Of the human nations of the Old World, the most important by far is that of the Empire of Man, forged by the warrior-king and ascended deity Sigmar from the primitive human tribes of barbarians who inhabited what became the lands of the southern Empire more than 2500 years ago. Although not as skilled in craftsmanship as the Dwarfs or in magic as the High Elves, the people of the Empire are not held back by tradition to the same extent as the Dwarfs or High Elves and continue to progress culturally, technologically and magically. Having yet to succumb to any threat, external or internal, it is the faith, the sense of righteousness, and the unconquerable spirit of its citizens which gives the Empire its strength, as well as the ruthless efficiency of its military and religious orders.
Overview and HistoryEdit
The greatest nation of the Old World, the Empire of Man is ruled by an Emperor and is composed of the descendants of the ancient human tribes united by Sigmar after the Battle of Black Fire Pass. Sigmar was deified after the battle and his promise of eternal aid to the kingdom of Dwarfs still stands today. This action solidified the relationship between men and Dwarfs and planted the seeds for the burgeoning Empire through trade. Today, the Empire is led by Emperor Karl Franz, who rules from his court in the city-state of Altdorf.
There are ten provincial states in the Empire, each ultimately ruled by an Elector Count who owes his or her power to the unifying figurehead and ultimate authority of the Emperor. It should be noted that the Empire is not truly a single, centralized nation, but instead a confederation of individual, feudal states united only by a shared language (Reikspeil), religion (Sigmar) and culture. The Imperial states correspond roughly to the ancient tribal territories brought together by Sigmar when he united the tribes of Man beneath one crown to defeat the Greenskins of the Old World.
The southern Imperial states - Averland, Reikland, Stirland, Talabecland and Wissenland - resemble a broad chalice, partially surrounded by near-impassable mountain ranges from which drain the mighty rivers which are the lifeblood of Imperial trade. To the west of these are the Grey Mountains, beyond which lies the Kingdom of Bretonnia and the Wood Elves' forest of Athel Loren. To the south are the inhospitable Black Mountains and to the east the World's Edge Mountains that mark the eastern extent of the Old World.
To the north, the rolling hills and rapid streams of the south and east are gradually transformed into the forested lowlands and deep waterways that define the heart of the Empire. The vast forests that comprise the central and northern Imperial lands stretch almost unbroken across the countless leagues from the province of Reikland to the northern border with Kislev and the shore of the Sea of Claws. The Great Forest, Drakwald Forest and the Forest of Shadows are all essentially part of the same dark, untamed wilderness, with the green blanket of trees punctured only by the abrupt mountain range known as the Middle Mountains. These lands are divided into the northern Imperial states - Hochland, Ostermark, Ostland, Middenland and Nordland. The inhabitants of these northern states generally have to deal with much greater hardships and military threats than those of the south, being that much closer to the daemons, Beastmen and other dangers of the Chaos Wastes.
The life of a citizen of the Empire of Man is a perilous one, for there are foes within every shadow and enemies around every corner. Secret Chaos cults abound, or at the very least, there are rumors of them running rampant. No one is certain who is trustworthy, and fear and paranoia are omnipresent in the isolated settlements that dot the Empire's provinces.
The spiritual health of the Empire is tended to by the Cult of Sigmar, but many other deities are worshipped openly by Imperial citizens. The names of Morr, Shallya, Verena, Taal and Rhya are all invoked on a daily basis, and in Middenland it is fair to say that the worship of Ulric comes before even Sigmar, and in Talabecland, the worship of Taal and Rhya is certainly equal to that of Sigmar.
Locations of InterestEdit
Cities of the EmpireEdit
- Altdorf* - Capital city of Reikland and current capital city of the Empire.
- Nuln - The site of the Imperial Gunnery School and the Imperial College of Engineers. Former capital city of the Empire under Emperor Magnus the Pious, until it was moved back to the traditional Imperial capital of Altdorf in 2429 IC.
- Middenheim - Capital city of Middenland.
- Marienburg - Large commercial city-state that seceded from the Empire in 2429 IC and took the former province of Westerland (now the Wasteland) with it.
- Talabheim - Capital city of Talabecland.
- Averheim - Capital city of Averland.
- Mordheim - Imperial city destroyed by a falling comet of warpstone, the former capital city of Ostermark.
- Wolfenburg* - Large town, capital of Ostland.
- Salzenmund* - Medium-sized town, capital of Nordland.
- Draken Hof - The dread fortress that was the capital of the County of Sylvania.
*Appears in WAR.
The Electoral Provinces of the Empire:
- The Grand Principality of the Reikland*
- The Grand County of Stirland
- The Grand County of Averland
- The Grand Barony of Wissenland
- The Grand Duchy of Talabecland*
- The Grand Barony of Hochland
- The League of Ostermark
- The Grand Duchy of Nordland*
- The Grand Principality of Ostland*
- The Grand Duchy of Middenland
- The Moot - the area where the Halflings of the Empire dwell, known officially as the Grand County of Mootland. The Moot's Elector (currently the Elder Hisme Stoutheart) is the only non-human Elector Count in the Empire, and like the Grand Theogonist and Arch-Lectors of Sigmar, and the Ar-Ulric, does not wield one of the Runefangs.
*Appears in WAR.
Former provinces of the Empire and other areas of note.
- Solland - Solland was destroyed as an independent Imperial province and its territory was ultimately absorbed by Wissenland.
- Westerland - The province that was the seat of the great commercial city of Marienburg that seceded from the Empire. The province is now known as the Wasteland.
- Sylvania - Sylvania was formerly the County of Sylvania, an independent Imperial province, but is now officially a part of the Grand County of Stirland. It can be sure that no other province of the Empire would want the place.
- Drakwald - A founding province of the Empire located near the center of the Drakwald Forest, now divided up between Middenland and Nordland.
- Sudenland - synonymous with Solland.
- The Great Forest - A large forest which encompasses much of the Empire's territory and keeps its cities and towns largely isolated from one another.
The Empire in the Age of ReckoningEdit
As the Empire rots from within, it is constantly under assault from without. Chaos warhosts from the north frequently travel south into the Empire, pillaging and destroying all that they can. In the Age of Reckoning, such a warhost, the Raven Host, has attacked the Empire's northern borders under the leadership of a powerful Champion of Tzeentch. The timing of the invasion is particularly ill-fortuned, for the Empire is being ravaged by a mysterious Chaos plague that is transforming the populace into murderous fiends and mutated Chaos Spawn. Portents of the end of times are everywhere, towns and cities lie in smoking ruins, and the greatest nation of mankind is on the verge of sliding into total anarchy.
Against this backdrop of certain doom, humanity unites to fight against the corruption from within and the encroachment from without. Faced with such desperate circumstances, Emperor Karl Franz has been forced to call upon the Dwarfs and High Elves for aid, lest his lands be transformed forever into a nightmarish domain of Chaos. He has personally overseen the creation of the Order of the Griffon, an organization solely dedicated to fighting the invading forces of the Raven Host. The members of the Order have been charged with nothing less than the task of ensuring the very survival of the Empire--by any means necessary.