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The Storm of Chaos was a massive narrative campaign created by Games Workshop for the Warhammer Fantasy Battles tabletop miniatures wargame setting, played as an international tournament in the summer of 2004. It is considered outside of Warhammer Online's canon of events, which uses a separate, parallel timeline which is more conducive to the needs of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
The basic premise of the Storm of Chaos campaign was that players of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Mordheim, and Warmaster were invited to register the results of their games at the Storm of Chaos website, where a tactical map of the northern regions of the Empire existed. Upon registering the results of a battle, one army would be counted as the attacker, the other as the defender. Depending on which side the results favored, either the attackers or the defenders would gain control of a little more of the map, and occasionally some side benefits to enhance their combats.
Relation to Warhammer OnlineEdit
EA Mythic made the choice, when creating the background storyline for WAR, that the Storm of Chaos event would not be included in the background for the setting of Warhammer Online. This is considered to have begun with Mythic not wanting the presence of a powerful character like Archaon, the Everchosen of Chaos, to detract from the presence of Tchar'zanek as the leader of the Raven Host of Tzeentch (the creation of whom goes back even further to the original choice by EA Mythic to have a Tzeentchian army represent the main forces of Chaos, as opposed to the usual Chaos Undivided army.)
Because of the choice to exclude the Storm of Chaos from Warhammer Online's chronology, the Storm of Chaos and the Age of Reckoning happen concurrently in the history of the Warhammer World (circa 2520 - 2525 IC,) and so WAR is considered to exist in a "pocket" or parallel universe in Warhammer lore. Because of this, characters such as Archaon do not appear in WAR, and are not considered to exist in WAR's version of the history of the Warhammer World.
The Storm of Chaos Campaign HistoryEdit
"Fear me mortals, for I am the Anointed, the Favoured Son of Chaos, the Scourge of the World. The armies of the gods rally behind me, and it is by my will and by my sword that your weakling nations shall fall." -- Archaon, Lord of the End Times.
For several centuries, the human Chaos Champion named Archaon the Everchosen quested for the "Six Treasures of Chaos". According to the myths of Chaos worshippers, the one who manages to gain all of them will bring about the final triumph of Chaos. He finally managed to gain the six treasures in the year 2521 IC (Imperial Calendar). In the summer of the year 2522 IC Archaon raised a massive Chaos army in the Chaos Wastes that was dedicated to all four of the Ruinous Powers, an army of Chaos Undivided, that attacked the Empire of Man with the specific goal of conquering and desecrating the city of Middenheim, a holy site to the Imperial followers of Ulric, a warrior god of winter and the north who is second in popularity among the citizens of the Empire only to Sigmar Heldenhammer.
At the same time, Luthor Huss, a self-styled Prophet of Sigmar, had started to challenge the hierarchy of the Church of Sigmar. Huss claimed that the Sigmarite priesthood had become corrupt and decadent, ignoring the teachings of the Grand Theogonist Volkmar and abandoning Sigmar's mission to defend humanity from all the sources of corruption so prolific in the Warhammer World. The Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim raised an army of Sigmarite war-priests and templars and journeyed to the northern nation of Kislev to confront Archaon before the forces of Chaos could cross the Imperial frontiers. Unfortunately, the Sigmarites massively underestimated the power of Archaon's growing forces and they lost the battle, Volkmar was slain in brutal fashion by the Lord of the End Times, and the war altar of Sigmar was cast down. A new Grand Theogonist, Johann Esmer, was elected by the Cult of Sigmar's princes to replace the sainted Volkmar. However, Esmer was the epitome of everything that Luthor Huss and other pious Sigmarite clerics despised, as he was petty politician far more concerned about his own position and power than with defeating the forces of darkness that were rife throughout the Empire and represented a distinct threat to the survival of human civilization in the Old World.
Trapped in the Kislevite city of Praag, the Tzarina Katarin asked for aid from her old Dwarf ally Ungrim Ironfist, the Slayer King of the Dwarfhold of Karak Kadrin, who responded by sending his armies, led by his son Garagrim Ironfist, to the Kislevites' aid.
As the Chaos horde of Archaon rampaged through Kislev and crossed over into the northern provinces of the Empire, Emperor Karl Franz invited envoys from the neighbouring kingdoms of the Old World, as well as representatives of the High Elves of Ulthuan and from the Dwarfs of Karaz-a-Karak, to the so-called "Conclave of Light" held in the Imperial capital city of Altdorf. There, the Emperor successfully gained the support of the Kingdom of Bretonnia, the Dwarfs and the High Elves to help defend the Empire from the power of Chaos Undivided. Though an alliance of peoples with such varied cultures and interests was extremely rare in the Warhammer World, all the so-called forces of Order realized that if the Empire of Man fell to Archaon, the End Times might truly come upon all the civilized peoples of the globe.
In the meantime, Luthor Huss had discovered a young man named Valten who bore a striking physical resemblance to Sigmar as the warrior-god was described in Imperial legends, except for a birthmark shaped like a twin-tailed comet, the main symbol of the Sigmarite Church. Valten was also highly skilled in battle and possessed the will-power to endure wounds that would kill a normal man. Huss and his growing following of zealous Sigmarites travelled to Altdorf, the capital city of the Empire, where they demanded that Valten be recognised as the reincarnation of Sigmar and then proclaimed Emperor by acclamation, ignoring the immense civil unrest such a declaration would cause. By now, it was late spring, and Karl Franz, both a pragmatic politician and a devout Sigmarite, could neither ignore nor accept Huss' demands. In the end, he proclaimed Valten was the "spiritual heir" of Sigmar, recognizing that he was blessed by the god to some degree, but wisely retained the true reigns of secular Imperial power for himself.
Major Powers of the Campaign Edit
- Archaon's Swords of Chaos warband
- The Daemonic Legions of Chaos
- The Imperial Army of Middenland
- Orc Warboss Grimgor' Ironhide's 'Ardboyz
- The Dwarf Slayer Army of Karak Kadrin
- The Dark Elf Cult of Slaanesh
- The Undead Army of Sylvania
- The Bretonnian Armies of the Errantry War
- Skaven Clan Eshin
- High Elf Sea Patrol (also called Lothern Sea Guard)
Protagonists of the Campaign Edit
- Archaon - The Everchosen, the Lord of the End Times, Champion of Chaos Undivided and leader of the Swords of Chaos warband.
- Ar-Ulric Emil Valgeir, High Priest of Ulric
- Be'lakor, The Dark Master, a daemonic power that had been punished by the Chaos Gods for thinking he was their equal. Be'lakor was finally released from his prison to perform the coronation of Archaon as the Everchosen of the Ruinous Powers, a position he himself coveted.
- Borgut Facebeater - An Orc Nob and Grimgor Ironhide's second-in-command.
- Boris Todbringer - Elector Count of Middenland.
- Deathmaster Sniktch - the most skillful Skaven assassin in the world. Thought to have been Valten's assassin.
- Emperor Karl Franz - or more properly: 'His most Imperial Highness, Emperor Karl-Franz Holswig-Schliestein, Grand Prince of Altdorf, Count of the Reikland, Protector of the Empire'.
- Feytor the Tainted - One of Archaon's four lieutenants. A Chaos Lord devoted to the Plague Lord Nurgle. Feytor did not have his own rules.
- Garagrim Ironfist - The son of Ungrim Ironfist, Garagrim had devised a plan to rid his family line of its dishonour. By dying in combat as his father's champion, Garagrim believed he would prove the worthiness of the bloodline. He was killed when a chaos giant fell on him as it died, thus fulfilling his slayer vow.
- Grimgor Ironhide - The greatest living Orc warboss suffered defeat at the hands of Crom the Conqueror a couple of months before Archaon's Chaos horde attacked the Empire. Shamed and now in a risky position, Grimgor kept control over his Orcs by claiming that the Orc god Gork had given him a religious vision. Guided by this vision he ordered the massacre of all the Goblins in his army. He later managed to defeat Archaon in single combat before the gates of Middenheim, effectively ending the Storm of Chaos. Thus satisfied, the Orc quit the field.
- Haargroth the Blooded One - Haargroth was a peasant boy who proved his mettle in combat, and became a Chaos Lord devoted to the Blood God Khorne and one of Archaon's four lieutenants. He was slain by Ar-Ulric Valgeir during the Battle of Middenheim.
- Johan Esmer - The weak-willed Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, did not have a special character and did not get much attention throughout the campaign, but was central in its opening phases.
- Kordel Shorgaar - One of Archaon's lieutenants and the standard bearer of the Swords of Chaos.
- Mannfred von Carstein - The ruler of Sylvania and a powerful Vampire lord who used the instability caused by Archaon's invasion of the Empire to launch his own invasion of the Empire with a massive army of Undead in a bid to become its new master like the von Carsteins before him.
- Melekh the Changer - One of Archaon's four lieutenants and a Chaos Lord devoted to Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. He was executed by Archaon.
- Morathi - The Hag Queen of the Dark Elves. Morathi once more swore her loyalty to Slaanesh, the Prince of Chaos, and led the Dark Elf Cult of Slaanesh forces in an invasion of the Lizardmen city-states of Lustria.
- Luthor Huss - The self-styled "Prophet of Sigmar" who spoke up against the corruption and complacency that was rampant among the Sigmarite priesthood before the Storm of Chaos.
- Styrkaar - A Norscan prince and one of Archaon's four lieutenants. A Chaos Lord devoted to the Prince of Chaos, Slaanesh.
- Teclis - The greatest of the Elven High Mages. Teclis had always worried about the place of Mankind in the struggle between Chaos and Order because of humanity's easy susceptibility to corruption, and was therefore eager to once again help the human Empire in battle. It was Teclis who presented Valten with the magical steed Althandir, and banished Be'lakor's daemonic legion back to the Warp at the Battle of Middenheim.
- Valten, Exalted of Sigmar - Valten was the young man who Luthor Huss claimed was the reincarnation of the warrior-god Sigmar. He was defeated by Archaon in battle before the walls of Middenheim and was later assassinated by the Skaven assassin, Deathmaster Sniktch.
- Vardek Crom the Conqueror, Herald of Archaon - A Chaos Lord who was Archaon's second-in-command of the Swords of Chaos warband. During the Storm of Chaos, Vardek Crom was supposed to maneuver his troops so that they could attack the Empire's frontiers from the east. Vardek Crom defeated the Orc Warlord Grimgor Ironhide in single combat, leading to the Orc’s shaming and his determination to find redemption at the Battle of Middenheim where he defeated Archaon in personal combat. At the end of the campaign, he is presumed to have died, leading an army of Chaos-loyal Kurgan through Sylvania, Count Mannfred Von Carstein’s cursed homeland.
- Volkmar the Grim - The resurrected former Grand Theogonist of Sigmar whose death at the hands of Archaon had marked the start of the Swords of Chaos' invasion of the Empire.
- Ungrim Ironfist - The "Slayer King", or more properly, the King of the Dwarfhold of Karak Kadrin.
- Sea Lord Aislinn - Admiral of the High Elven fleet deployed from Ulthuan to aid the Empire against Chaos.