The County of Sylvania is a province in the east of the Empire that is infamous as being the home of the von Carstein bloodline of Vampires, so-named because Vlad von Carstein was the first to take up his abode there. Sylvania was a cursed stretch of land even before the arrival of the Vampire counts, covered in dark forests, hills and swamps. The land was infertile, its rulers corrupt tyrants and the people always poor. Because of this poverty, Sylvania was not home to a large population. Many years ago, Sylvania had its own provincial armies, who wore red, purple and black uniforms. These days it can hardly raise a proper militia. The land is littered with crumbling castles like Castle Drakenhof which was the seat of the von Carstein Counts. During the reign of the Vampire counts the dead often rose from their long sleep and stalked the land because of the von Carsteins' use of foul necromantic magics.
Wizards claim the Wind of Dark Magic, Dhar, blows especially strong across Sylvania. For as long as anyone in the Empire can remember, evil tales have been told of Sylvania and its Undead inhabitants.
Records tell of the Strigoi Vampires seeking refuge in the haunted lands of Sylvania after been driven out of Mourkain by the Greenskins. Here, the Strigoi and the other Vampires, already in Sylvania and thought to be the first of the von Carstein lineage, met. The Strigoi were attacked and driven into hiding. One of them was Vorag Bloodytooth, who gathered a host of Ghouls around -400 IC and took them south toward Mourkain.
The oldest recorded incidence of Sylvanian Undead dates back to 1111 IC when the Great Plague swept through the Empire. During the night of Geheimnisnacht, 1111 IC, a hail of meteors rained down on Sylvania. The rain of meteors proved to be an ill-omen that would proof prophetic as soon after the Sylvanian dead began to rise and prey upon the terrified living. Even the Skaven dared not venture into the forest of Sylvania for fear of the Undead stalking the land, a sight never before seen in Sylvania. Frederick van Hal (later Vanhal) seized the opportunity and used potent necromancy to bind the wandering Undead to his will, using these rotting champions to conquer the land that would later become the County of Sylvania and building the castle of Vanhaldenschlosse. Vanhal was assassinated by his apprentice Lothar von Diehl, who was later himself driven out out of Vanhaldenschlosse by a band of knights let by Vanhal's spirit. Now lacking a necromantic master, the Sylvanian Undead continued to stalk the land with no purpose other than their own unfathomable impulses, but without necromantic direction now proved to be easy victims for the Humans, Skaven and Orcs who also called the land home.
- White Dwarf No. 257 and 276, Games Workshop