Fimir are a race from Warhammer Fantasy. They were one of the primary inventions (rather than knockoff or reinterpretation) made by Games Workshop but were dropped due to low popularity regardless. Unlike many other GW "failures", they remained canon, if sidelined but returned as a set of high quality Forgeworld Models for Monstrous Arcanum, a set of units in Total War, and a part of Grand Alliance: Destruction's playable army in Age of Sigmar.
Meta Origin And History
Warhammer had been born out of the fact Games Workshop was only a distributor of other games and their subordinate companies Citadel and Marauder (the two later merged) made minis for those IPs with some not selling as well (how many people need a unicorn in the first place, let alone more than one?). Warhammer turned the basics of D&D into a wargame to sell those minis, and when Games Workshop lost exclusive rights or the entire right to distribute an IP, they discontinued the line and rebranded them; for example the Broo minis they produced for Glorantha next year were rebranded Beastmen despite being the exact same sculpts.
Around the time of the explosion in Warhammer popularity as 2e transitioned into 3e (the first edition with a proper setting, and the inclusion of Chaos) as well as the imminent birth of Warhammer 40000 the CEO of GW, Brian Ansell, was looking to the bright future. He wanted Warhammer to have its own distinct copyrights, things recognizable as theirs and theirs alone (although it did not stop them from stealing from Moorcock and Starship Troopers wholesale). The most important innovation of this time was making Orcs green-skinned with red eyes and tusks, which spread into almost every other Orc in fiction since.
But Ansell wanted something truly belonging only to Warhammer. While Tony Ackland and later John Blanche with Adrian Smith largely created the distinctive "Warhammer" visual feel, Ackland's Daemonettes were still a concept taken from Moorcock and Blanche's Sisters Of Battle were in the same vein as GW's Judge Dredd models. Adrian's Warriors Of Chaos also were merely an extrapolation of the Deathdealer from Conan The Barbarian.
So Ansell summoned two employees, Graeme Davis and Jes Goodwin and told them he wanted pictures, pictures of a unique concept (by using employees he unintentionally ensured GW would keep the rights to their creation, as many designers were hired part-time because it was cheaper and as a result kept the rights to everything they created; which is why everything Ackland designed exists only in old minis with the later ones changed enough to be their own). His specific words were in fact a race "to be as distinctive of Warhammer as the Broo are of Runequest". Sadly...Davis and Goodwin took him too literally, and completely ripped off Broo-again-with a bit of alteration (to their credit, more than Beastmen got) leaving GW with yet another ripoff. But Ansell loved it anyway, and Fimir were put into 3e.
Fimir are the combination of Broo with Formorians, monstrous but not FORTHEEVULZ, Feyfolk from Celtic myth.
Sadly, Fimir did not catch on with the public. Thanks to a horrible fuckup between concept and sculpt produced by Nick Bibby the Fimir wound up extremely large, Ogre-sized. This made them fairly expensive to buy a chunk of metal of. Their in-game stats reflected their intended only slightly larger than human (so Orc) size while their point cost was made higher to reflect large model size. Also, Fimir reproduction was parasitic, with Male fimir having to breed with human females to reproduce, unintentionally insinuating that the Fimir were explicit rapists, though the writers of the fluff did acknowledge that this wasn't their intent, it was merely an error if omission, with their actual intent being to have the Fimir be like fairies who spirit away women and impregnate them in a magical way. Of course, the lore was read first while this was there, which seemed to be explicit rape. If you collect fimir and don't like this aspect of them, you could always just say that your clan has a mutually beneficial relationship with a human tribe where the human women interbreed with the fimir in order to gain the fimir as allies against other groups, which the fimir would likely agree to because it's way easier to have a willing ally than having to fight and then rape people just to scrape by. Essentially, any tribe that doesn't take this route if it's actually possible is stupid, or just needlessly cruel. While technically creatures of Chaos, they aren't Beastmen or Skaven and can be expected to act with a higher degree of logic. In Age of Sigmar, the fimir ade now in the Destruction grand alliance, perhaps hinting at them abandoning chaos entirely.
So as a result Fimir were expensive to buy and were absolutely horrible for their stats. Most players weren't interested in them unless solely for the fluff as a result, and instead of fixing what was wrong by giving them the appropriate stats Fimir were dropped in 4e along with the idea of them being GW's mascot. They only made it into one other work, the first Warhammer Quest as a monster.
But that wasn't the end. The fan magazine for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay called Warpstone made a 98 page expansion of the original threadbare Fimir lore (WFRP Bestiary, White Dwarf #102, 3e WFB) in issue 25. This caused a slow burning ember of love for them in the community (it should be noted that GW writers also read and sometimes borrowed from Warpstone).
GW put a minor reference to them in White Dwarf #310 in the Gnoblar Horde: The Unwashed Masses army.
Fimir also appeared in HeroQuest boardgame as one of the monsters, but they were never focused on, simply being there with no real explanation.
Storm of Magic fully resurrected Fimir with the Balefiend AKA Dirach. They were large sized like the original mistake models.
The 8th edition rules included a reference to Fimir as well.
Three models were supposed to be released for Monstrous Arcana, but were out on hold until Age of Sigmar where they are previewed as getting a complete revival as an army. Considering Slaanesh was put on a bus for the setting, one wonders if they suddenly become fertile with their own females...
They're also scheduled to make an appearance in the Norsca DLC for Total War: WARHAMMER, in keeping with that game's tradition of giving lavish attention to parts of the setting GW prefers to ignore.
Praise creative assembly they've done it, Fimir has reborn once again! this time served as an unit choice for the Norsca faction.
Their Fimir Warrior share the same category with trolls as monster infantry with a few minor differences. While they can already deal armor piercing damage, they can caused armor sundering that lower the armor rating of their opponents. This is very helpful since Norsca's infantry is mostly composed of light armor infantry with little armor piercing and having them fighting with Fimir can achieve great result when fighting factions known for their highly armored units (Warriors of Chaos, Dwarves). They also have "From the Mist" which gives them additional missile resistance. Oh and they have higher morale compared to trolls, but no health regen, sadly.
Fimir Balefiend also available as monstrous caster where they are able to cast magic and fight on the front line with their monstrous size as well as damage.
Fimir are a race of swamp-dwelling cyclops men with a beak and a scorpion tail. They originate with, but not a part of, Chaos as they are "part Daemon" (children of mortals and Daemons have appeared sporadically throughout Warhammer). Their skin tones are earthtones, dark greens and browns. They hate sunlight.
They used to exist in large numbers in the Wasteland, but the Men of the Empire drove them out with great effort, slaughtering most of their tribes. Fimir still exist there in small bands, haunting the misty swamps.
Fimir females, called Maerghs, are rarely born and are sterile. They lead the Fimir clans, and when a Meargh dies without a replacement her clan breaks apart into mercenaries that find work with other evil races. Both are generally magic users. Fimir have the ability to control mist. Dirachs are the Fimir who deal with Daemons.
Nobles are the next rank down, then Fianna Fimm AKA elite warriors. Warriors are, well, warriors.
The lowest rank are Shearls, slave Fimir.
Since female Fimir cannot reproduce, the race reproduces by raiding humans from out of the fog, enslaving and sacrificing men while raping the women.
Some Fimir ally with Gnoblar, a more mentally stable variant of greenskin.
According to Total War they grudgingly sell their services as heavy shock troops for Norscan Warlords who can pay, and there's a sizeable population of them haunting the frozen bogs and swamps of Norsca.
That ...is basically all the Fimir fluff there is.
Warpstone Fimir are the same as the above, but with more detail.
They are secretive and regarded as myth by most. They have a mostly hate relationship with Chaos, seeking either servitude from weak Daemons or patronage from minor (read: not the Four, Hashut, or Horned Rat) Chaos Gods. They will even serve gods like Morr who have access to Daemons (in early Warhammer lore all gods were Chaos entities who were simply far more benevolent; the modern equivalent is the Morghast as a "Daemon" of Death gods). Balor, Kroll, and Lisaart are Daemon Princes who are among their worshipped patrons. Some Dirachs keep Daemons as personal servants or friends. Fimir HATE Tzeentch, believing the Hell-Mother incident was his fault. Frogs are a holy symbol to Fimir representing fertility, a fetus, and breeding rights if given a figure of one by a Meargh.
Their building is capable but not complex. They have limited smithing for the purpose of tools and cannot produce things like locks, but can summon Daemons or elementals to aid them in labor. They utilize special black wood that is harder than natural for boats and walls. They use poison plants and defenses like palisades. They use the waters of their home for sacrifices rather than altars. Dedicated altars are for Fimir who fall to true Chaos worship (the Four). Most food gathered is cooked into a single stew each day. Fimir trade with evil races when necessary but prefer to trade only with other Fimir. Due to not being a mining race living near such resources, Fimir technology is based on what they can take from humans or barter for up to Iron Age level of sophistication. Fimir keep anything they can scavenge or pillage even if not immediately useful. Pumps and digging implements are very valuable.
They believe their origins are a distant human kingdom called the Waterland, where the princess Maris fell in love with the Mud God Daemon Fimúl. Fimúl was killed (meaning sent back to the Warp and Maris fled with her hideous children to the swamps where she taught them their father's ways. Some Fimir believe in a kingdom called the Wandering Island which travels the coasts of the world crowned with a magic obsidian castle where Maris and Fimúl (summoned back into the world) now rule while others believe their parents dwell among the humans somewhere. Its suggested in-universe the Waterland is the delta of the great river in Nehekhara or from Ind. The Wandering Island exists in human and Elf folklore and thus may actually exist. According to a saga written of the war, the hero Marius killed the Hell-mother with a long weapon of some kind but what kind is not known, supposedly she fell into the sea with it buried in her possibly making it a lost treasure, but Marienburg tavern songs and some scholar interpretations of the story refer to the spear as a penis with humans raping the Hell-Mother as revenge for what Fimir under her command did to the women of their tribe.
Fimir only have friendly relations with Gnoblar, and neutral relations with Albion humans (who send them criminals to sacrifice/rape) and Norse Dwarfs. Mearghs and Dirachs as well as some Nobles speak local languages and dialects, with the lower castes knowing some words. They have slightly higher pitched voices than a human although they use low tone and ample hissing when speaking to non-Fimir for intimidation.
Fimir have very long lifespans, Mearghs surviving 2000 years or more.
Fimir are divided into caste at birth based on appearance. This is lifelong and rarely has it ever been challenged. Almost all (there is variation) Fimir are around five feet with a natural hunch, six or seven if standing tall and have large bellies that they are proud of, long limbs that reach near the ground with a tail almost as long as they are tall, broad shoulders and chests, three fingers and three toes, very little hair usually, are fond of tattoos, look pudgy but have muscle regardless, have a beak with tusks, and a single pupil-less eye. Their internal anatomy is human save for round dark green organs with no known purpose in the torso supported only with connective tissue. Fimir have no external ears but instead an internal honeycomb structure that lets them hear direction easily in fog. They can't small but taste the air and ground to track. All newborns look like Shearl until they enter a toddler transformation called "Svabhaavajam" ("born to his own nature") which determines lifelong caste.
- Shearl are not only slaves, but all parts of society other than warriors and magic users. They are still on the bottom, but craftsman Shearl are higher than laborer Shearl. Shearl are born buff (pale yellowish brown) color with smooth heads and tails. They may earn the right to use a mace as a weapon but otherwise can only use clubs and stave weapons. Some Shearl can taste the air and sense human females from a great distance, and these Shearls accompany warbands as scouts.
Fimm are the collective name for the warrior caste which includes Nobles, Fianna Fimm, and Warriors. Axes and maces are their favored weapons.
- Warriors are buff color with a club tail.
- Fianna Fimm are olive colored. Nobles are a range of dark earthtone colors with rows of spikes and a blade tip on their tail.
- Dirachs have dark yellow skin, smooth tails, and horns. They dual-wield weapons. They wear elaborate loincloths, kilts, and robes with many adornments. They use daggers and staffs.
- Meargh are shorter and skinnier than males, have a full head of lanky dark green or raven hair, usually but not always small horns, smooth tails, olive skin like nobles, and are equipped like Dirachs although due to carrying out monthly sacrifices they tend to have bloodstains on their clothing.
Fimir only wear clothes ceremonially outside of cold weather and to indicate caste. Nobles in particular love their cloaks, gold, and garnets (the color of human blood). Armor must be earned but even Shearl can do so, with a belly-plate like Ogres use being the most important. Helmets with horns are beloved but must be shaped different than those of Dirachs.
Any information on Fimir is rare. Even knowledge of what they call themselves, most people refer to them as Bog Daemons or mistake them for some other monster like Trolls. Female Fimir are called Hags, Hag-queens, and Witch-Queens. Most knowledge of Fimir comes from Norse Dwarfs (who are politically neutral with them) and humans; other Dwarfs and even Elves know little of them.
Because Fimir have never been part of an important event and only raid unimportant communities, as well as the near impossibility of tracking them, they are largely unknown and those who are aware of them give them little thought. According to myth the Fimir created the Wasteland waging total war against Skaven for territory. Only once did Fimir unite, under a Meargh known as the Hell-Mother, and she began a war with the human tribes in the time of Sigmar around what would become Marienburg. The Fimir lost. Badly. The survivors swore to always remain secret and never unite. The Hell-Mother is known as a curse and hated figure in their history. Fimir are best known in scandalous and lewd plays, novels, and songs. The Tower card of the Bretonnian Tarot deck depicts a Meargh at the top of her tower, although only in silhouette.
Fimir reproduce by kidnapping and raping human women. They find humans attractive (human males ironically being their idea of femininity) but consider all females equal for breeding and all males equal for sacrifice and labor. Meargh choose which males may mate with captives, more than one for each so the father is uncertain. All females are fed well and treated sternly but gently, and compliant females are given the freedom to roam the settlement with armed escort. Mearghs or Dirachs who know healing magic assist in the birth and a Shaerl is appointed as a servant to mothers. Mearghs are born at a rate of one per clan per century, usually fatal to the mother due to the horns of the baby causing massive bleeding. A Meargh born to a clan with a young Meargh is given to another in need, with old Mearghs taking young ones as apprentices. The necessity of rape to survive is not considered a shame or a curse, but the fact that Maris pursued Fimúl out of love while her children must force themselves on her people has importance to their faith. Rarely a human woman comes to the Fimir for protection, or offer themselves as mothers to learn magic from Mearghs. Fimir "farm" communities, knowing they can't push too far to keep anonymity or wipe out a settlement. Fimir are not unnecessarily cruel (they revere Maris, a human, remember) and have been seen using human males as competitors in games like swimming and wrestling. Fimir keep human males to sacrifice, as without one they must sacrifice their own people. Due to the strain of supporting a human, they only take males intended for eventual sacrifice.
Fimir have a written language for magic, and pass on most knowledge orally. Their spoken and written language is Fimar, a combination of Daemonic and an unknown ancient language.
Fimir are social creatures who will interact in a friendly way even with other castes as long as rank is respected, playing music and games as a community. They carve toys and trinkets, which are sometimes sacrificed to Maris and Fimúl by throwing them into the water which eventually wash up on beaches and are believed by humans to be made by Sea Elves and Mermaids. Ordeals are community events to determine if a Fimir has the right to a belly-shield. They often are simple pain endurance tests, group beatings, a challenge to defeat a strong opponent or kill an enemy, but rarely involve a quest away from hime or a riddle. Mearghs set the task and decide success.
Fimir have a degree of immunity to swamp-related diseases but are extremely susceptible to venereal disease which spreads rapidly thanks to a tattoo and blood ritual culture. Those who go mad from the disease flee their kin and attempt to infiltrate human population centers to enact bizarre plans for unknown purposes.
Fimir are found mostly around the Old World including Albion and Kislev. Since the Empire has only one major marsh, the Schadensumpf, very few Fimir live in Empire territory. Most are neighbors to Marienburg, Norscans, and Albionese. Fimir always dwell near water in swamps, bogs, moors, on lakes and rivers, or coastlines. Most are a month travel from a human settlement. They prefer to set up permanent settlements on existing ruins to build up from, and create towers mimicking the fabled obsidian castle of the Wandering Island for their Meargh.
Some Mearghs survive alone in the wilderness.