Warhammer Fantasy Battle
"There was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars."
- – Robert E. Howard
"To this day, I have the most fond memories of some of my old toys."
- – Michael Keaton
- – Arthur Schopenhauer
Warhammer is dead! Long live Warhammer! It has been replaced with Age of Sigmar by GW with a continuation of the canon storylines. For the supplement where the world is destroyed, see The End Times. To see the fan revolt continuation of the game, see The 9th Age or Warhammer Armies Project. To see the video game adaption, see Total War: Warhammer. There's also the Endhammer project.
Warhammer Fantasy IS a traditional fantasy world created in the days when metal hair was all the rage and Dungeons and Dragons was still a new and strange concept. A somewhat darker take on the age-old fantasy set forth by earlier writers such as Tolkien where the forces of man are almost constantly on the defense, Fantasy is a place where MEN are MEN, and ELVES are MEN, and DWARFS are MEN-MEN, (and Skaven are Man-Things). The entire world is constantly saturated in ancient and warping magic to the point that giant skulls are natural formations in rock, flora sometimes grows eyeballs and genitals, nobody stays dead, and the whole planet is some part of the Old Ones' last-minute emergency anti-Chaos plan. It also has many more dead-hard, beardy Vikings killing, raping, and pillaging.
- 1 In A World Of War
- 2 WFB crunch in a nutshell
- 3 Setting
- 3.1 Human nations
- 3.2 Elves
- 3.3 DWARFS
- 3.4 Chaos
- 3.5 Lizardmen
- 3.6 Undead
- 3.7 Skaven
- 3.8 Orcs and Goblins
- 3.9 Ogre Kingdoms
- 4 Meta History
- 5 The World That Was
- 6 The appeal of Warhammer Fantasy
- 7 Tabletop
- 8 Significant Personage Of Warhammer
- 9 See Also
In A World Of War
Warhammer is about peasants living in shit, dying in shit, and the thousands of perils that befall them. Which are often covered in shit. It is not a fun place to be, though there are worse. You have the standard three races of human, elf and dwarf... and none of them a united front. Your average soldier of the Empire is armed with a sword, a musket, and maybe a uniform which comes with a cheap piece of armor that couldn't stop an untipped arrow. Thusly equipped, he is expected to go toe-to-toe with a Daemon. Or a 9-foot-tall daemonically enhanced steel/daemon/*insert Chaotic thing* metal clad super Viking. Or a giant, many of which prefer to stuff opponents down their pants or boil you/mash you/stick you in a stew. Or a battle-trained whatsit-a-saurus. Or a rat-man armed with a flame thrower and a machine gun while leading a colossal goddamn steampunk frankenstein rodent abomination. Or a half man/half goat eight-foot-tall killing and raping machine… oh, let's just say nothing nice ever comes out of the Chaos Wastes. And to top it all off, the madmen actually manage it! The one good thing for humanity is that the various factions and races have enough sense to set aside their differences to avoid total annihilation, and succeed at this with stunning regularity.
Of course, once the threat of turning into some Daemon's bitch passes, the various races get right back to smacking the living shit out of each other. Throw in lots of undead in Gothic and Ancient Egyptian flavors, ratmen, omnivorous in every sense of the word Ogres, a race of dinosaur-taming lizard precursors, an evil faction of Dwarfs, some neutral nature-loving elves and an evil faction of elves and we have our setting. However unlike their 40k counterparts, the Empire has ties to both elf and dwarf nations and those ties have grown stronger over the centuries. In fact the Elves are the ones who taught humanity to wield magic, while the dwarfs taught them mechanics and engineering, which has resulted in The Empire creating some pretty badass warmachines and devices.
In short, there is a thicker line in terms of Good vs Evil. Sure, it's hindered by mistakes in the history of all three (Man, Dwarf, and Elf) but it's still so much better than the
xenophobic righteous alien smashing of 40k.
WFB crunch in a nutshell
As for actual tabletop performance, some argue WHFB requires more tactical skill from the player; however, this is probably because it's not as widely discussed and is more often played by an older audience that was introduced to the setting during the glory-years of the fantasy genre. The game certainly does require more memorization (or reference at least) of rules, although list building factors in less than actual field tactics in comparison to other games (see Tarpit). Psychology is a major factor in Fantasy as few battles (barring Undead on Undead slapfests or Daemon infighting) will progress without something fleeing or even disintegrating due to a failed Leadership roll. Fantasy puts more models on the field, but most of them are rank and file redshirts. Perhaps most blessedly, Fantasy lacks the $400+ models other gaming systems do. If you want an Apocalypse level battle, you bring a fucking sea of 1 hit point soldiers lead by one single model so fucking badass that Kenshiro bows in respect as it passes him.
Magic is a big deal in the game, and has its own phase during each turn. Other than gentlemanly games between you and your opponent, you ARE taking a spellcaster even if their only job is to fuck up the enemy's magic phase (some armies in fact require a spellcaster in the army, both of the Undead armies requiring someone to keep the corpses walking). Models may gain positive effects, or more likely negative ones during the battle so notes may need to be taken beyond just Victory Points. You have to know the ins and outs of your troops, and you'd be better served knowing your enemy's rulebook as well since things don't change much in their roles in the battle. Planning is everything, but ultimately the field of battle is chaotic and thus you'll need to be able to adapt to win (Nurgle and Tzeentch enjoy the gameplay aspect of Fantasy in different ways).
As far as models go, Fantasy is a bit liberated. With no rules requiring measuring from a gun, or an exact model footprint, you instead rely on the plastic base as an indicator of who you're fighting and if you can be hit. This means that the only requirement is to have a little plastic square or rectangle base in the correct size. What is actually ON that base doesn't matter, unless you play at a GW shop in which case the only requirement is that they made whatever is on that base. Want to play one faction, but you only own another? So long as your opponent isn't a dick you can just use your army as the army you want to play now. Fantasy has it literally stated in the rulebooks that it's a big world (same basic geography as ours, but scaled up to a ridiculous size of a planet) and thus there's plenty of unexplored places where anything is possible. So when you field your first army as your second, you can provide a legitimate fluff explanation (Vampire Dwarfs, Lawful Good Chaos Gods, redneck Elves, Undead who are not soulless killing machines but instead have simply had their invitation to your opponent's army to a Wednesday teatime rejected for the last fucking time, and so on). Unit fillers are a popular option for people making a new army in Fantasy. Instead of buying 60+ foot soldiers for the army of your choice, you can buy some extra bases and glue them together (for example a 3 by 2 grouping of 6 bases) then put something on top of them (a balsa-wood cart, an older model from another edition that was removed, an army specific thing like a hole in the ground that appears to be where the Skaven are coming out from or a statue of a hero for Empire) and stick it in the middle of the group. Boom, instantly you have to buy 4-8 less troops. As for those "GW-made at GW shops" rules? Clip sprues, make a fence, glue it to a base. Voila, instant unit filler.
Fantasy models DO have to fit close together unlike models in other games, so they tend to be a bit less wild with poses (some see this as a plus). Big models tend to have a lot of detail, and almost no armies share models so there's quite a bit of variation on the field. Also there's generally less spikes everywhere, actual exposed breasts on some models, and FAR more skulls (Khorne and Slaanesh both approve!).
Those guys who made the Total War games have made computer games based on it. Feel free to have a nerdgasm, or a RAGEGASM, as
Creative Assembly Sega Games Workshop has locked away every other faction besides Empire, Dwarfs, Bretonnia, Vampire Counts, Orcs & Goblins, and Chaos (if you were an early buyer of the game) behind a DLC paywall. But there are two or more legendary faction leaders which can change up the game. Either way, Warhammer fans who own it are fairly happy with it. Similarly, Blood Bowl was a specialist game set in an alternate universe where American football replaced war and has a vidya and a sequel, while the other specialist game Mordheim which was a skirmish game got the Xcom-like Mordheim: City Of The Damned that is available now on top of Man O' War: Corsair which is loosely based on the Man O' War tabletop (so out of a game about fleet management, you get the bastard offspring of Mount & Blade and Sid Meier's Pirates! somehow) that was launched as an alpha access game. On top of that, a hack-n-slash multiplayer game was made Vermintide, where a marriage of the combat of Mount & Blade and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare meets the structure of Left 4 Dead to massacre Skaven.
Warhammer is, in most places, set in a period reminiscent of early Renaissance Europe, only much, much worse. If you know anything about history, you'll know that's saying something. Nearly everything has some kind of historical analogy, at least within the human nations. Everywhere is a shit place to live for one reason or another. But unlike a certain other setting, this has a lot more to do with being subject to multiple clashing interests in the backstory, rather than thematic contrivances that are often poorly explained or barely touched upon.
As an interesting note, the Warhammer world, or at least what remains of it in Age of Sigmar, is named Mallus, which in GeeDubs latin would be "Hammer".
The Empire is usually the center of attention in the Warhammer world. It's basically a fantasy version of the Holy Roman Empire, meaning its warriors are very angry Germans wielding swords, muskets, and bibles, as well as having steam tanks and magic. It is ruled by a mortal Emperor (who is succeeded upon death, meaning there's no need for a corrupt council to do anything more than annoy him). He is elected from amongst the ranks of the Elector Counts, who govern the different provinces of the Empire in their own special way and wield badass swords called Runefangs which represent their office (when a Runefang is lost, there's one less member of the council). They are the closest WHFB has to a "main character" faction. All good-aligned races usually converge around the Empire when shit hits the fan, and all Chaos-aligned races make a beeline praying for Slaanesh to guide their cocks into an un-lubed Imperial's cannonhole.
The first Emperor was a guy named Sigmar. He was fucking hardcore (think a combination of Thor, Charlemagne, and Conan the Barbarian). After becoming the head of his tribe, he made friends with the Dwarfs by saving their king by killing greenskins (all before he became an adult even). After that, the Dwarfs and Germans hung out a lot which resulted in ze Germans getting all the same tech Dwarfs make but they push it even further because Dwarfs are reserved about new things. Sigmar then brought the Polish and some Russians into his clan, and founded The Empire. Sigmar got involved in a war down in Egypt's analogue in the setting, Nehekhara, against the Undead which resulted in Sigmar making the decision that if he were ever being kept alive artificially he wanted the plug pulled. Eventually, Sigmar got bored with politics and pulled a walkout, heading eastwards to fight some new beasties and was promptly never heard from again. For some reason, people began worshiping him as a god and now he is the main god in the Empire. However, the more reasonable conclusion is that he's long dead and Ulric, the number two god of the Empire and the god that Sigmar worshiped in life, handles the prayers of the Sigmarite priests, that or probably made Sigmar into a God after he died or when he reached the World's Edge Mountains in the east. Turns out he became a god through sheer force of will but got stuck in the wind of Azyr because of Tzeentch being a dick. Although the Empire was, in large part, the inspiration for the Imperium in 40k, there are some major differences. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the other races (like Dwarfs and High Elves) are not only accepted but considered trusted allies (despite being arrogant douches). Additionally, though kept on a tight leash, magic is largely accepted (thanks to the Colleges of Magic the Elves set up, so wizards don't accidentally summon daemons every five seconds), and the Empire is fully polytheistic (although worshiping gods that own property in the Realm of Chaos is still a big no-no, despite Witch Hunters doing it (he's a Chaos God of Order though, so it's alright), although Sigmar is the patron deity of the Empire and generally given the most respect. Second is Morr, who provides the mortal races of the world with a legit Chaos-free afterlife. Also, all forms of Undeath are heretical in the Imperium. The Empire isn't totally shit and if you can get a good job you can live a pretty good life, just keep a gun under your pillow every night. They're even advancing pretty fast and if it weren't for the constant Chaos and undead invasions they'd probably be advancing into an Industrial Revolution right about now.
The Empire also counts the allied nation of Kislev among its forces as they supply it with cannons, and it supplies them with more men but especially lancer calvary. Kislev is mostly Russia during the era of Catherine the Great with a pinch of Poland mixed in, and consists of vodka swilling peasants armed with spears, lance cavalry, and bear cavalry all led by their ice-wizard queen to defend the frost-covered land that never smiles. They are more prone to mutation due to living where the winds from the Warp Gates blows. The primary Kislevite battle tactic is to assemble against Khornate Daemonhosts or Chaos Viking hordes that outnumber them 100-1 all while standing barefoot in the snow armed only with rocks AND FUCKING WIN THE BATTLE. Kislevite women consist of the hottest girls in the setting and hardcore bitches who will crack open a chaos warrior's skull and use its mashed brain as baby food.
Halflings from the Moot are considered members of the Empire, although they contribute little other than food (particularly since the newer editions removed all Halfling fieldable models from the game).
The current Emprah is a guy named Karl Franz. He's pretty awesome too, he actually has a political and militaristic stance and he gets shit done. He rides a giant fucking griffon that eats people and owns the one fucking dragon in the entire damn Empire that doesn't act like a taxi for some batshit insane wizard or elf. It eats people too. He's got a fancy suit of ornate gilded armor, cool bling, and a hammer (again, THE Warhammer). Not a fool to be messed with.
Generally speaking, the forces of the Empire consist of cannons, Landsknechts with halberds, cannons, Landsknechts with claymores, cannons, musketmen, cannons, wizards, cannons, crossbowmen, cannons, pikemen, cannons, Russians, cannons, steamtanks, cannons, knights, cannons, inquisitors, cannons, and mortars. Plus nuns with guns and rioting peasants.
The Emperor has to put up with a lot of bullshit: Vampires, Daemons, Orcs, Skaven, Mummies, Beastmen, Elves, and other Humans. If you can think of it, the Empire has gone to war with it at least once. It's even gone to war with itself
a couple of times almost every time that the Emprah's seat becomes vacant, which at one point, resulted in a thousand year long civil war. Its continued success in managing to keep from falling apart is as much of a mystery as Dwarfs finding the Humans of The Empire to be worthy of respect (maybe because Games Workshop has a hard-on for Imperialism).
Bretonnia is the other major Human nation of the Warhammer world. Knights, chivalry, all that King Arthur bullshit. All while being pseudo-French nobles with pseudo-English peasants. With the addition of worshiping a Lovecraftian goddess in the guise of a bitch with a magic chalice that's manipulated by baby-eating forest elves to get the Bretonnians to do their bidding (the Brets don't know that last part though!). The peasants in Bretonnia somehow have it worse than the worst off peasants in the Empire since at least a peasant in The Empire has held a piece of currency at some point in their life. It's pretty much medieval France, only worse. They have a lot of knights, the lowest of which are Knights Errant who have turned into glory hunting idiots since they got their armor, then Realm Knights, then Questing Knights who seek the blessing of the Lady of the Lake, and finally Grail Knights before whom the Lady appeared and let them drink from her magic chalice (hue hue hue).
Peasants are almost completely useless both in crunch and fluff other than as archers or cannon fodder, except for the peasant monks that are in fact carrying a dead and skeletal Grail Knight as if he's alive. But, since they're more French than they are English, this does kinda make sense... Small numbers of Bretonnian women are considered blessed by the Lady enough to wield magic, but in truth most of them just have fey blood.
Bretonnian culture is based on High Elf culture, since the Franks hid from marauding Daemons within the ruins of High Elf colonies while the world was in its very first apocalypse scenario. And while they were there they flipped through
ancient tomes Elf childrens books depicting High Elf Silver Helms (AKA elfknights) killing Orcs and saving princesses and liked what they saw, inspiring them to put on a cosplay that never ended.
Bretonnians used to be on the verge of conquering The Empire in older editions of the game, but that plot was dropped when The Empire was put front and center as the posterboys of the game. 40k fans may be able to relate.
Bretonnian nobles are bred from "superior" stock from the rest of the Human race, and are attractive even by Elf standards. Completion of their training and their missions allows them to further enhance themselves with magic, making their bodies resistant to poison and mutation and all around tougher. Their faith is so powerful they're literally able to will bullets into being less damaging to them than arrows, and to perform reality-defying feats simply because they think they can. Too bad they worship an Elf*.
Bretonnia is one of the more neglected armies in the game, once again proving the tradition that any faction that makes frequent use of the Fleur-de-lys is on GW's back burner.
Other human nations
Other human nations, which don't warrant an army book include:
- Albion, the British Isles back in Celtic days where tribal shamans and intelligent rock giants protect human-made waystones and Old One artifacts from just about every faction in the game.
- Amazons, a possibly immortal all-women civilization in Lustria whose ancestors served the Slaan but became a separate civilization after the Warp-Gates collapsed.
- Araby, Middle East fantasy equivalent whose magicians can enslave Chaos spirits and are immensely rich from trade.
- Border Princes, Balkans in its natural state of conflict. Group of small nations to the south of the Empire, home to Lietpold the Black and other rogues.
- Cathay, incredibly large eastern empire which has magical robot terracotta warriors and non-Chaos spellcasters who are actively stealing power directly from the Chaos Gods (especially Tzeentch) and are led by their supreme dragon Emprah. Has the Great Wall of China, but is called the Great Bastion for some reason. All they ever do for the plot is occupy all of the fucking Chaos Huns/Mongols and Steppe Nomads which would otherwise be attacking The Empire, which is quite significant actually considering just how fucking many Chaos Nomads there are.
- Estalia (Spain), produces Conquistadors and the world's supply of human murderhobos.
- Ind, fantasy India which has ALL of Indian Mythology living in its borders. Constantly under invasion by eastern flavored Beastmen.
- Kislev, pre-Peter Russian Empire, Poland and Mongols all combined into one. Constantly getting buttfucked by Chaos.
- Nippon (Japan), taught Skaven how to be ninjas and otherwise is so reclusive we know nothing about them (and why the fuck did they think teaching evil rat men more sneaky ways to murder millions was a good idea?).
- Tilea (pre-unification Italy), a large number of city-states and kingdoms that ally with other civilizations in the world like an army of mercenaries that can range from Warforged to Greek Hoplites using flying machines. They are the main source of human mercenaries for the Old World.
OH BOY, HERE WE GO...The "good guys" of WHFB. Although as a group they're dickish in the extreme like you'd expect, many of them are quite bro-tier and the reason the race is diminishing is because they overtax themselves to save the world every time they can from everyone they can, and humans are usually what counts as part of the world (except ones tainted by chaos of course). They have the strongest navy in the world, wear red/white/blue, bring giant eagles to battle, are snobby, the average citizen can't even name the leader of their closest ally, they send in their marines to unwinnable conflicts, they saved the collective ass of the Old World twice, their head of government is democratically elected...
Many 40k fans mistakenly confuse the Eldar lore with Elf lore. This is a major mistake, as Eldar are characterized as ultra-dick failures while no faction has a bigger ass-kicking and ass-saving record than the High Elves.
High Elves defeated the first Chaos invasion into the world (unknown to themselves that they had distant magical help from the Lizardmen) and every invasion since. They established a network of Waystones which pull the excess magic (which Daemons use to manifest) into Ulthuan and shoot it back into the Warp. High Elves taught the Empire magic, and save the ass of Bretonnia every time it gets invaded by something they can't beat. They patrol the world's oceans in giant magical aircraft carriers that launch dragons, and wreck the shit of anyone trying to launch a Black Crusade. They single-handedly keep the world from being swallowed up by the Warp and all the good factions respect them for it (even if that's the ONLY thing Dwarfs respect about them).
The Everqueen of the High Elves and the hereditary ruler (who co-rules with her democratically elected male counterpart, the Phoenix King), is a being of IMMENSE magical power whose soul is made up of the combined souls of all her mothers leading back to the first Everqueen, who was the second daughter of Isha. The souls themselves reside with Isha, and as a whole they make up the Everqueen entity. Chaos is afraid of her (read that again: Chaos Gods in 40k only respect the God Emprah as their greatest enemy and an equal, but they're actually afraid of the Everqueen), and she can cleanse anything the Chaos Gods can corrupt. Her only weaknesses are that sadness saps her energy (you do NOT want to piss her off though) and the fact she's mortal means her daughter has to be protected.
High Elves are ethnically divided into ten major groups by region. Some are such pricks who treat even other High Elves like Eldar treat the Mon'keigh, some are fatalistic jackasses with the personality of a secret service agent, some are revenge-obsessed sociopaths who make the Inquisition look like Lawful Good Paladins, some are
nutty professors wizards, and some are hippies murderhobo bards who are willing to make love AND war as the situation requires. In addition, High Elves have districts within major trade cities in all the good factions.
High Elves would rather walk willingly into Slaanesh's open mouth than do anything beneficial to a Dark Elf and vice versa, a stark contrast to Eldar/Dark Eldar relations. When they die, High Elves are first nabbed by their patron god if said god liked them enough. Next, they can corpse-run to a Waystone (giant magical structures set up all over the world by their race to weaken Chaos and keep Daemons from manifesting) where they get to chill and manifest semi-solid bodies (which they will usually use to pick off troops from any evil races that wander by). Then, there's an evil goddess who got punished by Asuryan for trying to rape him while he was asleep and gets back at his rejection by taking High Elf souls (she doesn't care about any other Elf subraces) to torture like it's Christian hell. The final alternative is Slaanesh manages to snatch them from the material plane and either eats them or turns them into Daemonettes (yes, in Fantasy he still does this). All of Slaanesh's Greater Daemons are elves who in one way or another wound up in his employ (from N'kari who was an insipid noblewoman who wanted to be the center of attention, to Dechala who was a virgin sacrificed by her parents to Slaanesh for mercy and came back as a pissed off Medusa with an army of Daemonettes to butcher them). While Eldar must use soulstones to keep their soul safe, High Elves use them only to guard them in combat against Daemons and those who worship them. Otherwise, their only use is to link to the Waystone network and provide GPS navigation for the elves.
Ulthuan is like paradise (for the most part, there's Chaos corrupted areas and random encounter tables of course) and elves will fuck, sing and enjoy the splendors of life without fear of taint as they must give themselves willingly to Chaos to be corrupted. The Cult of Pleasure, Slaanesh's Elf cult, takes root like Chaos cults in the Imperium and have to be purged by the High Elf Inquisition who are kung fu Elves in light armor who have swords as tall as their body but don't look weaboo.
Eldar are all-powerful psykers, although humanity has potential to make stronger psykers than the average Eldar. High Elves on the other hand are constantly bathed in magical energy, more so than the rest of the world, but you have to actually LEARN to be a
psyker wizard. Since High Elves have public education and being a wizard is a great job, there's more Elf wizards than human ones and they're typically more powerful (the fact you have to LEARN to be a wizard means that the only humans who can come close to badass Elf Loremasters are prodigies of Mary Sue proportions). Of course, one of the 10 High Elf ethnic groups have the old fashioned "every Elf is also a level 1 wizard" feature, but that's just them.
Eldar have a multitude of different styles of combat and war, and a multitude of different philosophies related to them. High Elves have three basic flavours of badass warriors: stoic sumbitch priest who shrugs off cannonballs to the face, guy with giant axe who wrestles monsters then goes for an ale, and Witch Hunter with giant sword.
High Elves are, to the very last, soldiers. Every poet is also a Spear
manelf, every baker is also a wizard, and every secretary loads giant bolt throwers. They passed the point of desperation tens of thousands of years ago, putting High Elves in the position of Israelis.
Edgier elves who get shit done without drugs and soul torture. Dark Elves manage to maintain the awesomeness and jack it up to a new level while still at the same time being made of the kind of fail you'd expect from a fantasy Dark Elf race. How do they do this you might ask? By taking the next logical step in the elven belief of "we're better than everyone" over to "so we should be allowed to kill them for sport". They have a history involving use of slavery, violently suppressed the indigenous population when they colonized their new homeland, look down on the rest of the world, are embroiled in an ongoing war with a foreign nation, spy on everyone including themselves, citizens can easily gain access to deadly weapons, they built structures to keep people from a bordering nation out...
After being driven out of Ulthuan by the High Elves they fled to a new land they named Naggaroth (in memory of their old homeland Nagarythe). Naggaroth is Warhammer North America but very cold with a network of underground rivers and a sea in the middle. The topography of the land is half mountains, half flat plains which are mostly covered in forests. Parts of it are Chaos corrupted or dead, and those are probably the LEAST dangerous places to explore. The land is infested with all sorts of monsters, from Harpies and Cold Ones to Manticores and Hydras. Even worse than them are populations of Orcs (descended from the spores of Orcs Dark Elves tried to use against the High Elves as slave soldiers), Beastmen (because Chaos) and Skaven (because the rats can tunnel under oceans apparently), though the Dark Elves have a treaty with them.
Their entire culture is built around "if you died, you were too fucking weak/stupid to stay alive". They have no protections for their souls because none of them admit they could die because that would mean admitting you are possibly less awesome than you tell everyone you are (because they'll kill you for lulz if you don't pretend to be more awesome than they're pretending to be). When Dark Elves die, they go first to their patron elf god if they manage to impress them (unlike High Elves they worship the nastier elf gods, collectively called the Cytharai) then to the same elf goddess who tried to seduce Asuryan then straight to Slaanesh. The third is okay, because some Dark Elves FUCKING WORSHIP SLAANESH (only in secret - in public they worship Khaine the lord of murder and the other Cytharai for fear of Malekith's wrath).
Their king is the second son of the elves' greatest hero, but grew up to fuck up the world almost as badly as Daemons did the first time they invaded the material plane, and is the setting's resident Doctor Doom/Darth Vader (The only non-Chaos threat to the world greater than him is Nagash, the Apocalypse to Malekith's Doctor Doom). Their queen Morathi is Slaanesh's high priestess and the queen mother; she's been fucking her son since he was old enough to have his hips move by themselves. Oh, and that son/mother couple have been plotting to kill each other and take full control of the Dark Elves for thousands of years, with each gambit resulting in mass Dark Elf casualties and a "kiss and make up" moment for the two. Morathi is the single oldest living being in the setting (except most Slann and a few Saurus are as old if not older, plus Drachenfels if you consider him canon, but whatever), and it's all because she bathes in Daemonette jizz (literally, Dark Elves like to summon Daemonettes to parties, with said parties having low survival rates and Morathi keeps Daemon servants with her at all times) and the blood of newborn elves.
Fun fact: each year the craziest of the crazy, the Witch Elves (female berserkers in chainmail bikinis with poisoned blades) who worship Khaine, have a ten day holiday called "Death Night" where they just rampage through Dark Elf cities and kill whoever they want, unless said person can buy their lives in double digit amounts of slaves. They recruit into their ranks by stealing babies and very young children. The girls are automatically raised as Witch Elves while the boys are thrown into a cauldron of boiling blood, those that survive are trained as assassins.
The Dark Elves raid the entire fucking world, constantly. They're the pirates that piss everyone off. They've managed to steal a Slann by lobotomizing it, then they turned it into fireworks (massive Dark Elf casualties). They plan safaris into the Chaos Wastes to shoot Norsemen and bring them home to be stuffed and turned into trophies. As long as they've existed, Dark Elves have been at a war with the High Elves. Every battle both sides suffer massive casualties, as Malekith is fighting the war mostly for the sake of pride and sends his men at fortresses that have never fallen because he wants to be the one to make them fall (he'll do this every year for thousands of years without learning a damn thing).
But despite dying en masse at the hands of their enemies and their own people, somehow Dark Elves manage to keep their population high. Every time they attack High Elves they suffer MASSIVE casualties in comparison to their enemies, and manage to return to full strength in a few months. While the fluff implies that the Dark Elves kidnap High Elf children to raise as Dark Elves along with their numbers being boosted High Elf defectors fleeing to Naggaroth, there is a much simpler reason; Games Workshop has admitted that they don't deal in concrete figures and there are as many elves as the plot demands, so illogical writing is the reason they can replenish their numbers so easily despite elves being a dying race.
During the heyday of the High Elves, before Chaos first invaded the world, the High Elves had established colonies in Warhammer France. Generations passed, and these elves knew little to nothing of the homeland save for what news traders brought them. When Daemons first invaded they were left to defend themselves, but by mobilising the primitive stone-age humans they were able to hold their own. Shortly after, architects were sent to establish Waystones in their lands and rekindle ties. Once again however, they were abandoned to their fates when Dark Elves first started the big never-ending civil war, then after a short period of being in touch with the homeland again were subject to the brutality of the Dwarfs after the Phoenix King of the time went full retard and pissed the Dwarfs off (of course, Dwarfs neither know the difference in ethnicities nor cared as it was all just knife-ears and keebs to them). After being told to evacuate and leave everything behind to go home and fight the war against the Dark Elves, the colonists burned their draft cards and fled to the sentient forest to become Wood Elves.
They then turned into a pack of insane dicks.
So that forest they fled to is Athel Loren. Athel Loren is, in theory, a bastion of life and anti-Chaos in the world. In practice, it's a giant forest that plays by its own rules and is fucking expanding to the point it's theoretically capable of overtaking the rest of the world. Parts of it are Chaos corrupted or dead, and those are probably the LEAST dangerous places to explore. It is a forest full of unmentionable terrors of all shapes and sizes who will FUCKING VIOLATE YOU AND EAT YOU. But they're not evil. They're made that way/too dumb to understand alignment/a natural force of destruction, not a malicious one. So they're horrible and evil but their actual alignment is nicely True Neutral.
The actual elves live in the parts of Athel Loren in Bretonnia. Said forest existed way before the coming of Daemons & Aenarion, being much, much, MUCH larger than today, which in turn means that Bretonnia is actually living on what was once said forest. They smoke weed, have /ss/ and /ll/ and /sm/ with kidnapped Bretonnian noble children, hunt humans like animals using giant hunting dogs every summer when their king awakens from his winter sleep after they tie a Bretonnian maiden to a tree naked and shoot her full of arrows. They also manipulate the Bretonnian nobles into becoming more superior elf-like humans by manipulating an entity so ancient and unknowable that even THEY have no idea what she is. Said entity appears before humans that are badass and gives them geneseed cider to drink, which turns them into living Superman.
Culturally, the Asrai are a mix of High and Dark Elves with a mix of batshit insane dark evil with noblebright altruism. Some do random shit like decide to hold impromptu celebrations and plays because of a smell on the wind and re-enact battles that may or may not have actually happened but with actual killing. During the performance, they are literally holding their entrails in with their hands while giggling and teasing the dead, dying, and still up and killing for forgetting their lines because they're fucking crazy like that. When they have festivals, some elves will have a dance contest with invited humans. Sort of like Dance-Dance Revolution. The bets are usually on how long the human will last, before he/she becomes too tired to continue. Some Elves invite you to peacefully feast and drink and have fun in their woody halls. In exchange they feed you to Daemons and monsters when you fall asleep. If you're lucky they'll let you leave after the party, but you'll find out that a few days in Athel Loren can be a hundred years outside and it catches up to you so you rapidly age and die. Seriously, Wood Elves are fucking scary.
Their king became the avatar of Kurnous and reincarnates (via virgin sacrifice) every year (during which he usually kills the shit out of Bretonnians because 'why the fuck not?'), while their queen claims to be the REAL avatar of Isha and uses prophesy and scrying to figure out what's going on in the rest of the world. For some context: Alarielle, the Everqueen of the High Elves, is the God Emprehss of Elfkind. Chaos Gods are scared of her, she can look Slaanesh in the eye and cause Slaanesh to blink. Alarielle is fucking scared of the Wood Elves, and notices that her Wood Elf counterpart, Ariel, is changing into something far more feral than the world has ever known and that the rest of the Asrai are too.
Wood Elves have a different view on the world than the other two races; while High Elves see themselves as masters of the world's fate and see the future as a great battle between good and evil and Dark Elves see the world as their playground with no regard for who came before or who comes after, the Wood Elves believe that fate has already decided. They believe that Chaos is coming, and in the end thanks to the manipulations of Ariel the entire rest of the world other than Athel Loren will be swallowed into the Warp, leaving the Wood Elves as the ultimate winners of the world conflict when they alone inhabit the material plane. As such, their fluff is quite grim and full of determinism and in-universe the Wood Elves are more or less Eldar. They also claim that the elf gods have already staged the final battle against Chaos, lost it, and are slowly being consumed by Chaos until they will fade away forever. Since this is not mentioned within the fluff of the other two races it can be assumed this is the Wood Elf perspective rather than the outright canon.
But that's just the Wood Elves. The rest of the "Wood Elves" army? Treekin. Not Treebeard (who will tell you a story while he smooshes Orcs), not Old Man Willow (who hates you and will put you to sleep forever), and not the kind of Dryads who get raped by Satyrs (but actually enjoy it because they're that horny, either meaning it's not rape or that that was how the ancient Greeks thought rape worked). No, these are like Hills Have Eyes tree people. Some of them march to war with the Wood Elves because they recognize kindred spirits. Some rampage against all non-tree life in the forest. Some of them are so batshit insane that they attack everything, constantly in giant tree battles where the splinters grow into new Dryads and Treekin who then jump straight into the fray like hard-skinned Orks. That ain't Chaos corruption either, it's their natural state. Regardless of sanity, ALL Athel Loren Treekin are infested with angry chittering forest spirits that will eat you like flying pirahnas. Elves who die in the forest can become angry bitter trees that don't remember anything, unless you're raped by hermaphrodite daemons who then kill you when they get bored, so yes, you fucking come back to life by inhabiting a dead tree, so you can fucking show those fucking skanks HOW IT FEELS WHEN THE FUCKING FAVOR IS RETURNED! WITH INTEREST/SPLINTERS!! FUCK!!! They also decorate themselves with entrails and skeletons like a decorator crab.
Oh, and the leader of these insane fucking scary tree people? Drycha. Insane forest treegirl. Drycha is crazy, by any standards of crazy. She's a tree woman with acorn nipples that dribble syrup. She's perhaps one of the most terrifying beings in the setting, and that's saying a lot. Luckily, (if you're not Asrai) she's mostly against the Wood Elves since she thinks they're the ones responsible for everything going wrong with the world (Get out of my swamp you kids!). 8E re-introduced a male counterpart, Durthu, a Wood Elf Treeman character back from 5E who is similar to Drycha except that he only hates Dwarfs while being bitter against everyone else. He now wields a giant amber sword forged by an elf, and is revealed to have been the one who saved an infant Everqueen and her brother in Ulthuan thousands of years ago.
Athel Loren doesn't expand naturally. It's suddenly appeared on islands in the sea. When you wander into those forests looking for coconuts, you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a forest from hell somewhere around Alsace-Lorraine, with Drycha and a hundred or so Dryads decorated in greenskin, Dwarf, Elf, and Human bodies all staring down at you. Athel Loren has worldroots connected to many different forest around the world. Which means you will never be safe, my little porcupine butts
tl;dr Wood Elves live in Athel Loren which is between Bretonnia and The Empire, which is both alive, and akin to a forest in Soviet Russia - where forest cuts down you! The Elves are crazy insane rapists, and the tree people are fucking xenomorphs. You're either a tool to them that will be destroyed when you are no longer useful, or are a plaything for their amusement.
Same old cliché Dwarfs (as used in Warhammer Fantasy, as the term "Dwarves" is rarely used) in a lot of ways, with some fun twists. The Dwarfs have this thing about holding grudges forever. Their language has no word for forgiveness, there's a story where a Warhammer Dwarf outright says forgiveness is not in their nature and one of their most sacred artifacts is the "Dammaz Kron" which is a GIANT golden book which is inked in blood and lists every slight, however small, against the Dwaarfish race Misspell Dwarfish will ya? THAT'S GOIN' IN THE BOOK LAD!!!. Dwarfs are required by their gods to avenge even the slightest insult in blood; a story in old Warhammer comics involves two Dwarf Thanes being about to lead the last of their clans (consisting of women and children only at this point) against each other while greenskins are about to breach the fortress walls. The two Thanes, in the middle of a battle, realize they no longer know what the original feud was about and make peace only for their gods to crush both under a giant statue, causing the clans to wipe each other out and the greenskins to take over. Another story involves Dwarfs building an impenetrable fortress for a human king. After receiving their payment, they found they were a few coins short (the dwarfs thought they were scammed, in reality there was just a counting error). The Dwarfish response was to muster the full strength of their nation to invade, slaughter every man woman and child inside, and raze every last stone into powder.
So not only does the race tend towards Lawful Stupid, they are punished divinely for not acting in the Lawful Stupid way.
Dwarf pre-Chaos history involved the entire race united as one giant clan, producing master works from their GIANT fortress that spanned half the mountains of Europe and Asia. After Chaos invaded, they simply shut their walls and waited the whole thing out.
After the High Elves defeated Chaos the first time, they befriended the Dwarfs and swore to be best friends forever. Then after the first battles of the Elf civil war, the newly-separated Dark Elves manipulated the two races into war with each other (taking advantage both of the High Elf arrogance that rears its head
every other every generation, and of the fact Dwarfs are absolute racist fuckheads who take the actions of a single individual as the standard for the whole race (the Warhammer Dwarf word for "inferior" is actually their word for "human")). So Dwarfs were pissed at Elves right up until the modern day, where they started to realize Elves come in different flavors than just "Keeb Scum".
Not long after this, the Lizardmen attempted to enact a prophesy from the Old Ones that they believed would weaken Chaos. Instead, it caused giant earthquakes which wiped out most of the Dwarf race and turned their fuck-huge city into thousands of thousands of small fortresses isolated from each other by giant cave-ins. However, some say this was actually a Skaven machination to expand Skavenblight gone horribly wrong/right. This was followed by Orcs and Goblins getting underground, and taking many fortresses from which they now wage war against the entire Dwarfish race.
More recently (from the Dwarf perspective) they befriended humanity after Sigmar Heldenhammer saved one of their Thanes. The hammer from which the Warhammer games derive their name was forged, and given to Sigmar as a symbol of eternal friendship between the two groups (thankfully now the Dwarfs can tell apart evil from good, and know not to blame the Empire for the actions of the rape-vikings). Dwarfs taught the Empire about machines and technology, leading to the current state of the Empire.
Currently, Dwarfs are constantly fighting a losing war against Skaven and Night Goblins (and Greenskins in general) for control of the deep caves, tunnels, passages and mines below the surface of the world. Without the Dwarfs keeping things that dwell down in the dark at bay, the lands of men would be overrun from beneath; though the 8th Edition book sees them becoming a Rape-Train against Hordes, and in the fluff the High Elves attacked WAAAGH!s that have raged without stop since the fall of the Dwarf Fortresses from behind and destroyed them while the current Dwarf High King has mustered a fuckhuge army to end those that remain.
In canon, Dwarfs fight very differently from hold to hold, with some being the classic hammer+axe Dwarf warriors while others (those you'll almost always see on the tabletop) fighting as Napoleonic armies with more cannons than most armies have horses.
What else is there to say about Dwarfs? Gyrocopters and death cults. There is nothing that isn't improved through the addition of flying machines and death cults. The dwarfs have zero magic. No, scratch that, they have even less than zero magic. It tends to fuck up when they're around, and everyone can use magic but them. Not that this stopped Dwarfs though. They just grabbed magic by the balls, put its balls on the anvil, and hammered it into runic items. Because they're stubborn like that. As a result, Dwarfs have the best magic items bar none. They also compensate for their lack of magic by building giant fucking machines instead. Flamethrowers, helicopters, organ guns, and pretty much any other variant of carnage that can be moshed together with enough steam, alcohol, and gunpowder. They build them smaller but they build them better, and they're all fueled by alcohol. The traditional Dwarfs don't like the Engineers and their machines that much, and anything that hasn't been in the blueprint stage for a thousand years before a prototype stage was even thought about is borderline heretical technology (not that they will refuse to use it, they'll just bitch about it worse than even a real life Scotsman would). The death cults are crazy naked dwarfs that have in some way shamed themselves or broken an oath, and as a result they shave and dye their hair into a red mohawk and go on a quest to die an honorable death (so Repentia/Penitent Engines for any 40k players reading this).
There are also evil dwarfs called Chaos Dwarfs. During the first Chaos incursion while some Dwarfs decided to hide in their fortress and wait for the whole thing to blow over, some decided to flee (or explore and look for safe haven elsewhere). After heavy losses among the Dwarfs, the Chaos Gods decided to throw them a bone, and the rest is history. Regular Dwarfs hate them above all others (even moreso than elves) and claim they have sworn to wipe them all out (in practice they pretend Chaos Dwarfs don't exist and woe betide the non-Dwarf who brings them up!)
They used to be an interesting and unique faction that resembled an even more grimdark ancient Babylon, their corrupting magic slowly turning their evil sorcerers to stone (dorfs ain't meant to magic it up) while creating Daemonic machines that would make Chaos Spaaaaaace Marines drool (instead of grabbing magic by the balls and hammering it into runes, they grab deamons by the balls and hammer them into daemonic warmachines). Then they became like normal dwarfs, but dressed in black. Then they up and vanished for a while. Nowadays, Forge World has made them back into their first, awesome thing again - half-Baylonian, half-stripped down industrialist assholes a la Isengard.
Their favorite pastimes are drinkin', fightin' and wearing silly hats for no adequately explained reason.
Back in the day, there was only one Chaos army. Since then they have been split into Warriors of Chaos, Beastmen, and Daemons of Chaos.
Warriors of Chaos
The Warriors are Nordic (literally, they are called the Norse in the canon), beardy, berserking Viking/Pan-Tang rip-offs clad in Unholy Chaos Plate and blessed with the Marks of the Chaos Gods. They basically granted Warhammer Fantasy it's popularity back in the 80's/90's. The Warriors of Chaos represent a multitude of tribes and clans in varying cultures and degrees of civilization (mostly being Scandinavians and Mongols however) all of whom live in the giant North Pole around the Warp Gate there, which is basically an Eye of Terror. They (mostly) revere the Chaos Gods as their masters although they have different pantheons (sometimes to be able to avoid saying the name of the Chaos Gods directly to avoid getting sudden attention and turning into one of "those things", sometimes of other Chaos Gods, and rarely of ascended mortals like Bel'akor). Warriors make up the primary bad guys of the setting and raid the fuck out of the world for shits and giggles. Games Workshop loves to throw them constantly into almost every canon, to the point anything major involving someone who ISN'T Chaos is a huge fucking deal.
Unlike in 40k where Chaos Space Marines
actually get shit done possibly fucked up 12 times under the same leader, Warriors have gone through multiple Everchosens who keep getting killed by reincarnations of Sigmar keep getting killed in various ways (sometimes even by Daemons) and are replaced in the hopes that the next one will get it right (and one even went "fuck this shit" and went to non-Chaos Valhalla on the eve of his victory). Despite this, they look no less awesome for it, and the current one managed to beat and cripple his good counterpart before losing the war thanks to Orc shenanigans.
Daemons of Chaos
As in 40k, but as mentioned before are much weaker.
Khorne mostly just watches his servants fight each other and sometimes other factions when that shit gets boring. Loves trapping his champions in time loops where they kill their older selves.
Nurgle loves Isha from afar, who may be unaware he even exists. He maintains a circus (a literal circus, with tents and candy and performers and clowns) which travels through the Old World, bringing in plagues and taking in followers.
Tzeentch doesn't do jack shit. EVER. He doesn't own a monopoly on bird iconography as that's mostly owned by mortal gods like Morr and Morai-Heg. The Chinese siphon magic from him without retaliation. His champions are mostly stuck being the spellcasting bitch to whatever Everchosen or other god's champion didn't take a wizard in their army list. As a result, he likes to spread rumors like "all magic is me!" and "everything is going according to plan" despite everyone calling bullshit and his prophesies actually being wrong most of the time.
Slaanesh spends most of his time corrupting individuals in the Empire and High Elves for shits and giggles, as well as watching his champions wander the world and do stupid shit like it's a giant reality show. He likes to try to nab elf souls like his 40k counterpart, but instead of mindlessly eating them he makes quite a few of them Daemonettes. He also has a permanent scar, no matter what shape he takes, because Khaine fucked him up good.
There's a multitude of other gods as well, including multiple Chaos Gods of Order. To those who claim that makes no sense, remember that Chaos is pure potential, not contradictory pants-on-head retardedness that you can't comprehend (although it certainly becomes that often enough). One of them blesses Witch Hunters and other forms of Inquisitors in their fights against everything Chaos (so like Malice, but without malice). Another is a Snow White figure, locked in a glass coffin in stasis by Tzeentch and dropped in the mortal world because he's terrified of her.
Daemons themselves tend to be fucked over royally as they can be perma-killed in Fantasy in various ways, and are VERY prone to being used as the power source for magical artifacts and weapons.
Representing the non-Skaven Chaos mutants of the world, Beastmen are a group of pagan style animal mutants living in the forests and wilderness of the world. Beastmen are wild and crude creatures embodying all the negative aspects of animals combined with human-level intelligence. They are truly repugnant to behold, let alone to smell, for they are a twisted reflection of the base and barbaric aspects of nature. Beastmen are Neutral Evil to the core, the only thing stopping them from being Chaotic Evil is their reverence of Bray-Shamans and the Chaos Gods. The carnage and despair they spread across the land is a malevolent and deliberate attempt to wreck anything beautiful or stable for the lulz. Bitterness and spite simmers in the heart of every Beastman; it takes little more than a few well-chosen words to spur a Gor into a frenzy of unrestrained rage. The sounds of distant battle will cause a Beastman to prick up his tufted ears in an instant; a fight or duel upon a woodland path will invariably bring dozens of Beastmen from all about in a very short space of time. Even when gathered in their torrid encampments the Beastmen spend their time fighting, fucking or feasting. The only time they don't is when a particularly strong Beastman knocks a sense of purpose into them (sometimes literally) or a Bray-Shaman calls on the Chaos Gods.
Beastmen HATE civilization. Anything that looks like it was made intentionally is broken, anything that can't be broken is tied to a stick and used as a weapon to kill the fuck out of more civilizationfags. Although Beastmen tend to come in specific flavors (Satyr, Minotaur, and Dire animals) they mutate even further into grotesque and scarred monsters of utter evil when they attract the attention of the Chaos Gods. Which they spend most of their time seeking to do in various ways, despite the fact that Chaos rarely if ever tosses them even a minor blessing.
So all in all, they're a race of furry Cultist-Chans.
Three odd points in fluff relate to Beastmen; in one old story from White Dwarf, a human father spends time teaching his son how to survive in the forest using navigation, tracking, and fighting. Said son is revealed to be a mutant that the father is taking to the Beastmen, who accept him immediately. In another, Beastmen females are mentioned as existing (previously, the only references were to males leading people to assume they breed through rape exclusively) and as being "extremely docile". Finally, in most Beastmen fluff it is mentioned time and time again how shit factors heavily in their culture (literal fecal matter), and Beastmen smear EVERYTHING in it (This only showed up in the 7th ed book, but the pages are swimming in it. Make of that sentence what you will). So while most fluff portrays them as monstrously evil and unsexy as possible, there's still bait for furfags!
The arch-enemies of Chaos. When the Old Ones first arrived on the world from nobody knows where, they created spawning pools that continually pump out Lizardmen.
The first type were the Slann, who were Old Ones in miniature although far less intelligent (still LEAGUES above even elves though). The Slann were extremely magically gifted beings, and were the assistants to the Old Ones. They resemble grotesque fat toad creatures who ride floating stone chairs like upright Jabba the Hutts with legs. The second type, the Saurus, were their muscle. Saurus have few thoughts beyond what they were created to do, and mostly exist as soldiers and guards. Finally, Skinks were made. Skinks are small chameleon-like humanoids who serve the Slann as assistants. They also created the Kroxigor; large bipedal crocodile-like creatures designed for heavy lifting. The Skinks and Kroxigors have an affinity for each other, sharing similar birthing methods (see below) and both can breathe underwater (though the Kroxigors prefer to ambush their prey or enemies crocodile-style).
They live in the jungle kingdoms of Lustria and the Southlands, the former is so hostile to non-Lizardmen it's said to be the most dangerous place in Warhammer outside the Chaos Wastes. Their culture and society are heavily based off the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. If that offends you, you're playing the wrong game and it's hard to believe you've read this far already.
They have thousands of writings (and seek out more) from the Old Ones inscribed on golden tablets which the Slann spend most of their time poring over in an attempt to discover what the next move against Chaos should be or what the Old Ones wanted to do that hasn't been done yet. However, the Slann have... difficulty in this endeavor, and are prone to interpreting "Milk, Eggs, Butter, Bacon" as "Destroy the Dwarfs, Make Party Hats For Amazons, Do the Dinosaur, Have A Skaven and Manflesh Barbecue". Another problem is the material. The Lizardmen use gold for their plaques because it doesn't deteriorate; a humid, tropical jungle is not a place where paper can be safely preserved (the bright color would also make them stand out among foliage, making them easier to to find). But the other races see their color and shininess for its aesthetic value and decide to take them for themselves. To say the Lizardmen don't like anyone else touching their plaques would be like saying that Khorne has a bit of a temper.
They have the most powerful wizards and one of the most powerful fighting units, including Stargate-style magitek that they use as altars which shoot lasers.
Some could argue that they're furfag bait for the scalies. They can just fuck right off 'cause Lizardmen are awesome, and no scalie shit here; they're as ugly and unappealing as real lizard people would be, and have no genders as they walk out of magic spawning pools as adults. In fact, the few Lizardmen who learned about genders and sex (from human guests they were interviewing) considered it weird and irrelevant to their interests.
In the modern canon, most of the Slann are dead and they can no longer be spawned as their specific Slann-spawning pools were destroyed by Daemons. Not 'undead' Slann, just dead. Except for Lord Kroak, but he doesn't really count as his body is 100% dead despite his spirit just refusing to leave it.
Oh, and if you haven't figured it out by now they are dinosaur men that ride dinosaurs such as Therapods, Thyreophorans and Ceratopsians. Who would have guessed. In fact one of said therapod species, the Carnosaurs, were dangerous enough to threaten and scare DRAGONS despite lacking wings or a breath weapon; there's no dragons in Lustria because the Carnosaurs hunted them to the point that the surviving dragons fled and settled elsewhere.
Much like Chaos, these guys used to be one army but have gotten split up into two. NOT ANYMORE! Now you can combine them in in a single army led by Nagash!
The undead people from the ancient civilization of Nehekhara (Not-Egypt). How ancient? Before Sigmar lived and most humans considered the bow and arrow an innovative new weapon, Cathay was new to the civilization thing and didn't have a Dragon Emperor, Bretonnia didn't exist, Skaven didn't exist, Skytitans still roamed the Mourn Mountains so hadn't devolved into Giants, The Great Maw didn't exist, Tylos was the only city in the Old World, Dorfs were in their prime and friends with Elves, and Elves were still one civilization.
Nehekhara had all the best aspects of ancient Egypt and Middle-Eastern civilizations; they had many things such as golems, huge wonders, light systems, chariots, and even hot-air balloons! Most of their history was spent like Mesopotamian history, with each city being a kingdom ruled by one monarch (usually, but not always, male). Said kingdoms warred with each other constantly. Then, one day, a badass was born. Settra managed to unite the entirety of Nehekhara under his rule, but became obsessed with death because it would stop him from getting shit done. He commanded his priests to discover the secrets of immortality, and although they failed in this they figured out ways to preserve the body with the soul within and the flesh undamaged. They entombed him this way for storage until they discovered a way to give their kings living flesh of gold.
The cities immediately become independent again, warring with each other but now building fuckhuge tomb cities to house all dead Nehekharans in suspended animation that were larger than their living cities.
Eventually, Nehekhara produced Nagash, the Warhammer Fantasy answer to Sauron and Vecna, who killed his brother and became fantastically evil until the cities united against him and forced him into the desert. After deciding that dying was for suckers and turning into a skeleton, he found that centuries has passed and some little punk ass upstarts calling themselves "vampires" had read his diary. He told them to make themselves useful and keep the humans away while he tried to figure out a way to make the whole world into undead skeleton slaves in one spell. Then shortly after, humans defeated his army and entered his sanctum; he unleashed what he had of his spell, killing EVERYTHING in Nehekhara before he was beaten. This awakened the entombed kings, who were fucking PISSED to find their empire had disintegrated. But on the plus side, they were still "alive" and Tomb Kings cannot perma-die so they had obtained the immortality aspect at the very least. They also had the people who had died in their time period as servants still, who despite still having souls lost much of their sapience (as the degree to which they survived depended greatly on how well they were preserved) so many of them (but FAR from all) became semi-mindless robot-like skeletons animated only by the order of their King. So immediately all the Tomb Kings went back to war, but this time in a far worse way; every child who had EVER lived was now alive again, with thousands of generations of spoiled manchildren fighting for a single fucking throne in a single fucking city, as well as being pissed about later TK's looting the tombs of their ancestors for their own ones. The priests of all the generations realized shit was going nowhere fast (as nobody can perma-die) and awakened Settra. Settra immediately slapped everyone's collective shit, and although everyone swears allegiance to him they still fight like punks constantly. Generally speaking, all Tomb Kings (other than Queen Khalida, who HATES vampires) give no fucks, shits, or damns about the outside world. Mostly. They are also very rich because being undead means they don't have to worry about buying food, medicine or things to impress potential sexual partners. Because mercenaries like money, the mercs are happy to fight for them, giving the mummies a nice option of veteran human troops as well; there's also the added bonus that unlike vamps (see below), the Tomb Kings won't ever turn the mercs into snacks.
Now they're armies of skeletons (on foot, horse or chariot) led by Egyptian mummies! With Anubis warriors and BONE SCORPIONS! Their artillery are MUTHA FUCKEN SKULL CATAPULTS! If you take a shot every time you see a Khopesh or read the word in relation to Tomb Kings, you'll pass out drunk before you're done. Plus their elites ride around on snake statues or GIANT STONE LOLCATS that breath fire and crush stuff. They even have GIANT GOD STATUES that shoot DEATH LASERS from their eyes and give
their gods Nagash a live-action feed of what's going on in the world. Some Tomb Kings even have skull-covered rip-offs of the Ark of the Covenant holding the souls of slain enemies that they use to kill more enemies.
So totally fucking awesome.
Vampires. But not the Twilight kind, nor the Interview kind (for the most part).
Straight up Gothic Horror vampires. As in, still cool.
So a long time ago, during the time of ancient Egypt (pre-Tomb King) there was an evil bisexual queen. She stole the first Necromancer/Lich's autobiography, and invented a drink that turns humans into vampires.
She let her court all take a sip, then they acted like a bunch of little shits until all of Egypt united against them. They tried to ally with the NecroLich, but
lost the big battle pussied out and fled to the Old World.
Those vamps all founded Bloodlines, which make up most of the race. The first group is those lead by the queen which created vampires, the Lahmians. Mostly consist of magic-using spy vampiresses (and some of their gay friends) who are controlling the world like Illuminati. The second are the Hills Have Eyes/The Descent vampires, who after years of being the whipping boys of fate as well as getting tortured and fucked over by every human and other vampire they met, turned into the vampire equivalent of ghouls. They as a result mostly hang out with ghouls. They are the Strigoi. The saner ones behave a lot like Nosferatu. The next are lawful evil/neutral badass vampire knights who ride around looking for a challenge, and fight anyone they think is worth fighting. They are the Blood Dragons. Next is the Necrarchs, who mostly look like Nosferatu vampires. They are the mad scientist Bloodline, spending centuries trying to come up with new kinds of Flesh Golems and similar atrocities. Mostly end up as sidekicks to the other Bloodlines. Finally, the true Dracula Bloodline; the von Carsteins. Only appearing in recent history, Vlad von Carstein and his wife Isabella von Carstein attempted to get elected as Emperor of the Empire through political manipulation, and having failed that, attempted to take over by force. After the two were beaten, one of their turned "sons" Konrad von Carstein tried to destroy the Empire, but lost in an embarrassing way since he was fucking insane and dumb as a rock. Finally, Mannfred von Carstein took control of the Bloodline and repeatedly has tried to destroy the Empire. Although Manny keeps losing, he's dedicated himself to Nagash and has finally started getting to be a bigger threat to the world. As a result of this, the von Carsteins have become the posterboy army for the Vampire Counts, who are the villains when Chaos isn't.
All of the Bloodlines can raise hordes of undead, and use shit like Zombies, Ray Harryhausen Skeletons, and Ghouls as soldiers. They also bring along ghosts, and giant fucking bat monsters of different kinds. Also, bats are EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE, and not the kind that scare you when you open the closet, then fly off into the night - think piranhas with wings and a fucking attitude (which vary in size from the as big as your hand to the size of a car). Creepy as all fuck. No Anne Rice, Angel bullshit, these guys are fucking evil. While they won't save you from being hit by a car, they will creep into your room at night... only to throw you out the window before draining the blood from your loved ones while their zombie driver runs you down with a car. They are also very rich because they don't have to buy food and interest rates on savings accounts add up over a few centuries of undeath. Since mercenaries like money, the mercs are happy to fight for them, giving the vamps a nice option of veteran human troops as well, with the benefit that some vampires might exercise enough restraint to not turn the living troops into snacks or mindless undead.
So, our conclusion is that Vampire Counts are fucking badass. According to an ongoing poll in /tg/ Warhammer Fantasy Generals, Vampire Counts come in as the #1 most played army.
An offshoot from the Vampire Counts are the various factions of undead Vampire pirates brought to prominence through the short-lived board game Dreadfleet and Total War: Warhammer that raid the coasts of the Old World almost as much as the Dark Elves do. Think of them mainly as the answer to the question "What if the bad guys from Pirates of Caribbean had won?".
Technologically advanced rat people. Created when the Horned Rat decided to become a Chaos God and mutated a group of rats. He has spent most of his time since hiding in a nest, and sometimes popping into the mortal world to eat a few of his servants. Again, no furry shit here. These guys are ugly, fucking foul creatures who keep their women folk, otherwise known as "their bloated, scab-ridden, nipple-covered, maggot-like baby factories" locked away for the sole purpose of mass-reproducing thousands upon thousands of future vermin-men. Ew. The leaders of the species are a motley bunch, composed of batshit crazy scientists, ninja-like assassins, and bio-terrorists. Everything else is either slave cannon fodder or a mutant abomination.
They love their hordes almost as much as they love their World War 1/2 style tech that's powered by pure Chaos energy. Also, puns. Fucktons of puns come with these guys, they love their puns. They're all addicted to warpstone, which is pretty much a combination of dark magic, radioactive waste and cocaine. They made a nuke once, but it failed to detonate and now it sits under the biggest city in the Empire. Most of their schemes (they love scheming!) involved taking down the humans and conquering the world. They keep the races of the world fighting to keep anyone from becoming too powerful, and they consider it rude and perverse to NOT backstab someone (regardless of whether it fucks themselves over later or not). They're like a cross between Pinky and the Brain, the rats from Redwall, & the rats from NIMH, (but with flamethrowers, Tesla coils, thousands of minions, and no arsing about on the subject). Also, WEAPONIZED HAMSTER WHEELS.
Their technology is mainly grasped through warpstone which will power their machines or devices. Each clanrat belongs to a clan, and their location are found all over the Old World. Many are located in Skavenblight (The largest shithole in the Old World) which is their capital city or giant trash nest. Whatever thing you call what rats live in. Not all Skaven clans live in Skavenblight; some like Clan Scurvy are located on the many oceans of the Old World, or be like Clan Skrapp and live in the blighted marshes. Nobody knows how the fuck they manage to pull it off but some clans live in fucking volcanoes and use obsidian weapons which is pretty cool. There is a lot of more information about Skaven clans available in the codex and heraldry books, which considering my fingers hurt from typing I suggest you move your fa/tg/uy ass to read. Skaven love screeching things as loud as they can, and they say verbs (or just words they like) twice. Since they respect no other race as worthy of life, they call other races "things". Example: "MOVE-MOVE, WE MARCH! ONWARDS TO KILL-SLAY THE MANTHINGS AND THE DWARFTHINGS!"
Orcs and Goblins
You've all seen the Orks and Gretchin of Warhammer 40,000. Orcs and Goblins are much the same, except here the goblins represent a full half of the army. Or perhaps we should say that the Orks are much the same as the Orcs, since it was the Orcs who came first. Now add trolls and giants and occasionally ogres into the mix as well. Except here they have Night Goblin Fanatics popping out of the ranks, which could cause your deathstar unit to panic off the table if it wasn't for the cavalry driving them out first. Because you took light cavalry, right?
There's not much to say other than that. They spend most of their time trying to wipe out Dwarfs. Humans dislike them, High Elves are trying to wipe them out, Lizardmen were tasked with wiping them out by the Old Ones, Tomb Kings hunt them for sport, Strigoi vampires fucking HATE them since they caused their fall from grace, Warriors of Chaos dedicated to Khorne know no shame greater than being beaten by them, Gork and Mork are totally real beings who beat the shit out of Khorne once, and there's goblins who worship the spiders in Athel Loren.
FUCKHUEG sumo wrestler-types with katanas, frying pans strapped to their gullets and a mean streak as big as their enormously fat asses. Will eat ANYTHING, including all the courses at a restaurant, the plates, the table, the chef and the fucking bundle of forks (and if they're still feeling peckish, the waiter too).
They ride large beasts resembling mammoths and saber-tooth tigers. They think with their stomachs, which shows how fucking intelligent they are, plus their shaman-cooks use a very specific "gut magic", that mostly consists of shoving all kinds of inedible stuff down their own throats. Each and every one of the fuckers is obsessed with stuffing his face full o' your innards. Heck, they even worship a giant, fuck-off sky mouth. Ogres are often considered to be a "neutral" army and can end up fighting for any side since they hire themselves out as mercenaries to whoever can pay them in piles of food.
The last race created by the Old Ones, the one that could have actually beaten and destroyed Chaos, they were left unfinished (mostly mentally) in an environment that couldn't support them. As a result, they spread all over the world and now work for and with (and against) every single faction in the game. Along with the Skaven, the fact Ogres fight everywhere is what enforces the status quo of the canon.
8th is one of the most played editions of Warhammer fantasy, due to it being the most up to date version (read; has the most units) and it's easily the most controversial. 8th shares a lot of similar problems to 40k 5th edition, as around this time GW decided to start messing around with their settings and introduce extremely controversial fluff. In addition to this a lot of the Army Books and Codexes from this time were extremely lackluster in rules and balancing, where almost every army had problems with their army rules and/or extremely poor internal balance. The edition also heavy favours hoards of infantry and strong artillery, which meant most games devolved into one of the most universally despised styles of play, gun lining, as one side is forced to panic rush up the board to get into melee, while the other side sits still shooting all the most dangerous units off the board with a smug look on their face. From a model perspective most of the new models were really good, with the war sphinx for the Tomb Kings, the Lizardmen's menagerie of dinosaurs and the Dwarfs' heavy infantry all looking fantastic, there were a few models that were disliked for looking a bit too goofy like the Skycutter, but overall the new models were very good.
So while 8th is generally considered a bad edition, it simply being bad isn't really enough to justify why large parts of the community loath it to the extent it is. The true hatred was caused by The End Times. Now while the ET is generally considered its own sub-edition, in a similar vein to the Storm of Chaos for 6th, it was introduced as a supplement for 8th, so the end of Warhammer Fantasy is part of 8th edition. And everything that was bad about 8th was doubled down on with the ET with bad fluff, unbalanced rules and most of the new models were generally poorly received, resulting in the ET being hated by almost all fantasy players. And since 8th was already widely considered a poor edition, killing off the world at the end of it was a real fucking kick to the ribs. 8th was the end of Warhammer, and it went with a whimper, not a bang.
This period is also known as when everything goes tits up. Games Workshop, fed up of with players whining that the game was stuck dead in its canon, said "enough" and decided to give the players what they wanted. Thus did they make the End Times towards the end of the 8th edition, a supplement to existing armies which fluff-wise tells how everything is now moving to a grand finale. Check out the End Times page for more details, but to summarise:
- Mannfred von Carstein resurrects Nagash, making a world conquering host of the undead while also slowly becoming an ultimate god of death and undeath with eyes on the prize of kicking the chaos gods out of the warp and taking their place. In order to do this, he nerfed the Tomb Kings and absorbed them into the Vampire Counts to create his own army - the Undead Legion.
- The Empire has been overrun by the forces of Chaos, but at the last moment Karl Franz becomes the living avatar of Sigmar and the wind of heavens, burning all Chaos from Altdorf. Much later on, he is revealed not to be an avatar of Sigmar but Sigmar himself.
- The Orks and Goblins do what they always do and get ready for a big fight, wiping out the Chaos Dwarfs and several minor human kingdoms.
- Malekith turns out to be the rightful king of the elves, and following a civil war culminating in the deaths of several Elf gods the three Elf races have reunited into a single force. The Vortex is unbound, Ulthuan and Naggaroth have respectively sunk and been overrun by Chaos, and now all the elves are living together in Athel Loren. Teclis reveals his master plan to bind the Winds of magic into specific people. These Incarnates would be empowered by their respective Winds to the point where they can stand a chance against the full power of the Chaos Gods.
- The Dwarfs can't decide what the hell they are doing besides chewing their beards and drinking at first, but eventually end up joining the Empire.
- The Skaven have nommed pretty much all the minor human kingdoms and are rising in one super ratty horde to take over the world. They also blow up the Chaos Moon in a display of awe-inspiring idiocy that horrifies even the Daemons of Chaos.
- After most of the Lizardmen sacrifice themselves stopping most of the Warhammer world from becoming a smoldering crater, the survivors go 'fuck this' and fly off into space.
- The Ogre kingdoms have blown up with every volcano erupting at the same time and so they are mass-migrating again.
- Everyone who isn't with Chaos is forced to join their forces with the Incarnates in a last stand at Middenheim, where a third Warp Gate was hidden. Mannfred ruins the ritual that would have saved the Warhammer world from annihilation, and the Chaos Gods manifest to personally fuck everything up. The world is destroyed, and the stage is set for Age of Sigmar.
The World That Was
In Age of Sigmar, the age of Warhammer Fantasy is referred to as "The World-That-Was". Despite what you may think, it's actually kind of common knowledge in-universe that there was another existence before the Realms of Age of Sigmar, sort of in the same way that most know that dinos ruled the Earth before mammals took over. Remnants of Warhammer Fantasy exists here and there, either like forgotten scraps of roast beef between the teeth of the Chaos Gods or just as reformed ruins of what existed once, with the largest and most noticeable fragment in the form of Mallus, one of the most recognizable astral bodies in the Mortal Realms and the place where Sigmar and Grungni mine the sigmarite needed for the creation of the Stormcast Eternals. There may also be hints that the reason why Age of Sigmar doesn't deviate too much design-wise from Warhammer Fantasy is because the World-That-Was isn't a forgotten world by many of the gods and creatures that exists now (it's not because we just reuse the old models for AoS, we swear). To be fair there are many from Warhammer Fantasy who made it to AoS and would definitely remember those days, also, given Mallus' size and its position atop Azyrheim is kinda hard for people to forget there was a previous universe when you can look out of your windows and see its remains above the sky.
Recently the World-That-Was is being referenced more and more, becoming more relevant for the overall plot of Age of Sigmar. The Malign Portents plot pretty much directly references Nagash's way of dealing with all problems way back when; with huge-ass black pyramids that get fucked over by oversized vermin.
The Warhammer Community team also uses the World-That-Was whenever they reference Warhammer Fantasy. Maybe they fear that Warhammer Fantasy will appear if someone were to speak its name or something. Like a tabletop Candlejack, Bettlejuice, or Bloody Mary.
The Old World (Full Circle)
On November 15 2019, Warhammer Community revealed the existence of a new game called Warhammer: The Old World. While nothing has been seen of it beyond a logo, it has been explicitly stated to take place in the World-That-Was. Although it is unlikely to be released anytime soon by their own admission, the fact that Fantasy may be making a comeback is shocking in itself.
The first preview basically only had a map of the Empire, whereas in the second one Geedubs is making changes for The Old World instead of just bringing back Warhammer Fantasy as it was by bringing back Kislev with new units, which wasn't an army since 6th edition. We already have a fan debate too, as many consider the ONE piece of art we've seen to be "Too AOS-y".
The third preview showed off the much needed and well loved return of Bretonnia and OG fantasy style orcs, both of which are very much needed (and missed). This reveal also lets us roughly figure out the era in which this new game is thanks to the naming of King Louen Orc-slayer of Brettonia, which places the returning setting ~200 years before the old old-world, in the 3 emperor's period in the empire. This means that the undead, elves, lizards and the dwarfs (but with less gray beard hairs) will have returning named characters, but outside of a few outliers, everyone else has new goobers to name.
The appeal of Warhammer Fantasy
Some works of fiction are serious and many serious works are calm, subdued and dignified, giving events the gravity of all their implications. Some works of fiction are over the top and have a tendency towards being absurd, farcical and easy going where things often might not make sense, but you roll with it for a laugh. Warhammer manages to be both largely Serious and Over the Top at the same time. It can pull off outright farce, over the top heavy metal action, subtle academic humor and dark fantasy melodrama without missing a beat, and that's not even the truly impressive part! WFB combines all of these facets constantly without diminishing any of the individual themes. You see a fat aztec frogman blast a blue, flaming hellchicken with a staff while fast asleep, and there's nothing wrong with it! But imagine something like that in LotR; that shit just wouldn't fly.
It does in Fantasy because the Serious is Over the Top and silly, while the Over the Top stuff is taken seriously. Unlike 40k, Fantasy isn't overtly a pastiche of tropes and a parody of so many things - it is a coherent world where things matter. Small enough that individuals can make a mark on the world and their heroics can change the course of history, but large enough that it can be filled with all sorts of beings and cultures.
In addition, Warhammer was made by History Nerds for History Nerds. It appeals to the sort of person who, when asked "what do you think about the middle ages?" would reply "where and what century?". The world is old, and the history is actually pretty detailed for the factions for whom history matters, like the High Elves, the Dwarfs and The Empire. The development of the factions in the world matters quite a lot and the ramification of wars in the past affect the world in the present. The culture of the factions in play wasn't just invented because it's cool; they developed over time, and for most of it, in a way that makes sense.
In contrast to 40,000, Fantasy is less grimdark and more nobledark. Not because of the villains (who are about as bad; which is to say, very fucking bad) but because the heroic side is a bit more genuinely heroic. Even though they may be assholes, they still face great and terrible threats for the good of the nation, the world at large and their friends. They're not all Catholic space nazis indoctrinated to do what they are needed to do; they're people, real humane people with human desires - and that includes pretty much all the mortal creatures in the setting. The good guys are usually pretty good, the bad guys have a much harder time of being bad (40k Chaos can conquer planets, Fantasy Chaos can barely leave the Arctic), and the lives of the average person are mundane and with very little grimness, the problems they face being more in line with the actual historic Medieval-Renaissace world.
Take Volkmar the Grim. This is a dark character, entirely dedicated to his faith to a fanatical level. He burns heretics, bashes cultists and doesn't afraid of anything - but his faith is genuinely good in nature. He protects the Empire because he loves it and the people in it, and while he may disagree with the followers of Ulric, he recognizes them as allies in the fight against the true evil. He almost died sacrificing himself to fight the big bad with a tiny army of the faithful, got captured and tortured by daemons, and what did he do? Fall into despair? Mutate? Kill himself? By Sigmar, no; he broke the chains holding him and beat all his daemonic guards to death before going back to his day job. Shit, he has a hunk of concentrated fucking evil on his chest at all times, and it doesn't affect him at all - as in, no mention that he may be getting crazier with age or that he makes deals with entities no one knows about. Nope, he's just that fucking dedicated to his faith and genuinely believes in it with the full, naked force of the human soul and heart. That's a proper Warhammer Fantasy character - skilled beyond belief and likely pretty darn grim or extreme, but with an edge of humanity and personality. They aren't just a vessel for a cool trope or an exemplar of the faction they represent, but a fully-fledged character with needs and wants, tempered with a heroic choice to sacrifice personal safety to change the world.
Warhammer is a tabletop wargame where two or more players compete against each other with "armies" of 20 mm - 50 mm heroic scale miniatures. Games may be played on any appropriate surface, although the standard is a 6 ft by 4 ft tabletop decorated with model scenery in scale with the miniatures. If you're Games Workshop's bitch-boy and have no imagination of your own you will buy the ridiculously overpriced Citadel Realm of Battle tabletop and have a scenery collection made of boring plastic pieces bought entirely from GW, but REAL players make their own gaming tables (saving a fuck-ton of money in the process). Games Workshop used to encourage this until they sold their souls for money.
Gameplay follows a turn structure in which one player completes all movement for troops, then simulates casting spells (when spell-using units are available), uses all ranged or missile weapons in the army such as bows and handguns, then any units touching fight in melee or close-combat. After finishing, the second player does the same. The winner is often determined by victory points; earning a number equal to the value of enemy units killed. Special objectives can add or subtract from this total based on predefined goals, usually holding parts of the battlefield or killing powerful units (such as the enemy general).
Perhaps the thing that separates Warhammer Fantasy from 40k the most, aside from the obvious, is the use of magic. Each army (with the exception of the dwarfs) has at least one unit that can use magic, often in the form of an independent wizard. When magic units are present on the battlefield, they're given their own turn separate from the shooting, moving and melee phases to cast their spells. There are several kinds of magic but most magicians are able to use only a single form.
- Dark Magic, used by Dark Elves and Wood Elves
- High Magic, used by the Slann, Wood Elves and the High Elves.
- Nehekharan Incantations, Used exclusively by Tomb Kings Liche Priests and High Liche Priests (and Settra)
- Light: Wind of Hysh, Lore of Light. Basically healing and shit, plus doing extra damage to daemons and undead.
- Gold: Wind of Chamon, Lore of Metal and Alchemy. Basically armour buffs and debuffs, with their offensive spells doing more damage the higher your armour save is. Problem, Knights?
- Jade: Wind of Ghyran, Lore of Life. Basically lots and lots of buffs, making your own units harder to kill. They look like hippies, but don't tell them that, they'll fucking murder you.
- Celestial: Wind of Azyr, Lore of the Heavens. Lets people tell the future and stuff, plus they can summon lightning and meteorites that really hurt flying units.
- Grey: Wind of Ulgu, Lore of Shadows. Basically misdirection and illusions, relying on Leadership tests. They can also teleport every time they use a spell.
- Amethyst: Wind of Shysh, Lore of Death. Basically the Lore of Fire, except more killy and shorter-ranged.
- Bright: Wind of Aqshy. Lore of Fire. Basically the ammunition of the Fire obsessed psychopaths known as the Bright Wizards.
- Amber: Wind of Ghur, Lore of Beasts. Basically a Radagast rip off. WHO IS RADAGAST?!?!? RTFM!!!
- Daemon Magic: Used by... well, daemons. Broken into three categories - one for each of the gods that give a shit about lasers - Slaaneshi [Indulgent, relies on enemy Ld], Nurglite [decay, revolves around enemy S/T scores], and Tzeentchian [OMG FIRES]. Khorne is too awesome for magic; he'd much rather crush skulls with his bare
thighsHANDS and anything less makes you dangerously unmanly and at the absolute least bicurious.
- Necromancy: Used exclusively by Vampires and Necromancers, as the name "Lore of the Vampires" would suggest.
- Spells of Plague and Ruin: used exclusively by the Skaven.
- Gut Magic: Also known as the Lore of the Great Maw. Used exclusively by the Ogre Butchers.
- Waaagh Magic: Used exclusively by Orcs and Goblins. Comes in Big and Little flavors. Has a very high chance of making the user's head asplode.
- Wild Magic: used exclusively by beastmen. Similar to the lore of beasts.
- Athel Loren Magic: Used exclusively by Wood Elves. Moves forests, or move folks through forests.
- Ice/Winter Magic: Used exclusively by the Tzar of Russi- er, Kislev. It gets bonuses or penalties based on whether your models have snow on the bases and what the weather outside is like. Has since been discontinued for being as stupidly designed as it sounds.
- Lizard Magic: Used by lizardmen, it has only one spell, called "Fuck you, I'm an Aztec dinosaur, therefore awesome."
- Hashut Magic: Used exclusively by the Chaos Dwarfs, the Lore of Hashut consists primarily of buffing spells that work well with the ungodly amount of flaming weaponry that the Chaos Dwarfs have access to.
Warhammer Magic is powerful, very powerful. A lone unit can wipe out half the opposing army with the right spell at the right time. Magic can also misfire, badly. This adds an element of unpredictability to its use, making it much more dangerous to the user and therefore, much less broken.
GW also recently released an expansion to WFB with a bigger focus on magic, called Storm of Magic. Which turns magic from regular broken into
DOUBLE TRIPLE BROKEN, but misfiring will fuck your mage up in 12 different ways, and then Khorne will throw giant brass skull at him/her/it.
Significant Personage Of Warhammer
- Sigmar Heldenhammer: Born some random tribesman,
ConanSigmar united the squabbling human tribes in what would become known as the Empire and killed a ton of Orcs. Saved some random-ass dwarf after this and the Dwarf High King gifted him Ghal Maraz, a super-duper powerful warhammer. Also the dwarfs helped him defend Black Fire Pass from a massive WAAAGH!. He was the first Emperor of the Empire, but he got bored and disappeared on a journey to find something interesting to do. The Empire canonized him as a god, and today the Church of Sigmar is the largest and most powerful faith in the Empire (although only one among many). Some believed him to be one of the missing Primarchs, given how badass he was, but this has been disputed by newer fluff detailing his birth and family life. Returned during the End Times, and there was much rejoicing.
- Karl Franz: This guy is the current Emperor of the Empire. He owns Ghal Maraz now, as well as the biggest motherfucking
HippogryphGryphon, named DEATHCLAW, who he rides while assraping bitches who try to invade Imperial soil. And he has a fucking dragon. As of The End Times, he was missing, but returned, was killed, and became Sigmar-Jesus.
- Magnus the Pious: Greatest Emperor since Sigmar. Also one of the few who wasn't morally bankrupt.
- Volkmar the Grim: Grand Theogonist of the Empire. Quite a stern faced fellow; he was once chained up to a daemonic standard by Be'Lakor, but simply broke himself off, murdered the daemons surrounding him, and marched through the Chaos wastes to get back to the Empire.
This has since been retconned.Not according to Chris Wraight's Sword of Vengeance. As reward for his sheer badassery, he gets captured by Mannfred von Carstein and is tortured until he is a mere shell of his former self. Arkhan the Black then uses his body as the vessel in which Nagash returns to the world in a ritual so sickening that even Mannfred feels bad for him. Truly grimdark.
- Gotrek & Felix: Adventuring duo, have a lot of books based on them. Gotrek is a dwarf Slayer who is terrible at his job, because between his magic super-axe and insane badassery he's nigh-unkillable. If there is more than two of something, Gotrek has probably killed one. Felix is some random bard who found a sword that really wants to kill dragons somewhere. Together, they
fight crimelook for something powerful enough to finally kill Gotrek. Gotrek tolerates Felix traveling with him because he needs someone to pen the mighty tale of his epic doom. In recent times their relationship has evolved to more of a bromance and they trust each other completely. While he's not in it for the chicks, Felix goes through them at a rate of 1-2 per two books.
- Kurt Helborg: Captain of the Reiksguard and second to the Emperor in military terms. Also a badass moustache.
- Ar-Ulric Valgeir: The Viking leader of the Cult to Ulric, the wolf god.
- Boris Todbringer: The Elector Count of Middenland.
- Luthor Huss: Crazy-ass preacher. Gives the middle finger to those fat, political fuckwits of the Sigmar cult in the capital and takes the "fight Chaos to death" thing personally... with a huge hammer.
- Balthasar Gelt: Empire Wizard, looks like Dr. Doom. Rides a white pegasus and wears such gaudy clothing that Lady Gaga looks frumpy by comparison. Possibly Elton John without the singing voice.
- Valten: Reincarnation of Sigmar. Got ganked by a Skaven, probably Snitkch, but the lack of gore makes it hard to tell. RETCONNED! Now he is very much alive, and keeping the forces of the empire from being completely buttfucked by Archaon. Sad news is that he still got ganked by Skaven. At least this time, he was sniped by a Verminlord while honourably dueling Archaon.
- Louen Leoncour: King of Bretonnia. Believes in the Feudal system. Also believes that a 300% tax rate for the peasantry promotes economic growth, knights are morally infallible, guns are weaker than bows, people of the Empire prefer a system of governance that emphasizes crushing their hopes and dreams, and that a pig and 12 Bretonnian coppers (which exchanges for less than half an Empire copper on a good day) is an excessive reward for saving his nation. In the same support group for ludicrous theme naming as Canis Wolfborn.
- Lady of the Lake: Creepy cannibal spirit of Bretonnia. A fine piece of ass regardless of diet. May be an elf in disguise.
- Green Knight: Bretonnian Holy Warrior and professional ass rapist. In the End Times he is revealed to be Guilles de Breton, founder of Bretonnia and basically their version of Sigmar.
- Katarin the Ice Queen: Tzarina of Kislev. One of maybe a handful of people in the setting who can use Ice Magic.
- Teclis: Mage of the High Elves. Pathetic weakling that drinks magic potions like an alcoholic and falls over in a breeze, although he's also one of the few non-Slann mages capable of nuking cities. Considered a Mary Sue by some but they are mistaken, his brother Tyrion is the Mary Sue. Teclis also taught the Empire how to use magic and founded their fancy colleges, being one of the few elves to realize and respect the potential of non-elves. Eldrad - dickery = Teclis. According to his cameo in the Gotrek and Felix series, most elf women are so-so towards him (being haughty bitches), but human women are wet for him. Becomes extremely morally grey in the End times and essentially sacrifices his niece to Mannfred to allow Nagash to return, showing that he is very capable of Eldrad levels of dickery.
- Tyrion: Teclis' twin brother and a fuckawesome warrior. May in fact be aroused by killing; it's hard to tell because he won't stop to answer questions. Also happens to be a bigger Mary Sue than Kaldor Draigo and a bigger dick than Eldrad. For instance, in 'Blood of Aenarion' he matches veteran warriors with a blade even though he's young and barely practiced himself. Women flock to his bed (including his own cousin) and everyone treats him like a hero even though he hasn't done anything heroic yet (being a descendant of one doesn't count, you have to earn it). Also has the supposed flaw of not being good at anything outside of war. "Supposed" because the flaw never affects him when it should harm him. Matt Ward, of all people, reduced his Mary Sueness a little by making him moody and giving him a short temper as early signs of Aenarion's curse.
- Ariel: God Queen of the Wood Elves, revealed to be fucking Isha herself who was slowly wasting away as her daughter Lileath poisoned her with magical ice. Had fairy wings.
- Orion: Consort King of the Wood Elves, revealed to be Kurnous AKA the father of all Elves and the wild manly forest beings. Rides through Bretonnia every summer and kills everybody who runs from him because... reasons! Looks like the child of a centaur and a satyr.
- Thorgrim Grudgebearer: Dwarf High King, very angry. Very angry indeed. He carries a book called "The Great Book of Grudges", where EVERY single fault aganist the Dorf people (THAT'S GOIN' IN THE BOOK, LADDIE!) is noted and taken into account when the time of skullcrushing comes, hence his angriness. He wants to avenge them ALL, and sort of cheats at it by considering all the Grudges fulfilled in the last battle between Chaos and the world it was consuming.
- Josef Bugman: Dwarf brewer and 200% Awesome. After his brewery got burned down by some goblins he began an impossible mission to kill the tribe that decided the world didn't need anymore Bugman's XXXXX. Now he roams the world with his surviving employees and family fucking shit up. His booze is literally legendary, and possession of some is about on-par with having a giant magical sword forged by a Chaos God's buttcrack or what have you.
- Grombrindal: The White Dwarf (yeah, he's the mascot of the Magazine). A mysterious warrior who was apparently friends with pre-charbroil Malekith and now fights endlessly against the enemies of Dorfkind by just appearing and helping out randomly. Like Kaldor Draigo, but as an undead instead of a mortal lost in the Warp.
- Long Drong: A Dorf pirate who was apparently important enough to get a unit, a part in the all-destroying dwarf army of slayer flavoured-doom. He even got his own campaign book for God's sake! Why?!
- Lord Mazdamundi: Most powerful and influential Slann alive, unnecessarily rides on a dinosaur and gets the bloated toad-alien equivalent to a raging hard-on every time he nukes a city and/or non-Lizardmen species into dust. Leads the Lizardmen equivalent of the KKK and was one of the brilliant minds behind a plan for a redecorating of the world's volcanic system, this also resulted in the Dwarfs being marginalised close to the point of extinction. And then he fapped to it.
- Venerable Lord Kroak: Most powerful and influential Slann formerly alive. Most powerful magic-user of the entire setting after the gods themselves, he has been dead for thousands of years and can't even move by himself. His corpse is taken into battle because he is made of localized nuclear explosion and levels cities pretty much every. fucking. turn. Probably the most powerful entity because even being a dead, inanimate corpse, he has killed more shit than anyone else on this list, except for maybe Nagash, even then it's too close to make a call, except that he probably will kill Nagash if they meet and would just blink the guy out of existence if they had met when he was alive. He also gets bonus points for not having actually been reanimated, vampirised or any other kind of weird back from the death shit. He is straight up dead. And his rotting corpse is still more magic than the magicest anything else in the universe. In short, he's the grand toad poohbah of lizardkind, and he's on a hoverchair, kinda like a badass version of Aun'Va. Not dissimilar to a Dalek in this regard.
- Archaon: Lord of the End Times, the Ever Chosen and second most powerful warrior in the setting. Beat all four of the greatest Champions of the Empire in single fight during the Storms of Chaos Campaign but got bashed about badly by Grimgor who headbutted his teeth out of his face. Grimgor iz da best! Later on, he destroyed the world entirely.
- The Glottkin (Otto, Ethrac, Ghurk): Triplet sons who became Nurgle's top champions and mutated into a warrior, a smelly wizard, and a giant fucking blob of pestilence. Their parents were missionaries that tried to live among, and convert, the Chaos worshipers until they were murdered by the Empire by mistake, and the sons began looking for vengeance. Lucky for them, Archaon decided to make them his new vanguard and sent them to blow up the city of Altdorf. These guys are the basis of the second part of The End Times as the biggest threats of Chaos. Get beat pretty hard, turned into flies by Nurgle to save them but he put them in a jar as punishment.
- Wulfrik the World-Walker: Chaos Lord, executioner of the Gods and consummate smack-talker of the Warhammer world.
- Aekold Hellbrass: AWESOME Tzeentchian Champion.
- Arbaal the Undefeated: All-mighty Champion of Khorne. Another one of the greatest warriors in the setting. Obviously, being a favored champion of the Ultimate God of War. Was with Asavar Kul when Praag was destroyed, fled the battle after he died at Russia, likely to assume Khorne ain't very happy with him. Also destroyed the gates of Praag with a single strike from his sword. Angron probably got his inspiration from this guy. Is he as fun to be around as Kharn?
- Asavar Kul: Greatest Champion of Chaos. Greatest warrior in the setting. Almost destroyed the Empire. 'Nuff said.
- Harry the Hammer: Oldfluff character whose warhammer the setting is named after. Allegedly.
- Vardek CROM!: Archaon's lieutenant and king of the tribe of Asavar Kul. Was man-handled by Archaon once and beat Grimgor once.
- Be'lakor the Dark Master: The only Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided and chooser of the Everchosen though not willingly. He's a scheming sonuvabitch that tries to kill every other champion of Chaos so he can get his parents' attention back. Oh, and he's also in the spaaaaaace-future of the 41st millennium. Technically invented Chaos worship by being the first mortal in Fantasy to be uplifted by them, and served as the middle man between the material plane and Warp entities until the Chaos Gods discovered they could have their own champions rather than just sharing one. Has been a pissy fuck ever since.
- Valkia the Bloody: The world's most badass woman and Khorne's personal bitch. A monster of a woman who killed so much that everyone's favorite Blood God got smitten and made her more than human. Now she chooses who lives and who dies to join Khorne in the afterlife.
- Grimgor Ironhide: Orc Warlord, one of the most powerful warriors in the setting. Got his ass handed to him once by Archaon's lieutenant, Vardek CROM!!! Grimgor swore to prove he was the best in any case and did it beating Archaon himself in single combat (via headbutt to the Chaos-armored testicles). Was determined to be the avatar of Gork himself. One of the most badass robots from Transformers was named after him.
- Skarsnik: Head of the Night Goblins, intent on taking over the Eight Peaks and wiping out the Dwarfs. Extremely clever, extremely cruel even by Warhammer standards, but canonically loves his Squig companion Gobbla. He speaks several languages too.
- Wurrzag, Da Great Green Prophet: Orc Moses. Turns enemy wizards into Squigs. His mental energy makes those he doesn't turn into Squigs suffer an improved chance of a miscast. Never stops dancing. EVER. On a lifelong journey to find the avatars of Gork and Mork. It actually took him a while to figure out he needed to find two Greenskins instead of one. One was an ultraviolent Black Orc, the other a tactically-brilliant Night Goblin.
- Grom the Paunch: Former Goblin Warlord. Famous for being obese, no joke. Also for near DESTROYING the Empire AND Ulthuan (imagine a Grot almost destroying Terra until he got bored and decided to destroy every Craftworld, almost succeeding). Not bad for a Gobbo. No one knows where is he now,
but it is unlikely that, whrerever he is, is alive (his wars were a hundred yeras before current era).GROM LIVES, ya' git! An' when da waaaghboz returnz, we'll stomp da humies an el's an' orcs fo' good! WAAAA-STOMP! Where ya been? Get back to camp an' start to load rukks in da... um... "thing", ya squishy git!
- Thanquol: Skaven grey seer and archenemy of Gotrek. He does lines of warpstone powder which is to cocaine what a monster truck is to a pair of baby's first rollerskates. Also he managed to escape from the prophet of Sotek, who after losing his sacrifice to his awesomic god,
takes a napmeditates, despise the fact that he is a skink. Forever. Thanquol is such a colossal fuckup that it was determined the Lizardmen should let him live because he was that much of a liability to his own people. Spends all his time with his Frankenstein's Monster buddy Boneripper.
- Deathmaster Snikch: Skaven ninja-assassin. Uses three scimitars at once to lop off limbs from his target, doesn't so much as assassinate people as shred them into little pieces.
- Malekith: Lord of the Dark Elves; master of Dark Magic, uses a shield that can asplode your brain from a distance, and rides a giant-ass black dragon. Still lives with his mom. Also considered a whiny emo git who costs so much no one will ever use the Maleketh on a Dragon model because they'd rather finish the game before the entropic heat death of the universe. GW retconned it so he was the chosen one and everyone who doubted him was wrong, making his transformation into Anakin Skywalker complete.
- Morathi: Malekith's mom. In old editions she was the highest ranking Slaaneshi in the world and one of the primary players in the game of global domination; now she's just a crazy supreme witch with Alzheimer's who thinks everyone is her old hubby Aenarion. Fortunately, they fixed that in the video game.
- Malus Darkblade: The Starscream of Warhammer.
- Gorthor the Beastlord: A Beastman Everchosen, one of a handful of Beastmen who successfully caught the eyes of the Chaos Gods in more than a passing capacity. Whipped up on the Empire for a while before dying. Depopulated the Drakwald while he was at it. Even by Beastmen standards this guy was a monster.
- Khazrak The One-Eye: The most cunning Beastman. He and Boris Todbringer stabbed each other's eyes out, leaving one with an eyepatch and one with a constantly blood-and-puss bleeding empty socket. Hence his title, obviously. Loves messing with Todbringer.
- Morghur, Master of Skulls: A creature so close to Chaos that stuff he touches becomes You-Know-Whats. He's classified as a Beastman, but that's mere approximation; it'd be more accurate to call him a pure, sentient mass of Chaos energy given flesh. Perhaps that's why he never stays dead?
- Nagash: Supreme Lord and Creator of Undead, with his autographed book series inspiring the creation of Vampires by Neferata. Also Supreme Asshole. Was pissed his brother got to be Pharoah while he was stuck as a priest, so he tortured Dark Elves until they taught him black magic that he turned into the first true Necromancy. Killed his brother and got creepy with his brother's life, kept trying to take over Warhammer Egypt from his giant Warpstone flying pyramid and kept getting his ass kicked because Chaos, humanity, and even Skaven were all afraid that he'd become supreme ruler of reality if left un-sabotaged/smote. Supposedly the strongest wizard ever, has fought Sigmar himself and almost won. Became the supreme god of death by becoming Death itself via making death magic his bitch/part of his soul, now gets every soul that Chaos doesn't.
- Arkhan the Black: Nagash's right-hand man. Spent his life defending Nagash and was resurrected to continue doing it as a skeleton sorcerer. Unlike Mannfred, he's serving Nagash out of loyalty although in some versions he's getting a bit tired of Nagash's abrasive personality. Had an on-again off-again romance with Neferata despite being a skeleton.
- Heinrich Kemmler: An insane Necromancer who dabbled in all sorts of dark arts, eventually becoming a believer in Chaos. Was the very first still-canon Warhammer character ever created.
- Krell: Chaos Lord turned undead Wight. Everyone thought he was a mindless minion of Kemmler, but he actually changed allegiance from Khorne to Nagash long ago.
- Neferata: The first Vampire and last ruler of the ancient city of Lahmia. Militant bisexual necromancer with a spy network that manipulates events across the world behind the scenes. Pays lip service to Nagash but wants to become a proper queen again. Tried to make her cousin Khalida a vampire, caused Khalida to hate them as a result.
- Vlad von Carstein: The first von Carstein who almost became Emperor but was betrayed by Mannfred. Husband of the original vampire, but all of his character motivation is being a lovey-dovey couple with his new wife. Resurrected by Nagash in the End Times to continue making Mannfred look bad.
- Isabella von Carstein: New wife of Vlad, helps keep him from going full-retard when he gets too pissed off and is a big part of his long-term planning, but once he died the first time she suicided. Possessed by a Nurgle Daemon in End Times, Vlad killed himself again to use his ring to kill the Daemon but have her survive.
- Mannfred von Carstein: Vampire Lord, a "son" of Vlad. Helped end Vlad's attempt at taking over the world with his involvement in the theft of the Ring of Supreme Badassery, traveled the world like Eurotrash then tried to launch a similar invasion of his own using the ring. Got his ass kicked, became a slave to Nagash in an attempt to carve out his own chunk of the world but got pissed when Nagash resurrected Vlad to be the HNIC Old World Vampire. Decided to go full-retard and ended the world by stabbing someone taking part in a ritual to prevent the world being swallowed by the Warp. /tg/ calls him "Mannlet von Carstein" to reflect his character motivation of having daddy issues.
- Konrad von Carstein: Bat-Shit crazy Vampire Lord, "son" of Vlad. Not good with magic, after pissing off his Necromancers they abandoned him and the stress of controlling a zombie apocalypse made him lose his shit and wander off into a forest muttering to himself where he was promptly tackled by a dwarf and stabbed in the heart with the Elector Count of Ostland's Runefang by the dead Elector's son. Total "pants-on-head" retarded vampire noob.
- Settra the Imperishable: Greatest of the Tomb Kings. Fights upon a pimped out chariot. Was offered literally everything by the Chaos Gods themselves if he'd serve, yelled "SETTRA DOES NOT SERVE. SETTRA RULES!" and decided to spend his unlife trying to fucking kill Chaos.
- Queen Khalida: Freaky mummy-chick blessed with the powers of a snake. Fucking hates vampires, before Twilight made that cool.
- Overtyrant Tradelord Greasus Tribestealer Drakecrush Hoardmaster Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese: A huge motherfucker that weighs more than a pile of giant corpses. He loves eating almost as much as he loves killing. His name is also really, really long. Ogres are impressed by his name and he probably gets a shitload of tail. But he's a huge lardass who costs 565 points and makes ogres more awesome and enemy units pant-shittingly stupid.
- Golgfag Maneater: An Ogre mercenary, established the Ogre mercenary archetype and was the best Ogre Murderhobo there ever was. Notorious for doing pretty much everything. Example: your mom.
- Queek Head-Taker: A Skaven with surprisingly decent martial skill, bright red armour and a huge trophy pole on his back covered in skulls. Warlord of Clan Mors, the largest of the Clans that aren't the main four. His name sounds like Squeak, as GW still doesn't take the Skaven too seriously.
- Army compatibility between Warhammer settings
- Song for Warhammer Fantasy
- Warhammer Lexicanum (It is badly in need of more articles)
- Kings of War (for a faster and similar tabletop)
- Warhammer Fantasy Battles Tactics
- (More prosaic than the Lexicanum, but strangely has content the Lex doesn't, and vice-versa)
|Playable Factions in Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Human Kingdoms:||The Empire of Man - Bretonnia|
|Elves:||High Elves - Dark Elves - Wood Elves|
|Dwarven:||Dwarfs - Chaos Dwarfs|
|Undead:||Tomb Kings - Vampire Counts|
|Heirs of the Old Ones:||Lizardmen|
|Greenskins||Orcs - Goblins|
|Servants of Chaos||Warriors of Chaos - Daemons of Chaos - Beastmen|