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Chapter One

Archetypes and Species

Men of the Empire


The Empire is the preeminent realm in the Old World, a wealthy nation with powerful armies, inhabited by a dynamic race of men who hold the fate of civilisation in their hands.


There is no such thing as the typical Empire citizen. The people of the northern forests and icy coasts are tall and strong, with fierce eyes and blond hair, the men sporting bushy beards. A belligerent folk, they honour Ulric, god of battle. Those from the cold, eastern borderlands are shorter and darker, the men growing luxuriant moustaches. They wear heavy furs and are renowned for their love of strong drink and their dour temperament. The inhabitants of the Great Forest that dominates the centre of the Empire prefer unhurried lives devoted to Taal, god of nature, while those of the sunny, open plains of the south dress in bright colours and are known for their lively disposition and tall tales.


Men are not as long-lived as the elder races of dwarfs and elves, but their mortality drives them to stamp their mark on the world. The folk of the Empire are renowned for their endless creativity, and are insatiable adventurers. Imperial engineers strive to improve upon the clockwork and steam-powered technologies borrowed from the dwarfs, and explorers traverse exotic lands across the ocean. A few men and women have recently begun to master the dangerous art of magic, introduced by the high elves to help humankind defend itself against the warped sorceries and armies of Chaos.

 

Averlanders

Averland is one of the wealthier provinces of the Empire. This is largely thanks to the fact that the domain is far less forested than it is further north, and the climate is less unkind. These advantages make it easier to farm the land and have provided Averland with a flourishing trade in breeding fine horses. The province’s affluence means its armies are often clad in gleaming armour, equipped with the latest innovations in weaponry, and adorned with outlandish feathers and decoration on their yellow and black livery.


The main route into the Empire from the south – Black Fire Pass, which leads through the mountains from the lands of the Border Princes – winds down through the foothills into Averland. This is the route taken by many invasion forces into the Empire, and so the province has formed the front line against attack on innumerable occasions. Mighty fortresses and watchtowers guard the end of the pass, but there have been times when these defences were overwhelmed and marauding hordes have poured through into the heartlands of the Empire. Most notable was the terrible invasion in 1707 led by Gorbad Ironclaw, the greatest orc warlord in history. Gorbad’s armiess rampaged and ravaged the lands of the Empire, and he was only stopped after his attempt to besiege and sack Altdorf failed. The entire province of Solland was wiped from the map, and the disinherited nobles of that land settled in Averland, whose banner now bears their icon, a stylized sun, in memory of those terrible events.


The greenskins have proved a grave threat time and again, and Averlanders have developed a particular loathing for these warmongering brutes. In 2420, the goblin chieftain Grom led another massive invasion that swept across the Empire, and a recent incursion saw the Elector Count Marius Leitdorf slain, and the invaders were only thrown back by the intervention of the Emperor himself.

Averlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: An Averlander starts with one rank in either Athletics, Riding or Survival during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase thsi skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Greenskinner: Each time an Averlander kills a non-minion greenskin, he may recover either 1 strain or may perform a free maneuver.
  • Superior Stock: The Brawn score of any horse ridden by an Averlander is increased by 1.

Hochlanders

The province of Hochland is swathed in the eastern marches of the Drakwald Forest and its northern border comprise of the foothills of the dangerous Middle Mountains, a mighty range of peaks that harbour many vile and terrible creatures right in the heart of the Empire. Under the dark canopy of the trees, roads theoretically connect the far-flung towns and logging camps, but contact is tenuous at best. The vast tracts of wilderness that separate villages are full of savage beastmen, goblin tribes and other dangers. A series of forts, watchtowers, armoured shrines and fortified coaching houses dot the forest highways, and patrols of road wardens regularly march or ride the routes between. However, any journey is perilous and there is often time for just a single volley before foes are upon you. As such, Hochlanders tend to become top-notch marksmen and learn to make each shot count. Their armies, clad in the state colours of red and green, often include many handgunner regiments, and many of the Hochlanders who travel south hope to find work of a similar fashion.


The Hochland long rifle was developed by an Imperial engineer from the accurate weapons used by the hunters of the province. Known properly as Leon Todmeister’s Fantabulously Far-reaching Harquebus of Unforseeable and Unperceived Bereavement, the gun has become the bane of enemy generals and unit commanders, its firer being able to single them out even within a regiment of troops thanks to the excellent precision and magnifying telescopic apparatus mounted on the barrel. The Hochlanders are suitably proud of the invention and have often put it to good use. When the provincial capital of Hergig was threatened by a sudden attack of massed goblin tribes, sharpshooting engineers on the highest towers targeted the goblin leaders with the biggest profusion of banners and feathers, as well as aiming for the eyes of the gargantuan spider that spearheaded the assault. The enemy quickly fell into disarray, and were soundly beaten when a relief force arrived from the nearby Count’s castle.

Hochlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A Hochlander starts with one rank in either Ranged, Stealth or Vigilance during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Rustic Composure: Hochlanders gain bb on initiative checks when in a rural setting.
  • Marksman: When a Hochlander spends a Story Point point on a Ranged check, he rolls an additional c, rather than upgrading.
 

Middenlanders

Middenland is the land of Ulric, god of winter, wolves and battles, an ancient warrior-god who predates the birth of Sigmar. All those who travel here offer up a prayer lest they fall foul of the vicious white wolves that roam the land. These creatures are sacred to Ulric, and his icon takes the form of one of these ferocious beasts. Middenland is the centre of Ulrican worship, and his great temple is located in the capital, Middenheim. The realm is wide and covered by the dark, perilous Drakwald Forest. In fact, a large part of Middenland used to be the separate province of Drakwald. However this land was lost during the time of the Black Plague over a thousand years ago, with almost the entire population wiped out by disease. The province was formally divided up between Middenland and Nordland, but has never really been reclaimed. Towns and villages lie ruined and overgrown deep within the dense trees, ruled only by the beastmen.


Beastmen seem to be especially numerous within the Drakwald Forest and are a major threat to the people of Middenland. These savage man-hating mutants are not content with lurking under the eaves, and regularly pour out of the forest in frenzied hordes to tear down human settlements and feast on the torn flesh of the fallen. Isolated farms and outposts maintain high walls and a careful watch, while the forest roads are heavily patrolled – but the danger is always there. Middenlanders have learned to be wary, and are well-practiced in battles with the accursed half-beasts.


Only Middenheim, seat of Elector Count Graf Boris Todbringer, offers a reliable haven against the beastmen. This great city state is built atop a huge pinnacle of rock that rises up out of the trees, and is only accessible by long viaducts or hair-raising lifts. The armies of Middenland customarily wear blue, while those from the capital are differentiated in blue and white. The province is also famously home to the fierce Knights of the White Wolf.


Middenlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A Middlander starts with one rank in either Coercion, Melee (Heavy), Melee (Light) or Vigilance during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Spirit of the Wolf: Once per session, when targeted by an attack, a Middenlander character may spend a Story point as an out-of-turn incident, to increase his Melee or Ranged defence value by an amount equal to his Agility.
  • Slayers of Beastmen: All of a Middenlander’s Melee, Ranged, Arcana, Primal or Divine checks against beastman may spend aa to inflict +2 Damage.

Nordlanders

The northernmost province of the Empire is the only one with a substantial coastline. The icy Sea of Claws lies beyond its shores, and a chill wind blows off the waves and through the snowbound forests. Strange monsters lurk beneath the waters, but that is not the worst threat that comes from the sea. When the northern tribes of Chaos-worshipping marauders and iron clad warriors invade the lands of the south, ofttimes they will bypass the realm of Kislev completely by constructing a fleet of longships. Seaborne incursions are a major issue for there are hundreds of miles of cliffs and beaches, and little warning as the dark sails appear looming out of the fog.


Consequently the coast is lined with watchtowers and sea fortresses, manned with stern-faced regiments, and mounted shore-guards patrol in between. Systems of warning beacons and fast riders are maintained ready to raise the alarm whenever enemy ships are sighted. Time is of the essence, for once an invasion force has made landfall, it can easily disappear into the cold forests and become a much greater problem to deal with. The armies of Nordland, clad in blue and yellow uniforms, are often forced to trudge through knee-deep snow as their scouts attempt to locate warbands that have slipped inland.Nordland has its own navy that, for the most part, patrols the Sea of Claws to intercept enemy ships or bring early warning of large invasion fleets. As a result, Nordlanders are far more familiar with boats, ropes and nautical matters than the average Empire citizen, and it is common for young adults to serve time on board ship before taking up their chosen profession.

Nordlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A Nordlander starts with one rank in either Discipline, Resilience or Sailing during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Nautical: Nordlanders add b to any check made to handle a boat, navigate a ship, swim, or work with ropes.
  • Northerner: When making skill checks, Nordlanders may remove bb for any effects from cold, wind or bad weather.
 

Ostermarkers

The people of Ostermark have strong ties with Kislevites from the lands to the north and have marched to their aid on many occasions when Chaos worshipping tribes have rampaged southwards intent on spilling blood in the name of the dark gods. Like neighbouring Ostland, Ostermark forms a vital part of the Empire’s frontier against invasion from the north.


This rural province is a sombre place with a long history of warfare and disaster. To the south lies the cursed land of Sylvania, erstwhile home of the infamous Vampire Counts, and the terrible Mannfred von Carstein was finally defeated in Ostermark at the Battle of Hel Fenn.


The realm features bleak moors and endless, fog-shrouded marshes, where entire armies have been lost, never to be seen again. Rumours abound of ghouls, skaven, and even stranger creatures lurking within the damp mists, and that whole farmsteads and villages have vanished without a trace. While many of these stories are undoubtedly fanciful exaggerations, there is surely an element of truth, for the province is bounded by the towering Worlds Edge Mountains – home of slavering monsters and countless foul creatures.


These terrors often roam down into the lands of Ostermark, forcing the people to defend their homes. The State Troops of Ostermark, clad in reddish purple and yellow or white, have faced wyverns, ogres and giants, while the province’s banner bears the emblem of a manticore, slain, according to legend, by the very first Elector Count of Ostermark.


Ostermarker Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: An Ostermarker starts with one rank in Resilience during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase Resilience above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Monster Slayers: Ostermarkers may add b to all Arcana, Divine, Melee, or Ranged checks against creatures with a Silhouette of 2 or more.
  • Stoic Defenders : Ostermarkers gain +1 Melee and Ranged Defence whenever they are outnumbered.

Ostlanders

Ostland lies on the frontier with the land of Kislev, a firm ally of the Empire. The frozen steppes of Kislev form the most direct route for any overland invasion by the marauding tribes of the north, and if the Kislevites cannot hold back an invading army then the province of Ostland invariably receives the brunt of the attack. Indeed, some incursions seem to deliberately avoid the cities and roving cavalry patrols of Kislev, intent on ravaging the rich lands of the south – a far greater prize. The capital Wolfenburg, as well as Volganof, Kollengrad and Ferlangen have all been besieged at one time or other. Truly it can be said that Ostland is one of the provinces that form the front line in the defence of the Empire.


Yet invasion from the north is not the only concern for the men of Ostland. Much of the land is covered by the Forest of Shadows, a forbidding, haunted place filled with raiders, bandits and Chaos warbands – in fact it is said that there are more brigands than trees. The province is also overshadowed by the Middle Mountains, which while technically are largely within Ostland’s borders, are in fact considered more or less enemy territory. This range of jagged peaks is surrounded by impenetrable forest, and the rocky uplands are perilous in the extreme, and in its furthest reaches stand the towers and walls of the Brass Keep – once an Imperial fortress, now in the hands of the warriors of Chaos.


Little wonder then that the Ostlanders are grim folk and proudly stubborn as the bull that adorns their flag. Their armies defend the borders clad in stark black and white livery, and are led by the fierce Elector Count Valmir von Raukov – a man who exemplifies the virtue of defiance in the face of any odds.

Ostlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 3 1
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 100 XP
  • Starting skills: An Ostlander starts with one rank in either Discipline or Survival. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Fighters Against Chaos: Ostlanders treat the difficulty of all Fear checks of foes aligned to Chaos as 1 less than normal (to a minimum of 1).
 

Reiklanders

Forest-swathed Reikland in the southwest of the Empire is its foremost province. Reiklanders tend to be richer, better educated, and more urbane than other provincials, and the province’s merchants vie with the nobility for power. Reikland’s inhabitants truly believe that Sigmar favours them as the true heirs of the Empire.


Reiklanders are renowned for their flamboyant nature and eagerness to impress. The men’s clothes are slashed in military style, and their floppy hats are festooned with feathers, while the women dress in equally extravagant fashions. Despite appearances, Reiklanders are hard workers and brave fighters when duty calls. Their success is due to their natural ability to adapt to any situation.


The city of Altdorf attracts visitors from all over the Known World, so Reiklanders are a cosmopolitan people, rubbing shoulders with foreigners, dwarfs, and elves. They are more open-minded than other Empire folk, and because Altdorf is home to the Colleges of Magic, they are slightly more tolerant of magical activities which would have unsophisticated provincials reaching for their pitchforks and torches – outside the Reikland, even sanctioned magic is tantamount to Chaos sorcery to many.

Reiklander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A Reiklander starts with one rank in two non-career skills during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase either skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Favoured by Fate: Once per session as an out-of-turn incidental, you may move one Story Point from the Game Master’s pool to the players’pool.

Stirlanders

Stirland is the poorest province of the Empire, a situation not helped by their most fertile lands being given away to the halflings, centuries ago when the Moot was formed (which still causes bitterness and resentment). The Stirlanders are rustic people, and their strange customs and old-fashioned ways are the cause for many a sneer and snide comment from the citizens of Reikland and other more progressive provinces. Their pronounced accents and colloquial phrases mean that travellers from Stirland find themselves endlessly repeating their words just to be understood by other people of the Empire.


Their armies tend to be equipped mostly with those weapons that are cheap and easy to produce, particularly spears and bows. However, they excel with these arms, and make proficient hunters besides. The provincial colours of green and yellow are often worn only in a token fashion, and uniforms are usually patched and mended many times. A hunting horn adorns many shields and the state banner, and its bearers fight all the harder to dispel any assumptions that Stirlanders are in any way inferior.


The realm of Sylvania is technically part of Stirland. However, this cursed land was blighted by the Vampire Counts of old and to this day the dead do not rest easy there. During the terrible wars against these dark lords, huge undead armies decimated the farms, villages and towns of the province and the fallen only swelled the numbers of the shambling hordes. The population of Stirland remains rightly fearful of the walking dead, but is at least hardened to the evil of their existence. When mouldering zombies and ravening crypt ghouls stalk the lands, the brave Stirlanders stand ready to face the horror that assails them.

Stirlander Abilities
2 2 1 3 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 100 XP
  • Starting skills: A Stirlander starts with one rank in either Ranged, Survival or Vigilance during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Unflinching: Stirlanders treat the difficulty of all Fear checks from undead as 1 less than normal (to a minimum of 1).
  • Hatred of Undead: Stirlanders may add bb to all Initiative checks whenever they are within long range of undead.
 

Talabeclanders

The province of Talabecland is so called after Taal, god of beasts and wild places. It is an appropriate name, as most of the realm is covered by the ancient boughs of the Great Forest. Though large tracts have been cleared to form farmland, many of the felled trees have necessarily been used to build sturdy palisades, designed to keep the fierce creatures of the woods at bay. Despite the dangers of the forest, the sparse population has a strong affinity with nature and the wild. Talabeclanders are at home camping, tracking and hunting, although they are always vigilant and sure to post enough guards and watchmen.


Worship of Taal is especially prevalent in the province, among its citizens as well as visiting travellers – it is considered good luck to cross the wide River Talabec, and army regiments will often dip their banners or weapon tips into the waters to gain Taal’s blessing. The State Troops often bear the image of a stag or a tree on their banners, both symbols of Taal. The capital of the province is Talabheim, a city state in its own right, situated within the bowl of a massive crater. The crater edges have been built up into high bastions that make the city one of the best protected in the Empire. The city’s troops wear red and white livery, while the armies of the wider province wear striking red and yellow.


While it is largely surrounded by the other provinces, Talabecland has its share of hostile threats. Beastmen lurk in the forests and the Barren Hills that lie north of Kemperbad are riddled with skaven warrens.

Talabeclander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A Talabeclander starts with one rank in Perception, Survival or Vigilance during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Lore of the Wild: When a Talabeclander spends a Story Point on a Survival check, he rolls an additional c, rather than upgrading.
  • Trackers: Talabeclanders add b to all Perception checks made in a rural environment.

Wissenlanders

After the orc warlord Gorbad Ironclaw’s invasion in the year 1707, the devastated lands of the province of Solland became part of Wissenland. It should be noted that certain descendants of the exiled Solland nobles, who fled and settled in Averland, still harbour a bitter resentment over their lost family estates and dream of refounding the lost province. The Wissenlanders themselves also suffered terribly at the hands of the greenskins, and their numbers have never entirely recovered. As a result, the province today is sparsely populated and is dotted with hundreds of abandoned, ruined and burnt out villages, farmsteads and towns. More recent invasions by orcs, goblins and other attackers out of the Black Mountains have kept the province on the back foot, and its population is constantly rebuilding shattered towns, repairing defences and re-seeding ravaged farmland.


Such a grim existence has led Wissenlanders to cling to religion for succour in their time of hardship. They have become devout worshippers of the entire pantheon of gods of the Empire. Shrines and temples are well maintained (or at least the first things to be rebuilt after an attack), and priests can always find willing ears to listen to the divine words of their cult. Warrior Priests are a common sight in the province, stirring the Wissenlanders to defend what remains of their homes and instilling the fires of vengeance and fury.


Many lose all hope and ultimately lose their sanity in the face of so much war and hopelessness. These poor souls abandon their squalid lives to join the roving bands of flagellants. These doomfilled fanatics wander the land, seeking penitence in the fires of battle. They hurl themselves at the enemy in a lunatic frenzy – utterly convinced that the end of the world has arrived.

Wissenlander Abilities
2 2 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 10+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 5+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 110 XP
  • Starting skills: A A Wissenlander starts with one rank in either Discipline, Folklore or Resilience during character creation. They obtain this rank before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Devout: After resolving an action in which a Wissenlander spends one or more Story Points, roll c. If the result is a t, the Wissenlander gains 1 Story Point.
  • Trackers: Talabeclanders add b to all Perception checks made in a rural environment.

Dwarfs


Dwarfs are a sturdy race: four and a half feet of solid muscle. They wear tough leathers, chainmail, and horned helmets, warhammers or axes slung at their belts. A dwarfs most prized possession is his beard – its length and whiteness reveal age and experience, and its adornments and the weave of its braids denote rank. Dwarfs live in mountain strongholds bordering the Empire, and are adept fighters, even in the gloom of tunnels. Unless they die in battle, they live for centuries.


Every dwarf can recount his lineage back through numerous generations, and remembers every insult endured by his ancestors – the settling of a grudge is a serious issue. Dwarfs seldom back down or change their mind, but they always honour their pledge. They do not waste words on trivialities, and their gruff manner wins them few friends outside their own race. But a dwarf ’s friendship, once given, is absolute.


Dwarf craftsmanship is vastly superior to that of men. They utilise steam-powered engines, clockwork devices, devastating blackpowder weaponry, and even ingenious flying machines. However, bound by tradition, nothing can be invented or improved without approval from the elders of the Dwarf Engineers Guild. Most dwarfs respect their betters, and those who do not are snubbed and humiliated. Dwarfs have no affinity for spellcasting, although runesmiths carve artefacts with intricate, magical runes. Dwarfs honour the smith-god Grungni, the warrior-god Grimnir, and Valaya, protectoress of the hearth, and their religious rites involve the copious quaffing of potent ale.


Most dwarfs have an insatiable lust for wealth, and are loath to part with the smallest treasure. Expert miners, they delve deep underground for precious stones and metals, including rare gromril, tougher yet lighter than iron.

 

Dwarfs of Karak Azgaraz

Until recently, only scattered communities of dwarfs lived in the Grey Mountains – there are few rich mineral deposits to attract them. However, an exodus of young dwarfs from the eastern mountains have founded a new small stronghold among the peaks south of the Reikland town of Ubersreik. They have named it Karak Azgaraz – the Hold of the Fearless Axes. It has attracted ambitious short-beards keen to make a name for themselves away from the shadows of their elders, who thoroughly disapprove of the venture. The dwarfs glean a little silver from the meagre seams below the stronghold, which they trade within the Reikland. The main function of Karak Azgaraz is a military base of operations from which the dwarfs plan to eradicate the greenskins that plague the mountains, and thus win themselves glory.


Dwarfs are not an uncommon sight in the Empire, especially in larger cities. The craftsmanship of dwarfs is renowned, and a dwarf can find work as a blacksmith, brewer or craftsman throughout the Reikland. Some dwarfs from Karak Azgaraz frequently visit towns and villages throughout the Reikland, trading their wares to restock

Azgaraz Dwarf Abilities
3 1 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 11+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: An Azgaraz dwarf starts with one rank in either Discipline, Melee (Light), Melee (Heavy) or Resilience during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, Azgaraz dwarfs may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Grudge: An Azgaraz dwarf gains b to all Melee and Ranged checks against Greenskins, and against any target that has wounded him. This bonus lasts until the end of the encounter.

Dwarfs of Barak Varr

Barak Varr is found to the south of the Empire, beyond the Black Mountains, where two mighty rivers converge and open out into the sea known as the Black Gulf. Uniquely in the entire dwarf realm, it is a sea port, carved out from the towering cliffs to form aseries of vast underground harbours and docks, as well as the caverns and tunnels that form the rest of the city. The stone piers and quays bristle with cannons to defend against attacks from the sea, while the dwarf armies patrol inland, warding off raiding orcs and goblins from the Badlands to the south. This provides an invaluable barrier between the greenskin tribes and the frontier kingdoms of Border Princes to the north.


The dwarfs’ sea-going fleet is based here, though dwarfs are not fond of the ocean and consequently their vessels are quite unlike those of other races. They are heavily fortified against both enemy attack and the elements themselves, and are powered by coal-fired steam engines instead of sails, in order to rely on the weather as little as possible.


Barak Varr is a great trade centre, not just with the other holds but also with the wider world, and as such is one of the most open, cosmopolitan dwarf cities. Traders from across the world bring goods from every realm, including Bretonnia and Estalia, Tilea and Araby, and even exotic items from Ind and Cathay. The merchandise is then transported inland, to the dwarf capital or through the Black Fire Pass into the Empire of men.


After a lifetime surrounded by commerce and trade, any dwarf that harks from Barak Varr is a stony-faced expert at haggling a good price, and has the contacts to obtain the rarest of goods.

Barak Varr Dwarf Abilities
3 1 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 11+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: A Barak Varr dwarf starts with one rank in either Charm, Discipline or Resilience during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, Barak Varr dwarfs may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Grudge: A Barak Varr dwarf gains b to all Melee and Ranged checks against Greenskins, and against any target that has wounded him. This bonus lasts until the end of the encounter.
 

Dwarfs of Karaz-a-Karak


Karaz-a-Karak is the mighty capital of the entire dwarf empire. Its towering halls are carved out deep in the heart of the Worlds Edge Mountains, an impregnable fortress-city that has never fallen, even as the rest of the realm slowly crumbles. It is the seat of the High King of the dwarfs, who rules from a vast throne vault the size of a human town, wielding the full might of the dwarfen armies. Ornately carved pillars and statues line the walls and elaborate mirror systems reflect shafts of light from above. The noble clans that dwell here have long and proud histories, and can trace their ancestries back for thousands of years – a fact which earns them great respect from dwarfs of other holds whose family line dates back mere centuries. Many are the guardians of ancient artefacts and rune-etched relics whose secrets of manufacture are long forgotten.

Here can be found the high temples of the ancestor-gods Grungni, Grimnir and Valaya. Here too is kept the Great Book of Grudges, wherein is written every wrong, sleight, broken oath or outright attack against the dwarf people. For the dwarfs are bitter and grudgeful, and none more so than clansfolk of Karaz-a-Karak, who nurture the memory of every last misdeed until vengeance is exacted. It is considered woefully shameful for a dwarf of Karaza- Karak to go to his grave and pass a long list of grudges on to his sons and daughters. What exactly constitutes a long list is debatable, but certainly includes anything over an entire bookful. Consequently dwarfs of the capital are famously quick to anger and seize upon any perceived insult with rage and threats (at the very least) of violence.

Karaz-a-Karak Dwarf Abilities
3 1 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 11+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: A Karak-a-Karak dwarf starts with one rank in Resilience during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase Resilience during character creation.
  • Eternal Grudge: A Karak-a-Karak dwarf gains b to all Melee and Ranged checks against Greenskins, and against any target that has wounded, tainted or insulted him. A Karak-a-Karak dwarf may choose to suffer up to their Discipline rank in strain. For each strain suffered in this way, they add b to the dice pool when performing such actions.
  • Proud and Strong: A Karak-a-Karak dwarf ignores the first 2 points of strain suffered each session.

Dwarfs of Zhufbar

Zhufbar lies within the Worlds Edge Mountains, overlooking the Empire province of Stirland, and north of the huge upland lake known as Black Water, or Varn Drazh in the dwarfish tongue. The dwarf hold is built in a deep chasm, into which a raging torrent from the lake cascades. The tumultuous waterfall is channelled into cunningly built culverts and flow-pipes to drive hundreds of waterwheels. These in turn operate enormous drop hammers, ore crushers, and steam bellows, driving the industry of the dwarfs as they process and smelt the precious ore mined near Varn Drazh.


After much toil and expertise handed down through generations, exquisite items made from the priceless meteoric iron are completed – impregnable suits of armour and mighty rune-forged weapons. These go to the stout armies that defend the lower tunnels against skaven and goblins, or are traded on to other dwarf strongholds. Zhufbar has long represented the best of dwarf engineering, guarding the ancient knowledge and techniques of their ancestors. The city contains the principle shrine of the dwarf Guild of Engineers, and is a centre for metalworking and industry of every kind. Although the beardlings sometimes display a desire to experiment and innovate, their elders ensure that the old ways are learnt and treasured, lest they be lost for all time.

Not surprising then, that a dwarf born and raised in Zhufbar invariably has an innate mechanical expertise and a talent for building things, not to mention a love of fine craftsmanship and a loathing for shoddy, rushed workmanship. A common saying among Zhufbar dwarfs goes: ‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing slowly.’

Zhufbar Dwarf Abilities
3 1 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 11+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: A Zhufbar dwarf starts with one rank in either Charm, Discipline or Resilience during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, Zhufbar dwarfs may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Grudge: A Zhufbar dwarf gains b to all Melee and Ranged checks against Greenskins, and against any target that has wounded him. This bonus lasts until the end of the encounter.
 

Gnomes


Gnomes are smaller relatives of Dwarfs; they have a similar cultural background and speak their own Dwarvish dialect. If anything, gnomes are even more short-tempered and difficult to get along with than dwarfs. Like them, they live mostly underground or amongst mountains. Gnomes can be found almost exclusively on the western side of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Their numbers are few and declining all the time. Some communities survive in the remoter areas of the Isle of Albion, but these cannot be said to constitute anything other than a backward remnant of the race.


Within The Empire, gnomes have a reputation for clannishness, being regarded as a well-balanced race insofar as they obviously have a chip on both shoulders. It is true that they do not easily mix with the other races (adventurers being an exception to this, of course), but they are by no means as secretive and withdrawn as, for example, the wood elves of the Laurelorn Forest.


Gnome pedlars are a relatively common sight and Gnomish smiths and engineers are accorded almost as much respect as their dwarven counterparts - often more, but this is usually from fear of their acerbic wit and sharp-tongued sarcasm. Indeed, it is probably the Gnomic capacity for vitriol which led to the appointment of a gnome as Imperial Court Jester as long ago as 1143; since then, such appointments have become a tradition and one which the current Emperor, Karl-Franz I, continues to maintain.


Nevertheless, gnomes prefer to live among other gnomes in self-contained, isolated communities. These are invariably burrows or cavern networks beneath The Empire's numerous limestone plateaus and other hill ranges. The Gnomic fondness for fishing is almost as infamous as their love of practical jokes and no permanent settlement is ever established far from a well-stocked fishing lake or river (preferably underground). Indeed, the gnomic skill with rod and line is almost legendary.


The largest gnomic community in The Empire (Glimdwarrow) is to be found beneath the hill range known as The Mirror Moors and numbers nearly a thousand inhabitants. Like other Gnomic settlements, it is run along complex hierarchical lines, but since each member of the community has several different roles and a corrospondingly different status according to which role they are filling, gnomic society invariably strikes outsiders as an incomprehensible confusion. Even their cousins, the dwarfs, find it difficult to fathom the significance of the innumerable gnomic customs and rules of etiquette. In each community, there is a clan overlord who acts as a sort of head of state, there is a religious leader who deals with matters spiritual, a craftsmaster who supervises mining and smithing activities, and a loremaster who guards the secrets of the clan's history, preserves its learning, and ensures that ancient customs and rituals are observed with clockwork precision. Some clans also have a spellmaster who passes on the gnomic skills in illusion-weaving to those few gnomes deemed worthy of such an apprenticeship. Then, of course, the society's warriors are trained in the use of weapons and assigned to the Gnome guard...


Unlike their close cousins, the dwarfs, gnomes have a strong affinity for magic, particularly illusionist magic. Gnomes see illusions as a natural extension of their love for jokes, tricks, and gadgets. Within gnome society, some clans have a spellmaster, who passes on illusionist skills to apprentices. Some Gnomes are present at the highest levels of the Empire College of Illusionists; others follow their forebear, Addic - according to legend, the first gnome to leave Glimdwarrow and travel in human society - and wander The Empire, either alone or with a band of travelling players, providing illusions as entertainment.

Gnomes are short and stocky, rarely exceeding four feet in height. Characteristic features include bulbous noses, shaggy hair and beards. Hair colour is usually black, but can also be brown or red. Skin colour is the same as dwarfs, but gnomes have a tendency to look weather-beaten and tanned.

Gnome Abilities
2 2 2 3 2 1
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 9+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: A gnome starts with one rank in either Deception, Mechanics or Skulduggery during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, gnomes may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Acerbic Wit: Gnome charactes need only spend t or aaa to inflict a critical remark during a social encounter, and when doing they inflict 6 strain instead of 5.
 

Halflings


The halflings are a race of short humanoids, typically around three feet tall when fully grown. They are generally considered to be sneaky little blighters, who are extremely selfish and greedy, and are often accused (with some justification) of being stunted, inbred and vulgar. They certainly arouse their share of prejudice, and like most non-human visitors to the Empire, the general opinion of the human citizens is somewhat at odds with how halflings describe themselves. They consider themselves lovers of peace and quiet, of relaxation and a pleasant snooze after a good meal. Others simply call them lazy. Halflings are also cautious and careful, sensibly wary of placing themselves into danger – qualities often construed as cowardice by all the other races. Similarly, they have a well deserved reputation for being light-fingered thieves, while the halflings themselves would say they are opportunistic and simply take the chances that fortune sends their way. They typically claim that if the former owner had really cared about keeping the given item, he would have kept it in a safer place. It’s fair to say that if a halfling needs some string, he will happily borrow someone’s shoelaces, and probably forget to give them back (and fail to own up when the angry wearer’s boot falls off). Consequently, their pockets are usually full of ‘useful’ bits and bobs that they have acquired.


Fortunately, they do have a couple of redeeming features – firstly that they are rather good shots with a bow (a short bow of course), and secondly that they are excellent cooks. Unsurprisingly, these talents have grown from the desire to hunt and prepare a tasty dinner.

Halfling Abilities
1 3 2 2 2 2
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 8+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 15+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 90 XP
  • Starting skills: A Halfling starts with one rank in either Ranged, Skulduggery or Stealth during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, Halflings may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Naturally Sneaky: Halflings often escape notice and as such, all Perception checks to detect the halfling add bb to the dice pool.

Ogres


Ogres are massive by human standards, standing over ten feet tall. They are hulking brutes, their broad frames covered in slabs of dense muscle, over which lies a thick layer of blubber that insulates them in the icy climes of their homeland. Their skulls are thick and their hide is tough as cured leather. Their legs are as sturdy as tree trunks and their arms can smash in a man’s chest without even the need for a weapon. However, an ogre’s most distinctive feature is his gut. The size of an ogre’s gut is proportional to his status – those that are strong and successful eat well and develop massive bellies that spill out over the belt. Ogres take great pride in their guts and protect their precious innards with large armoured shields, fashioned from heavy iron and known as gut plates.


Every ogre has a ravenous appetite. Their whole society traditionally revolves around eating, and both their religion and magic are also based on food. Ogres can devour practically anything – powerful, grinding stomach muscles can even crack rocks if there is no alternative. They will eagerly consume their enemies at the end of a battle, shovelling bloody hunks of raw flesh into their everhungry maws.


It is a gross understatement to say that ogres are not the brightest individuals. In fact it is often said that they are dumber than the rocks they sometimes eat. They are completely illiterate and speak with growls, grunts and belches, using words with as few syllables as possible. However, they are capable of cobbling together crudely effective weapons. The only thing they excel at, apart from eating, is fighting. In battle, an ogre is the match of ten men – a devastating force, especially once he has picked up some momentum. An ogre’s ‘bull charge’ can knock an armoured knight and his steed dazed and bruised to the floor.

 
Ogre Abilities
4 2 1 2 2 1
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 14+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 8+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 80 XP
  • Starting skills: An Ogre starts with one rank in Coercion during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase Coercion above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Thick Skin: Ogre hide is tougher and thicker than the smaller and weaker races. Ogres gain +1 soak.
  • The Great Maw: Ogres can and will eat almost anything – their hunger is legendary. In fact, ogres must eat a pound of meat every hour or begin to starve. An ogre who fails to eat adds b to all checks for each “meal” he skips. He keeps adding b to his checks until he is able to eat enough meat to make up for his skipped meals. If the number of b added to his checks due to hunger ever exceeds an ogre’s Brawn score, he either descends into a desperate, murderous, rage, killing and eating everything around him, or slumps helplessly to the ground until fed (player’s choice). Ogres gain bb to any check to resist ingested toxins, diseases, or any other hazard encountered through eating.
  • Fearless: Ogres treat the difficulty of all Fear checks as 1 less than normal (to a minimum of 1).

High Elves


Taller and more slender than most men, high elves have pointed ears and pale, delicate features framed by long golden or ebony hair. They live for many centuries, and to stare into elven eyes is to gaze into deep wells of arcane lore. They bear themselves with noble dignity, wearing silk robes, or, in times of war, shining scale-mail and tall helms, decorated with gold and jewels..


High elves dedicate their long lives to perfecting a chosen art. Some pursue the skills of war, some become exceptional craftsmen, and others seek out ancient lore, reaching an understanding of magic far beyond human comprehension. They value learning, and consider themselves the most civilised of all races. Subtle in speech and manner, they can convey intricate depths of meaning with the slightest gesture.


Their homeland is Ulthuan, ruled by the Phoenix King Finubar and the beautiful Everqueen. It is a verdant, magical isle of white towered cities, lying across the Great Ocean far to the west of the Old World. The venerated elf deities protect Ulthuan: Asuryan the creator, Vaul the craftsman, Isha, lady of fertility, and violent Khaine. High elf citizens proudly join the ranks of Ulthuan’s armies from an early age, taking their responsibilities and duties seriously. The High Elves are not a numerous race, and their island is beset by a cruel enemy – their treacherous kin, the dark elves.

High Elf Abilities
2 3 3 2 2 1
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 9+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 70 XP
  • Starting skills: A High Elf starts with one rank in Education and one rank in either Discipline, Perception or Vigilance during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase these skills above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, High Elves may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Valour of Ages: When facing their fallen kin, the dark elves, high elves gain bb on Discipline and Resilience checks.
 

Wood Elves


Wood elves are physically similar to their high elf kin. They equal them in beauty and grace, and have unsurpassed agility. Wood elves wear simple hides and furs, camouflaged to allow them to fade among the trees. Their forest life teaches them to move without trace through the most tangled terrain. Their home, Athel Loren, is a great forest that hugs the southern foothills of the Grey Mountains between the Empire and Bretonnia. Outsiders dare not enter these strange woods, for a powerful magic protects the trees. The wood elves wander in small kinbands, forever guarding the forest. They emerge from the foliage like ghosts, striking down intruders before vanishing mist-like into the undergrowth.


Magic and illusion are integral aspects of wood elf life – their mages can awaken the trees and commune with the spirits of the forest, such as tiny spites, vicious dryads, and lumbering treemen. Wood elves revere all arboreal life, and despise those who despoil the forests, whether men, dwarfs, or greenskins, but reserve their bitterest hatred for Chaos, which warps the natural world.

Wood Elf Abilities
2 3 2 2 3 1
  • Starting Wound Threshold: 9+Brawn
  • Starting Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
  • Starting Corruption Threshold: 10+Presence
  • Starting Experience: 70 XP
  • Starting skills: A Wood Elf starts with one rank in either Ranged, Perception or Survival during character creation. They obtain these ranks before spending experience points, and may not increase this skill above rank 2 during character creation.
  • Dark Vision: When making skill checks, Wood Elves may remove bb imposed due to darkness.
  • Forest Walk: Wood elves may ignore up to bb penalties to movement and actions performed while in woodland terrain.
  • Nature Bond: Wood elves gain b to initiative, as well as to Perception and Stealth checks while they are in woodland terrain.