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Cathay is a fictional nation in Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy universe. Cathay is the Warhammer equivalent of China, based upon Chinese History with an added mixture of High Fantasy and Chinese folklore. Cathay was actually the name given to northern China in the 14th century by Marco Polo. To date, no Warhammer army has been released for Cathay, and almost no official fiction has been written.
Official information on Cathay is hard to find, but in the 6th edition Warhammer Rulebook there is a text describing the fabled kingdom of Cathay and the surrounding lands. Cathay (also known as 'The Kingdom of the Dragon' and the 'Empire of the Celestial Dragon') is described as an enormous empire, ruled over by a divine Emperor. According to what lore is available, merchants from the old world occasionally travel to Cathay upon the Silk Road: a perilous journey due to the hordes of the Hobgobla-Khan who roam the steppes along the Ivory Road west of Cathay. Ogres, who also pose a threat to merchants and travellers, hail from the Mountains of Mourn to the north-west of Cathay with some even going to Cathay to find employment as mercenaries. Some minor information on Cathay can be found in the Warhammer: Ogre Kingdoms book, where a weapon called "Cathayan Longsword" is given rules, and a number of magic items such as Jade Lion and Cathayan Jet are also listed. In the north of Cathay is the dreaded Chaos Wastes.
The Skaven Clan Eshin spent many years in Cathay and Nippon ('Nippon' being the Warhammer world's equivalent of Japan) learning the ways of Ninjitsu. The Skaven troop types Night Runners and Gutter Runners are martial art apprentices that graduate to become Skaven Assassins.
Games Workshop tales about Cathay
A story entitled The Voyage of Yin-Tuan to Lustria, presented in White Dwarf 280, relates the history of a Cathayan expedition to the Southlands and being decimated by two hurricanes sent by the Slann, conjured on the strength of an ancient prophecy (an event similar to the real world Kamikaze that destroyed a Mongol Invasion of Japan). Yin-Tuan, the narrator, speaks of Cathay being ruled by an 'Emperor Wu'. The captain also bears a tattoo of 'the Imperial Dragon' which the Lizardmen mistake to be an image of their god Sotek, saving him from ritual sacrifice. The text implies the existence of multiple Cathayan ruling dynasties, historically, explaining that at this period Cathay was ruled by the Wu dynasty. The voyage of Yin-Tuan also mentions the use by the Cathayan military of lacquered hide shields, and an elite guard of the Emperor who sport tiger pelts.
Jack Yeovil's Beasts in Velvet and Silver Nails feature the character of Dien Ch’ing, a sorcerer of Tzeentch ('Lord Tsien-Tsin') who was driven out of Cathay. In order to bring about the ruin of the Old World he masquerades as the Cathayan ambassador to the Empire. Among his talents is the ability to summon his ancestors and elementals of earth, fire, wind, water and wood. The addition of the fifth ‘wood’ elemental bemuses one of the Old World characters who is only used to four elements. Dien Ch’ing makes constant references to the grudge he has against the ‘Monkey-King’, presumably the current ruler of Cathay. He is frequently referred to, not as being 'Cathayan', but a 'Celestial'. Edit: Monkey king is the name of the Celestial which he is the King of Monkeys based on the Jouney to the west story. His actual name is Son-Goku/Son Wukong with Son as his last name if he was the emperor of cathay they will use Emperor Son so likely he was not referencing him as the King of Cathay but as a reference as his nick of King of Monkeys out of respect/custom to not use the person's full name but their title like it is customary done in the east.
The Estragon's Island campaign (which was published in White Dwarf 297) featured several mystical objects of Cathayan origin along with a character (Ty Chan'Cho) who was presumably Cathayan.
According to another story, when the vampires fled from Lahmia after their defeat, many went north, yet reference is also made to a vampire who travelled east. A conspiracy theory of sorts has developed that the Immortal Dragon Emperor of Cathay is none other than this vampire.
- Stillman, N. 1997. Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. ISBN 1-872372-56-2
- Stillman, N., Pirinen, T., Wigley, J. 1998. Warhammer Armies: Dogs of War. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. ISBN 1-872372-02-3
- Yeovil, J. 2005. The Vampire Genevieve. Nottingham: Black Library. ISBN 978-1-84416-244-4
- The Grand Army of Cathay, a converted Cathayan army by a Games Workshop employee.
- Cathay WFRP sourcebook, a fan-created sourcebook about Cathay and the inspiration for the above army.