Storm of Chaos Online Campaign
The Storm of Chaos was a massive narrative campaign created by Games Workshop for their Warhammer Fantasy setting, played in the northern hemisphere summer of 2004 . Like its predecessor (the Eye of Terror Campaign) and its successor (The War of the Ring Online Campaign), it was extremely popular, and attracted several thousand players.
The basic premise was that players of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Mordheim, and Warmaster were invited to register the results of their games at the Storm of Chaos Website, where a tactical map of the north of the Empire existed. Upon registering a battle, one army would be counted attacker, the other defender. Depending on which side the results favoured, either the attackers or the defenders would get a little more of the map, and occasionally some side benefits.
For several centuries, the Lord Archaon sought the six treasures of Chaos: The Armor, the Eye, the Blade, the Mark, the Steed, and the Crown. According to the myths of Chaos worshippers, the one who manages to gain them all will become the Everchosen, Lord of the End Times, the champion of the gods destined bring about the final triumph of Chaos. He finally managed to gain the six treasures in the year 2521 IC. At the same time, the Chaos Warlord Surtha Lenk attacked Kislev and pushed through to the Empire, sacking the Ostland capital of Wolfenburg before being crushed by Imperial reinforcements.
At the same time, Luthor Huss, a self-styled prophet of Sigmar, had started to challenge the hierarchy of the church of Sigmar. Huss claimed that the priesthood had become corrupt and decadent, ignoring the teachings of Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim and abandoning Sigmar's mission. Volkmar raised an army and journeyed to Kislev to confront Archaon. They lost, Volkmar was slain, and the war altar of Sigmar was cast down. A new Grand Theogonist, Johann Esmer, was elected, and was the epitome of everything that Luthor Huss and other grassroots clerics despised.
Trapped in the Kislevite city of Praag, the Tzarina Katarin asked for aid from her old Dwarven ally Ungrim Ironfist, the Slayer King of Karak Kadrin, who responded by sending his armies, led by his son Garagrim Ironfist, to their aid.
As the horde of Archaon rampaged through Kislev and into the Empire, Emperor Karl Franz invited envoys from the neighbouring kingdoms, as well as representatives of the High Elves and from the Dwarfs to the "Conclave of Light". Here, he successfully gained the support of Bretonnia, the Dwarfs and the High Elves. Huss had in the meantime found a young man named Valten who bore striking physical resemblance to Sigmar as is described in the legends, except for a birthmark shaped like a twin-tailed comet, the main symbol of the Sigmarite church. Valten was also highly skilled in battle and had a will-power to endure wounds that would kill a normal man. Huss and his following travelled to Altdorf, the capital city of The Empire, where they demanded that Valten be recognised as the reincarnation of Sigmar and so proclaim him Emperor, ignoring the immense civil unrest such a declaration would cause. By now, it was late spring, and Karl Franz, both pragmatic politician and devout Sigmarite, could neither ignore nor accept Huss's demands. In the end, he proclaimed Valten was the "spiritual heir" of Sigmar, recognising that he was blessed to some degree, but wisely retained rulership for himself.
In the summer of the year IC (Imperial Calendar) 2522 Archaon attacked The Empire with the specific goal of desecrating the city of Middenheim, a holy site to the followers of Ulric, a warrior god who is second in popularity only to Sigmar.
Characters active during the campaign
- Archaon - The Everchosen, the Lord of the End Times, and leader of the Swords of Chaos warband.
- Ar-Ulric Emil Valgeir, High priest of Ulric
- Be'lakor, The Dark Master, a demonic power that had been punished by the chaos gods for thinking he was their equal. Be'lakor was finally released from his prison to perform the Dark Coronation.
- Borgut Facebeater - Grimgor Ironhide's second in command.
- Boris Todbringer, Count of Middenland.
- Deathmaster Sniktch - the most skillful Skaven assassin in the world. Thought to have been Valten's assassin.
- Emperor Karl Franz - or more properly: 'His most Imperial Highness, Emperor Karl-Franz Holswig-Schliestein, Grand Prince of Altdorf, Count of the Reikland, Protector of the Empire'.
- Feytor the Tainted - One of Archaon's four lieutenants. A Chaos Lord devoted to Nurgle. Feytor did not have his own rules.
- Garagrim Ironfist - The son of Ungrim Ironfist, Garagrim had devised a plan to rid his family line of its dishonour. By dying in combat as his father's champion, Garagrim believed he would prove the worthiness of the bloodline. He was killed when a chaos giant fell on him as it died, thus fulfilling his slayer vow.
- Grimgor Ironhide - The greatest living Orc warlord suffered defeat at the hands of Crom the Conqueror a couple of months before Archaon's horde attacked the Empire. Shamed and now in a risky position, Grimgor kept control by claiming that the Orc god Gork had given him a religious vision. Guided by this vision he ordered the massacre of all the goblins in his army. He later managed to defeat Archaon in single combat. Thus satisfied, the Orc quit the field.
- Haargroth the Blooded One - Haargroth was a peasant boy who proved his mettle in combat, and became a Chaos Lord devoted to Khorne and one of Archaon's four lieutenants. He was slain by Ar-Ulric Valgeir while fighting a rearguard action for Archaon. He did not have his own rules.
- Johan Esmer - The then Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, did not have a special character and did not get much attention throughout the campaign, but was central in its opening phases.
- Kordel Shorgaar - One of Archaon's lieutenants and the standard bearer of the Swords of Chaos.
- Mannfred von Carstein - The ruler of Sylvania and a powerful vampire lord. After scattering the remnants of Archaon's army, he attempted to march on Middenheim, but was stopped by Volkmar, who warned him he could easily be slain the same as Vlad. His smug confidence shattered, Mannfred retreated to Sylvania to deal with Vardek Crom.
- Melekh the Changer - One of Archaon's four lieutenants and a Chaos Lord character devoted to Tzeentch. He was executed by Archaon. Did not have his own rules.
- Morathi - Hag Queen of the Witch Elves. Morathi once more swore loyalty to Slaanesh and led the Dark Elf, Cult of Slaanesh in an invasion of Lustria.
- Luthor Huss - The self-styled "prophet of Sigmar" who spoke up against corruption and complacency among the priesthood.
- Styrkaar - A Norse prince and one of Archaon's four lieutenants. A Chaos Lord devoted to Slaanesh. Did not have his own rules.
- Teclis - The Elven High Mage. Teclis has always been worried about the place of mankind in the struggle between chaos and the world, and was therefore eager to once again help them in battle. It was Teclis who presented Valten with the magical steed Althandir, and banished Be'lakor's daemonic legion.
- Valten, exalted of Sigmar - existed before the campaign, but was given his final form in the campaign book. Valten was the young man who Luthor Huss claimed was the reincarnation of Sigmar. He clashed with Archaon but there was no clear winner until Grimgor's arrival. He was later assassinated by the Skaven assassin, Deathmaster Snikch.
- Vardek Crom, (Crom the Conqueror), Herald of Archaon - Archaon's second in command. During the Storm of Chaos, Vardek Crom was supposed to maneuvre his troops so that they could attack the Empire from the east. Crom defeated Orc Warlord Grimgor Ironhide in single combat, leading to the Orc’s shaming. At the end of the campaign, he is presumed to have died leading an army of Kurgan through Sylvania, Mannfred Von Carstein’s homeland.
- Volkmar the Grim - The resurrected former grand theogonist of Sigmar. (Since reinstated.)
- Ungrim Ironfist - The "Slayer King", or more properly, The dwarven king of Karak Kadrin.
- Sea Lord Aislinn - Did not have his own rules. Players were asked to use an Elven High Lord and ignore the 'Intrigue at court' rule.
Aftermath of the campaign
According to Games Workshop, the Storm of Chaos affected the whole world. Still, at the end of the campaign, the world seems to have regained its Status quo ante. Gav Thorpe, the games designer who wrote the campaign, has stated that this was intentional and that the consequences of the Storm of Chaos will be up to the individual players.
The Storm of Chaos was rendered non-canon by the more recent End Times books, which made massive overarching changes to the rules, armies, factions and canon of the game, notably by adding 6 new armies (some of which were actually re-launches of older armies) and completely changing the army selection system.
- Children of the Horned Rat.
- Thorpe, Gav. 2004. Warhammer: Storm of Chaos. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. ISBN 1-84154-460-4
- Kelly, Phil. 2004. Warhammer: Darkness Rising. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. ISBN