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Welcome to part two of the three part series looking at armies in the Warhammer world for the benefit of those playing Warhammer: Total War and wondering how the game might be expanded. Check out part 1 if you missed it.
In this part we’ll be looking at those armies based in and around the current game map.
Armies of black-armoured warriors and raiding marauders are not the only manifestations of chaos in the old world. In the deep forests and shadowed crags the beasts of chaos fester and breed. They can especially be found in the forests and mountains of the Empire and Bretonnia.
The Beastmen are primarily made up of Gors. Think chaos goatmen and you’re about here. Smaller ungors and larger minotaurs also make up this army, while chaos hounds are also to be found. Other chaos monsters can also be found clustered around powerful Beastlords and Bray-Shamans. Beware the Jabberslythe and shun the frumious Cygor.
Gors lash tuskgors to crude logs lashes together and call these chariots. The chaos beasts army emphasises mobility and ambush. Curiously they have no terrain bonuses in the tabletop game, being as hampered by a forest as any soldier of the Empire. This puts them at a disadvantage when fighting most foes. Still the beastmen love a fight. The fightiest beastmen are called Bestigors, and these heavily armoured, disciplined gors fight with wicked halberds and if you get caught in combat with them, you’re gonna have a bad time.
The forest of Athel Loren lies within the borders of Bretonnia nestled against the mountains. This is home to the wood elves, a splinter faction of elves who preferred to remain rather than return to Ulthuan with their kin after the rise of the Dark Elves and the events leading to the War of the Beard (don’t ask).
Wood Elves excel at ambushes and gain several bonus for operating in wooded terrain. In the tabletop game, the wood elf bow outranged ordinary bows and longbows, giving the army an advantage at range over other hand-held ranged weapons.
The army also contains tree spirits, dryads being the smallest and treemen being the largest and providing the army with both toughness and hitting power. Wood elf mages are powerful but not overly so, compared to an Empire wizard.
The Wood Elves focus on defending their borders from chaos, skaven, or gold-thirsty dwarfs. Bretonnian pretects them unwittingly; their ‘Lady of the Lake’ is a trick played on them by the Wood Elves to keep them biddable and out of the forests.
Wood Elves have no interest in expanding their realm, but like other elves they understand the dire threat of chaos and in the past have marched from their woodland home to fight and die alongside men and dwarfs in the struggle to hold back chaos.
South of the Badlands lies the desert realms of Khemri. In centuries past this was a thriving civilization of living humans who dwelled in a number of competing city states. A sorcerer rose to terrible greatness among them and killed every living being. Later he raised them to do his bidding but the peoples of Khemri rejected their overlord and returned to a grim parody of the lives they once lived.
The Tomb Kings are principally an army of skeletal spearmen, cavalry, chariots, and archers. That’s right, undead with ranged weapons – it won’t happen overnight, but it can happen! Bolstering their man-sized units are troll-sized Ushabti and largest of all the bone giants. A Tomb Kings army can unleash a tremendous amount of bowfire on their enemies, before moving in with large units and infantry to finish the job. The map would not have to expand far south to include the Tomb Kings.
Nagash is not a nation or a people. Nagash is a sorcerer, the most powerful to ever have walked the old world, and who once rivalled the gods. Nagash is the dark sorcerer who rose to power in ancient Nehekhara and destroyed the lands now own by the Tomb Kings. Nagash’s original followers included the first of the vampires. Nagash makes his lair just ot the south of the current game map, atop a mine of warpstone, a chaos-tainted rock that fuels his power. Nearby orcs have learned to give him a wide berth, but the skaven are ever drawn near by the lure of warpstone, and have lashed with Nagash in the past.
He spends most of his time brooding, as part defeats at the hands of men and skaven have left his power much diminished. Nagash leads an undead army, but he is neither Tomb King nor Vampire Count. His goal is simple; to rule over a world of the dead.
Nagash featured in the 4th edition undead army book, but when the faction was split into Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts he faded out, since he belongs to neither army.
Chaos taints everything in the Old World, and the noble dwarfs are no exception. On the eastern side of the mountains lie the realms of the chaos dwarfs, those great slavers and artificers. Chaos Dwarfs are few in number and greenskin slaves make up the bulk of their workforce, supervised by hobgoblin overseers. Eager for a stronger workforce, chaos dwarf sorcerers created the Black Orcs in ages past. This proved to be a mistake as the Black Orcs rebelled, and the lesser greenskins followed them eagerly. It looked grim for the Chaos Dwarfs, but they were saved by the treachery of hobgoblins, those Freys of the Old World.
The Chaos Dwarf army consists mainly or goblins and hobgoblins, with Chaos Dwarf warriors bringing their halberds or blunderbusses to bear. Chaos Dwarf also boast a number of War Machines that can make even an Empire general pause for thought. Bull Centaurs provide fast striking power, along with hobgoblin wolf riders. But can anyone truly trust a hobgoblin?
Chaos Dwarfs never received a formal army book, but a compilation of White Dwarf articles was released to give a sort of list.
Dogs of War
The Old World has its mercenaries, and some are even celebrated and known throughout the land as the Regiments of Renown. Some mercenaries are based in a particular city, such as the Marksmen of Miragliano. Others roam the old world looking for work, such as the Bearmen of Ursulo. Some range farther afield, like Piazzo’s Lost Legion.
While they can come from anywhere, the Dogs of War are most associated with Tilea and the Border Princes. This list makes these regions more than just ’empire lite’ and gives them an identity of their own, along with some sweet unique units.
The Dogs of War offers weapons combinations and weapon types not seen in other armies. The pike is the most noticeable difference, but if you ever wanted orcs with crossbows, there’s a Regiment of Renown for that. If you wanted an undead unit that will fight for the EMire against Chaos, well there’s a Regiment for that too!
Dogs of War had an army book in 5th edition Warhammer, but had faded out of the game by 8th edition. The mercenary portions may make for good DLC fodder, and the full list would make for an interesting Tilean campaign, who knows.
Across the waves
Part 3 is coming soon, and I’ll wrap up the list of Warhammer armies with a look at high and dark elves, daemons, Lizardmen, and of course the Skaven!