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Races and Factions
Posted: Jul 26 2016, 11:15 PM
The largest, most influential human faction in the Old World. Sitting in the heart of the continent, it traces its history back more than 2500 years, to when its founder and primary deity Sigmar Heldenhammer united the primitive human tribes of the Old World to fight against Chaos. Even now, the Empire sees itself as a bulwark against the Ruinous Powers. It's a wealthy, technologically advanced society by Old World standards, making heavy use of gunpowder weapons and occasional use of Steam Tanks. The Empire is also highly supportive of magic, and has official colleges for each of the eight winds of magic. Graduates of these colleges are expected to work for the betterment of the Empire, whether in times of peace or war. These days, the Empire is ruled by Karl Franz, a recently-elected young emperor who is a great patron of arts and business. But even in this peaceful time, the Empire remains vigilant. The Inquisition is quick to hunt down any suspected Chaos worshipers, hoping to snuff out demonic uprisings before they can begin.
The Old World's second largest human military, alternately The Empire's rival and ally. Between the Empire and the ocean to the west lies the feudal kingdom of Bretonnia They mainly worship The Lady of the Lake, a goddess of light and order that they credit with helping unite them over 1500 years ago. Bretonnia follows a strict code of chivalry, with noble knights ruling over powerless peasants. To them, the peasantry are little more than property. During the winter the higher-ranking nobles gather at the court of King Louen Leoncoeur, before returning to their own lands during the summer.
The northernmost of the Old World's human civilizations. Anything north of them can hardly be called civilization. Kislev is a relatively small kingdom, and sees itself as the first line of defense against Chaos. They are fierce warriors, holding the line with their famous winged lancers and infamous Sons of Ursun, colloquially known as the Bear Cavalry. Its current ruler, Tsarina Katarin, is preparing for a long and bitter war. There are rumors that Chaos is gathering in the north, and Kislev sees it as their duty to hold them back.
Fearsome barbarian tribes that worship the dark gods of Chaos. These warriors travel all across the Chaos Wastes in the far north of the world, sending raids south whenever they can. Very rarely, these many disparate tribes unite under one banner, forming into a force that can make the entire world tremble. These tribal folk are fearsome warriors, with the few sorcerers among them delving into dangerous Chaos magic. Many Northmen are so mutated by Chaos energies that they can hardly be considered human anymore.
Called a kingdom, though it is truly more of a loose coalition of independent city-states. This desert land lies in the northwestern region of the Southlands, and is fabulously wealthy. Travelers bring back tales of towering palaces of white stone, and decadent banquets catered by thousands of servants from the world over. While the rulers enjoy their parties, the hardy warriors of nomadic tribes keep Araby safe. They trade frequently with the Old World, although gunpowder weapons are banned in the kingdom for religious reasons.
Geographically the largest kingdom in the Eastern Lands, and the only one with an established trade route with the old world. The Silk Road to Cathay is difficult and dangerous, but is still the safest way between the two continents. As such, few travel between east and west. Cathay is a rich land that produces the finest spices and textiles in the world, and that wealth has allowed it to raise armies of countless thousands. Rumors also tell of warrior-monks who can kill with a touch, but who's to say if that's true?
An isolationist island kingdom east of Cathay. Nippon has a strict feudal system, not entirely unlike Bretonnia. Unlike Bretonnia, however, they are distrustful of outsiders and rarely let anyone enter or leave the country. There are rumors this might be the result of a bad experience in the past, as legend has it that Clan Eshin of the Skaven learned their arts of stealth and assassination in Nippon.
Despite its size and wealth, the kingdom of Ind places surprisingly little emphasis on its military. It survives and thrives on commerce, trading spices and produce rivaled only by Cathay. The prevailing spirituality encourages people to accept adversity, rather than struggle against it. This leads them to stay neutral in the many wars of the world. Ind is also home to a race of tiger-folk, the Bengal, who are known as fierce warriors.
A race of warrior women native to the jungles of Lustria. Through some magic known only to their priestesses these women can reproduce asexually, giving birth only to female children. They are fearsome warriors, skilled in guerrilla warfare and are expert hunters and trackers. They tend to dress in animal skins and headdresses made from the plumage of colorful tropical birds. In ancient times they were allies of the Lizardmen, working on their advanced technology, but as the centuries passed both races forgot their technology and lost contact with one another. They worship a mysterious warrior goddess named Rigg, who is believed to be connected to the Old Ones worshiped by the Lizardmen. These warriors are fiercely territorial, most of them keeping to their jungles and treating outsiders with suspicion or violence.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 12:04 AM
One of the oldest and most powerful civilizations in the world, unless demons can be counted as a civilization. The Asur, as they call themselves, inhabit the ring-shaped island kingdom of Ulthuan. The elves were the first to fight against Chaos, back when the world was young and Ulthuan was whole. They have skilled warriors and powerful mages, able to wield several winds of magic without falling to Dark or Chaos corruption. Ulthuan is comprised of ten lesser kingdoms ruled by Princes and Princesses, all overseen by two rulers, the elected Phoenix King and the hereditary Everqueen. The Asur value stoicism and dignity, distancing themselves from their dark kin.
The Druchii split off from their High Elf brethren ages ago, after their leader Malekith was passed over for the position of Phoenix King. Their rebellion blew a hole in the center of Ulthuan, turning it into the ring-shaped land mass it is today. They have embraced the darkness, worshiping Khaine, God of Murder, as one of their chief deities. Khaine is celebrated in regular ceremonies in which murder is encouraged, and violence plagues the streets of Dark Elven cities. The Dark Elves themselves are mostly warriors, raiders, and sorcerers, with the vast majority of manual labor done by human slaves. In times of war, vast ships known as Black Arks will act as a forward base for Dark Elf assaults. They make their home in Naggaroth, in the far north of the New World.
The most mysterious of the elves. The Asrai are reclusive and isolationist, preferring to stay deep in the wilderness, away from the troubles of the world and the bitter rivalry between their cousins. This can be difficult, as their forest of Athel Loren lies between Bretonnia and the Empire, the two largest human nations in the Old World. They fiercely protect these forests under the leadership of Ariel and Orion, powerful elves possessed by the spirit of nature gods.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 12:22 AM
The Dwarf Karaks
These under-mountain kingdoms are all that remains of a once-vast empire. The Dawi used to hold lands across the Old World, but have since been driven into underground strongholds and great stone cities. The remains of their once-great underground roads, The Underway, are still in use, though they have not been maintained in many a year. Dwarf society is the most technologically advanced in all the Old World, finding new uses for gunpowder and steam. They have even developed flying machines, gyrocopters that they kit out with a variety of weapons. Dwarfs are also more resistant to magic than most, and wield a unique form of magic through their runes. But perhaps most fearsome of all are their Slayers. Some dwarfs, whether by choice or to redeem themselves after dishonor, swear the Slayer Oath, that they must die in battle against some fearsome beast. They fling themselves at trolls, giants, dragons, whatever they can find, shirtless and battle-mad. Even one dwarf king, Ungrim Ironfist, is from a line that takes the oath. The many kings all follow a High King, Thorgrim Grudgebearer, whose solemn duty it is to write all wrongs against the dwarfs in the Book of Grudges. Many of these grudges are against the Greenskins, whom the dwarfs hate beyond reason.
A splinter faction making their home in the Dark Lands, between the Old World and the Eastern Lands. These dwarfs are slavers, inventors, and skilled smiths, often using their formidable abilities to aid the human servants of Chaos. These are descendants of dwarfs who tried to push into the Chaos Wastes, and were corrupted by the powers there. They are often mutated, sporting fangs or horns to mark them as different from their untainted brethren. The Dawi Zharr can often be seen traveling alongside human Chaos armies, operating their fearsome war machines.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 12:43 AM
The larger and stronger Greenskins, and the ones who usually lead. Greenskins are divided into many loose tribes, usually ruled by the biggest, strongest, meanest orc. These fearsome creatures live for battle, forming raiding parties and wanting to challenge the biggest, toughest opponents they can find, at least until they find them. They are often disorganized and may scatter if things go awry. Also worth noting is that despite their appearance, orcs and other greenskins are not actually mammals. They are a kind of humanoid fungus that reproduces through spores.
Smaller, more cunning, more cowardly. These nimble greenskins often work with orcs, relying on their larger brethren for protection. Magic is more common among goblins than orcs, and their shamans can sometimes rise to lead greenskin warbands. For the rest, they are often used as cannon fodder or skirmishers. Goblins are small enough that they can ride ordinary wolves, or wolf-sized spiders. The little greenskins also have a knack for beast-taming, and have marshaled spiders, wolves, and bigger spiders to the WAAAAAAAAAAGH.
On the Eastern Steppes is the largest organized greenskin kingdom in the world, the Hobgoblin Khanate. These larger goblins are considered traitors by most greenskins for having abandoned a great uprising in ages past. Still, they are a fearsome force in the east, often carrying out raids on northern Cathay.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 12:58 AM
Vampires of Sylvania
East of the Empire lies Sylvania, home of the Von Carstein bloodline. These are the most powerful and influential of modern vampires, led by Mannfred von Carstein, a powerful necromancer and the last surviving member of the family's lead branch. They command mortal necromancers and legions of undead monsters, some of them sentient. Banshees, wights, and other vampires have a mind of their own, and can think and act independently. These creatures are harmed by sunlight, but in tainted lands or at night they are a terrifying foe. Other bloodlines, such as the subtle Lamia and bestial Strigoi, are less common, but still can be found in some places. While some are burned by sunlight, this is not always the case. The stronger the vampire's will, the more resistant they are. Many only have their power diminished, and a few of the strongest are entirely immune. Seeing as they are more bestial and less controlled, all Strigoi catch fire in direct sunlight.
In life, they were known as the Priest Kings of Nehekhara. Thousands of years ago they ruled over a great human kingdom in the fertile lands of the Southlands, centered in the great city of Khemri. In these lands they fought a great war against the necromancer Nagash. The necromancer was defeated, but his dark magic seeped into the land, turning the lush fields to deserts and killing its inhabitants. They rose again as fiercely territorial undead, guarding the lost secrets of their magic from any intruders.
A disgraced former dukedom of Bretonnia, cut off from the realm after its duke was revealed to be a vampire centuries ago. The land is cursed, its crops blighted and its human inhabitants ravaged by sickness. Undead of all kinds run rampant there, as do Chaos cults. The few normal humans often play along with necromantic or demonic cults, hoping to blend in with their neighbors.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 01:37 AM
Demons come in three main varieties. Lesser demons are spawned by the whims of the Chaos Gods, meant to be rank and file soldiers. While they are intelligent, most of them rarely develop much personality. A rare few rise above. Then are the Demon Princes and Princesses, mortal servants of Chaos who excelled to the point that they were allowed to ascend, becoming demons themselves. Finally are the Greater Demons, the agents of the Chaos Gods in the world. These are beings of immense power, far beyond any one mortal. They rarely step in personally, but when they do it takes a heroic effort and catastrophic loss to stop them. It is nearly impossible to permanently kill a demon of any kind, one can merely destroy their physical body. They will need time and effort to be able to manifest int he physical world again.
Demons of Tzeentch
The Changer of Ways, Chaos god of magic. Tzeentch's servants rely on sorcery, trickery, and cunning. They are also some of the most bizarre in appearance. Lesser demons are often just shapes of flesh, teeth, and spines. His Greater Demons take the appearance of massive anthropomorphic ravens with blue feathers, towering at twenty feet. These creatures are sorcerers of immense power, and tricksters by nature. Each of them has countless names, most of them shared with others of their kind. They find it amusing to keep swapping out, or make humans think that they do. Demons of Tzeentch are aligned with the lores of Fire and the Heavens, as well as their own magic.
Demons of Slaanesh
Slaanesh is the god of excess. These beings take hedonism beyond mortal limits, until it turns into a form of extreme sadomasochism. For them, any sensation is good. They revel in inflicting and receiving pain, use illusions and chemicals to alter minds, and often have lithe, humanoid forms. Slaaneshi Greater Demons are called Keepers of Secrets, towering four-armed creatures that are repulsive to look at, while letting off a supernaturally alluring aura. There is grace in every movement of their tall, lithe forms. Demons of Slaanesh are aligned with the lores of Shadow and Light, as well as their own magic.
Demons of Nurgle
The children of the Plaguefather genuinely do not understand why they are so hated. They see disease as a gift, both part of the cycle of life and a way to share life with other, smaller, microscopic life forms. Demons of Nurgle are all grotesque, rotted and diseased, lumbering along slowly. They are desensitized to pain, often not noticing a missing limb until they try to use it. Greater Demons of Nurgle are Great Unclean Ones, bloated, rotting monsters even wider than they are tall. These creatures have antlers sprouting from their heads, and will often use their prehensile intestines in battle. Nurgle's children are jovial, friendly, and absolutely dangerous. Their lores of magic are Life and Death, as well as their own magic.
Demons of Knorne
Blood-red skin, brass, and horns are hallmarks of the Blood God's servants. They are warriors to the core, reveling in battle and bloodshed. Some want a worthy foe, others believe that Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, only that it does. What they have in common is that all are physically powerful, stronger and often faster than most foes they face. Greater Demons of Knorne are called Bloodthirsters, massive blood-red minotaurs with batlike wings, wielding whips and massive battleaxes. Khorne is not associated with any magic, as he sees it as a coward's tool. All demons of Khorne have some degree of resistance to magic.
Demons of Chaos Undivided
The products of rare moments of cooperation between the Chaos Gods. There are few lesser demons among them, mostly the gargoyle-like Furies. There are no Greater Demons of Undivided, although there are Demon Princes and Princesses. Many Chaos champions court several of the Ruinous Powers, and carry the gifts of two or more gods if they ascend.
The failed ascensions. These were once humans who followed Chaos, but lost control of their gifts. Their mutations overwhelmed them, turning them into hulking mindless beasts of claw, fang, and sometimes eyes. This is what awaits a Chaos champion who is careless, or weak-willed.
Posted: Jul 27 2016, 11:29 AM
One of the most populous races in the world, and with technology rivaled only by the dwarfs. If these rat men could stop fighting among themselves for a year, they might be able to conquer the entire surface. Their Under-Empire stretches through deep caverns and tunnels under the entire Old World and even beyond. Skaven males look like humanoid rats, and the females appear to be bear-sized feral rats. They give birth to vast litters, giving them a birth rate that would cause a catastrophic resource shortage if they valued life at all. Skaven don't train soldiers, they send in masses of child soldiers and promote those who survive long enough. Their advanced technology is based on dangerous, unstable Warpstone, and will often backfire. On top of this, the four major Skaven clans and countless smaller ones are constantly fighting. The Under-Empire is ruled by the Council of Thirteen, representing the twelve most powerful clans, but they still often war with one another. Their god, the Horned Rat, symbolically holds the thirteenth seat. In effect, this means the Grey Seers have two votes on the council, as it is their job to interpret the Horned Rat's commands.
Massive, strong, and ravenously hungry. Ogres are cannibals, but wouldn't limit themselves to just eating each other. They will eat any flesh they can find. In their society, strength and social standing is determined by gut size. Greasus Goldtooth, Overtyrant of the nomadic Ogre Kingdoms, is so fat he needs an army of slaves to carry his thrones. Their god is the Great Maw, a mile-wide mouth that, according to legend, swallowed their ancestral homeland. Ogres are often hired as mercenaries in foreign lands, as they are among the few beings tough enough to easily cross the Dark Lands.
Beastmen were the first race to rule the Old World, until humanity came along with its technology and cities. The loose tribes of Beastmen were driven back into the woods, and they've held a grudge ever since. These goatlike humanoids worship the Chaos Gods, and come in many shapes and sizes. Those with short horns are considered a lower caste, with the bigger, stronger, larger-horned beastmen ruling over them. They range from man-sized to the literally giant-sized Cygors, hulking one-eyed monstrosities that hunger for the souls of wizards. While loosely organized, these creatures can threaten entire kingdoms when they emerge from the wilderness in numbers. They have no interest in conquering, they merely want to destroy the civilization that forced them out of their ancient homes. They are most common in the southwest of the Old World and in Khuresh, in the Eastern Lands.
An ancient civilization of reptilian humanoids that has ruled over Lustria since before the time of the Empire. For a time their rule extended over vast swathes of the world, ruling virtually everything before the rise of intelligent mammals. As the Beastmen, Elves, and Humans rose, they were slowly pushed back to Lustria, and to the dense jungles of the Southlands. In colder or drier climates, they simply couldn't stand against their warm-blooded foes. In their element, they have proven impossible to unseat. Their motives are unclear, following the orders of the unimaginably intelligent toad-like Slann. These creatures are mostly brain, and direct the Lizardmen in their inscrutable tasks. Their culture is based on worship of the Old Ones, their descendants who they believe came from the stars, and left just as mysteriously.
Titanic monstrous servants of Chaos. From the waist up, they appear as great horned ogres, although they are leaner and more muscular than full-blooded ogres. From the waist down, they are massive lizards, with four legs and long tails. They vary from twenty to fifty feet tall, growing larger and stronger as they age. They cannot die of old age, though their violent lifestyle keeps their population under control. The oldest and strongest become naturally attuned with the Celestial Wind of magic, crackling with electricity and calling down lightning from the skies. While few if any become full-fledged wizards, they can use that one power.
A race of large, scaled humanoids that often ally with the Greenskins. These primitive humanoids are even less intelligent than the average orc, motivated primarily by food. They are twice as tall as a man, constantly hungry, capable of healing any wound in hours, and able to vomit acidic bile. Despite their Stone Age technology, they are fearsome creatures that should not be taken lightly. Some have also aligned themselves with Chaos, and are tainted and mutated by Warp energy.
Another race that commonly allies with the greenskins, although some work as mercenaries for other races. Giants live up to their name, great lumbering humanoids are usually at least forty feet tall, with many being far larger. Their primary motivations are food and beer, and they will often snack on goblins if no other convenient food sources are around. On their own, giants will commonly raid farms, carrying off cattle to eat, or break open taverns to drink whatever they can find. Some have also aligned themselves with Chaos, and are tainted and mutated by Warp energy.
Diminutive humanoids that are scattered around the Old World, mostly living in a region of the Empire called The Moot, near the Sylvanian border. They are known as great farmers and cooks, although many humans distrust them, considering them to be thieves. This hate is especially strong in Stirland, which considers The Moot to be a rightful part of its land. Violence against Halflings is common there, and is pantomimed with pinatas at children's parties. For their own part, Halflings are a peaceful lot, most of them preferring to farm or chat over a mug of ale rather than going on adventures. Some do become soldiers, more often as skirmishers than as hardline fighters. This changes when their homes are threatened, as they can then become fierce warriors, brave and resourceful. Halflings generally worship the Imperial pantheon, and revere Sigmar as a great protector, even though nobody can think of a time Sigmar protected the Halflings from anything, or even mentioned them. They are also particularly resistant to magic and Chaos taint.
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