After last week's reveal of the new Grimdark Future lore, it's time for Age of Fantasy to get a spotlight now!
Since its inception, the worlds of Grimdark Future and Age of Fantasy were meant to be rich and deep worlds for you to sink your teeth into, but until now there were only small placeholder snippets that you could find on the army book PDFs.
Over the last year we have been hard at work, re-writing all of the lore for all armies in both games, and now it's finally time to reveal it all. The new lore is available now on Army Forge, and we've updated the interface to make it easier to find the lore and learn more about each army.
For the next couple of months we're going to be making weekly posts to highlight the lore of 4 factions for each game, starting with Age of Fantasy factions today.
"On a wounded world, new realms struggle to survive over the ashes of old empires.
The Human Empire fell when the world beneath it cracked. In an instant, its ancient capital and last emperor were swallowed into the earth and lost forever. A massive wound now cuts through the continent, winding and splitting the land itself.
It is an age of war in the lands of Tyria, where the peace and order of the last era have collapsed and new powers have begun to emerge. A vast land of many peoples and kingdoms, no corner of Tyria has been left completely untouched.
Daemonic howls haunt the land, from the frigid north to the once peaceful Elven shores. In the Western steppe lands, Dwarven berserkers bring the fire and fury of their new gods to bear against the thick armour of their Orcish foes. While beneath the sea, ancient powers, once driven into hiding, now plot their return to a now weakened and fractured surface. In the Southern deserts, even death offers no escape for the cursed souls of the people there.
As all this unfolds, others have begun to pour into Tyria from different planes of existence. Civilizations once lost have returned under new gods, while others have come unbidden to hunt the Daemons plaguing Tyria. Strange and fantastic creatures have arrived as well, intent on carrying out their own goals, only vaguely understood by the people of Tyria.
It is a time of otherworldly monsters, legendary heroes and unlikely alliances. An era of wonders and ambition, as well as calamity and horror.
How will you forge your path in this age of fantasy?"
"A highly developed empire in the center of Tyria, the Human Empire’s armies are made up of all sorts of infantry, cavalry, ranged units, and even some monstrous beasts. Their armies are highly varied but lack the specialization of other factions.
Once a beacon of unity and stability, the Old Empire collapsed when its last two heirs fought each other to claim it for themselves. Now, the remaining cities must rebuild as they live in the shadow of their former glory. The new Human Empire is fragile, built on a coalition of guilds and nobility, and only time will tell whether this empire will endure.
Humans spread throughout Tyria after they developed agriculture and metal working. A number of cities arose which fought for political dominance, until eventually one city came to dominate the region through conquest and alliances. This system of alliances and vassals became the basis of the Old Empire, where the Emperor ruled from the Capital city, supported by a council of Noble Houses. This Empire brought peace and trade to the Midlands, which in turn led to innovation and expansion until most Human settlements were united under their sway.
The Empire faced its greatest struggle during the Havoc Wars. On the eve of their greatest defeat, the Wizarding Guild and allied magicians turned the tide, sacrificing their lives to seal the Havoc Gods into the Orb of Fate. A period of peace and prosperity ensued, and the Orb and the Imperial Crown became symbols of peace and Imperial authority. Yet, the Emperors would never regain their previous authority as the Empire began to rely more on local rulers, held together by careful diplomacy and the personal charisma of successive Emperors. This era came to a sudden end with the opening of the Great Rift.
When the twin heirs of the last Emperor destroyed the Orb during a violent succession dispute, it unleashed the captured Havoc Gods, and the resulting release of arcane power destroyed much of Tyria. The Capital, Imperial Family, and much of the ruling class were destroyed almost instantaneously. A number of outlying provinces broke away, while towns and cities in the core of the Empire were left without leadership. The situation threatened to devolve into total chaos.
Local Merchants and Guilds stepped in to maintain order in many towns where the local rulers had died. These towns declared themselves Free Cities. Other towns fell under the sway of the Wizarding Guild who were still held in high regard for their intervention during the Havoc Wars. Reluctantly, the Nobles recognized some cities as under the governance of various Guilds, including the Wizarding Guild. In others, the Guilds agreed to share power with the surviving nobility.
Together, these cities would form a new senate that would continue to govern what remained of the Human Empire. It was agreed a Steward would be elected to rule the Empire until the Orb was restored and a new Emperor could be named. Stewarts are chosen from Noble Candidates or those with some trace of Imperial blood, who have renounced all other titles and loyalties except those to the Empire itself.
How will you reforge the Empire?"
"The Havoc Warriors are fanatical followers of the Havoc Gods, and their numbers consist of everything from skilled warriors adorned in heavy armour, to berserkers with only their faith and fury to protect them, supported by hordes of mutants and daemons. Their strange and varied warbands strike fear into the hearts of their foes.
Many different people have been driven to embrace the worship of Havoc, often seeking salvation from death, whether by enemies, disease, or any number of other causes. Scattered and driven into hiding after their Gods were sealed, the Havoc Warriors have returned in the wake of the Great Rift.
Human tribes were slow to settle the Northland. Their numbers were always few, and they relied more on hunting than farming. Gradually, the Human Empire began to expand northward, even into the previously remote tribal lands. Some northern tribes were conquered, but many others joined willingly as allies, seeking to benefit from peace, trade, and infrastructure.
The Northlands were seen as frontier territory by the Human Empire. Some roads were built, and a few soldiers were sent north, but in the end, little changed for Northerners as the soldiers were too few to prevent raids from neighbours, and few traders bothered to come north along the roads. Instead, outcasts and criminals would often flee north in order to hide from the law, making the Northlands more dangerous than they had ever been.
The arrival of the Havoc Gods in Tyria caused a great deal of instability, as many began to worship these new Gods. The Empire recalled many of their troops to defend their Capital and nearby regions, hoping to put down any rebellions there, abandoning the northern tribes, and leaving them to deal with the Daemons on their own.
By the time that the Havoc Wars had begun in full, most of the northern tribes had either united under Havoc or were wiped out by those who did. Some just hoped to be spared, others sought revenge against the Empire, some hoped that Havoc might offer them better lives. The warriors of these tribes crushed the northern Dwarves before turning south. The followers of Havoc, or Havoc Warriors, drove deep into the Empire, pillaging as they went.
When the Havoc Gods were sealed away, the Daemons and their mortal followers were soon routed, and the surviving Havoc Warriors fled north. Still weakened by war, the Empire and its allies were not able to fully occupy the Northlands. Instead, they built a series of forts along its border in order to defend their lands. Though scattered and weakened, the Havoc Warriors remained, fighting amongst themselves for what little food and wealth they could scavenge, as well as anyone foolish enough to venture into their land without military protection.
The opening of the Great Rift was greeted with celebration in the Northlands as the Havoc Warriors regained their magic and their gods. Now, the tribes are looking south with new energy, plundering their weakened neighbours, and waiting for the chance to strike into the heart of Tyria once more.
How will you bring glory to your god?"
"The Vampiric Undead are legions of monsters and spirits led by powerful vampire Lords. These lords use their dark magic to raise and control the bodies and spirits of the dead, and lead them to battle.
The Vampire Lords are members of the nobility from the western steppes who embraced necromancy after they were abandoned by the Empire during the Havoc Wars. Once they understood the secret of immortality, they attempted to betray their patrons and were cursed with undeath. This curse has only made the Vampire Lords more bitter and cruel as they rule brutally over their fearful subjects.
The Vampiric Undead originate from the western reaches of the Empire. Their lands were divided into a handful of counties made up of small villages scattered over the Western Steppes, beyond the Dwarven Mountains. Far from the center of the Old Empire, these lands were undeveloped and often overlooked, raided by nomadic Ogres and other neighbours.
When the Havoc Wars began, most of the armies and nobility of the Steppes were summoned, along with the rest of the Imperial vassals, to defend the Empire’s northern borders. The Steppe was left largely unguarded, and it was soon overrun by marauding neighbours and outlaws. Desperate to defend their lands, the remaining nobles began to listen to the promises of an exiled wizard. The wizard offered these nobles the armies that they needed, in exchange for an oath of loyalty to his mysterious patrons. The nobles who accepted his offer would see their enemies driven out and their graveyards emptied, as the wizard raised the dead to fight.
The wizard introduced the nobles to his patrons, strange and lifeless beings from another plane. These patrons offered the nobility the secret of immortality if the nobles would give them a piece of Tyria to live in. The nobles eagerly accepted the pact, and began using their undead armies to conquer their neighbours to carve out a new realm. Yet, when the time came to complete the deal, they betrayed the wizard and his patrons, severing the link between the planes, and stealing the knowledge for themselves.
They eagerly attempted the ritual, sacrificing the wizard in the process. However, the ritual did not result in their immortality, but instead turned them into the first generation of Tyrian Vampires. The Vampiric Nobles, lacking a clear leader, began to shift the blame on each other for the ritual’s failure, and soon began to fight to gain dominance over the rest. The Vampires began to view their mortal subjects as mere cattle, useful only as nourishment and as a way to create more undead.
When the Rift opened, some began to whisper that the wizard’s old patrons had returned, seeking revenge. Meanwhile, from the east, one of the Emperor’s own children arrived in the steppes as an undead immortal. Desperate and weary of their endless internal conflicts, many Vampires have submitted to him, hoping that they might unite together to protect themselves and expand their realms once more.
How will you harness your power over death itself?"
"The Mummified Undead command a massive army of undying skeletons and mummies. They are supported by great constructs made of bone and rock, animated by their Gods.
These undead creatures are the shambling corpses left behind when their once prosperous Kingdoms collapsed. When the Desert Gods were driven from the underworld by the Gods of Havoc, their followers were barred from the afterlife. Since then, their souls have been shackled to their lifeless bodies. Only their new Queen offers them the hope of final death.
The Mummified Undead were once a Human kingdom in the southern desert lands of Tyria. These people worshipped the Desert Gods, powerful beings which existed at the source of the great river which flowed between the world of the living and the dead. Protected from invasion by great swathes of desert, the Kingdom prospered for generations in the south.
The Kingdom’s fortunes changed with the arrival of the Havoc Gods. The Havoc Gods sought out the Desert Gods and their Underworld, hoping to seal off death itself from Tyria. The Desert Gods tried to fight back, but were defeated. The Gatekeeper, who guarded the passage between the world of the living and dead, was slain, and the god’s blood poisoned the river passage between worlds. Since that moment, any soul that tried to pass on would be trapped in the poisoned river between worlds, existing in a state of constant agony.
The remaining Desert Gods gave their priests Soul Gems which could bind souls to their bodies. The Gems’ magic preserved the bones, allowing souls to linger even after their bodies had withered away to old age or injury. The Priests developed a form of mummification to allow people to preserve some part of their bodies. Those who could afford such treatments sought them out, while others slowly saw their flesh fall away until all that remained was bone.
The Kingdom collapsed in the wake of the curse, as once vital farmlands lay barren and people fell into despair. The Mummified Undead were ruled over by a variety of lesser kings and petty tyrants who began to carve out kingdoms throughout the land. This led to a long era of civil war, as no one held the means to claim a final victory and reunite these lands into a single Kingdom.
This changed with the arrival of a powerful sorceress from the north, claiming to be the heir of a mighty Empire. She approached the priests and kings of the land and promised that she alone had the power to discover a means to break their curse and bring them true death. Impressed with her power, her allies declared her the Tomb Queen, and soon reunified the realm under her rule, reigning over a variety of petty kingdoms and cultures which have emerged along the sacred river. Now, the Tomb Queen looks north to her former home.
How will you embrace true death?"
That's it for this week, we hope you enjoyed this lore focus. :)
– OPR Team
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