The Soul Wars have ended, and the Mortal Realms lie broken by the powers unleashed. The daemon prince Be'lakor has shrouded the realms in the powers of Chaos, preventing the Stormcast Eternals from returning to Azyr for rebirth upon their demise. Nagash's Necroquake has ended, and in response the unbridled energies of Life are spilling across the realms. Kragnos, God of Earthquakes and End of Empires, has galvanized the forces of Destruction to a degree not seen since Gorkamorka's great WAAAGH. New gods and monsters have been unleashed upon the Mortal Realms. Civilization teeters on the brink of annihilation. Now is the Era of the Beast.
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is the fantasy counterpart to Warhammer 40,000, replacing the earlier incarnation of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Mixing the grim gothic fantasy style of its predecessor, Age of Sigmar adds many outlandish high fantasy elements, as armies of mortals, demigods, daemons and monsters clash across the magical Mortal Realms.
In its initial release, Age of Sigmar incorporated much of the model range of Warhammer Fantasty, allowing players to make use of their Fantasty armies in the new game and setting alongside the brand new factions and models released exclusive for Age of Sigmar.
Since its release, Age of Sigmar has grown to include many new original factions and expand the ever-growing lore and story of the Mortal Realms. It has also spawned additional games set in the Age of Sigmar, namely Warhammer Underworlds and Warcry.
The Setting (A.K.A So, Wait... What Happened to Warhammer Fantasy?)
Previously, Warhammer Fantasy was set upon the Old World. Long story short, it blew up.
Chaos Won. Everybody Died.
Long story slightly less short, the Old World was destroyed as the inevitable victory of the Dark Gods came to pass, with Chaos devouring the world and most of its mortal inhabitants. In the last days of the Old World, a desperate plan was set in motion to harness the Eight Winds of Magic to oppose the Dark Gods, but this ultimately failed and the world was lost. But it was not the end for everything...
The destruction of the World That Was released the Eight Winds into the universe, and each type of magic became the basis for an entire new realm of existence. Eight realms in all were born, the Mortal Realms, vast dimensions larger than any planet and filled with all manner of beings both mortal and divine, as well as fantastic kingdoms, lands, and even entire worlds.
A pantheon of Order forged by Sigmar the God-King rose to usher in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity across the Mortal Realms, a golden age referred to as the Age of Myth. Man, duardian, aelf, even orruk, undead, and other monstrous races were united.
Inevtiably, the age could not last, and the gods and mortals fell to warring amongst one another. As the alliance forged by Sigmar began to fracture, the forces of Chaos discovered the Mortal Realms and the Dark Gods desired to add them to their tally of conquests. They sent both their mortal slaves and their daemon creations to attack the Mortal Realms, plunging them into an Age of Chaos.
Sigmar, unwilling to let the Dark Gods destroy yet another reality, gathered the souls of the mightiest heroes of mankind and forged them into a new army - the Stormcast Eternals, the God-King's ultimate weapon against Chaos. After centuries of preparation, the Stormcast Eternals strike the forces of the Dark Gods across the Mortal Realms with righteous fury, bringing an end to the Age of Chaos.
With the grip of Chaos broken, the many forces of the Mortal Realms have risen up to battle for supremacy. The Age of Sigmar has begun.
What Are the Mortal Realms
The Mortal Realms - Simple, and Easy to Understand
The Mortal Realms are not ordinary worlds, but vast planar dimensions floating in the aetheric void. Each one is a fantastic realm filled with landscapes and regions that would not be possible on worlds bound entirely by natural law, for every Mortal Realm is almost a universe unto itself born of pure magic. At the heart of a realm, magic has solidified into something akin to reality and the majority of mortal kingdoms are founded here, while closer to the perimeter of the realm magic grows wild and more elemental, and sights such as floating islands, walking mountains, living storms, and other fantastic and terrible wonders can be witnessed.
The Mortal Realms are joined by Realmgates, magical portals created by some ancient civilization lost to the ages. Realmgates provide magical travel over vast distances, and are the only reliable ways to travel between the eight realms. Control of the Realmgates is vital for any power seeking to conquer, and they are a major focus for many of the warring factions vying for dominion.
The Realm of Aqshy - This bit here...
...Is that liiittle bit there, you see it?
The eight realms are...
Azyr, Realm of the Celestial. The seat of the God-King Sigmar's power. Sigmar rules here unopposed. Aqshy, Realm of Fire. A land of raging passions and volatile horizons. The duardin god Grimnir perished here, while Khorne's forces are in ascendance. Ghyran, Realm of Life. Green and verdant, burgeoning with all forms of life. The aelven goddess of life Alarielle wars with Nurgle for mastery of these lands. Shyish, Realm of Death. Composed of innumerable afterlives and underworlds. Nagash is resurgent, his undead forces scouring the lands of Chaos taint. Chamon, Realm of Metal. A realm of transmutation, alchemy, and grand potential. The eye of Tzeentch is upon these protean lands, while the duardin deity Grungni is rumoured to be labouring in secret somewhere. Ghur, Realm of Beast. Primeval realm of savage violence, where only the strong survive. The footfalls of mighty Gorkamorka echo like thunder in the distance. Hysh, Realm of Light. A realm of dazzling enlightenment and unbound intellect. The twin aelven gods of Light, Tyrion and Teclis, reign hidden in this realm, their attentions on their imprisoned nemesis... Ulgu, Realm of Shadows. Shrouded in darkness, a land of secrets and mystery. The aelven god of shadow, Malerion, slithers in the gloomy mists, his scheming hidden from all.
Despite the dawning of the Age of Sigmar, the realms are still horribly scarred by the forces of Chaos, and vast regions of each one are corrupt extensions of the dread Realm of Chaos itself.
The Grand Alliances
There are a great many factions vying for supremacy in the Mortal Realms, but they can all be categorized into one of four Grand Alliances. Any faction may unite with any other faction provided they are part of the same Grand Alliance. In gameplay terms, this means you can have an army comprised of units from multiple factions, although if you take an army made up of a single faction you may utilize special bonus traits not available to mixed-faction armies.
The Age of Sigmar setting allows for the use of most of the model range from the previous Warhammer Fantasy setting, with the units themselves reimagined as new factions that exist with the Mortal Realms.
It's more Hammer Time than it has ever been before.
Nominally united under the God-King Sigmar, these factions strive to drive the powers of Chaos from the Mortal Realms forever. Of course, many follow their own agendas...
-The Stormcast Eternals-
Superhuman warriors created by Sigmar from the souls of humanity's greatest heroes. These brave men and women are imbued with the God-King's own celestial might, granting them abilities beyond most mortals. Armored in gleaming sigmarite plate and wielding the fury of the storm, they are a nigh-unstoppable force. Even if a Stormcast dies in battle, their soul returns to the Realm of Azyr to be reforged and sent back into battle. However, each reforging costs them a fraction of their precious humanity, and as more and more Stormcast fall and return, these growing flaws in the reforging process may have dire consequences in the future...
Duardin that worship the fallen Slayer-God Grimnir. They bear runes of ur-gold fused into their flesh, the enchanted metal believed to contain fragments of their dead god. Highly mercenary, they will fight for any who can pay them in the gold they desire, for any scrap of gold may contain a fragment of their god's divine might. For them, to fight for pay is the purest expression of their worship.
When their ancient strongholds were overrun during the Age of Chaos, some enterprising duardin took to the skies. Using advanced science, they have created fantastic airships and weaponry to defend their floating stronghold-cities. They value the magical airborne substance known as aether-gold, believed to be the divine breath of the Forge-God Grungni.
Terrifying protectors of the Mortal Realms' natural splendor, the merciless Sylvaneth represent the fury of nature unbound. Spawned by the aelven goddess of life Alarielle, the Sylvaneth are creatures part spirit, part flesh, and part plant. Erupting from the forested regions of the Mortal Realms, they swarm unstoppably to eliminate any threat to the natural world. Even their erstwhile allies in the forces of Order are not safe from Sylvaneth on the warpath.
The aelven god of Light Teclis sought to restore his people after the fall of the World That Was, and used souls stolen from the gullet of the Chaos God Slaanesh to accomplish this. The first results of his efforts were the Idoneth Deepkin, a somber and soul-broken breed. Dwelling deep within the oceans of the Mortal Realms, where the crushing depths stifle the sensation that the Dark God Slaanesh craves, the Idoneth Deepkin use their magically conjured ether-sea and enchanted ocean monsters to attack settlements of other mortal races, for the Deepkin must devour the souls of others to feed their own.
-Daughters of Khaine-
The blood-hungry she-aelves are the servants of the fallen God of Murder, Khaela Mensha Khaine. Though Khaine was all but annihilated in the fall of the World That Was, the Daughters of Khaine seek to restore their fallen god to dark glory with their muderous acts of war and sacrifice. Forged by the aelven demi-goddess Morathi from souls stolen from Slaanesh, the Daughters show the mark of their corrupted souls through a variety of monstrous mutations.
The lizardmen known as the Seraphon are the servants of the Slaan, an ancient race that escaped annihilation during the fall of the World That Was. These Slaan Starmasters have transcended their former limits, and now conjure their Seraphon warriors from raw celestial magic. Monstrous reptilian legions older than human memory stride into battle, laying waste to the enemies of Order before vanishing in the aether as myseriously as they arrived. The Seraphon are represented by the Warhammer Fantasy Lizardmen range of models.
Striding out of the brilliance of the realm of Hysh, the Lumineth Realm-Lords are the creations of the aelven god of Light, Teclis. Drawing power from the elemental energies of the Mortal Realms, from skies and rivers and mountains, the Lumineth combine magical mastery with flawless martial strategy. To protect themselves from the temptations of the great enemy Slaanesh, they eschew emotions and personal ambition, fighting for the greater good. The Lumineth go so far as to use magic to remove emotional imbalance from their very being, a practice that serves to make them incorruptible, at the cost of their growing increasingly cold and merciless, beings devoid of emotion entirely.
-Cities of Simgar-
The God-King of Azyr has masterminded the construction of bastions of civilization all across the Mortal Realms, the glorious and myriad Cities of Sigmar. Home to millions of mortals from the races of men, aelf, and duardin, the cities are defended by stalwart souls devoted to the God-King and the powers of Order. The units of Cities of Sigmar armies are represented by the classic model ranges of Warhammer Fantasy, including Empire, Dwarf, High Elf, Dark Elf, and Wood Elf miniatures.
I'm here to kill Warhammer Fantasy and rule the Mortal Realms. And I'm all out of Warhammer Fantasy.
Led by Archaon the Everchosen, arch-champion of the Dark Gods, the forces of Chaos nearly conquered the Mortal Realms entire. The powers unleashed by Sigmar have broken the grip of Chaos over the Mortal Realms, but the battle is far from over. Bearing a grudge against Sigmar from before the fall of the World That Was, Archaon will not rest until all who stand before him are destroyed.
-Blades of Khorne-
The forces of Khorne, Chaos God of bloodshed and war. Bloodthirsty mortal barbarians and slaughter-mad legions of Khornate daemons pay homage to the Blood God, and seek to take the skulls of their enemies to lay at Khorne's great throne.
-Disciples of Tzeentch-
The Architect of Fate, the Master of Fortune, the Changer of Ways - only some of the many names of Tzeentch, Chaos God of magic, transformation, and dark ambition. His mortal cultists plot and scheme throughout the kingdoms of Order, his Tzaangor beast-kin stand ready for war, and his Tzeentchian daemons prepare to unleash utter havoc.
-Maggotkin of Nurgle-
No force in all the Mortal Realms is more revolting than the servants of Nurgle, Chaos God of disease and despair. The generous Nurgle lavishes the gift of plague upon the Mortal Realms, reaping a bounty of pustulent horror and virulent putrescence. His mortal warriors are bloated with disease and swollen with their loving god's strength, and the Nurglish daemon legions strive to spread the majesty of Father Nurgle's glory with the feverish energy of an epidemic.
-Hedonites of Slaanesh-
For centuries, the Fourth Throne of the Dark Gods has sat empty. Slaanesh was lost, missing... captive. Ensnared by the aelven gods of Light and Shadow, Slaanesh languishes in his prison, but with every passing day his bindings grow irrevocably weaker. The call of Slaanesh rings out across the Mortal Realms, and his children are stirred to war. Be they mortal worshiper or Slaaneshi daemon, the Hedonites rampage across the realms in honor to absent Slaanesh. Some seek to find their missing god... while others dream that they might replace him.
Lurking beneath the mortal kingdoms of the eight realms are the skaven, wicked ratmen that gnaw at the very fabric of reality itself. The skaven lurk in the shadows of the Mortal Realms, beneath the unwitting mortal civilizations above them. Specialist Greatclans provide the skaven with a vast array of forces to utilize in their campaign to bring the lesser races under their dominion. At the head of their dark race is the Great Horned Rat, once a minor Chaos deity, now bloated with might from the worship of his children and risen to match the other Dark Gods as a fifth major power, the Chaos God of blight and ruin.
-Slaves to Darkness-
From the barbarian savages of the Darkoath tribes to the exalted champions of the Varanguard, the legions of the Dark Gods are a force seemingly without limit, casting their shadow across all the Mortal Realms. Whatever their reason for turning their backs on humanity, the Dark Gods laugh at their petty ambitions and vanities. In the end, from the lowliest marauder to Archaon himself, they are naught but Slaves to Darkness...
-Beasts of Chaos-
From out of the corrupted wild places of the Mortal Realms come the Beasts of Chaos. The true children of the Dark Gods, whom they hate and revere with equal passion, they are the bastard spawn of Chaos, abused and scorned, turning their hatred and brute might upon the people of the Mortal Realms. A hideous amalgamation of humanoid and animal traits, the beastmen loathe all forms of order and civilization, seeking to tear down cities and trample them into ruin.
Dead and would be loving it if capable of love
Nagash, the Great Necromancer, is the self-proclaimed God of Shyish. Lording over the afterlives and underworlds of all the Mortal Realms, Nagash schemes to become the greatest power in all the cosmos, and bind all that exists under his indomitable will. Once a reluctant ally of Sigmar in the Age of Myth, Nagash loathes the God-King for taking the souls of mighty heroes to forge his Stormcast Eternals - souls that rightfully belong to the Lord of Death.
-Legions of Nagash-
The undying hordes command by Nagash and his dread lieutenants the Morarchs stream out of the graves of the Mortal Realms to draw the living into their ranks. From Soulblight vampire lords, to armies of Deathrattle skeleton warriors, to endless seas of Deadwalker zombies, the undead in all their vast and hideous array heed the call of Nagash.
Afflicted by a morbid supernatural curse, the Flesh-Eater Courts are armies comprised of ghouls, vile carrion-creatures suffused with the magic of death. In their own twisted minds, the flesh-eaters halucinate that they are glorious and noble heraldic warriors of heroic bloodlines and chilvarous traditions. In their delusions they believe that they are brave warriors fighting against hideous monsters, when in reality they are the true monsters, slaughtering and feasting upon the innocent people of the Mortal Realms. Of all the forces of death, Nagash has the least amount of control over them.
Spectral phantasms that roam the darkest regions of the Mortal Realms, the terrifying Nighthaunts have been shaped by the magic of Nagash into hideous forms that reflect the Great Necromancer's twisted sense of justice. The ethereal Nighthaunts are driven by dark compulsion to inflict horror and death upon the living, spiriting their souls back to the Realm of Death for their dark master.
Vanguards of a new order, the Ossiarch Bonereapers are a recently completed creation of Nagash, a legion centuries in the making. Their physical forms are molded from the bones of the dead, animated by necromantic magic and shackled spirits. They are not the mindless shambling undead of Nagash's other legions, but an elite fighting force of highly skilled and intelligent warriors, undying, relentless, and utterly without mercy.
The vampiric nobility of the Mortal Realms. Ancient and powerful beyond mortal reckoning, with bloodlines that can be traced back to the World-That-Was, the power-hungry aristocracy of the night obey the Great Necromancer, but only as long as it serves their own dark desires. Slaking their thirst with the blood of mortals, the Soublight Gravelords command innumerable legions of the undead.
I'm da biggest, so I'm da boss!!
The hordes of Destruction are united only by a love of unleashing absolute carnage. There is no subtlety, no strategy behind their rampage. They are driven only by the primal need for violence. They heed the call of the two-headed god of destruction, Gorkamorka.
The biggest, meanest, and loudest of the greenskins, the orruks boast that they have the greatest favor of Gorkamorka. The brutal Ironjawz leave not a stone standing in their great destructive WAAAGHS!!! across the Mortal Realms, while the savage and unhinged Bonesplitterz go to war garbed in warpaint and wielding weapons of stone and bone. The orruks honor Gorkamorka in their bellows for war and their thundering charges, and most of all in the utter destruction of anything that stands in their way.
Summoned by the rise of the dreaded Bad Moon as it drifts across the Mortal Realms, the Gloomspite Gitz swarm out of every dank and forgotten corner. Moonclan Grots, Spiderclan Grots, monstrous Troggoths breeds, and all manner of squiggly beasts and strange fungal creatures caper and cackle beneath the light of the Bad Moon.
Obsessed with eating and fighting, the Mawtribes of the ogor race roam the Mortal Realms in great nomadic armies. Everything in their path is smashed into oblivion as the ogors feast on the flesh and blood of their victims before moving on, leaving naught but ruin in their wake.
-Sons of Behemat-
The colossal gargants are some of the largest creatures in the Mortal Realms, a single such beast capable of smashing an entire legion of human-sized troops. Gargants spawned from the god-beast Behemat are an especially large and dangerous breed, a mere handful capable of laying waste to an entire kingdom. When the earth quakes underfoot, it means the Sons of Behemat are on the march.
Emerging from the darkest swamps and mires of the Mortal Realms are the Kruleboyz, a breed of orruk that surpasses any other when it comes to fiendish cunning and inventive brutality. Lean, green, and mean, the Kruleboyz strike at the encroaching settlements of more civilized races, and have flocked to the banner of Kragnos, a God of Destruction that has recently been released from an ancient prison.
And the, uh... the names...?
Yes, if you hadn't heard, Games Workshop rebranded some of the less copyrightable fantasy elements previous featured in Warhammer. Here's a short list.