Ulthuan is the home of the High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Unlike most elf forests, it is not a land of flower picking, jam making and general loveliness. Instead, the continent has been at war and besieged for centuries and the residents are in a racial decline into extinction, bought on by low childbirth and deaths through warfare. Not helping is an egotistical outlook on life and a sense of smug superiority.
Of course this all rather fits in with the Warhammer grimdark we all love and have come to expect.
As of The End Times, Ulthuan has been completely destroyed; the collapse of Caledor's vortex broke it up and sunk it to the bottom of the ocean, making Ulthuan a true expy of Atlantis. Many High Elves (some Dark and a few Wood too) died either from being unable to escape in time, being in denial of their danger, wanting to die with Ulthuan like the captain who goes down with the ship or because their bosses wouldn't let them evacuate.
Ulthuan is a large continent sized island out in the middle of the ocean of the Old World. Being so well positioned it controls the nearby seas with its swift navy and few if any can outmatch the High Elf ships.
Ulthuan is divided into the inner and outer kingdoms, due to the ring of moutains that divide the continent internally. The outer kingdoms are more rural and wilder, being those open to assault from invading forces and therefore more likely to field experienced armies of warriors. The outer kingdoms often act as buffers then for the inner kingdoms. The inner kingdoms are less ravaged by the wars of the world and thus are seen as more civilized and relaxed.
Ulthuan is the original elf kingdom created by the Old Ones and gifted to the elves at the dawn of their race. The Old Ones made separate environments for each of the races they created (Elves, Dwarfs, men, etc.) and whether they intended the young races to mingle is unknown. What is known is that it was a golden age where the elves grew numerous, where they learned art and culture and their land was a haven with bounty for all.
But then Chaos came and fucked everything royally up.
The elves, who like children, had never had to do stressful up to this point, suddenly found themselves being raped from every corner by monsters from the worst pits of imagination. The Old Ones were gone and the Lizardmen had their hands full just surviving so it fell to the elves to defend themselves. Led by Aenarion, the most manly elf ever and homie to Khaine, and his trusted right hand Merlin-like character Caledor, the elves managed to beat back the daemons for a time and retake their island. However, Chaos could not be defeated and the daemon forces gathering would overwhelm any defenses the elves could muster. In the end, Caledor enacted a desperate plan to create a giant whirlpool of magic to siphon away the chaos energies the daemons used to exist in the world (think of pulling the plug out to drain the bath after you've used it). While Caledor and his mages did this, Aenarion and his armies fought to defend the ritual and the elf king and his noble dragon steed faced a Greater Daemon from each of the four Gods of Chaos. With a manly "fffuuuccckkk yooouuu," Aenarion kicked all of their puny asses and managed to defend the site before dying, saving the world, the elves and most importantly of all the setting for future games of Warhammer to be played.
For a while after that, peace reigned and the elves did much to expand their power and build good relationships with the dwarfs. But Malekith, the son of Aenarion and some slutty hooker, felt jealous that he wasn't on the throne and decided not to enjoy all the wealth and pleasure he had but to fuck up everything his dad had fought for. Secretly sponsoring his mother Morthai's pleasure cults dedicated to Slaanesh, Chaos god of pleasure who had taken advantage of the elves' hedonistic side, he created enough disorder and unheaval in the elf realms that when the time came he overthrew the current phoenix king and attempted to gain the favour of the head elf god Asuryan by stepping into his sacred flame like his father had done.
Old Asyuran though could smell a bad egg a mile away and as soon as Malekith stepped into the flame the god's heavenly palace smelled worse then a latrine. Irked at the thought of how expensive the cleaning bill was going to be, Asyuran got rid of Malekith the best way how and made him into a BBQ. Alas like anything bad news Malekith survived (barely) and later came back badder then ever with armour fused onto his skin, turning him into a more dangerous being then before and a walking advertisement for plastic surgery everywhere. Leading his followers, the Dark Elves, he made war with the High Elves to take control of Ulthuan. When it was clear he was slowly losing the war, unlike any competent military commander who would think to retreat and try again later, he tried to unbind Caledor's mystic bathplug whirlpool thinking the chaos daemons would make good allies. Obviously at this point any sanity he had was shown to have gone out of the world and thankfully for the world his incompetence extended to spellcasting, as despite the aid of the Chaos Gods, his magic backfired on him and send a huge shockwave through Ulthuan, devasting the island-continent with some Elf kingdoms losing half of their lands to the seas and other ripped apart by earthquakes and other disasters. This great disaster became known as the Sundering. Malekith and his Dark Elves only managed to survive complete destruction due to their castles taking flight and become portable battleships. Heading westwards in their new rides the Dark Elves came across
America Naggaroth and claimed the land as their own.
Malekith was not done though and decided to weaken the High Elves. He engineered the "War of the Beard" between the High Elves and Dwarfs, leading to an era of pointless slaughter and much head shaking at the lack of common sense and diplomacy on both sides. With both sides exhausted, Malekith tried again to conquer Ulthuan and failed....and kept failing time and time again. Indeed the dreaded force of the Games Workshop status quo is the only thing preventing Malekith's triumph or him getting forcibly (see fatally) removed from power by Dark Elves sick of his regular failures.
The outer kingdoms of Ulthuan lie outside the Annulii Mountains, and are generally the targets of Dark Elf and Warriors of Chaos raids. All of them are battered constantly by their foes, and have been toughened to the point where they are most accustomed to warfare. As such, elves from these kingdoms tend to be gruff and lack the niceties and general elfyness of the inner kingdoms.
Tiranoc used to be a nice place, prior to the end of the Golden Age. They colonized the lands that would later become Naggaroth, every elf Prince was Uncle Scrooge, and their craftsmen were so glorious they could make wardrobes that functioned like Bags of Holding and crush salt with dandelions like a TES character to make a healing potion (doing all of this BEFORE adding magic). But then shit went down. Tiranoc suffered greatly from Daemons, bearing the blunt of the Nurgle Daemon invasions. Aenarion gave little fucks and stuck to killing Slaanesh and Khorne Daemons, leaving Tiranoc to mostly deal with its own backyard. Things got worse. The creation of the vortex in the middle of Ulthuan's inner seas caused the ocean to batter Tiranoc, sweeping hundreds of thousands of elves to drown (I dare you to make a Japan joke). Then during the civil war between the newly founded Druchii and the Asur, the Dark Elves took the remaining colonies of Tiranoc and used them as a new homeland, and when Malekith fucked with the magic vortex most of Tiranoc sunk beneath the ocean leaving only the (mostly unpopulated) lands closest to the Annulii. Tiranoc has rebuilt itself, but the other kingdoms (Caledor, Saphery, Eataine, and Cothique primarily) have far surpassed it.
After Nagarythe High Elves, Tiranoc High Elves have the most hate for Dark Elves. Tiranoc is primarily a horse-focused nation, having herds similar to those found in Ellyrion. But while Ellyrionese (Ellyrionish?) elves ride horseback, the more refined and structured Tiranoc elves focus on chariots. The maritime traditions never truly faded in Tiranoc either, and thus Tiranoc armies are very disciplined and very mobile forces that can cross land and sea quickly.
Tiranoc colors tend to be springtime ones, with lots of greens and yellows and bright blues. Symbols tend for favor two designs: five spoked wheels which have the dual purpose of representing the chariots, and displaying their "what goes around comes around" attitude towards their hatred for Dark Elves as well as the belief they will rise in power again. Seahawks and falcons are shown on some flags, representing freedom power and majesty. Lothern Seaguard as Tiranoc Marines are appropriate. The fluff states that while they have Silver Helms, most are nobility in decline who can no longer afford chariots. Reavers as such would be even further down the slope, as Tiranoc nobility who can no longer even afford a full suit of armor and barding. White Lions, Swordmasters, Shadow Warriors, and Phoenix Guard all have the usual reasons for being in the army but are not particularly any more appropriate than that. Dragon Princes might represent nobility who have begun to regain their prestige, but either cannot yet afford a chariot or have taken to combat from the back of a horse too well to change their style (fielding the Dragon Prince models might not be the best option if you feel you can modify Silver Helm minis to look better armored). Otherwise, the close proximity of Tiranoc to Caledor and their similar attitudes give enough reason for Caledorians to assist them. Skycutters of Lothern are nice for a Tiranoc Marine feel, and they are complimentary with Tiranoc strategies as well. Bolt Throwers are too stationary for a Tiranoc list, which should be mostly cavalry. Great Eagles are a nice option, but Phoenixes are in doubt as there's no mention in the fluff that they would be around naturally (but there's little reason not to bring them if you really want to). Sisters of Avelorn are perhaps a bit too stationary to be Tiranoc maidens, and Avelorn is quite a ways away from Tiranoc. Princes do best mounted on horses, eagles, or chariots. Dragons are perhaps a bit too fancy unless it's a Caledorian lending assistance (a Caledorian outranking your highest ranked Tiranoc elf may also lend to that "fall from grace" theme). Archmages are not outlandish in Tiranoc. Anointed of Asuryan would show up if there's a reason for any Phoenix Guard to be there, otherwise leave him at home. Loremasters are a bit far from Saphery, unless Tiranoc is their homeland. Of course Sea Masters fit the theme of Tiranoc Marines.
Welcome to Elf New Jersey, capital Elf Detroit. Formerly named Nagarythe, this was the homeland of Malekith and most of the Dark Elves, and as a result it's been the front line of the war between the two for most of its modern history. The current population is the elves of Nagarythe who stayed loyal to the Phoenix King during the war, and became more or less guerrilla revolutionaries who have suffered greatly at the hands of the Druchii. In appearance, the Shadowlands resemble every "bad place" fantasy picture ever, with tall cliffs of spiky rocks, dead black forests full of thorns and brambles, volcanoes (not the kind the Caledor dragons roost in, more like the kind that tribals sacrifice virgins in), and swamps everywhere. The land itself is bitter, mostly getting the Winds of Magic the Waystones draw in from Naggaroth and all the bad shit they use magic for flowing through everything. The land isn't aligned with the Druchii though, apparently invading Dark Elf forces get picked off one by one by various things as they cross through the Shadowlands, and the trees that the Shadow Warriors make their arrows out of feel smooth but inside a Druchii body, it grows spikes to ensure that taking that thing out will HURT and possibly cause death from a shot to the knee. The people of Nagarythe aren't much different from the Druchii if truth be told, they spend a good chunk of their time thinking about ways to kill or torture THEN kill Dark Elves they find (at least they aren't slavers or Chaos-aligned though). They take no prisoners, ever, and to supplant their population they steal babies from the Dark Elves (which is what the Dark Elves do to the other kingdoms of Ulthuan every chance they get). "Eye for an eye makes YOU blind, and that's the only thing that matters" is the motto of their team. Most of the land is in ruins from the many battles and due to the magic backlash caused by Malekith wend he attempted to undo the Vortex. Most of the elven population are Shadow Warriors, the youngest doing patrols through the lands and killing any Dark Elf beasties, raiding parties, or similar hostiles they see. The experienced ones man lookout posts alongside non-Nagarythe patrols from the other kingdoms, infiltrate the other kingdoms to do counter-intelligence on Druchii spies or assassins, and the best of the best give the Dark Elves in Naggaroth a taste of their own medicine by raiding the coastlines, poisoning food supplies, and generally making the coastal towns fear the high Elves. Nagarythe troops are difficult to paint, since you want to have Dark Elf looking High Elves without them looking like Dark Elves. Old editions had generic symbols, like High Elf runes or stars on black backgrounds or themes other armies used but on black and with more subtle colors. 8th revealed the heraldry of Nagarythe is a black crow against the twin moons in a night sky. Badasses who are looking for a fight wear a lot of red and black to symbolize the violence they bring to Druchii, the rest favor black or camouflage colors.
Unlike most armies here, a Nagarythe-themed game would probably work best if you used Mordheim's ruleset due to the smaller scale. If you want to field a full Nagarythe army however, there's two main options. The first involves anything that can pass as Shadow Warriors but at different stages of their training, the second involves the Shadow Warriors fighting alongside the garrison of a sentry post along the shores that watches for a Druchii invasion army and thus could include anything in whatever colors. Alith Anar should be included whenever possible. Characters should be left unmounted usually, or modifications to the mount should be made to fit the theme (turning a Giant Eagle or Gryphon into a giant crow/buzzard or a very battle-scarred version of what it is). Gear your Princes and Nobles with bows, and make their magic items high-damage close combat oriented. Mages and Archmages should be in the Death or Shadow lores usually (the only High Elf list where those are truly appropriate). Anointed work if themed for one of the nastier High Elf gods (not Khaine, even the Shadow Warriors don't worship him). Sea Helms should be High Elf pirate captains or shore patrolmen along with the Seaguard to match. Unless shit REALLY hits the fan, the Everqueen and her forces would die before entering the Shadowlands. For core, go for things that can be themed as Shadow Warriors in training (Archers, Lothern Seaguard, Ellyrian Reavers) as well as Silver Helms (which are rare to find, but still exist although the Heraldry book makes specific mention that each one had black dominantly on their shield as they are trying to wipe out the traitorous aspects of their family histories from the civil war and forge new family names and reputations). White Lions are likely to be in the Shadowlands if hunting monsters, or Swordmasters if they are hunting down members of the Cult of Pleasure or any other Dark Elf spies the Shadow Warriors haven't taken care of yet. Dragon Princes work as a heavy version of the Nagarythe Silver Helms, and Phoenix Guard showing up is more of an indication of how fucked up things are about to get for your army. Really, you should load up all Special choices in Shadow Warriors though. Tiranoc Chariots work okay thematically, but since they're not very stealthy most Nagarythe would not use them. The only rare choices that line up with the theme are the Frostheart Phoenix if you favor a "desolation" theme. Bolt Throwers are something Nagarythe would bear against their foes gladly, but don't invest in them if you could take more Shadow Warriors instead.
Prior to the Golden Age, Chrace was the backwoods. Elves who got sick of the city and wanted to return to Asuyranist fundamentalism and brew moonshine went to the giant forests of Chrace to isolate themselves from liberals. Then shit hit the fan twice, and suddenly Chrace was the easiest shore in Ulthuan for Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos to reach. So as a result, the local elves (most of whom had been woodcutters and livestock fuckers) became one of the most badass forces in Uthluan. The sound of 'Dueling Lutes' inspires fear into the foes of Ulthuan. After saving the third Phoenix King from Dark Elf Assassins en route to being crowned, he gave the people of Chrace his direct permission to become murderhobos and do whatever the fuck they felt needed to be done. They also receive government funding (wellfare) so they can afford the best shit out there, things normally reserved for Nobles and Princes are available to the commonfolk who are just badass enough to earn it. The best of the best of the Chracians seek to become White Lions of Chrace, and kill one of the local White Lions by themself. If they succeed, they wear the magical pelt till the end of their days and become bodyguards for important elves throughout Ulthuan as well as minutemen at the borders of Ulthuan keeping monsters and wetbacked Humans and Dwarfs from entering the land. The REALLY badass elves will tame a White Lion or raise one from infancy to pull a White Lion Chariot.
Chrace favors a red and white theme with hints of yellow. White Lions are their heraldry, with the best images being a lion head in gold depicting the first White Lion called "Rahagra". Some designs depict the axes used by White Lions of Chrace, or the axe denoting the station of Head of the White Lions (the one carried by Korhil). Soldiers who have gone to the aid of a fallen or isolated comrade are allowed to hang red ribbons from themselves and their gear, which is the mark of a badass. Chrace has a lot of archers who flit between the trees and nail enemies, so you should be sure to take some. Probably a no on the Seaguard or Silver Helms, maybe on the Reavers if you need them since they're just mounted archers. Your whole Special slot should be White Lions. Bar none. Unless you're using Shadow Warriors as Chracian Archers. Rare choices could include some wayward Sisters of Avelorn or Eagles. Phoenixes are not too outlandish in this list. Archmages and Princes are fine as are their lesser incarnates among the heroes. Skip the others.
Ever taken a trip to the Pacific Northwestern United States, Wales, or southern Norway? That's Cothique. Miles of rocky treacherous coast covered in mist, dense forests made of huge trees, gray skies that can't decide whether to rain or give up and become sunny, and short stretches of flatland ending in rocky hills leading to mountains. Cothique is chilly most of the year, but to the elves of other kingdoms used to winter being a 1 degree drop in temperature it's freezing. The waters of Cothique have more seamonsters than the rest of the world (some of which are loyal to the elves, some are not). After Malekith damaged the continent at the height of the first war between the Dark Elves and High Elves Cothique's coastline dropped and the beaches and surrounding areas fell beneath the sea along with the settlements, many of which were the largest in Cothique at the time. Since then the waters receded and many are now partially or fully above the water again. The elves inside these doomed places drowned quickly, and their ghosts remained. During times invasion these spirits don armor and attack landing enemies to soften them up for the living defenders of the coasts. The main thing to know about the Cothiquens is this: they are THE best sailors in the world. Lothern may boast bigger ships and fancier armor, but the Lothern Seaguard only defend Ulthuan and escort important figures. If you want to actually travel from Ulthuan to the outside world, you come to Cothique. Even Finubar with all his hometown pride and the Everqueen with her dedicated nation sail with Cothique sailors. Cothique elves patrol the waters of the world, updating maps and trading and exploring and attacking any hostile forces or seamonsters they encounter. They're the murderhobos of the ocean. Most information, be it news or gossip, about the outside world comes to Cothique before any other elven realm. Cothique buildings are grand, but not elaborate. Each building is built almost dwarf-like (iceberg is perhaps a better description) where what is above only hints at what is below. There's a lot of wealth and artifacts held within vaults in Cothique from the world over, even more within the ghostly mansions where living elves avoid. During times of invasion, most kingdoms send refugees to Cothique where the mansion of a single Prince can feed and house the population of entire cities in other kingdoms comfortably. Although Cothique itself is constantly being invaded, the combination of elves so toughened and stubborn that Dwarfs give them respect with the seamonsters and elven ghosts diminishing the hostile force has ensured Cothique has never been lost or even occupied. Generally speaking, Cothique Seaguard are not the same as Lothern Seaguard: LSG practice in both bow and spear to fight from the broad decks of their Dragon Ships while Cothique Seaguard simply fight as more badass Archers and Spearmen (the former on-board the sleek Eagle Ships, the latter as boarding parties). Cothique boasts something no other navy in the world has: shipboard cavalry. Their Silver Helms train the horses of Cothique to stay standing on the wet deck of a ship that is tossing and turning in the waves, and to leap vast distances and board enemy ships to trample and lance every living thing on it (let's see those Ellyrian or Caledorian bastards even stay standing on a ship upon choppy waves at all). Cothique also fields more Skycutters than Lothern does, which patrol the coasts for enemies and seamonsters. In times of war, Cothique forces tend to stage hit and run attacks and employ trickery that many elves (other than those of Nagarythe) would consider dishonorable. Finally, it's worth noting that the elven god Mathlann (who's portfolio is the ocean, he's the pointy eared bastard version of Poseidon) is considered a hostile god by all 3 races of elves, but Cothiquen elves revere him as their patron and protector. Cothique colors are the entire blue range (especially the ones with hints of green like turquoise and sea green) instead of just the standard elven blue, yellow, and red. They use any symbol that can be related to the sea like seagulls, octopi, seashells, waves, fish, seamonsters, and so on. Their kingdom heraldry is a seagull on a yellow morning sky above lightly colored waves, but the symbol of Mathlann is also acceptable.
Since Cothique is the kingdom that will transport you away from Ulthuan, any army theme you think would be fighting somewhere else in the world could have something in Cothique colors marching with it, or vice versa if you want your Cothique army to include non-Cothique things. Speaking specifically about things to be found in Cothique all core choices are acceptable, but Silver Helms and Spearmen/Archers are the best choices. All Lords and Heroes are acceptable, but the Anointed should be a priest of Mathlann instead of Asuryan.
Lothern Cothique Sea Helms are probably the best choice. Chrace shares a border with Cothique and the two groups of elves have similar outlooks, and thus Chracians are very appropriate in a Cothique force. Swordmasters have no real reason to be in Cothique, nor do Shadow Warriors as the Cothiquens are good at rooting out Dark Elves on their own. Phoenix Guard should be refitted to serve Mathlann instead. Dragon Princes of Caledor are perhaps the opposite in personality and temperament to a Cothiquen elf but as Seaserpent Princes of Cothique make a good option. Avelorn shares a border with Cothique as well, and the archery traditions are strong in both. Bolt Throwers and Skycutters are staples to Cothique, and Great Eagles have many roosts in the rocky coastal cliffs. The coldness of the coast is bad for Flamespyre Phoenixes, but Frostheart Phoenixes would have nothing to fear.
Everything found in Cothique can also be found in Yvresse, but amped up to 10. Mists don't just hang over the water, they cover the landscape. The coast isn't just rocky, it's surrounded by islands that move like barges and sink anything coming from the water and is rimmed by small mountains more than it is by cliff faces. Yvresses evergreen forests are more like wooden walls stretching for hundreds of miles at a time. While Cothique has seamonsters in it's waters, Daemons dedicated to lesser Chaos Gods somehow find their way into the world from Yvresse's mists and attempt to swim or fly to shore. As such, Yvresse doesn't have cities as much as it does outposts and has fortresses instead of cities. The constant exposure to such things makes Yvresse elves almost as fearless and grim as Phoenix Guard. While much more fearsome, Yvresse is considered livable by other elves that would call Cothique barren due to having a warmer climate, but most would rather avoid traveling to either. Yvresse has very few settlements, most live in the capital city of Tor Yvresse, the only surviving city from the Golden Age of the High Elves. Tor Yvresse is mostly vacant, entire districts of the city with amphitheaters that can seat a thousand and marketplaces as large as those in Lothern as silent as a graveyard in winter. Where Eataine displays the strength of the High Elves who have fought everything the Warhammer universe has to throw at someone and stood atop the broken corpse triumphant, Yvresse shows them as a dying race that cannot even repopulate enough to fill a single mansion before the family is wiped out by foes. High Elves of Yvresse wear small wayshards attuned to the network of waystones (which Yvressians familiarize themselves on maps of) to avoid getting lost. Much of Yvresse was damaged by a recent Orc invasion lead by Grom the Paunch of the Misty Mountain, who is the single biggest villain in the world to Yvressians. The Prince of Yvresse is known as the Warden of Tor Yvresse, with the current one being Eltharion the Grim. The heraldry of Yvresse is a sea hawk soaring above the waves on a night sky. The colors of Yvresse are dark blues, whites and grays to represent the mists, and small amounts of yellow or gold.
Yvresse is best used as a low point skirmishing force, or played with Mordheim rules. The army of Yvresse is depleted and represents the low population of the kingdom, Yvressians are disdainful of outsiders from other kingdoms and prefer to keep them away, so as a result Yvresse have relatively few options by itself most of which are Core. Thematically anything taken that isn't Core, Giant Eagles, Frostheart Phoenixes, or Bolt Throwers would be support from other kingdoms sent in emergency (note that Eltharion is unlikely to call another kingdom for aid) or as the Spire Guard of Tor Yvresse, the elite group that protects the city (the SPire Guard are known as users of ranged weapons so Sisters of Avelorn would be the best thing to represent them, but Spire Guard might be the only explanation for Swordmasters or White Lions as Yvressians you can get). Yvresse is perhaps the least played High Elf kingdom theme as a result, so factor that into consideration if you feel frustrated by them or if you want to play a unique kingdom.
In western Ulthuan, five gates separate the outer kingdoms from the inner kingdoms by blocking the only routes an army could march across the Annulii from. The garrisons are drawn from all kingdoms in Ulthuan by enlistment, although the kingdoms closest to it will have the most troops there. Although it's rarely done, choosing an army theme based off one of the gates allows you to mix and match your model choices with greater freedom than a kingdom list could (although the colors of the army will clash greatly, resembling a force of Bretonnians at times). However, fluffwise your army will be defending the same location in every battle. The symbol for each gate is the animal for which it is named. All of the gates utilize Bolt Throwers and Lothern Seaguard despite being far from the sea or Lothern. A soldier who manages to survive his tour at the gate is treated respectfully no matter what his social class all the way up to the Phoenix King himself. They continue to wear the markings of the gate they served at, and with enough generations it may find their way into their family heraldry.
- Eagle Gate: Southernmost of the Gates, it lies in the pass separating outer Tiranoc from inner Caledor and Ellyrion.
- Griffon Gate: The Griffon Gate is crowned by two giant golden statues of griffons, polished and gleaming. The griffon gate falls under attack more often than any other gate, but has never once been breached by enemies. The kingdoms is separates are Ellyrion and Nagarythe.
- Unicorn Gate: The least attacked of the gates due to being found at the end of a very narrow and dangerous pass (also named after a mount no longer available to field in the game), with a far more dangerous and monster-infested pass behind it. Most assaults come from these creatures instead, which are not entirely wiped out so as to remain a constant deterrent to invading foes. It boasts more Bolt Throwers and Archers than the other gates do. while this gate also lies between Nagarythe and Ellyrion, more Ellyrions man the walls than Shadow Warriors.
- Dragon Gate: Although the Dragon Gate lies between Nagarythe and Ellyrion, it draws most of its recruits from Caledor for one reason: it is the grandest. Caledor I moved his court to here, and build a giant palace that rivals the Phoenix Palace in Lothern today. It has living quarters for the nobility of all Ulthuan to retreat here in case of an apocalyptic invasion the likes of Aenarion's time, and boasts the largest army. Theoretically, that would be a deterrent for Dark Elf attacks. But Malekith is a prideful son of a Daemonette, and any time his troops make land he usually sends a large chunk of them at the Dragon Gate hoping it'd fall and be a slap in the face to the High Elves. Like the Griffon Gate, it has never fallen. Seriously Dark Elves, are you even trying?
- Phoenix Gate: The Phoenix Gate separates Nagarythe from Ellyrion. Unlike the other gates, this one is manned almost entirely by Eataine recruits. The Phoenix Gate gets breached almost as soon as they finish rebuilding it, but inflicts a huge number of casualties on enemy forces for their efforts. Every time it falls it gets rebuilt larger, grander, and harder to assault (it's said in High Elf Heraldry that the tallest spires currently rise as high as the Annulii behind them). Despite how likely it is a recruit will die before their tour is up, the forces of the Phoenix Gate are confident that it's all according to their divine god emperor's plan, and they receive the best armor and most respect of any of His armies, their ammunition is blessed and anointed with divine oils coming straight from His temple in the homeland and-wait, this sounds awfully familiar...
While the outer kingdoms suffer from the assaults of mortals, the inner kingdoms have to deal with threats of their own. Winds of Magic flow all about the inner kingdoms making their geography and wildlife peculiar. A bad month of magic can leave whole sections of the countryside magically irradiated, and the dead of the twin seas (the Sea of Dusk and the Sea of Dreams) do not sleep soundly and are as likely to assault the living as they are to entrance those near the waters with visions of mortal lives long since passed. Daemons sometimes manage to break through the weak barriers of reality in some of the more chaotic sites, but they rarely get far or manage to do lasting harm.
Eataine is a lot like New York state. Miles and miles of nothing but farmland, then one fuckhuge city full of immigrants and assholes. Unlike New York City, Lothern is a glorious place that has pretty much all the wonders of the world in it (like a Civ 5 capital city on easy mode). BIG fucking polished marble lighthouse with thousands of torches in it so it glows from space, buncha gem-encrusted gates armed to the fucking teeth that are as hard to get past as Terra is to invade in 40k (more so perhaps) with each one named for the tens of thousands of gemstones set in them for no reason other than to color code them like a boss (Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby), and fuckhuge statues of the past and present Phoenix Kings and Everqueens as well as a statue of each elf god (even Khaine, who's statue is black with ruby eyes and hands instead of the marble and gems the others are made of). There's more non-elves than elves in Lothern, and it's the only place in Ulthuan non-elves are allowed to be without being labelled a "kill on sight terrorist" to elfkind. Finubar is from here, and the Phoenix Palace was relocated here upon his coronation. Although Lothern is the center of trade with the world (the ENTIRE world), the Lothern navy doesn't do much except protect the homeland, escort offensive armies, and attack Dark Elves. Lothern is known for it's entertainment, with lots of opera houses and theaters and museums and anything else are found there. Although Eataine's heraldry is a phoenix rising with a noonday sun all in red and white colors (which is also associated with the Temple of Asuryan, a giant pyramid located in Eataine that the Phoenix Kings go to for coronation), the heraldry of Lothern is sometimes used in its place which is a red sea dragon (who is a real being, named Amanar, who sleeps in Lothern's harbor and rises out of the water to slaughter anything that threatens the city. The Shield of the Merwyrm magic item you can use is one of his scales, making that item very Eataine in theme) rising out of the blue water on a white background. One final thing of note: earlier editions mentioned that elves of darker complexion hail from Eataine. So it's the land of lovely chocolate elves, and all the assorted heresies that brings (also the place where Warhammer basketball is more popular than Bloodball).
A Lothern army contains Lothern Seaguard, Lothern Skycutters, and Lothern Sea Helms obviously, as well as Eagle Bolt Throwers (which are made mostly in Lothern and deployed everywhere). As the Shrine of Asuryan is located in Eataine, Phoenix Guard marching in an Eataine list keeps with theme. Silver Helms are also common as the region has ample nobles. White Lions can fit into an Eataine list as they are Finubar's bodyguard and wear the Lothern heraldry when they do, and the city would of course have more than it's fair share of mages. Dragon Mages, or Archmages/Princes on dragons are great, and are either Caledorians looking to get "defend the capital and the king" under their list of things to brag about or are actually from Eataine. Swordmasters are a a great option for maintaining order amongst the mon'keigh and keeping the Cult of Pleasure at bay or as escorts for local Mages. Tiranoc Chariots are probably more of a symbol of a noble's wealth rather than something that's fielded with regularity, but taking some isn't breaking theme. White Lion Chariots are acceptable since White Lions are in Lothern protecting Finubar anyway. The Everqueen's forces should be left out of Eataine lists unless you're theming a scenario around an apocalypse tier event where EVERYONE is needed. Shadow Warriors may be found in the city as counter-spies to any Dark Elf aligned traitors, but seeing them in a list is not likely. Dragon Princes may be pompous, but defending the capital of Ulthuan is incentive enough for glories to being them in. Reavers are probably too far away from home to be found here unless they're simply Silver Helms proficient in bows.
If you really feel like fucking over the rules and focus on fluff one could even deploy human or dwarf units representing the non-elf population of the city, either fighting to protect their homes or for the right to leave the city (in the sense of "Hey let's fuck over these spikey people then we'll ask. They're SURE to say yes then!" as opposed to actually making a deal with the elves). Of cause these units would be pretty low tier being mostly merchants and mercenaries so should be more along the lines of free company or dwarf miners instead of anything military. Gunpowder units of any kind should be avoided like the plague since a lot of elves would consider them a greater danger to themselves then the enemy.
This is the kingdom, not the 3 characters of the same name (the first Caledor, Caledor the Dragontamer, first befriended dragons and forged some of the best magical shit the world has ever known. Whatever the kingdom was known before has been forgotten since Caledor's descendants and surviving followers renamed it in his honor). Most of Caledor is Annulii, of the volcanic variety with only enough land to live on and produce the food required to sustain the population. This has caused Caledor to always have a small population compared to the other kingdoms, so even though some kingdoms have ghost towns and manors and castles without population to fill them, Caledor has degraded little in that regard. Caledor's power waned only because the volcanoes have cooled as time went on, and as a result the dragons who siphon the heat of eruptions to keep their hearts beating started hibernating for decades, centuries, some for thousands of years. In addition the forges lack the heat they once had and less wonders are produced. Caledorians are proud bastards, the degree of prudishness and arrogance an elf has compared to a dwarf or human is the same in scale from a regular elf and a Caledorian elf. The shrine to Vaul, the smith god, is in Caledor on an island and in a volcano called Vaul's Anvil. It's there that anything worth mentioning is made (fuck your Dwarfish quality, magic metal beats mere hard metal). Although the other kingdoms have volcanoes and dragons within them, the majority of the draconic race is in Caledor and almost all dragon riding elves hail from here or trained here. The Banner of the World dragon, the bane of Daemon players, is the heraldry of Caledor; a winged dragon who's body is twisted into the shape of Ulthuan with yellow and white background (older editions depicted various things on the heraldry, like a volcano). However, unlike most kingdoms who display their kingdom's colors with uniformity, Caledorian pointy-eared bastards prefer to pick colors like those of dragons (so a unit of green Dragon Princes all hearkening to the founder of their order who rode a green dragon thousands of years ago marching beside Spearelves wearing white and red which was the color of the dragon who sleeps closest to their base of operations with a prince riding a young blue dragon but clothed in red, the color of that dragon's parent who the prince's great great great great grandfather rode during the Sundering). So whatever colors you want to field your army work, although the main colors for dragons are red/orange, gold/yellow, green, and blue with the colors starting bright in youth and fading as they age. But any colors you think look draconic work really as long as you avoid looking Dark Elf (at that point, might as well grab the Widowmaker and call it a day). Make them all the same color, or make every single elf bearing a different scheme at your choice. All Caledorians think that everyone with Caledorian blood is a descendant of the Caledor kings since Caledor II died without an heir and they'll never acknowledge that. Dragon Princes from Caledor are known for not saluting non-Caledorians, not even the Phoenix King. Prior to Finubar's reign, Caledorians didn't do jack shit since apparently killing anything less than a Bloodthirster is below them, but the current High Prince of Caledor named Prince Imrik (not the name of Caledor I before taking on the name Caledor, this is a new guy with the same name) realized that if you don't do shit there's nothing to brag about and as a result Caledorians will show up anywhere there's a fight they can be a part of.
If there's a High Elf army made up of Lord and Hero choices, it's we Caledorians. Princes on dragons define us and should be seen whenever the dragons can be awakened! Archmages in the lore of Fire on a dragon are acceptable if the larger dragons cannot awake, and the Dragon Mage youths ride if none with experience available. The rest should be our well armed Nobles and Fire schooled Mages. Anointed of Asuryan works well, if you modify him to be a priest of Vaul (make him blind, and swap the Phoenix Motifs for generic fire and things like anvils and hammers). Any core except Reavers (children on horseback, bah!) and Seaguard (no Caledorian would go to battle smelling like fish!) are fine. Those Chracian blowhards can come (if they feel like the need to see a REAL elf fight that is), but their damnable Chariots have no place outside the savage kingdoms. Swordmasters may march with Caledorians, but only as long as they make themselves useful and take arrows for our pureblooded Caledorian Mages! Leave those vile bastard elves, the Shadow Warriors, in their blighted land and let them rot there. Phoenix Guard should be remade to serve Vaul, as is proper before they come along. Of course, most of your points should be spent on Dragon Princes of Caledor! Skycutters should be grounded to make way for our glorious dragons. Tiranoc Chariots decked in the livery of a Caledorian lord can see service along Dragon Princes, but really you should be taking more of Caledor's finest instead. Bolt Throwers are for fireless cowards who shun melee, not heroes and elves such as we! Eagles are great as provisions for the dragons, but never fight alongside us. Phoenixs are acceptable, but keep those vile Frosthearts away from the dragons lest we wait another hundred years to fight alongside them again. As lovely as the womenfolk of Avelorn are, battle is no place for their delicate features; let the Dragon Princesses ride in their stead!
All High Elves originated in Avelorn, and while elf bureaucrats and nobility all around Ulthuan may go on about traditions and honor and policy, Averlorn is the most down to earth traditional of the kingdoms and in a lot of ways resembles Celts. Running a Wood Elf army as an Avelorn army isn't a crazy idea, but it's important to note that while Athel Loren is a very hostile and constantly evolving place, Avelorn is a place of relative safety containing species long extinct elsewhere in the world and oddball things like unicorns and fairies and the like. That isn't to say Avelorn is without teeth, the life of the forest is tied to the Everqueen; when she's angry you might as well be taking a trip to the realm of chaos between Tzeentch and Khorne, when she's grieving the forest is as inhospitable and dead as the frozen wastes, and when she's happy Avelorn may be the only place in the Warhammer world that can rightly be called "paradise". As long as Avelorn and the Everqueen live, most of Ulthuan exists in a state of constant spring/summer even in the autumn and winter months. Most of the beasties and Chaos creatures of the Annulii come to Avelorn looking for elfkibble, but that's about as successful for them as a Bretonnian peasant walking into Athel Loren with a heavy rock and looking to conquer it. The Everqueen's court is constantly on the move, mostly made up of tents and large friendly Treekin with hollows in their bodies for tired elves to curl up in and be rocked to sleep by it's walking to the next court site. Buildings like baths, temples, and other things dot the entire region and are simply returned to when needed. Most of Avelorn's civilian population is poets, artists, and mages who know little of war and all compete to amaze each other and the Everqueen with their talents like chirrens presenting things to their mum on Mother's Day. Anywhere you look, there's elves eating and having sex (which for elves is like 6 hours of foreplay and a kiss) and dancing and singing and acting, all the while politics and cultural movements as important as those that happen in Lothern take shape. It's like if Tolkein went to Woodstock. Avelorn's heraldry is red hearts on white and green, with thorns or depictions of the Everqueen sometimes appearing as well. The personal symbol of the Everqueen is a silver dove or swan. In times of invasion the artists of Avelorn quickly don their uniforms and march with perhaps more dedication than the other citizen levies, but their skill is arguable (eh, evens out and gives 'em something to sing and paint about if they come home). Each levy stores its gear at a shrine to Isha in Avelorn, and as such the equipment of each group bears her symbols (a weeping eye or a bleeding heart).
For your army list most troops can be run as whatever you want them to be in their stats, but have their actual minis substituted for things like Dryads and Wood Elves so the appearance of the army matters more than the choices in this regard. Silver Helms would march with the forces of Avelorn if Tyrion is present in the forest at the time (he's always got an entourage of fanboys). Reavers may be present as Ellyrion shares a border with Avelorn and the cultural values are very similar. Cothique lies outside the Annulii from Avelorn, so Lothern Seaguard in Cothique colors are not a stretch either. Mages are a valid choice, but not as combat ready battlemages and not in the death lore. Dragons are not an appropriate choice for Avelorn lists, but the bird mounts are acceptable (gryphons over eagles for the exotic feel). White Lions may be present protecting the queen, a visiting noble of some kind, or eliminating Annulli monsters (or simply because Chrace is also on the other side of the Annulli from Avelorn). Swordmasters and their strict discipline are not suited to be amongst Avelorn's citizens unless they're in a bodyguard role, and Shadow Warriors are not tolerated for long in the forest or allowed in it's depths as they are entirely the opposite to the spirit of Avelorn (feel free to use Sisters of Avelorn minis to represent them though). Phoenix Guard are unlikely to make an appearance as the Maiden Guard fulfill their duties here. Dragon Princes would be here in a list with Tyrion in it, otherwise not thematic unless those prideful bastards are sweeping in to save the day and take all the glory. Tiranoc Chariots are alright in the colors of Avelorn, White Lions are acceptable for the same reasons White Lions of Chrace are. Bolt Throwers should be rare (no pun intended) as their lack of mobility hardly suits the nomadic lifestyle of Avelorns peoples, and Phoenixes kept far away as they not only would have difficulty dwelling in the forest but represent Asuryan while Avelorn mostly only acknowledges Isha. Sisters of Avelorn should be mandatory in this list. Skycutters from Cothique, or as pleasure barges/public transportation of the citizens of Avelorn being brought into battle are a reasonable choice.
Ellyrion is one giant perfect perma-summer (in a good way) plain and steppe kingdom where a fuckton of horses that have the lifespans of elves are found in a constant state of divine stampeding. As a result of this, horses that elves can manage to lure away from the pack are better than any found anywhere in the world. The land itself is magic somehow; unless an Ellyrion shows you the way, the longer you walk the further you get from your destination. The Ellyrions learned anything worth knowing from the horses themselves, and the rest they figured out by running wild in the forest in barefeet. Hurting, or even talking in a mean voice to a horse get you an arrow in the head from out of nowhere in Ellyrion. As far as elves go, Ellyrion is a land of teenagers. Always doing stupid stunts for fun and excitement, quick to start a fight but slow to do anything that can be considered "fighting" other than throwing a punch after a lot of trash talk, and setting up highly transitional cliques (to be fair, this all makes them the elves most likely to be bros with mon'keigh even if they won't shut up about their newest ride's "horsepower" and the special name they gave it and their buddies back home and the stupid shit they've done with said elves). The capital city has an interesting feature. The same amount of buildings that are normally in a city, are instead all public castles with the roads being bridges made of silver between them. The water below the city is apparently ghost horses that'll rise up and gore the city and everyone in it to death if it falls to enemies (so the Ellyrions take a page out of Caradryan's book). Dark Elves like to try to raid Ellyrion for black horses, but if the amount of non-dinosaur cavalry options the Dark Elves have is any indication they usually aren't too successful. Obviously, everything-EVERYTHING-should be decorated in horse and Pegasus and unicorn motifs in an Ellyrion list, and apparently every single decoration they have represents a story (even if two look almost identical, there's apparently a whole different story behind it). Their colors are blue, white, and purple tones like plum and magenta. White Annulii factor into the backgrounds of their flags sometimes, as do thunderclouds.
There's two High Elf kingdom lists that should be full cavalry, and the first is Ellyrion. Leave the birds and lizards at home, all your Lords and Heroes should be on horseback. Mages should be in the High, Beast, or Life lore. Leave the Anointed at home. Reavers should be the bulk of your core, with any spare room filled by Silver Helms. Chracians are acceptable. Swordmasters stay home, Shadow Warriors have a place in this list. Phoenix Guard should be dropped, Dragon Princes are nice as a melee hammer if your Reavers get bogged down. Skycutters shouldn't be there unless you modify it to have a Pegasus team. Tiranoc Chariots are your best choice for Special. Leave the entire Rare selections out, none of them are fitting for the Horse Lords of Ellyrion.
Saphery is the kingdom of wizards. The winds of magic flow through Saphery with such strength that claims about magic running in the blood of Sapherians isn't an expression, it's a legit theory. The ground sparkles and glows, the sky changes colors and at certain times of the day looks like a giant rainbow stretched over the kingdom, Saphery is impossible to map out because the land literally moves around (it's mentioned in the Black Library books that, upon resting, travelers to Hoeth notice suddenly that the hills in the distance were still moving even when they had stopped). To get from place to place, you simply need to start walking and know the destination that you want and the land will get you there if it thinks you are worthy in however long the land wants you to take. Sapherians never build their homes in eyesight of each other, and if the land could be seen from above they dot the landscape with no planning for roads or towns. Each is entirely unique as well, the mansion of (the now deceased) Anurion the Green is more plant than building and Hothar the Fey built a flying castle that simply floats all over Saphery as examples. Sapherian elves are not known for their sanity, but they are also not known for hostility or being dangerous (to friends). Even Tzeentchian devotees and daemons have trouble making Sapherians parts of their plans. The only real city in Saphery is Hoeth, and the massive Tower of Hoeth (the largest structure in the Warhammer world). Hoeth cannot be found simply by following the map, like anything else in Saphery you simply walk until you reach it. Unlike the rest of Saphery, seeking Hoeth with less than noble intentions results in you never being seen again. Spoooooooky. Even if you reach the city, there's an unknown number of spells protecting the Tower in various ways. Most of the knowledge in the world can also be found in the magical books (which work like computers, you can speak what you're looking for and turn the page to find information about it) in Hoeth, and in the Blood Bowl alternate (possibly) canon Hoeth is also the place where the Crystal Ball network (which works like television) is managed. Hoeth isn't just a place of wizards who act like scientists, it's also the center of martial arts and disciplines of the High Elves and as such produces the Swordmasters of Hoeth, the most skillful warriors in the world. Just like Yvressians, Sapherians wear wayshards to navigate their lands. The highest ranking nobility of the land is the Loremasters, who are the government officials of the kingdom with the High Loremaster of Hoeth being the representative Prince of the kingdom (Teclis is the current High Loremaster). The heraldry of Saphery is the Tower of Hoeth shining like a lighthouse on a nights sky. Alternatively, the symbol of the goddess Lileath is also used as she is the patron god of Saphery (usually by those protecting a mage, other than Spearmen who MUST be guarding a mage to bear it on their shields). Another popular symbol is twin swords, which represent a metaphor for magical boons granted directly by Lileath ("Alinor, Bringer of Knowledge" and "Valenor, Bringer of Power")The colors of Hoeth are the traditional white and blue of the high elves, but the blues tend to be darker and starry designs in both yellow and white are common on all surfaces.
All of the nobles of Saphery are spellcasters, and as such are more appropriate than Nobles or Princes (for a BSB, the magic of the banner can be handwaved as the spell the noble who just happens to be carrying the flag is casting). Anointed of Asuryan should be Anointed of Lileath, Sea Helms could be explained as the guys who make the magic carriages of the Skycutters other kingdoms employ. Of course, Loremasters of Hoeth are advisable as are Mages and Archmages. All core are acceptable, or at least not contradicted anywhere. Swordmasters are the single best choice for Special, as the woodsmen of Chrace would no doubt hate to be in a kingdom where the lay of the land changes or Phoenix Guard who's patron is overshadowed by their patron's granddaughter (as well as their "we know what will happen" thing being kinda fucked up by the unpredictability of the land and the people in it). It's unlikely a Shadow Warrior would be allowed to enter Saphery by Saphery itself, likely ending walking in circles until they turn around and find themselves home. Skycutters are nice, fielded more as a magical chariot than a coastal defender. None of the Rare options are very Saphery-y, but none really contradict the theme of the army directly.
The Inner Sea
The Inner Sea is the small sea surrounded by the lands of Ulthuan. Strictly speaking they are not part of the inner or outer kingdoms but something different.
- The Isle of the Dead: The centre of the great Vortex which gathers the larger part of the Winds of Magic and returns them to the dimension of Chaos. Whether you get swept up into it if you get too close is up for debate. In the book series Defenders of Ulthuan/Sons of Ellyrion Morathi and three High Elves reach the bubble where the ancient mages stand casting the spell that saves the world outside of time. All three of the elves experienced different things on the island between landing and the bubble, with one having a prolonged conversation with a being claiming to be the embodiment of Death. Regardless, the island appeared to live up to it's name as a place of dry dusty dirt and lifeless husks of plant life.
- The Isle of the Flame: Holds the Shrine of Asuryan where the new Phoenix Kings are elected and crowned and the Phoenix Guard are based. Infallible kingly testing is present here, for what better way to decide on a new king then just let the gods sort it out (Note: they actually don't, the only two to go through the flames unprotected and survive were Aenarion and Malekith, the survive bit is also important given Morvael used the flames to become a hero after his butt-buddy died, all other Phoenix Kings have had charms placed on them to make it through safely). Once Daemons tried to invade it, with N'kari providing the magic required for the army to manifest personally. The Daemons suffered heavy losses (with the dead Phoenix Guard being obviously a much more permanent loss), and it took the young Tyrion and Teclis to beat him/her which earned them his/her eternal hatred. The moment N'kari perished, the surviving Daemons burned to ash in the holy majesty of Asuryan's might.