For a list of races playable in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, see Armies.
The race of intelligent humanoids dominant in the Old World. Men were one of the last intelligent races of the Warhammer World to become civilized. However, they are now one of the most powerful with nations spread throughout the globe. They are the chief practitioners of the religion of Sigmarism, as well as the main opponent of Chaos' incursions into the Old World.
The nations of Man include:
- Albion - An island surrounded by mist and fog. Home to the mysterious Ogham Stones and tribal, woad-wearing human barbarians. (Real world equivalent: Celtic Britain)
- Araby - A desert nation that lies to the west of the Land of the Dead and is comprised of both highly sophisticated commercial urban centers and tribes of desert nomads. (Real world equivalent: Arabia and the Islamic Caliphate)
- Bretonnia - The human kingdom directly west of the Empire. Bretonnia is the Empire's chief military rival, and its knightly cavalry remain the best in the Old World. (Real world equivalent: High Medieval France)
- Cathay - The largest nation of the Eastern Lands on the far eastern edge of the Old World's continent. Like the people of the Old World the Cathayans are in constant conflict with the mortal and daemonic servants of the Unnatural Powers of the northern Chaos Wastes. Another enemy the Cathayans face are the brutal Ogre Kingdoms to their west and northwest. (Real world equivalent: Imperial China)
- The Empire of Man - The mightiest nation of the Old World but also a deeply corrupt and often unjust human society where many have fallen to Chaos. The Empire benefits from a great diversity of military units and the various orders of the Colleges of Magic, and is the home to the Cult of Sigmar. (Real world equivalent: the Holy Roman Empire)
- Estalia — A peninsula southwest of Bretonnia in the Old World, far from the threat of Chaos. This land is home to a number of rival kingdoms. Estalia was once occupied by forces from Araby, but the Arabyans were driven out by a combined effort known as the Arabyan Crusades by other Old World human realms like Bretonnia, the Empire and the Tilean city-states. (Real world equivalent: Reconquista Spain)
- Khuresh - Khuresh or the Hinterlands of Khuresh are in the Far East of the Warhammer World. (Real world equivalent: Southeast Asia)
- Kingdoms of Ind - An eastern nation south west of Cathay and west of the Ogre Kingdoms. (Real world equivalent: India)
- Kislev — A northern nation and an ally of the Empire under constant threat due to their close proximity to the maddening. (Real world equivalent: Slavic nations) Realm of Chaos. (Real world equivalent: Nordic countries)
- Nippon -- The easternmost of the human nations, Nippon is an island off of the eastern coast of Cathay ruled by powerful feudal warlords. (Real world equivalent: Tokugawa Japan)
- Tilea — South of the Irrana Mountains and the Vaults in the Old World, the fractious city-states of Tilea embrace trade, exploration and civil war with equal passion. Mercenary companies form the bulk of armies in these lands, often fighting on behalf of the wealthy rulers of the many republics and principalities or further north in the service of the Empire. (Real world equivalent: The Italian city-states of the Renaissance)
- The Wasteland — This low-lying land at the mouth of the River Reik is home to Marienburg, one of the largest cities and commercial centres in the Old World. This region used to belong to the Empire — when it was referred to as the province of Westerland, but is now fiercely independent.
- The Northmen are a loose collection of tribes from three ethnic groups which inhabit the lands of Norsca and the Chaos Wastes. While technically human, many are so far mutated and hopelessly lost to the worship of the Ruinous Powers that they cannot be compared to the more civilized men of the south. Due to the harshness and lack of resources of the Chaos Wastes, they constantly raid the more prosperous regions of the south, the Old World and Cathay for slaves and other resources. One must wonder why such people still live in such a harsh environment as the Wastes, but the truth of things is not as simple as it seems in the desolate north. The Ruinous Powers to the nations of the south are but mere whispers on the wind, but to the Northmen, they are the truth incarnate, for they live under the very real presence and watchful eyes of the Chaos Gods and their daemonic servants.
The Elves were the second civilized race to walk the world. Created by the Old Ones, the Elves showed an adeptness at magic and boast extremely long lives, upwards of 2000 years (though some Elves are much older), allowing them many centuries to train a skill and hence most Elves are extremely proficient at their given role. Torn asunder many thousands of years ago by a great civil war called the Sundering, there are three major nations of Elves.
- Dark Elves — The relentless and bitter Druchii of Naggaroth still follow Malekith, who was exiled but still claims to be the rightful heir to the throne of the Elven Kingdoms of Ulthuan. The dark elves are sworn enemies of the High Elves and try incessantly to invade Ulthuan. Dark elves enjoy nothing more than inflicting pain and suffering on others and frequently launch raids throughout the Old World in order to capture more slaves to feed their hunger for cruelty.
- High Elves — The Asur, as they call themselves carry on the ancient traditions of the Elven people on the island continent of Ulthuan, as well as the burdens of many millennia of arrogance and warfare. The High Elves are ruled by the Phoenix Kings, the first of which was Aenarion, and the current Phoenix King is Finubar Seafarer.
- Wood Elves — The ruthless Asrai abandoned their High Elf kin in the Sundering to both protect and restrain the strange sentient forest of Athel Loren in the Old World. They appear to be neither good nor bad, as likely to kill lost travelers as to aid them. They are mortal enemies to the Beastmen, and wage a silent war against them in the shadowy glades of the world's forests.
The Dwarfs live in city fortresses dug into the mountains of the Old World. Their chaotic brethren occupy one huge towering city in the Dark Lands to the east of the Old World. Please note that "Dwarves" and "Dwarfs" are interchangeable.
- Dwarfs or Dawi are an ancient, grim, and determined race integral in the founding of the Empire, the Dwarfs spend their days avenging grudges and counting gold. Dwarfs are the greatest craftsmen in the Warhammer World and in addition to enjoying fine weapons and armor they have the best heavy infantry and artillery around. Dwarf armies are well suited to defensive warfare, however due to their lack of mobility they do not do well when forced to go on the offensive. Dwarfs are legendary for their ability to never forget nor forgive a wrong against them, their finely crafted weapons and armor, ability to consume large quantities of ale, extreme stubbornness, mistrust of elves, and hatred of greenskins. Dwarfs are the closest ally to Humanity, although the Elves of Ulthuan have united with the Humans as well in the last few hundred years.
- Chaos Dwarves — Tireless overseers of soulless industry, the Chaos Dwarfs worship their own Dark God; Hashut, the Father of Darkness. The Chaos Dwarves were separated from the rest of the Dwarfs in the coming of Chaos and chose to bow down before Hashut in the face of certain destruction. They now reside in Zhar Naggarund in the Dark Lands and command armies of slaves to build their arcane weapons of war.
Halflings are a race of short humanoids who dwell primarily in The Moot. Halflings are renowned for their hospitality and agricultural produce, but are often discriminated against; in part due to a common bias that they are all thieves.
Lizardmen — Originally created by the Old Ones to aid in their great genetic works, the semi-conscious Slann, now lead the Lizardmen through prophecies containing ancient instructions from their gods, who may or may not some day return. However what these prophecies mean is entirely from the perspective of the Lizardmen's Saurus race, who take the role as the warrior class of their collective races. One such example: one of the Ancient Slann preordained that a tragedy would befall the Elven race, but the prophecy was very vague, as they often are. The ever strict fanatical Saurus species saw this as a sign that meant that the Elves should never have left their Island of Ulthuan. As a result, they wiped out several of the coastal settlements on the edges of the new world. It should be noted that the Chaos gods are the Lizardmen's nemesis, and they attempt by all means to destroy such influences throughout the world. Due to the Slann being the most powerful sorcerers through out the world, nothing is out of their reach.
Lizardmen are based on the Aztec and Mayan cultures and reside in the deep jungles of Lustria and to a lesser extent the Southlands. The Lizardmen are cold blooded reptiles and possess a cold intelligence quite unlike the warm-blooded races. The Lizardmen fiercely defend their jungles and temple-cities from intruders and treasure-hunters. Lizardmen include Saurus, Skinks and Kroxigors.
The tribes of Orcs, Goblins and related races are spread across the Old World and into the east, and are collectively known as Greenskins. They sometimes come together in a giant crusade-like war called a Waaagh!. Greenskins have a primitive culture based around their gods Gork and Mork and have primitive but effective technology.
The origins of the Greenskin menace is shrouded in mystery, whether they were originally part of a different world or the result of the chaos energies of the Aethyr or both; it is uncertain. But what was certain, they were an abnormality to the Old Ones's plans. They went forth in large numbers destroying other species that gave fight and defiling the genetic gardens which the Old Ones carefully laid out. However, during a time of what was to be the apex of their military might. The Lizardmen, spawned massive armies hundreds of thousands strong for one purpose, a purpose they have done several times according the Old Ones's plans, bring extinction to a species that did not belong. Marching between the bridges of reality across the world, they destroyed Greenskins in the billions. However despite the genocide of which the Lizardmen wrought, the greenskin race was different from the races that have gone extinct before the armies of the Lizardmen, they survived. Although naturally resilient, Orcs being on par to the Saurus in this regard, they had an absurd rate of spawning and the fighting further increased this rate, making it an almost endless war between the two races.
However when the gates over the arctic poles collapsed, the exhausted Lizardmen had to contend with the new emerging threat from the warp. Fortunately the damage of which the Lizardmen inflicted on Greenskins made it so that the rest of the sentient races such as the Dwarfs and Humans were able to flourish for hundreds of years. But the Greenskin menace returned, and they were fought back time and again. But they still returned and in greater numbers. Only until the time of Sigmar did most of humanity in the Old World unite against the orc hordes. Although Sigmar brought a time of peace for which humanity would flourish; every man, women, and child in The Empire of Man knows that one day the Greenskin Waaagh! will return. And there may very well be a time when even the united races of the Old World cannot stop the Greenskins.
Another part of the menagerie of the Greenskin race, the Gnoblar, a relative of the Common Goblin, which is found living with the Ogre Hordes in the Mountains of Mourn. East of the Mountains of Mourn, in the Eastern Steppes upon the borders of Cathay, live the Hobgoblins; a race of Greenskins somewhere between the size of a Goblin and an Orc, but more cunning than both. Hobgoblins can also be found as slaves of the Chaos Dwarfs. From this cruel, mystical race also comes the most powerful of the greenskin races, called Black Orcs due to the dark tone of their skin and dour demeanor. They were created by the Chaos Dwarfs in attempt to breed an army of slaves. A warrior elite with the hulking arms of the orcs, but with enhanced strength, and what could even come close to be called a brain. They also, whether it was intentional or not, came to understand the basics of metallurgy, and comprehension of armor and weapons. Although savage and berserker by nature, the Black Orcs developed a sense of military discipline, which also led to their freedom. In a series of powerful rebellions, the Black orcs escaped the Chaos Dwarfs' realm and joined their weaker cousins, the natural orcs, in battle. However thier "weaker cousins" are nothing to balk at. They are naturally resilient, and like all orcs increase in size over prolong periods of fighting. But what they lack to the Black orcs in toughness and intelligence, they make up for in numbers. A Gnome, or Desert Goblin, is the closest to being civilised out of the of the Greenskins because they have a Royal family. They inhabit the desert of Araby and unlike all the other Greenskins, Gnomes have yellow skin to blend in with there surroundings. Smallest in size of all the Greenskin races is the Snotling, they are considered the lowliest of greenskins and are most often bullied around and even eaten by their larger cousins or kept as pets. But oddly . Trolls and Squigs are sometimes also associated with Greenskins but are not technically Greenskins themselves, are either instead goaded into combat or drawn to the refuse, that Greenskins are likely to leave behind.
When the Greenskin race amass for a Waaagh!, it is by no means a reckless army of Barbarians. Several armies of every banner have underestimated this critical fact. It is something more, stopping a Waaagh! is like trying to stop something as elemental as a flood, which threatens to overwhelm anything in its path.
The phrase "Slaves to Darkness" is used to cover all those who have fallen under the control of or pledged themselves to the Forces of Chaos gods. While the energies of Chaos touch all things magical, there are those who fully give themselves to the deities of this realm, and seek to conquer not just the works of the Old Ones, but the very fabric of reality itself.
These races include:
- Beastmen - Whether born bestial to human parents or raised among creatures of Chaos, these deranged mutants attack from the forests and foothills. Beastmen hate all that is civilized and untouched by the glories of chaos. The include Gors Ungors and Centigors, among others.
- Hordes of Chaos — Primarily humans and Chaos Gnêmes who are favoured by the Four Great Gods of chaos, these marauders worship the Chaos Gods fanatically and are either Northmen native to the Chaos Wastes and Norsca or more civilized humans who have chosen to devote themselves to chaos, usually forming Chaos Cults.
Skaven or "Children of the Horned Rat" are a Chaotic mockery of Man's nations, ruled by the secretive Council of Thirteen and worshiping their dark god, the Horned Rat. Inventive, cruel, and insane, the rat-men live in a vast network of tunnels spanning beneath all of the Warhammer world, called the Under-Empire.
Many human denizens of the Old World do not believe the Skaven exist, they are considered mere fairy tales to frighten children or the preaching of madmen and greedy dwarves. But such stories are part of the greater designs and mechanisms of skaven intrigue and deceit.
With their anonymity, the Skaven take as they please and several instances have occurred in which people and armies of every banner disappeared en route to their final destinations. Entire hamlets have simply disappeared; their inhabitants, much to their dismay, waking to the nightmares of their childhood. Nightmares in and of themselves, Skaven take various forms in their Under-Empire, where survival of the fittest is law: no quarter is asked, and none is given.
Many among the legions of slaves under their whip are Skaven themselves. The members of this society are in a constant struggle for supremacy against each other. A contest where anything goes; where the victor takes as he pleases and the defeated lay broken or enslaved; where cunning individuals plot and scheme against one another for the better scraps of meat and power. It would be through these trials of Tooth-and-Claw, or survival of the fittest, that no Rat-kin are left unscathed. (Editor's Note: I tried editing everything that is wrong with this article, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage, and sentence structure. I've been at it for almost half an hour now and this is as far into the article as I've gotten. It has since become clear that any further effort is futile and will gradually overwhelm any who try to continue. To you who are reading this, be warned: you venture into the ramblings of a mad man. Although the information itself is probably accurate, the works contained herein are void of cohesion and will undoubtedly drive insane any man who dares to try and comprehend what has been written.
Vying for supremacy are the clans of Skaven society. The clans themselves range in various numbers, controlled by individuals with an iron grip, keeping one eye open for that almost inevitable backstabbing betrayal. However in all of the hundreds of skaven clans, the twelve most powerful clans hold seats in the Council of Thirteen, the last seat occupied by the Horned Rat himself.
One such clan is the clan of the beast masters, Clan Moulder, who in their lack of compassion for anything, capture and experiment on the living things that can be of value to them. Using warpstone and various techniques, they breed the supreme killing machines of the Skaven empire. One such creature from the menagerie of this clan's insanity, are the behemoth Rat-Ogres, capable of destroying all in their path with brute strength and speed. In their capitol city of Hellspit, there is never a quiet night, for the screaming, clawing, screeching, crying, howling, and gnawing of its denizens pierce the air.
Skaven, when they have no choice or if the advantage is "drastically" in thier favor, will viciously fight tooth and claw. However, most Skaven dislike direct conflict, since their life may very well be on the line when it doesn't have to be. They prefer sending someone else to do the job for them. This is where the mysterious Clan Eshin has made a niche for themselves in the Under-Empire. During the first great migration they arrived at the mysterious human island of Nippon, Clan Eshin learned from the certain inhabitants the magical arts by which would soon define this clan (Ninjustu, although called differently). Returning, this clan became the Masters of Death and Shadows, of Assassinations and Subterfuge, and almost immediately were in high demand. But their arts are not limited to the Under-Empire, for they are tasked by the Council of Thirteen to spin their web of intrigue to the surface, to insure the existence of their race is a secret, among other things. Many powerful individuals unknowingly in this web are killed. One such individual is that of a Supreme Patriarch of some repute, who locked himself away in his personal chambers, a room protected by the most powerful of wards, which would turn any trespasser to dust. He died a mere one day later in the same room, untouched by any presence, except for its now stabbed to death occupant with the etchings on his skin of Skaven runes. Be they a rebellious Skaven warlord, a Dwarf High King, Supreme Patriarch of a college of magic, and even the Emperor himself, no one is safe from their poisoned claws.
Among the many clans which had left Skavenblight during the first great migration, one clan returned. It was twisted by the trials of its journey. Surviving the disease infested jungles of Lustria, this clan saw their existence as proof that they were chosen by the Horned Rat himself. Fanatical in this belief, Clan Pestilens returned to Skavenblight demanding seats upon the Council of Thirteen. What ensued afterward would be the first great Skaven Civil war. Clan Pestilens proven themselves to their reluctant Skaven cousins that they were resilient fighters, almost immune to most fatal blows which would kill any normal Skaven. Through the use of poisons and diseases, they have manage to carve a path of destruction in the Under-Empire. When boths sides of the conflict agreed to a truce, Clan Pestilens, with the council's backing, began their work. From their experiences in Lustria, they became masters of Disease. Much to their amusement, they found themselves immune to most, if not all, of the diseases they had encountered and created. For they were the chosen ones of the Horned Rat and thier touch is that of death and decay, where a mere touch is capable of turning the tough hide of dragons into putrid mush. Through their cauldrons they created their master pieces. One such masterpiece of woe they created, is that of the infamous " Black Death", the same disease which had devastated the human race.
The crazed mechanics of Clan Skyre, embodying the industry of the Skaven Under-Empire, create some of the most powerful warpstone fueled devices the Old World has ever known. Cannons that can destroy the strongest of Dwarven walls, weapons that spews warpfire that burns incinerates anything it touches that oceans of water can't put out, railway systems that can transport thousands of armies over great distances in short time; to name but a small fraction of their vast arsenal.
The last faction although not belonging to any one clan; the foul sorcerers of Ratkin, Grey Seers, are heralds to their deity, the Horned Rat. There would be an end of times when these Greyseers will one day unite all of Skavendom and take over the old world.
Until that day, the Skaven spread their gruesome diseases and gnaw away at society from underneath, working their vile schemes. As the Horned Rat preordained, one day "We shall inherit."
All Undead in the Warhammer world are a result of the black sorcery devised by the first necromancer, Nagash, in the long distant past. The Undead are effectively split into two distinct groups: the skeletal armies of the Tomb Kings; and the legions of the Vampire Counts.
- Vampires — Disciples of Nagash who stole his secrets of eternal life, the Vampires and their minions have spread across the Old World, furthering their own aims. There are five vampire families, each with different ambitions, habits and powers: Von Carstein, Necrarchs, Blood Dragons, Lahmians and Strigoi. Their armies consist mainly of classic undead, such as zombies, skeletons, vampires, bats, and ghosts, with a focus on the occult and the dark arts of Necromancy.
- Tomb Kings — In the hot desert lands of the south of the Old World was mankind's first civilisation, Nehekhara. The Kings of Nehekhara ruled for hundreds of years until Nagash became King in the capital, Khemri. After a successful rebellion by the Kings of the other cities, Nagash cast a great spell killing everything in the land. Though Nagash was defeated by the last King Alcadizaar, the land was destroyed and the ancient Kings rose again, reborn as the Tomb Kings.
Ogres are massive eastern barbarians who live in the Ogre Kingdoms in the Mountains of Mourn and will do any work for gold and eat anything or any one. The Ogres domesticate Sabretusks and Rhinoxen and worship their god, the Great Maw. As Ogres are guided solely by their stomachs, they spread devastation and destruction wherever they go. Ogres are often considered to be a "neutral" power in the world, fighting for both Destruction and Order to feed their lust for food and gold. Various types of Ogre-related creatures also exist such as Yhetees and Gorgers. They are also known to eat "anything." And it is because of this fanaticism of "eating," that Ogre society is fundamentally defined through all things related to eating.