Northmen are the barbaric tribes of the Chaos Wastes and Norsca. They are human, though far surpassing the peoples of the more civilised south in strength and vigor. Living in the shadow of Chaos, the Northmen are born into the worship of the Gods of Chaos, and few escape mutation in some form. When hosts of Northmen march with the armies of Chaos, they are known as Marauders. Northmen who feel the pull of Chaos more strongly than others may become Chaos Warriors, Chosen, Magi, Zealots or even attain the revered position of Everchosen.
Those who have been especially favoured, the strongest and most powerful warriors of a tribe, are deemed worthy to submit themselves to the judgement of the gods. By travelling far to the north, these tribal champions may cross into the Realm of Chaos proper, and experience something of the infinite void in which the gods reside. Those who survive this ordeal are judged to have been found worthy of their god’s service and of their tribe’s respect. They are the "chosen", the mark of their patron god is branded into their skin, and they often gain formidable mutations, becoming stronger and deadlier. The greatest champions of all are observed closest, and may commune with their god regularly, receiving further "gifts" until they achieve the ultimate reward of elevation to true daemonhood. The alternative to this is to receive too many gifts, becoming horribly mutated and bestial, these creatures are known as Chaos Spawn.
In the eyes of the Northmen there is a natural and progressive distinction between the mass of roving warriors, those few favoured by the gods, and the very few whose extraordinary gifts mark them out as the leaders and most powerful of their tribe. It is their enemies, rather than the Northmen, who tend to distinguish between the youngest unmarked warriors, who they call Marauders because of their raiding and roving lifestyle, and the Chaos Warriors, whose superior armour and status make them easily recognizable, and Champions of Chaos, the leaders and greatest of all.
The various tribes of Northmen can be divided into three races or ethnic groups, each consisting of numerous individual tribes, and each tribe consisting of many individual groups. Each race is visually and culturally distinct from it's neighbours. A tribe that is the same race as another is more likely to have friendly relations with it, though this is by no means guaranteed as all northmen tribes are barbaric and warlike.
The Kurgan are a black-haired, olive skinned people who inhabit the Eastern Steppes north of the Dark Lands and Kislev and east of Norsca. The Kurgans are the most numerous race of northmen, and are highly nomadic being equally capable fighters and travellers on horseback and on foot. Due to their mobility and nomadic lifestlye, they are often the quickest to join a major Chaos incursion, usually as scouts and outriders. Despite this they are less often seen in the Old World (both in peacetime and when invading) than the Norse, though Kurgan raids are fairly common in Kislev. The Kurgan also share blood relations with the northern Ungols, and there are many cultural similarities between Ungols and the Dolgan and Khazag Kurgan. The Kurgan are modelled on the Huns, the people of Central Asia and the people of Northern Asia.
Tribes that make up the Kurgan include:
The Hung are an oriental race, shorter and squatter than the people of Cathay but otherwise resembling them. The Hung inhabit the Chaos Wastes to the north of Cathay and Naggaroth in the New World. The Hung are horsemen par excellence, and they breed tough, small horses on their cold mountain slopes which would survive where larger southern warhorses would starve. They ride these into battle when they attack the more civilised (if such can be said in the case of the Dark Elves) lands to the south. The Hung are modelled in many ways on the Mongol tribes of the Middle Ages.
Tribes that make up the Hung include:
- Dreaded Wo
The Norse are a fierce race who inhabit Norsca to the north of the Old World. The Norse are an exceptionally tall and powerfully built race of warriors. They are considered to be the very epitome of the followers of Chaos and sail the Oceans of the world in dark longships, raiding and pillaging in the names of the Chaos Gods and for their own wealth. They are the most likely Chaos Warriors to be found attacking the Empire due to their close proximity to it. They are also driven by an ancient ancestral hatred of all southern races that dates back to the Age of Sigmar. The Norse are modelled on the ancient people of Scandinavia - specifically the Vikings.
Tribes who make up the Norse include: