Ages of the Mortal Realms
Age of Myth | Age of Chaos | Age of Sigmar

The Age of Chaos, also known as the Black Years, the Reaving Time and the Great Slaugther, is one of the three Great Epochs of the Mortal Realms, preceded by the Age of Myth and succeeded by the Age of Sigmar. This age lasted hundreds of years with the forces of the Dark Gods overrunning the Mortal Realms with the exception of the Realm of Azyr. Many spike-ridden fortresses were built to drain the land's essence and spilling forth the baleful energies of Chaos. Midway across this age Sigmar retreated to Azyr and closed the realm, and begun taking the mightiest of mankind warriors from the battlefields into Sigmaron to be reforged into Stormcast Eternals.

It started with the end of Sigmar's great alliance and the dominion of chaos over the Realms at the Battle of Burning Skies and ended when the Stormcast Eternals of the Hammers of Sigmar Stormhost were sent to the Brimstone Peninsula to open the Gate of Azyr.

Chaos Reigns

This period lasted for many hundreds of years when the Chaos Gods ruled over seven of the Eight Realms, all save Azyr coming under their dominion.

Fortresses and strongholds dotted the landscape of the world, erected to watch over the subjugated races and eased the passage of Chaos into the mortal realms.

All who stood against Chaos were killed, their empires overthrown and rulers deposed. Only those who followed or gave in to the power of Chaos survived free, the rest were either killed or enslaved. No opposition was capable of being raised against them in sufficient power and the dark gods reveled in their success.

The forces of Chaos are, by their nature, fractured. They can, however, temporarily unite in order to fight for a common goal or against a common foe. This combination resulted in the sacrifice of entire cities in rituals where corpses were piled in mountains.

Most battles were won by sheer bloodthirsty destruction by both mortal warriors and the Daemon Legions. The land over which the daemons walked turned to a nightmarish vision of the Realm of Chaos itself.

It was also corrupted with more and more fell power. The natural inhabitants of the realms mutated into chaotic beasts and monsters, and mutation was rife in the remaining mortal tribes.

The chaos gods gifted successful mortals with unlimited power, or earthly pleasures, or anything that could be dreamt of. Warriors became super-humans, sorcerers could wield their power with just a whispered word. Those who failed however were destroyed.

Sigmar Broods

Meanwhile, Sigmar had retreated to Azyr where he plotted his return to the Mortal Realms. He had sealed the Gates of Azyr and gazed upon the other realms from his throne.

He watched tribes struggle under oppression, monsters preying upon Mankind as Orruks swept across the realms and Skaven burrowed through the ruins left behind. The Skaven also were able to tear holes in the fabric of time itself.

Nagash and the Undead stood against Chaos but were defeated.

There was one hope, however. Sigmar could see in the souls of the now feral Humans, who fought for freedom, a spirit to equal the savagery of their enemies. Ultimately however, even an army of these forces would fall against the united power of Chaos.

Sigmar called upon the allies he had made during the Age of Myth and, willingly or not, they gifted him something which would allow Sigmar to craft a force of warriors to defeat Chaos.

Often in the midst of a mighty battle or last stand, Human warriors would disappear in bolts of lightning.

They were transported to the the Celestial Realm where their trials began to become a Stormcast Eternal. In Sigmaron, new halls, forge, laboratories, armouries and barracks were created to hold and arm the Stormcast Eternals.

Sigmar's Return

Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, was the location chosen by Sigmar for the return of his forces to the Mortal Realms.

His Stormcast Eternals appeared on the backs of lightning bolts, accompanied by rolls of thunder.

Instantly, warriors appeared after each thunderstrike ended and their war cries were heard across the realm. From this point on the Age of Chaos is counted as having ended and the Age of Sigmar begun.

Notable Battles of the Age of Chaos

Dating

The reader will note that there are no dates on the events listed here. This was done deliberately by the lore writers at Games Workshop for two reasons.

The in-world reason is that with years and seasons varying from realm to realm, and civilization only just being re-established in the Age of Sigmar, there would be little common frame of reference to act as a foundation for specific dates.

The real-world reason is that in the past Games Workshop found hard and fast dates can be restrictive, and breaking those restrictions can lead to many a quandary. Instead, we measure things in looser terms like centuries and generations. This gives the writers more wiggle room for maneuver, and it lends more of an epic feel than a scientific one.

Events

  • The Battle of Burning Skies - Gods and mortals unite for one final time to stop Chaos from consuming the Realms.
    • Sigmar slays the Tetrarchs of Ruin, but is still defeated when Archaon conjures an illusion that results in Sigmar throwing his hammer into a rift leading to the Realm of Chaos. Thus marking the end of the Age of Myth.
  • Chaos Ascendant - the Red Century
    • A pack of Bloodthirsters ravage the city of Ulgarod.
    • Alarielle dispatches twelve Sons of Durthu into the Realm of Ulgu to search for a weapon.
    • The Pandaemoniad of Tzeentch transmute every citizen of the city of Chamontarg into stone.
    • Rotplague wipes out the great civilizations of the Realm of Ghyran
    • A vast statue of Archaon is erected at the Manticore realmgate that leads to the Allpoints, the Ironjawz bring it down and do the same to or deface replacements, no matter how well guarded.
    • The Idoneth Enclaves of Ionrach and Dhom-hain go to war with each other, drawing other other Idoneth Deepkin into the conflict.
    • Alarielle plants the seed of Drycha in the vale of Hamadrithil
    • The last of the great duardin Karak's fall at the Battle of Zaruk, many survivors flee to the fledgling sky-forts and airborne mining colonies.
    • The Lantic Empire is crushed by Archaon.
      • Hundreds of Flesh-eater courts then arise from the ruins of the Lantic empire.
    • Archaon's chosen lords raise mighty keeps across the Realm of Ghur only to have them repeatedly besieged and destroyed by Ironjawz warclans
    • The Skaven continue to rise in power until they are torn apart by an all-consuming civil war.
  • The Time of Reaving begins as the duardin sky-ports fight over resources and mining rights.
    • The Conference of Madralta establishes the Kharadron Code unifying the sky-ports under the same laws
  • The Great Sky War is fought between the Kharadron Overlords and the Disciples of Tzeentch, both trying to claim dominion over the skies of the Mortal Realms.
    • The Battle of the First Coalition see the outnumbered Kharadrons defeat the Disciples of Tzeentch in a massive aerial battle, this victory ensures the kharadron dominance of the skyways.
  • The War of Life begins as the followers of Nurgle invade the Jade Kingdoms of the Realm of Ghyran in ever increasing numbers.
    • The Shimmerfall Campaign: The most sacred waterfalls of Ghyran, the Shimmerfalls of Gloriphus, were corrupted by the pestilent force of Nurgle, turning the flow of life-giving waters into poison.
  • Many Idoneth Deepkin leave the Ionrach Enclave leave to found a new Enclave - the Nautilar on the back of the Great Scaphoden in the Realm of Ghur.
  • Darkorn the Devourer is tasked with wiping out the greenskins and many battles follow with spectacular defeats for Chaos at Splitbone Pass and the Sundeth Caves. His skull later adorns the gates of Varanspire.
  • Idoneth Deepkin attach war covens of the Daughters of Khaine in search of aelf souls, the Daughters, especially the Kraith swear they will have revenge.
  • Sigmar closes the gates of the Realm of Azyr.
  • Tzeentch breaks the soul-stuff of Kaithanus into nine fragments and scatters it across the realms, the first syllable falls onto the Anachron Plateau whose people slowly begin to venerate it.
  • The Keeper of Secrets Slish the Depraved and his daemons searching for their lost god discovers the Idoneth Deepkin Enclave of Aighmar.
  • The fleets of the sky-port Barak-Nar defeat the airborne Waaagh of the Great Ghazbag.
  • Ironjawz warclans begin to seek out realmgates for a good scrap.
  • The Briomdar Enclave of the Deepking repeatedly raid into the former forests of the Sylvaneth of the Mantle Coat, seeking to cull the beastmen in the once verdant glades.
  • A hundred provinces fall to Chaos in the Twilos Expanse before the Carnedine Cortege transform the survivors into mordants and drive off the invaders.
  • The Wars of the Dead: A set of wars between the forces of Chaos and the undead servants of Nagash, over dominance of the realm of the Dead.
    • Battle of the Black Skies: One of the Barrow Wars that happened near the end of Age of Chaos, Nagash was once again slain and his forces driven back. Only a fierce counter-attack allowed the Mortarchs to claim his body and retreat to the lost underworld of Stygxx.
    • With Nagash dead, the stronghold of Nagashizzar was razed until there was nothing left of it but a blasted crater radiating fell power.
  • The people of the Glimmerlands in Anvrok find Ghal Maraz and build a monument around it.
  • The sorcerer of Tzeentch, Ephryx constructs the Eldritch Fortress in Anvrok, harnessing and hiding the lost Ghal Maraz.
  • The Bloodtide: Khorne attacks the other gods in the Realm of Chaos, invading both the Crystal Labyrinth of Tzeentch and the Garden of Nurgle. In the Mortal Realms, his followers attack everyone including other followers of the Blood God.
  • Khorne assaults the Gates of Azyr once more with his Bloodlords - the eight greater daemons that commanded his legions, stirring up a massive force.
  • The Stormcast Eternals arrive and herald the new Age of Sigmar.

See Also

Sources

  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar Rulebook (1st Edition)
  • White Dwarf 458 (November 2020), "Worlds of Warhammer" by Phil Kelly, pg. 10
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