm-Lords rallied under Teclis to stick it to the boney asshole. The Lumineth invaded Shysh in flying islands, made much property damage to the Ossiarch Empire and then called it a moral victory. Nagash continued with his plan of sending the Mortarchs to expand the influence of the Shysh Nadir to other realms while planning revenge on Teclis. Mannfred was in Ghyran double-dealing as usual, Neferata met some
meddling kids Lumineth twins in Chamon, and Eltharion dueled Arkhan in a long-awaited second round at Hysh.
After some dubious results, Skelepope makes the brilliant move of trying to beat Teclis on his home turf while attempting to kill Mount Avelanor. The resulting duel between the two nerds included lots of spells, actual sword fighting, teleportation through the Aetheric Void Dragon Ball-style and no less than six super-powered Luminarks firing their lazors and rolling lots of sixes.
There is also a sweet scene of Teclis and Alarielle contemplating the fate of the Realms and giving some light to the grimdarkness of AoS 2nd edition.
Story: Dark Offerings
A group of Skaven assassins vie for Be'lakor's patronage, until one of them wins his favor by discreetly but messily killing the others. Be'lakor's target is also a theoretically immortal being, likely Lady Olynder.
Story: Marked For Death
A vampire is sent by Neferata to assassinate a Kharadron Admiral who interfered with her plans, but they're saved by Lumineth twins Ellania and Ellathor.
Book Three: Be'lakor
Tired of being second fiddle to Archie-chan and not being noticed by the Chaos God senpais, Be'lakor has been working a long term plot to block the Stormcasts Reforging process while plummeting the Mortal Relams into a widespread Chaos Storm. In order to do so he engages in 4D chess with none other than Lord Kroak, all while ensuring both a major setback against Archaon's own domains and plans and Sigmar and his allies.
Then Be'lakor has to break a deadly curse that Olynder put on him during the Battle of the Varanspire. To do this, he tries to track down her corpse to permanently kill her. The running battles end in a stalemate, with Olynder agreeing to lift the curse in exchange for a bounty of souls.
Highlights of the book include a space battle between an armada of Seraphon temple-ships and a Silver Tower, widespread nuclear explosions destroying scores of Realmgates, Gardus Steel-Soul having an astral fly with Kroak, the last stand of the Sigmarite Brotherhood and finally a massive battle between the entire army of the Dark Master vs the Free City of Vindicarum and a massive airfleet formed by all the major city-ports of the Kharadrons united by certain dwarf and much aether-gold.
A group of Stormcast seek to free the souls of their brethren that have been captured by the Nighthaunt, with mixed results.
Story: To Cast A Long Shadow
Morathi has a chat with her son, the god formerly known as Malekith. After some back-and-forth sassing, he warns Morathi that Sigmar's preparing to get back at her for taking Anvilgard, and Morathi brushes it off. Tyrion is mentioned to be making moves and the two have an almost wholesome mother/son moment.
Story: The Turnskin's Tale
A Beastlord invites a mysterious warrior, who's a POV character for the audience, to hear his story due to a shared cause. The Beastlord talks about his exploits and the rising power of the Sylvaneth and Alarielle. The story ends with the POV character mutating into a Gor, as the Beastlord did.
Book Four: Kragnos
With the end of the Necroquake and Nagash stuck in Nagashizzar, Life goes into ascendance and Alarielle steps in to spread a non-lethal version of the Necroquake across the realms known as the Rite of Life. Alarielle's own power, and that of the Sylvaneth, swelled in response and the Oak of Ages was resurrected but there was a major unintended consequence.
Combined with the residual effects of Nagash's Necroquake, Alarielle's Rite of Life broke the prison of Kragnos; an ancient, destructive god sealed away by Lord Kroak in Ghur during the Age of Myth. Enraged by his captivity, the loss of his people and the fact that human cities have been built on his former homeland, Kragnos attacked Excelsis, which is already in the process of being corrupted by followers of Slaanesh.
Kragnos allied with Gordrakk's army, and they manage to smash their way into the city and start wreaking havoc despite Lord Kroak doing his best to mystically reinforce the cities defenses and slay Kragnos. The end result is Excelsis is nearly destroyed and Kragnos finds himself at the other end of Ghur.
There is an epilogue for the four big players of the Saga; Teclis is meditating in space with Celennar when Nagash speaks to Teclis through the curse, promising vengeance. Be'lakor meets the twin Newborn daemons in Slaanesh's realm and warns them about Grungni. Kragnos is found by an isolated Orruk tribe that worships him. Morathi is put on trial by the Celestant-Prime for betraying the forces of Order and only Grungni's arrival, Morathi's help against Kragnos and the bigger problems of spreading chaos storms gains her clemency.
Set during the Siege of Excelsis, the high command of the city consults a Skink Starpriest as to how things are gonna go for them. It's also (rather anti-climatically) revealed in it that Sigvald and Glutos never got to the city, as they had gotten into a fight - presumably over who had the more well-trimmed pubic hair, but with the implication some Seraphon killed some of Sigvald's and Glutos' troops to pit them against each other.
Some time after the Siege of Excelsis, the Orruk shaman friend of Mork and prophet of Kragnos Gobsprakk, picks up the Ogor Hunter Krugrump - using wyvern-sized vultures - for a conversation about Gordrakk.
Story: The Scales of Victory
A Skink wakes up upon one of the massive star-engines. He is brought to join the collective that lives on the engine, whose plans have been thrown off by the awakening of Kragnos. However, they reveal that there is a new check in place in order: The Draconith, the ancient race of dragons. Though they were driven to extinction once before, the Slann had kept the last remaining eggs in captivity and trying to train them to fight. These Draconith are shaping up to be another major faction in the bigger scheme.
Reception (Here be Spoilers)
Overall, the Broken Realms series was met mostly with positive reception by the Age of Sigmar community at large. As previously stated, the narrative shake-ups to the realms were welcomed with open arms, as they managed to change the setting WITHOUT fucking blowing everything up. However, this doesn't mean that it was nothing but positivity - there were a lot of controversies as well.
BR: Morathi was mostly lauded for its portrayal of Morathi's rise to power. There's also a major boon for Slaanesh's followers as Slaanesh exploited Morathi's ritual to give birth to a pair of demigods to lead Slaanesh's followers in his/her absence.
BR: Teclis was the very definition of Skub. The Lumineth elves won at every turn, achieved all their goals and made the entire Death faction all the way up to Nagash himself look like a bunch of jobbers, with Nagash marking Teclis with death magic seeming like an afterthought. As if the worfing wasn't enough, the Lumineth also got a lot of new units, four new special characters and a terrain piece only a year after their initial release (even potential mitigating circumstances like Brexit and delays relating to the COVID-19 pandemic didn't completely smooth things over) while the Bonereapers - despite being touted as the book's main antagonists - only got one mediocre battalion and no new gear (the side factions got more than they did).
BR: Be’lakor was met with mostly positive reception. Some well-liked parts were the intervention of the Seraphon against the forces of Chaos, Be'lakor managing to sever the link between Stormcast and Azyr and the mutual manipulation between Be'lakor and Lady Olynder. However, there was a lot of contention as to the identity of the Dwarf Gromthi (later revealed to be Grungni).
While BR: Teclis brought the skub, the real clincher was BR: Kragnos. The book was criticized for trying to fit too much in, leading to some plot contrivances. Some of the worst offenders were Kragnos suddenly appearing and stealing Gordrakk's WAAAGH!, the literal children of Slaanesh getting jobbed by a pair of humans plus a lone Stormcast and - deserving special mention - Kroak's and Morathi's roles. While Kroak's presence makes sense, he acts out of character by trying to brute force his way despite being all about ancient wisdom and being dismissive about the literal children of a Chaos God. As for Morathi, she and her army serve as a Deux Ex Machina to save Excelsis and get rid of Kragnos. Alarielle's Rite of Life was also a plot contrivance, but more accepted because it was noblebright without worfing or jobbing anyone (unlike BR: Teclis) and was an excuse to give the Sylvaneth a sorely-needed boost on the gameplay side of things (unlike the Lumineth boost, which made them borderline OP on the tabletop).
Nevertheless, the Broken Realms series was a pretty solid lead up to Third Edition - at least, much more so than Psychic Awakening was for 40k.