|Ages of the Mortal Realms|
|Age of Myth | Age of Chaos | Age of Sigmar|
The Ages of the Mortal Realms or the Great Epochs refers to the primary periods into which the entire history of the Mortal Realms is organised by mortal scholars.
They consist of the three main periods or ages and the period before the first age, which was the Age of Myth.
The reader will note that there are no dates on the events listed among the Great Epochs. 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 civilisation 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, they measure things in looser terms like centuries and generations. This gives the writers more wiggle room for manoeuvre, and it lends more of an epic, fantasy feel than a scientific one.
Before the Ages
In the time before the Age of Myth, known as the period Before the Ages, the World-That-Was was destroyed by the victory of the forces of Chaos during the End Times and its core, Mallus, was launched into the deepest Aetheric Void. Sigmar clung to its sigmarite core.
Elsewhere, as the aeons passed, the magical winds which had once flowed across the World-That-Was and eventually had destroyed it, coalesced into eight new planes of existence at the heart of the Cosmos Arcane known as the Mortal Realms.
In time, intelligent life once more began to flourish on these Eight Realms, each shaped by the nature of the different lore of magic that had created it.
This period ended when the Godbeast Dracothion noticed the core of the World-That-Was careening through the void. He chased it, looking to capture it to admire its beauty for all time. The Godbeast then noticed Sigmar, reviving him with warming breath and allowing him to ride upon his back.
Dracothion elevated the core of the World-That-Was to the firmament of the Realm of Heavens and showed Sigmar the bridges and passages that led to the Eight Realms in return for gifts of sigmarite jewellery carved from Mallus.
Age of Myth
During the Age of Myth, Sigmar explored the Eight Realms. He united groups of Human savages and fought against ancient beasts. Within generations Humanity was no longer hunting with stone spears, but building vast cities and spires.
During this time Sigmar also awoke other gods, such as Gorkamorka and Nagash. The secrets and history of this period has mainly been destroyed by the subsequent Age of Chaos, but some artefacts or ruins are still being uncovered in the Age of Sigmar.
Also during this time, Sigmar forged an alliance between the gods he had revived and united. This alliance, the Pantheon of Order, was able to hold back the tides of Chaos which occasionally struck the Mortal Realms. Only when the alliance fractured did it allow the forces of Chaos to enter the Mortal Realms.
Age of Chaos
The Age of Chaos saw the destruction of the old alliance of the Pantheon of Order and the rise of the forces of Chaos. A series of betrayals led to the forces of Chaos being able to cross into the Mortal Realms unopposed, after which it was impossible to stop them.
Eventually, Sigmar realised he could not win against Chaos alone and shut the Gates of Azyr and sealed the Celestial Realm off from the rest of the Eight Realms. He was not to be seen again for some five centuries.
During this time, the dominion of Chaos was assured and the complete conquest of seven of the eight realms was almost completed. Only when the forces of Chaos grew tired of fighting smaller and weaker prey did they turn on themselves in titanic battles.
It was at this point that Sigmar returned with the Stormcast Eternals at his side to reclaim the Mortal Realms for its long-suffering people.
Age of Sigmar
The Age of Sigmar is the current age of the Eight Realms. Sigmar and his forces of Stormcast Eternals are seeking to retake the seven realms laid to waste by Chaos. He is also leading the other mortal races in rebellion against their Chaos masters as well as seeking out older foes to settle scores.
The first strikes of the Stormcast Eternals were intended to secure the Realmgates tying the Mortal Realms together, such as the Gates of Dawn. The Chaos Gods bellowed with rage at this assault on their supremacy and all of the realms saw a surge of daemonic forces spewed forth from the Realm of Chaos. The Age of Sigmar is the current age of the Mortal Realms.
- White Dwarf 458 (November 2020), "Worlds of Warhammer" by Phil Kelly, pp. 10-13
- Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book (2nd Edition), pp. 16-74