Gods of the Old World

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The Gods of the Old World are a collection of fictional supernatural beings modeled after real-world pagan deities. In the Warhammer Fantasy setting, there are many fictional deities provided to add color and verisimilitude to the game’s background. Most or all of these entities seem to be analogues of real-world gods, chosen to present a war-torn, grim, perilous, and adventurous world.

The setting does not emphasize a creation myth, origin stories, or myth-cycles. The core stories for the setting tend to focus on Sigmar, the national patron god of the Empire, the Empire being the main setting of the Warhammer background.

The Warhammer setting’s artificial mythology presents views of the gods as evolving over time, and worship of particular gods waxing or waning as political and social changes affect the people of the Old World. Gods that are presented as popular and influential in the early timeline may be presented as less important in the later, “current,” period. The mythology also presents differing perspectives and conflicting accounts of the gods, similar to inconsistencies in real-world mythologies.

Different material presents slightly different ideas on what the gods are; whether they are genuine local divinities, Chaos entities created or shaped by mortal minds, or leftover intelligences from the great disaster that shaped the Warhammer world, is unclear.

International Gods[edit]

  • Taal and Rhya represent nature and agriculture. They are presented as the male and female aspects of a more abstract deity, Ishernos. They are presented as brother and sister of, or as part of a trinity with, Ulric. They are apparently derived from nature gods of Northern Europe.
  • Manann is the god of the sea. He is derived from the Celtic Irish god Manannan, and shares most of his characteristics
  • Morr is the god of death and dreams, based on Thanatos and Hypnos. He seems to be part of a group of southern gods, with his wife, Verena, and their children.
  • Verena is the goddess of justice and learning, and by extension academia and administration. She is based on the academic aspects of Athena.
  • Shallya is the goddess of mercy and healing, and directly interested in doing good and promoting peace, unusual for the generally grim and harsh Old World setting. She is the daughter of Morr and Verena, and sister of Myrmidia.
  • Ulric is the god of winter, wolves, and battle. He is presented as brother of Taal and Rhya, and the original patron of the mortal Emperor Sigmar. He is the tutelar God of the tribe of the Teutogens, and mostly worshiped in the north of the Empire.
  • Ranald is the trickster god of trade, crime, and deception, based on Hermes, Mercury, and Loki. His background in the context of the Old World pantheon is unclear; he may be the son or brother of Shallya, or a mortal who tricked his way into immortality.
  • Khaine is worshipped as the god of murder by a few Old World humans, mainly assassins, murderers, and similar supplicants. Among elves Khaine is a divinity with much broader provenance; the High Elves regard him as the god of war, while the Dark Elves hold him as their main patron god, the god of killing, murder, and apparently a force of natural selection.

Khaine[edit]

Kaela Mensha Khaine is a god in the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 fictional universes created by Games Workshop. Khaine is one of the Eldar gods.[1][2] .[3][4]

Warhammer 40,000[edit]

In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Khaine is a god of the Eldar associated with battle, war and conflict. Many scholars believe him to be a manifestation of the Eldar's racial passion as manifested in battle and warfare. "Kaela Mensha" is not technically part of Khaine's name, but is a title he bears. It roughly translates to "bloody-handed", a reference to the blood which eternally drips from his hands as a reminder of his murder of the ancient Eldar hero, Eldanesh[1][2] .[3][4]

During the war of heaven, Khaine fought and defeated the Nightbringer, shattering his necrodermis, although the resulting metal shards pierced his flesh, tainting his form with 'the aspect of the Reaper'. It is also said that this event precipitated the eventual fall of the Eldar: The Nightbringer planted the fear of death within all mortal creatures except the Orks, which furthered their survivalist emotions. In the depths of the Warp, beings created during the turmoil of the War in Heaven would feast on these feelings and grow to sentience, setting into motion a chain of events that would close the Path of Rebirth for Eldar souls forever.

Khaine is one of the three surviving gods of the Eldar. In the old pantheon, he was second only to Asuryan himself in power, and was often shown as the enemy of Vaul. He is also the most violent and reckless of the gods. Asuryan was so appalled by his murder of Eldanesh, a mortal, that he cursed Khaine and made his hands drip eternally with the blood of Eldanesh so that everyone would remember what he had done.

Khaine is also believed to have been assaulted, defeated, and dominated by Slaanesh sometime after Slaanesh's awakening in the 29th millennium (Imperial Calendar). Following this, Khorne, Chaos God of war, battled Slaanesh for Khaine, rightly claiming the Eldar deity as his property. During their struggle, Khaine was driven into the material world, where he shattered into a thousand pieces. Each piece came to rest at the heart of an Eldar Craftworld. By sacrificing an Exarch to Khaine on the eve of battle, the Avatar becomes a fiery, animated manifestation of the god, including the blood dripping from his hand, and leads the Eldar army into battle[1][2] .[3][4]

Khaine's precise nature in the Warhammer 40,000 cosmology is not defined, although due to his interaction with the Chaos Gods, he appears to be an entity of the Warp, although not appearing to be like the Chaos Gods. Some background materials published by Black Library (such as Xenology), imply that Khaine and the rest of the Eldar gods are in fact members of the first sentient species known as 'the Ancients', also known as the Old Ones, which were the creators of the Eldar and many other races of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.[5] Other Black Library publications suggest that the psychically potent Eldar were themselves created by the Old Ones so that they would produce living manifestations of their racial collective unconscious for use in the war against the C'Tan. After the Old Ones were defeated, Eldar came to worship their psychic creations as gods.[6]

Elves in Warhammer Fantasy[edit]

Within the Warhammer Fantasy universe Khaine is worshipped primarily by the Dark Elves and High Elves. However, in this instance his full title is Khaela Mensha Khaine, with an 'h' that is not present in the Warhammer 40,000 Khaine; the meaning of "Khaela Mensha" remains the same.

The High Elves worship Khaine as a god of battle, similar to his Warhammer 40,000 incarnation. He is primarily worshipped during times of war, as he is seen to be a bloodthirsty deity and worship of him during peacetime is not considered appropriate. Khaine had a strong influence on the formative period of the High Elven kingdom, as the first Phoenix King, Aenarion, drew Khaine's sword to save the High Elves during their first war with Chaos. By drawing the sword, Aenarion became a living avatar of the God of War and he brought down a great curse upon himself and his family. This curse still affects the current heirs of Aenarion's legacy, the twins Tyrion and Teclis.

Khaine as he is worshipped by the Dark Elves is described as a god of murder. This suits the harsh society of Dark Elves, who view any sign of weakness as a fatal flaw. Holidays dedicated to Khaine, such as the Harvest of Souls and Death Night, invariably involve killing. Fueled by the social Darwinism of Dark Elf culture, devotees of Khaine elevate killing to an art form and will gladly kill anyone - friend or foe - who displays vulnerability.

The primary Temple of Khaine resides in the city of Har Ganeth (known as the City of Executioners)[7] in Naggaroth. It is a seat of great power, as the worship of Khaine is the official Dark Elf state religion. Morathi (the Queen Mother) and Crone Hellebron (the High Priestess of the temple) both claim supreme dominance of the temple, which often leads to conflicts. This power struggle is kept in check by Malekith, the Witch King of the Dark Elves and son of Aenarion.

It has been implied that Khaine is the Chaos god Khorne by another name, or possibly a minor aspect of Khorne who has gained his own consciousness. This is vehemently disputed by the Dark Elves, who see Khorne as a crude brute in comparison to the refinement and subtlety that defines their god of murder, and most human worshipers of Khaine, who consider their god to be an independent being.

Humans in Warhammer Fantasy[edit]

Among the humans of the Old World, Khaine is seen as the younger brother of Morr, the God of the Dead, and he is worshiped as the Lord of Murder by assassins and other professional killers. It is said that Khaine is jealous of Morr's rulership over the dead, and thus also over death. Therefore, he tries to steal as many souls as possible to fill out his own underworld. It is from this deathrealm that some necromancers call forth some of the souls that they enslave. Khaine can only steal souls that have been directly sacrificed to him or have not received proper burial rites and are thus unprotected by Morr.

Ulric[edit]

Ulric is a fictional deity in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, and is partially drawn from some real world analogies, particularly Odin and Thor. Ulric is described as the god of winter, battle, and wolves.

In the setting, Ulric's worship in the Old World goes back at least three thousand years, and Ulric was the patron god of the Teutogen tribe when they migrated into the territory now known as the Empire. He is worshipped as a god of battle and destruction, winter, and wolves, evoking a barbarian predatory god appropriate to the early, savage period of the setting. He is typically presented as being accompanied by wolves, and wielding a two-handed war-hammer; the Emperor-God Sigmar also wields a two-handed war-hammer, in emulation of Ulric.

Ulric is considered a harsh, remote, and unforgiving god, who expects his chosen people to be self-reliant. He is not considered to be married and is not noted to have sired offspring. His brother is Taal, and is noted as possibly being part of an older triad with Taal and Rhya. He is the uncle of Manann, the sea god of the Old World.

Ulric is, in the modern period of the setting, a less important god than Sigmar, but still an important and influential god, due to his central role as the personal god of the living Sigmar.

Head of cult[edit]

The high priest of the Cult of Ulric, called the Ar-Ulric, is an Elector of the Empire, a right descended from the former duty of the Ar-Ulric to crown the Emperor. Main temple and official location for Ar-Ulric is city of Middenheim.

Ar-Ulric's:

  • 2522 IC Ar-Ulric is Emil Valgeir.
  • 2300 IC Ar-Ulric is Kriestov.
  • 1975 IC Ar-Ulric is Franzsson. Grandson of founder of Order of the Winter Throne or more commonly Ragnarites.
  • c.1500 IC Ar-Ulric is Herrsher. He and a company of White Wolves hunt Dieter Helsnicht, the so-called Doom Lord of Middenheim.
  • 63 IC Ar-Ulric is Wulcan. Wulcan has a vision and builds a temple on a site in Middenheim, which starts a steady stream of pilgrims.

Symbols[edit]

Ulric is symbolized by a wolf, particularly a white wolf or a wolf’s head. Male followers generally grow full beards as a sign of their devotion.

Areas of worship[edit]

Ulric is most strongly worshipped in the north of the Old World, and has a strong cult following in Middenland, and is the patron god of Middenheim. The god has a less dedicated following in the rest of the Old World, but is worshipped anywhere winter is powerful and by many individualistic warriors.

Strictures[edit]

Bravery, self-reliance and strength are the greatest virtues. Underhandedness of any kind are dishonorable and at odds with Ulric's nature of directness and honor. Obey your military superiors and never refuse an order unless doing so would break another of Ulric's tenets. Never refuse a direct challenge. Modern weapons, such as gunpowder weapons, artillery, crossbows and fire-bombs, because they do not rely any physical strength are shunned. Followers of Ulric must never allow one of the fires of a shrine or temple to go out. Oppose Chaos wherever you see it. Never flee a fight unless facing overwhelming odds and the greater good would be served by such a flight.

Saints and heroes of Ulric[edit]

The followers of Ulric that have been made legend and are seen as particularly blessed by Ulric are usually great warriors. The standards of becoming a hero or saint of Ulric is often being part of a great conflict like a historical war or other such things. Usually you have to have been fighting against all odds and to have fallen in a great battle while killing most, if not all, of your enemies. Other heroes are Ulrican priests, who lead others in suicide missions against the forces of Chaos.

Lesser orders[edit]

  • Order of the Winter Throne: Followers of this order are commonly known as Ragnarites. They call Ulric the Snow King.

Regional Gods[edit]

  • Sigmar is presented as a mortal king who ascended to divinity after uniting the primitive tribes of the central Old World into an Empire. This character is among the most developed, and many stories regarding his achievements and activities are related in the Warhammer setting’s fiction and colour text. He is the patron god of the Empire, and widely worshipped in that nation, but rarely worshiped outside its boundaries. Sigmar has no clear and obvious single inspiration in classical, Norse, or other mythology, but may be comparable to the deification of Romulus who became the immortal patron of the Roman Empire under the guise of Quirinus. His cult is in some ways similar to the medieval Christian Catholic Church, too. He is in many ways similar to 'The Emperor' in Warhammer 40k.
  • The Lady of the Lake is a mysterious goddess worshipped by the upper class of Bretonnia. In some sources it is suggested that she is not a goddess at all but a Wood Elf from Loren Forrest. Other than being the matron goddess of Bretonnia and their nobility, she has no clear function; she is, however, actively involved in the lives of her worshippers, regularly appearing to and inspiring the knights of Bretonnia to glorious deeds in her name. She is obviously based on the Arthurian Lady of the Lake, who was not considered a divine being. The Bretonnian Lady of the Lake is not worshipped outside Bretonnia, except by some knightly expatriates.
  • Myrmidia is the goddess of warfare, warcraft, and soldiers, and an important goddess of Estalia and Tilea. Worship of this goddess is spreading, unlike most regional divinities of the setting, and she is becoming popular with middle-class professional soldiery of the Empire. She is probably inspired by the Greek goddess Pallas Athene, who represented the tactical side of warfare.

Sigmar[edit]

Sigmar Heldenhammer is a fictional deity in the Warhammer Fantasy setting. He is the patron deity of The Empire. Before he became a god, Sigmar was a man, albeit an exceptional, perhaps even superhuman one. The young chieftain of the Unberogens who lived 2,500 years before the present day of the Warhammer universe, he united the barbarian human tribes into what would become the mightiest human nation – the Empire. His sign is a twin-tailed comet or a war hammer.

Sigmar appears to be inspired by a series of heroes from myth, fantasy literature, especially Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian, as well as historical figures, particularly Charlemagne and Charles Martel. An image of a hammer-wielding barbarian appeared on early versions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle fighting Orcs and Goblins.

History[edit]

The Imperial Calendar (the calendar now used by the Empire Sigmar founded) takes as its starting date his coronation as Emperor by the high priest of Ulric after having united the tribes under his leadership. This calendar places his birth in the year −30, in the Reikland area in the southwest of the Empire, to the Unberogen tribe (one of the most powerful pre-Empire tribes). The night of his birth was marked with the appearance of a twin-tailed comet, which the human tribes took as a sign of great portent from the gods.

In the year −15, Sigmar is believed to have helped drive off a Goblin invasion of his village – showing exceptional martial powers for a boy of only 15. In the same year, Sigmar led a punitive expedition against an Orc war-party that was holding Kurgan Ironbeard, a king of the Dwarf people, prisoner. In gratitude, Kurgan presented the boy warrior with a magical rune-enchanted war hammer called "Ghal-Maraz" ('Skull-splitter,' in the Khazalid [Dwarven] tongue). Sigmar then went on a campaign to unite the disparate tribes of the future Empire, and one by one they submitted, either by conquest or diplomacy. The most famous incident was his subjugation of the belligerent Teutogens, the largest and most powerful of the tribes, who lived near the Middle Mountains in the north central Empire, near the current location of the Middenheim City-State (Freistadt). Their chieftain, Artur, was defeated by Sigmar in single combat, and this is commonly held to have been the point at which Sigmar gained control of the tribes of the Empire.

From that point onward, Sigmar embarked upon a campaign of purgation and liberation throughout all of the tribal lands, primarily against the Beastmen (Beasts of Chaos) and Goblinoid races (Orcs and Goblins), culminating in the First Battle of Black Fire Pass (IC −1), in present-day Averland, in the southeast of the Empire. Following this great victory, Sigmar returned in triumph to his native Reikland and was crowned Emperor Sigmar Heldenhammer I ('Hammer of Heroes') at Reikdorf, the site of the current Imperial capital of Altdorf. This date remains the Empire's greatest holy day, as it marks Sigmar's coronation and abdication fifty years later (IC 50) – it is in the summer of the Imperial year, on the 18th day of the month of Sigmarzeit.

While an Emperor rules to this day, Sigmar also gave power to the leaders of those tribes who had been united (sometimes by force) into his Empire. These powerful men were set up as the Elector Counts, a hereditary position second only to the Emperor in power and from whose ranks the Emperor (or on rare occasions Empress) is almost always chosen. As it is well known that the Dwarfs will always remember a favor (or a foe), the High King of the Dwarfs, Kurgan, ordered the commissioning of the Runefangs, by the legendary Dwarf smith Alaric the Mad to be gifted to the Elector Counts. Painstakingly crafted (as is the way of the Dwarfs) these blades were not completed until after Sigmar's ascension to godhood, but when finished, they were presented to the Emperor, whom then divided them amongst the 12 ruling counts as symbols of their power, as well as a token of their eternal friendship with the Dwarfs.

During his reign as Emperor, after the Battle of Black Fire Pass, the ancient lord of the undead, Nagash led a great army of the undead into the nascent Empire, but was defeated and slain by Sigmar at the Battle of the River Reik. According to Mannfred von Carstein, Nagash's defeat at the hands of Sigmar resulted in a curse laid upon all vampires: for their part in Nagash's war, they would forever be driven back against the power of Sigmar. Ever since, faith in Sigmar has been powerful enough to drive off Vampires, similar to how the Christian cross drives back Vampires in their own legends.

Nagash wasn't the only great foe Sigmar bested. Sigmar defeated the Great Enchanter Drachenfels, an evil Liche-like entity that existed in the Old World for fifteen thousand years as mentioned in the Warhammer novels Drachenfels and the omnibus Genevieve Undead by Kim Newman, (writing as Jack Yeovil).

Sigmar's greatest victory however was against the first Everchosen of Chaos, Morkar.

In his fiftieth year of reigning, Sigmar abdicated and set off to see what lay beyond the Worlds Edge Mountains to the east, in a similar fashion to the Dwarf ancestor/warrior deity Grimnir the Fearless, who legendarily strode off into the Chaos Wastes to do battle with the Powers of the Warp.

Sources conflict on the details of what precisely motivated Sigmar to do this; some accounts, including those in the earliest background, claim he set off to return Ghal-Maraz to the Dwarfs, but the famous rune-hammer has traditionally been the weapon of the ruling Emperor and the primary symbol/relic of the Sigmarite cult, founded by Johann Helstrum in IC 73.

Following his disappearance, Sigmar passed over the Worlds Edge Mountain range and no human ever saw him again. Within a generation, he was being venerated as a god. The Cult of Sigmar is now the foremost religion in the Empire and is inextricably intertwined with the political, cultural, and national identity of the Empire and its people. Curiously, while still mortal, Sigmar worshipped the Old World pantheon, and was crowned Emperor by the Ar-Ulric (the high priest of the winter god Ulric). As the priests and worshippers of Sigmar often receive puissant, visible answers to their prayers, this suggests Sigmar has been truly deified, and answers his followers. The cult of Sigmar promises an afterlife of great glory for the righteous: after death they will join Sigmar to aid his eternal struggle against Chaos.

Unsurprisingly, the cults of Sigmar and Ulric frequently come into conflict. The Ar-Ulric and the two Arch-Lectors of the Sigmarite faith, as well as the Grand Theogonist (currently Volkmar the Grim), all maintain a vote in the election of the Emperors. While the cult and its leaders are often corrupt and hip-deep in the Byzantine politics of the Empire, it is a faith that preaches courage, justice, honor, and the protection of the weak and innocent from evil. It is also nationalistic and sees the preservation of Sigmar's original holdings as a sacred duty. The church's iconography primarily centres around images directly connected to Sigmar himself: the comet and the hammer are the foremost of these. Also a popular national and religious symbol is the griffon, the personal heraldry of Emperor Magnus the Pious, who saved the Empire from disaster during the Great War Against Chaos in IC 2302–2303.

It is a well-known theory among the theologians the Old World that a Champion of Light arises to do battle with the forces of Chaos when they unify around their periodic leaders. Many have felt that Sigmar may have been one of these, and that he fought the very first Everchosen, Morkar, and a number have argued for Magnus the Pious as well. The most recent case came in the year IC 2522, under a young man named Valten of Lachenbad, who became the central figure around which the Empire rallied to fight Archaon the Everchosen in the recent Storm of Chaos event. Valten was especially noted for his incredible strength, instinctive leadership, and strength of will. Furthermore, he strongly resembled the appearance ascribed to Sigmar in Imperial legend, and sported a birthmark on his chest of Sigmar's legendary twin-tailed comet. Hailed as the 'spiritual leader of the Empire' by Emperor Karl Franz and presented with Sigmar's own hammer Ghal Maraz, Valten was believed by many to be an avatar of Sigmar. He was assassinated shortly after the war with Archaon ended by an assassin of the Skaven Clan Eshin, as was confirmed in the background book, The Loathsome Ratmen and All Their Vile Kin.

Head of Cult of Sigmar[edit]

The High Priest of the Cult of Sigmar, called the Grand Theogonist, is an Elector of the Empire. The official base of the Grand Theogonist is the capital of the Empire. Below him in the hierarchy are the two Arch-Lectors, who are also Electors. They are based in the two other largest cities of the Empire. In 2522 IC, the capital is Altdorf and the two Arch-Lectors are based in Nuln and Talabheim.

Grand Theogonists:

The End Times Timeline:

  • 2522 IC Volkmar the Grim disappears in Sylvania during his crusade there in the beginning of The End Times. Kaslain takes the position.

Storm of Chaos Timeline:

  • 2523 IC Grand Theogonist is Volkmar the Grim again. He takes his position back from the Johann Esmer with force. Esmer escapes to Marienburg.
  • 2521 IC Volkmar the Grim dies fighting Archaon in the beginning of Storm of Chaos. Johann Esmer takes the position. Grim is later discovered to have survived, despite appearing lifeless, and recovers from his wounds.

In Storm of Chaos timeline (2004 Warhammer Fantasy Battle campaign) presents the Grand Theogonist situation differently than The End Times timeline (2014 Warhammer Fantasy Battle campaign). Both given above.


  • c.2510 IC Grand Theogonist is Yorri XV. Yorri XV seems to have effectively been retconned, as he has not been mentioned after 3rd edition.
  • c.2420 IC Grand Theogonist is Hedrich Lutzenschalger (name given in the Archaon - Everchosen novel).
  • c.2400 IC Grand Theogonist is Thoss. His persecution of all faiths other than Sigmar's in Altdorf is regarded now with horror (name given in the Von Horstmann novel).
  •  ???? IC Grand Theogonist is Rueben Wrolfgar (name is given in the Liber Khorne, without any actual year).
  • c.230? IC Grand Theogonist is Ansgar. After the Great War Against Chaos.
  • c.2132 IC Grand Theogonist is Kurt III, who recite the Great Spell of Unbinding from the pages of Liber Mortis, when Mannfred von Carstein attacked Altdorf.
  • c.2050 IC Grand Theogonist is Wilhelm the Third, who is responsible for destroying Vlad von Carstein in 2051 IC.
  • c.1682 IC Grand Theogonist is Siebold II, who officially recognises the Order of the Silver Hammer and tasks it with defending the Empire from Chaos, Daemon-worship and all other forms of heresy and magic. This order will be renamed as The Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar (Witch Hunter's of Sigmar).
  • 850 IC Grand Theogonist is Marius Mollus. He decrees there to be no other Gods than Sigmar. His screaming form is last seen being dragged away by a blood-red, three-headed hound.
  • 73 IC Johan Helstrum is named as the first High Priest of Sigmar. Rank that will be called later as Grand Theogonist.

Sigmarite iconography[edit]

  • Twin-tailed Comet – The sign that appeared in the heavens on the night of Sigmar's birth, it has become a universal symbol of his cult. The twin-tailed comet has appeared two other times in Imperial history, in IC 1999 over the capital of Ostermark, Mordheim, prior to its destruction when the comet crashed in the middle of the city, destroying most of the civic structures and killing a substantial portion of the population. That particular comet was given the name "Sigmar's Hammer", since it was looked on as a herald of Sigmar's will, and since it destroyed the city of Mordheim, considered the capital of sinners, gamblers, drinkers, whores, and criminals, the comet has also become an icon of imminent Sigmarite judgment. A twin-tailed comet also attended the appearance of Valten of Lachenbad in IC 2522, and he bore the image of the heavenly icon on his chest. These were looked on as largely irrefutable evidence of his status as the avatar of Sigmar.
  • Ghal Maraz – In Khazalid, the Dwarf language, it means "skull-splitter", the legendary hammer of Sigmar, is a symbol of Imperial unity, and the defense of humankind and the Empire. Alongside the Twin-tailed Comet, it is the primary sign of Sigmar. In remembrance and honor of Ghal Maraz, the Order of the Silver Hammer, the martial arm of the Sigmarite cult, use warhammers in battle. It is a sign of particular balefulness to orcs and goblins, as the greenskin races are believed to hold an ancestral memory of the danger and death Ghal Maraz has meted out to their kind throughout history.
  • Griffin – Popular following the 24th century and the reign of Emperor Magnus I ('the Pious'). This was Magnus's personal heraldry, and has been adopted by many subsequent Emperors, most notably the 'Griffon Emperors' of Reikland. The griffon has also been adopted by the Church of Sigmar in general and by Grand Theogonist Volkmar in particular. The War Altar of Sigmar carries an ornate statue of a Griffon wielding Ghal Maraz, the emblem of Magnus's dynasty. On his chest, Volkmar wears the Jade Griffon, a protective amulet of great power fashioned in the likeness of Magnus's heraldry. In his sermons and private journals, Volkmar refers frequently to Magnus's deeds and words.
  • Imperial Cross – A long-standing symbol of Imperial unity, the top three arms stand for the northern, western, and eastern tribes of the ancient Empire, and the bottom refers to the Dwarfs, the Empire's oldest and staunchest allies. It has connotations of unity and oaths fulfilled.

Sigmarite dogma teaches that the purest Sigmarites will be welcomed into Sigmar's domain in the Aethyr, the truly evil will be taken by Chaos, and those in between will be claimed by Mórr. Although yet to be canonised as a saint, Magnus the Pious is revered as 'the Saviour' by commoner and Grand Theogonist alike, and is regarded by most as the greatest Sigmarite who ever lived.

Gods of Kislev[edit]

Kislev, the region of the Old World corresponding roughly to the Slavic lands of Russia, Czech Republic and Poland, has its own gods, as well as worshipping Taal and Rhya, and Ulric. These gods may be intended by the designer to be part of a greater northern pantheon.

  • Ursun, Father of Bears, is the ruler of the Kislevian pantheon, appearing mainly as a giant bear.
  • Dazh is the god of fire, the hearth, and hospitality. Apparently based on Svarog and Dažbog.
  • Tor is the god of thunder and lightning, and a popular warrior god. Obviously related to the Norse god Thor.

Minor Gods[edit]

The Warhammer setting has a number of lesser divinities, some local, others widespread but with a narrow focus of office or patronage. This list is by no means complete.

  • Bögenauer is a local patron god, or perhaps a kind of locus genius, representing the town of Bögenhafen. This deity first appeared in Shadows Over Bögenhafen; the idea that locations have such personifications has not been well developed in the Warhammer settings, but crops up occasionally.
  • Handrich is the god of commerce and prosperity, worshipped by merchants. His largest cult and temple are in the great trading city of Marienburg.
  • Lucan and Luccina are the twin patron gods of the Tilean city of Luccini, where they are said to have founded the original ruling royal family. They, and the city, are symbolized by a leopard. This shares parallels with the story of Romulus and Remus founding Rome.
  • Olovald is the god of the marshes and delta in the Wasteland. This deity’s cult has largely been subsumed by the cult of Manann, but the entity seems to still be active, and has a secret cult in Marienburg.

The small numbers of Elves of the Old World chiefly worship the traditional Elven Gods, Kurnous, lord of the wilds and the hunt, and Isha, goddess of nature and life, but a sect of the Wood Elves of Athel Loren known as Wardancers serve the deity known as Loec, Lord of the dance and free spirit.

Chaos Gods[edit]

Worship of the Chaos Gods is strictly forbidden in virtually all of the Old World, but such worship does occur, as part of the setting’s background, to provide internal and external conflict. In brief, these gods are:

  • Khorne, The Blood God, bestial god of blind rage, destruction and bloodshed, strength and excellence at arms. Draws upon the minds of mortals, mostly warriors, who wish for martial prowess, honour and glory on the field of battle and quickly become overwhelmed and insane of the power they are granted. Khorne is the eldest and most powerful of the Chaos Gods. Like Ulric, Khorne is often associated with wolves. His sacred number is 8, and his warriors and other devotees often organize themselves in parties of this number or its multiples.
  • Nurgle, the Lord of Decay, kind and fatherly god of disease, entropy and finality followed by morbid rebirth, often referred to as Father or Grandfather Nurgle. Calls to people who are afraid of death and loss, like peasants who live in poor circumstances and have little to lose except their family, crop and livestock. Nurgle's sacred animal is the crow. Nurgle's sacred number is 7.
  • Tzeentch, The Changer of the Ways, trickster god of change, magic, and thirst for knowledge. People, often educated ones like scholars and wizards, who wish for forbidden knowledge and divine understanding are often drawn to the service of Tzeentch. The Norse associated Tzeentch with Ravens, while the Kurgan tribes associate him with the condor. Tzeentch is also associated with the number 9.
  • Slaanesh, The Dark Prince, seductive god of excess, pleasure and experience. Whispers to individuals who wish for charisma, beauty and power over others or equally desire material excess like wealth or food and drink. Slaanesh alone, of all the Chaos Gods, is impossibly beautiful and attractive, and both men and women are drawn to him. He typically appears in a form which is female on the right side and male on the left, with two sets of horns rising from its flowing golden hair. He is the youngest Chaos God and seems to be the most obviously attractive in all ways, and should be able to grant anything to those in his thrall, but he is still presented as the least powerful of all the four Dark Gods. Slaanesh is associated with serpents and snakes. His sacred number is 6.

The Chaos Gods and their symbolism can often be related to the seven deadly sins, as they many times embody qualities, thoughts and temptations that, succumbed to, inevitably leads an individual to horrible and selfish deeds, thus allowing the Gods to prey upon the individual's self-indulgent and ignorant mind and use him/her for their own ends. Most followers are aware of this and in perfect acceptance of it.

The Chaos Gods can also be considered as twisted amalgamations of various real world Pagan deities. For instance, Khorne could be considered the demonic Warhammer equivalent to Odin in some respects, as both are elder gods of war and berserk rage who preside over an afterlife of eternal battle, Khorne also has Valkyrie-like creatures under his command furthering the similarities between him and Odin.

The Norscans, a race of vicious tribal warriors analogous to the Vikings, are enthralled to the Dark Gods and worship them devoutly. The Norscans are thought to be the epitome of the worshipers of the Chaos Gods, though there are also other human races born into their worship. Such as the Kurgans, Hung and Tong.

Greenskin pantheon[edit]

Greenskins worship a pair of brother gods known as Gork and Mork (cf. Gog & Magog). One is "brutally kunnin'", and the other is "kunnin'ly brutal".

As Greenskins vary from specific sub-species and region, there are numerous other gods that certain greenskins worship in addition to Gork and Mork. Forest Goblins also worship the 'Great Spider God', while Night Goblins commonly worship the 'Bad Moon'.

Skaven Pantheon[edit]

The Skaven worship a god known as The Horned Rat though they often call him The Horned One.

The Horned Rat is primarily worshipped out of fear of retribution and is a cruel god. Unlike most Gods in the Warhammer setting the Horned Rat actually manifested once. During the Second Skaven Civil War the Grey Seers performed a ritual intended to summon the Horned One. It succeeded and the Horned One appeared, devouring many Skaven and proclaiming that they must work to take the surface for themselves. It bestowed upon them the Pillar of Commandments, a thirteen-sided pillar each with thirteen commandments. It is unknown what is written on them but it seems to dictate Skaven society and the rule of the Council of Thirteen. The centre of the Horned Rat's cult is located in Skavenblight, and is maintained by the Grey Seers, a sect of horned Skaven numbering at 169 (13 x 13) members with grey fur that possess magic.

Gods of the Dwarfs[edit]

There are three main Dwarf Ancestor gods who are believed to have once lived among the Dwarf people but have long since passed on. The Dwarfs revere all three gods with equal devotion, for each one is a patron of a different aspect of Dwarf culture, and each has a Master Rune and an Ancestor Rune dedicated to them.

  • Grimnir, the Dwarf God of war and the religious idol of the Dwarf Slayer Cult. He was last seen venturing into the Chaos Wastes, seeking his doom in battle, leaving one of his axes behind to be bequeathed to the line of Dwarf High Kings. It is still passed on from High King to High King along with other artefacts such as the Great Book of Grudges, the Dammaz-Kron. His runes are incredibly destructive to the enemies of the Dwarfs.
  • Valaya, the Dwarf Goddess of hearth and home. Her runes are the most benign to the Dwarfs themselves, for they inspire and invigorate them, willing them to continue fighting even when all seems lost, and are most often emblazoned on banners. She is the most peaceful of the Ancestor Gods.
  • Grungni, the Dwarf God of the forge and smithing. He is an unparalleled craftsman, and taught the Dwarfs all they knew. All the Runesmiths and Engineers of the Dwarfs have to learn his teachings by heart. As such, they are far superior to the craftsmen of any other race, and they know it, for Grungni's inventions, findings and spirit for experimentation above all else helped the Dwarfs to become what they are today. His runes empower the Dwarfs' war machines and weapons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Priestley, Rick (1994). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Eldar (2nd ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-74-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Thorpe, Gav (2000). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Craftworld Eldar. Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-029-3. 
  3. ^ a b c Thorpe, Gav (2001). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Eldar (3rd ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-869893-39-5. 
  4. ^ a b c Kelly, Phil (2006). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Eldar (4th ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-791-3. 
  5. ^ Spurrier, Simon (2005). Xenology. Nottingham: Black Library. ISBN 1-84416-282-6. 
  6. ^ von Staufer, Marijan (2007). Liber Chaotica. Nottingham: Black Library. ISBN 1-84416-394-6. 
  7. ^ 8th Ed. Army Book

Sources[edit]

  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Second Edition, Black Industries, 2005
  • Shadows over Bogenhafen, Games Workshop, 1988
  • Dogs of War, Games Workshop, 1998
  • Tome of Corruption, Black Industries, 2006
  • Warhammer: Dwarfs, Games Workshop, 2014
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle main rulebook, 6th Edition, Games Workshop.
  • The Life of Sigmar, Black Library.
  • Law, Andrew E. (2007). Tome of Salvation. Black Industries. ISBN 1-84416-314-8. 
  • Ward, Mat (2008). Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos. Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1841548839.