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The commonly accepted symbols for each of the Mortal Realms drawn from the eight Winds of Magic and depicted on this Arcanoscope; clockwise from the top is Azyr, Ghyran, Ghur, Chamon, Aqshy, Shyish, Ulgu, and Hysh.

The Mortal Realms, also called the Eight Realms, are a group of eight expansive planes of existence floating within the Aetheric Void of the Cosmos Arcane that were first revealed to the god Sigmar by the Great Drake Dracothion. These realms were born out of the destruction of the World-That-Was during the End Times and coalesced from the magical energies of the Realm of Chaos that bled into the Cosmos Arcane. These eight "Winds of Magic" combined with the physical matter of nebulae, cosmic dust and the remaining debris of the former world of Mallus and its shattered solar system to form new realities.


A metaphysical map of the Cosmos Arcane, showing the relative position of the Eightpoints to the other Mortal Realms.

The Mortal Realms are physical embodiments in roughly spherical form of the eight Winds of Magic, the fundamental forms of magical energy in the Cosmos Arcane, that were once wielded by the wizards, priests and sorcerers of the World-That-Was. These aetheric energies flowed out uncontained into the void from the rifts in reality that had doomed the World-That-Was once it was consumed by the power of Chaos. They gradually coalesced over the passing aeons with cosmic debris and stardust into eight new planes of existence defined by the characteristics that embodied their dominant lore of magic. In time, they became able to support new life.

The intrinsic essence of each realm's dominant magical energy can be felt to some extent in every grain of sand, every leaf, and every one of its denizens. This power is most diluted at the centre of each realm, and most concentrated at its edges -- as travellers journey further out, the more fantastical the phenomena they will encounter, and the more pronounced the magical effects on their body. This magical energy gives each realm its physical and metaphysical aspect, and its name.

Each of the Mortal Realms is massive, far larger than the World-That-Was, yet not infinite in size, and the maps made of them tend to focus on the settled areas of the realms, like the Great Parch in Aqshy, a large, continent-sized region which represents perhaps only a twentieth of the full realm's area. If one were to set out from the centre to the realm's edge and then they spent their whole life walking, they would eventually reach a point where they could go no further, near the Perimeter Inimical, where each realm's constituent magical energy runs wild and rampant.

For example, in Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, reaching the realm's edge at the Perimeter Inimical might cause an individual to combust into a pillar of roaring flame, or suddenly turn into a strange scattering of ash. Stranger fates still await. In Chamon, the Realm of Metal, a person at the realm's edge might instead spontaneously collapse into a scattering of gold coins, all minted with their screaming likeness imprinted on both sides.

Many of the souls of the people of the World-That-Was were reborn as mortals of the Eight Realms. Several of the greatest and most powerful of those essences became the Ascended deities of the new realms, such as Sigmar, Teclis, Tyrion and Nagash, among others.

Following the invasion of the Mortal Realms some centuries ago by the forces of Chaos, initiating what became known as the realms' Age of Chaos, the Chaos Gods' Chosen Archaon spread his domain across seven of the eight Mortal Realms, sparing only Azyr, the Realm of Heavens, from the destruction wrought by Chaos.

In recent times, the Ascended god Sigmar has led the forces of Order in taking back many of the Mortal Realms from the rule of Chaos, establishing new settlements of the Free Peoples and helping to reinforce those few uncorrupted mortal nations that survived the long reign of Chaos. This period in the Mortal Realms' history is known as the Age of Sigmar.


Once, long ago in the Age of Myth, there were many great kingdoms and empires across all eight realms, encompassing men, duardin, aelves, and many stranger and rarer cultures and peoples. But as time went on, these great civilisations drew covetous looks from the Dark Gods. As the followers of Chaos grew in power, the Age of Myth gave way to the Age of Chaos, and slowly but surely the forces of Order, marshalled under Sigmar's great coalition of gods, the Pantheon of Order, began to give ground.

Once the Chaos Gods' Chosen Archaon defeated Sigmar, most of the realms fell under the yoke of Chaos. As Sigmar and his followers as well as refugees from all the realms retreated to Azyr and barred the gates to lick their wounds after their defeat at the Battle of Burning Skies, most who remained turned to the worship and service of the Ruinous Powers through necessity -- or died for their defiance.

Centuries passed under the dread reign of Chaos. But one day, as bolts of lightning from the blue, Sigmar unleashed his greatest creation: the Stormcast Eternals. These immortal warriors of men, forged on the Anvil of Apotheosis, were the God-King's thunderous response. They fought bitter wars for control of key realmgates, carving out footholds through blood, sweat, and their endless cycle of death and reincarnation. Great cities were founded to protect these gains -- notably the Twin-tailed City of Hammerhal, which is split between the realms of Aqshy and Ghyran by a monolithic realmgate.

Many other bastions of Order were raised -- or reclaimed -- in the wake of these so-called Realmgate Wars that marked the dawn of a new era for the Mortal Realms, the Age of Sigmar. Among them are the great Cities of Sigmar, such as Anvilgard, Greywater Fastness, and Excelsis, safe havens of a sort in the war-torn realms.

Soon enough, in an attempt to re-exert his power over death now that Sigmar had shown his hand as a soul-thief with his Stormcast Eternals, Nagash, the god of death, unleashed the realms-cursing ritual he called the Necroquake. This magical catastrophe sent a heaving wave of undeath across the Mortal Realms and as a side-effect changed the nature of magic itself.

It birthed the Endless Spells, thaumaturgical manifestations with wills of their own that now roam around causing destruction in their wake. The ensuing Soul Wars were a battle for the fate of the realms themselves.

Since then, countless upheavals have beset the realms. Morathi (now the Ascended deity Morathi-Khaine) betrayed Sigmar and underwent apotheosis, stealing the city of Anvilgard in the process and renaming it Har Kuron. Capitalising on Nagash's temporary defeat at the hands of the aelven Ascended god Teclis and his human allies, Alarielle, the goddess of nature, conducted the Rite of Life, saturating the realms with Ghyranite magic in a bid to unseat Nurgle, the Chaos God of despair and decay.

The aftermath of this ritual sent Ghur into frenzied palpitations, unwittingly releasing Kragnos, the god of earthquakes, from his mountain prison and ushering in the so-called "Era of the Beast" in a haze of primal energy. Since then, the God-King and his followers have been fighting to establish more fortress-cities at crucial locations, taking advantage of the leyline nexuses across the Realms to claw back any advantage and syphon magic in their defence. Most recently, the Dawnbringer Crusades were launched to bring Sigmar's light to many more corners of the realms. Despite setbacks and depredations from the enemies of Order, the crusades had been going well -- at least until the Vermindoom of the Skaven erupted.



A map of the Mortal Realms floating within the Aetheric Void of the Cosmos Arcane with the domains of the Chaos Gods located within the Realm of Chaos presented individually.

Following the destruction of the World-That-Was, the aetheric energy and remnants of physical matter released by the victory of Chaos and the unmaking of that world gathered together into the eight "realmspheres" that were scattered throughout the Aetheric Void of the Cosmos Arcane. Though separate from each other as entire worlds unto themselves, these realms are still inextricably linked, just as the Winds of Magic are simply separate components of the same unified force of magic.

The Realms of Ulgu and Hysh orbit each other; when Ulgu eclipses Hysh, it is nighttime for the other realms as Hysh essentially serves as the other realms' "sun." Howwver, one never fully succumbs to the effects of the other -- there is always a faint glow in Hysh even when Ulgu is at its strongest, and always a sliver of dark in Ulgu when the opposite is true. Azyr can be seen from the other realms as a glowing star in the sky.

The realms are connected by the mysterious magical portals and constructs known as "realmgates," but are also linked by the stars above. The Mortal Realms are all individually contained, separate domains floating in the Aetheric Void, but it is perfectly possible to travel between them through the realmgates. These strange portals date back to the Age of Myth, and allow for near-instantaneous -- and often quite risky -- travel both around a particular realm and between realms. They are vital strategic positions, and entire cities, strongholds, and even civilisations are built around them. Time seems to be internally consistent among all the realms; step through a realmgate in any realm as the dawn rises on the horizon, and one could end up in the destination realm at the same hour.

The most important nexus of all is the Eightpoints, a central sub-realm connecting all eight realms via colossal Arcways. Once viciously contested by the forces of Order, Chaos, Death, and Destruction, it is now mostly under the control of the greatest Chosen of the Dark Gods. Archaon the Everchosen rules the Eightpoints from the towering Varanspire, marshalling his forces into the rest of the realms to further his ruinous agenda.

The individual realms are not infinite in size, but they are massive, each much larger in itself than the World-That-Was. In the metaphysical centre of each of the realms, where the dominant Wind of Magic that defines the realm has intermixed with traces of the other seven Winds, reality is stable and mortal civilisations can be created. Towards the edges of each realmsphere, the stable physical laws of reality tend to break down and the pure magical energies that actually sustain and define each individual realm will rip travellers apart into their elemental components.

While the Mortal Realms are inherently magical, and in many regions absolutely fantastical, they are still "mortal" -- which is to say that people of many different mortal intelligent species live there, as well as animals and plants.

The Eight Realms

  • Azyr, the Realm of Heavens, the Celestial Realm - Azyr, the Realm of Heavens, has as many names as the stars in its celestial canopy. Known as the "Peerless Kingdom" or the "Fortress of the Lost" by men, "Bastion" by the duardin exiles of the fallen Khazalid Empire, and "Hearth-realm" or "Star-throne" by some of the aelves, Azyr is the pinnacle of the Mortal Realms, both literally and figuratively. It is a realm where snowy mountain peaks scrape the firmament, and shimmering auroras dance eternally on the horizon. Its days are brightly lit by the brilliant Realm of Hysh which gleams nearby within the Aetheric Void. Its nights would be grim and flickering due to the burning orb of Mallus and the dark moon Dharroth, if not for the clear light of the High Star Sigendil, which shines on high above the God-King's mighty works. Greatest of all cities in all the Mortal Realms is golden-spired Azyrheim -- the stellar metropolis at the heart of the Celestial Realm. First and eternal, Azyrheim has grown steadily since its founding in the Age of Myth. Its citizens are a blend of the civilised and the barbaric, not unlike the God-King who rules them. Some of them trace their origins back to the oldest of humanity's great nations during the Age of Myth -- and they are not alone in their claims to grand histories. After the Battle of Burning Skies and the onset of the Age of Chaos across the realms, Azyrheim took on refugees from across the Mortal Realms from every intelligent species and countless cultures as they poured into Azyr. All gathered beneath the God-King's aegis as he sealed the Gates of Azyr against the forces of the Dark Gods. All the battered survivors brought their own fierce drives, not to conquer, but to reclaim that which had been stolen from them by the servants of the Ruinous Powers. Since the unleashing of Sigmar's Tempest and the return of the Forces of Order to the Eight Realms, Azyrheim has once more welcomed travellers from across the realms, though all are carefully vetted and watched for any trace of Chaos corruption.
  • Ghur, the Realm of Beasts - Ghur is a realm of beasts and untamed savagery. Only the strongest will survive. A contiguous landscape of jagged mountains, shadowed forests and vast expanses of savannah, Ghur is a realm of primordial majesty. Predatory and feral, the lands of the realm itself literally stalk one another like beasts, surveying travellers as prey. Landmasses continuously shift and prowl, the earth ruptures causing chasms to open and swallow everything for leagues, mountains duel with glacial slowness, grinding one another down, and each land will devour its neighbors, if it can. Is it any wonder, then, that Ghur's native fauna is unlike any other in the realms? For here, every beast is both predator and prey. Great herds of ghuroch, thundertusks and woolly shaghorns stampede across the plains, devouring the tough grasses and stripping the bark from the few trees. They, in turn, are hunted by roving packs of predators, such as rock-lions, mournfangs or brachitors. These beasts are themselves stalked and slain by roving bands of orruks, beastmen, ogors, gargants, and the human tribes that haunt the wildest reaches of the realm. More than any of the other realms, Ghur is the homeland of the orruk. Primitive tribes of Bonesplitterz hunt great beasts in the hills and plains, as armoured Ironjawz seek battle wherever it can be found. Many of the ogor's Mawtribes also call Ghur home, and their mawpaths carry them from the Heartlands to the realm's edge and back, stripping the "Hinterlands" of life in their ravenous pilgrimage. The tribe known as the Alfrostuns are the most feared of the Beastclaw Raiders, for where they travel follows the harsh bite of the Everwinter in their wake -- a lingering season of cursed unnatural cold that can remain for centuries. Since the death of their sire, the godbeast Behemat, many of the enormous Gargants of Ghur have grown smarter, fiercer, and far more inclined to pillage. A reality defined by titanic monsters and primordial savagery, the Realm of Ghur is a place of constant conflict and wild striving. The embodiment of the hunger, brutality and the survival of the fittest that defines the wild things of nature, Ghur is a realm of life, but not in the same way as Ghyran. Rather, it represents life in eternal competition with itself, the strong seeking to dominate the weak, predators hunting their prey and in turn being hunted themselves. For everything in nature is both predator and prey. Gargantuan beasts clash with one another for the right to mate, carnivorous flora seek to ensnare animals the size of castles and grow tall on the blood of the slain, their roots drinking deep of their prey's life fluids. Even the lands of the realm themselves literally seek to conquer one another. Mountains slowly grind across the land, seeking to dominate the earth below, all the while the forest upon their slopes dig their roots ever deeper, in an attempt to consume the mountains. Some scholars of the Mortal Realms even believe that Ghur had already been overtaken by a bestial animus when the realms were first created. Geographically, Ghur's realmsphere is composed of a near-endless string of jagged continents, each awe-inspiring in its primeval splendour, while above the realm hangs its two moons -- Koptus and Gnorl Half-Eaten, a moon that has been fragmented. According to legend the realm was once orbited by a third moon called Dronsor, but it was eaten by the eternal hunger of Ghur itself.
  • Chamon, the Realm of Metal - Chamon, also known as the "Lands of Gold," is a realm where transmutation is law and iron deserts, bronze mountains, seas of silver and plains of brass are real. The Realm of Metal is where transience is the only certainty. A realm ever in flux, not simply expanding as Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, does, but swelling and shrinking with unseen cosmic tides. Unlike the other realmspheres, Chamon's many lands do not exist as anything resembling a central plane or disc. They are a series of wildly varied sub-realms which drift within Chamon's firmament, linked by portals and undiscovered mystical bonds. Chamon's domains are imminently mutable, changing fleetingly, melding and breaking apart in a slow dance that has forced its inhabitants to continuously adapt. The lands that float closest to the verdant core, including the great sub-realm of the Spiral Crux, have pure water and edible greenery. But the further away from this centre, the less habitable the realm becomes. Trees develop glinting, brassy or silvery bark, and water becomes acidic. Liquid gold rains from gleaming clouds, and the air becomes heavy with iron particles. Even the wildlife changes to become defined by metal -- shimmering flocks of metallic songbirds carve iridescent trails across the sky, as rust-furred predator-constructs stalk iron-limbed herd-beasts through copper grasses.
  • Ulgu, the Realm of Shadow - Ulgu, also called the "Grey Realm," is a place of secrets and lies, where the laws of logic hold little sway. Ulgu has many names, all of them false, for its true name defies pronunciation, save when the speaker is in shadow and whispers, but even that is suspect. "Ulgu" is said by Darkling scholars to merely be a corruption of an ancient term in the Aelven tongue for "falsehood." Here Malerion, the god of shadow, reigns supreme and his will dominates all who dare enter his realm. Regardless, certain truths about the realm are known. The Grey Realm is locked in a parallel orbit with its sister realm, Hysh, the Realm of Light. As a result, neither has night nor day -- in Ulgu there is only an oppressive, omnipresent twilit gloom, riven by deep oceans of shadow or pallid swathes of grey half-light. It is broken up into thirteen distinct regions -- known as the Thirteen Dominions -- each shrouded in its share of mist, illusion, and biding menace. In the Age of Myth, Ulgu was said to be a home of philosophers and dreamers, a sanctuary for those seeking a softer existence than in other realms, such as Ghur or Aqshy. Those days ended with the coming of Chaos. Ulgu is now the graveyard of armies -- the scars of battle mark each of the Thirteen Dominions. The Cathtrar Dhule -- the "War of Shadows" -- is the terrible guerilla conflict between the Daughters of Khaine and the mortal and daemonic followers of Slaanesh, the Chaos God of pleasure and pain, who have come to Ulgu following their missing god's spoor. It has never abated, and Chaos has never managed to fully rule this realm. Entire armies have been swallowed in the Grey Realm's shadows with only corpses left behind.