The world of Warhammer has a resemblance to Earth with places such as Araby, or the new world being roughly located where their real-life partner would be on Earth.
Their world has two moons; Mannslieb and Morrslieb. The first resembles our moon, and it is named beloved of Mannaan – God of the sea for it’s effect on the tides. The second translates as beloved of Morr – God of death. It is rumoured to be a massive chunk of warpstone – solidified chaos energy – and it’s actions and movements often herald great and terrible events. Despite having a chaos moon associated with him Morr is not a chaos god.
In Warhammer reality is made up of two co-dependant planes. The material realm – occupied by humans, dwarves, halflings, and the warp – occupied by warp-beings such as daemons and chaos gods and the source of magic. The warp is the source of magic, and the home of Gods, both chaos and other, but in actuality the warp is fuelled by the passions and desires of mortals. These two realities can bleed into one another.
In the far-North, and far-South lie ancient warp-gates. None know their original purpose (save perhaps the Slaan), but a long, long time ago they broke. Now they are open doors; haemorrhaging the denizens of the warp. The South gate lies deep beneath the ocean, and so is only a threat to sailors, but the North gate is upon land, so is one of the greatest threats to the known world.
The warp gates are not the only places where warp-space and real-space meet. Fractures can happen wherever powerful desires, rituals or acts occurred. They are often centred around warpstone – solid chunks of chaos energy. This substance generates a lot of power (of all types), but also causes mutation and occasionally rifts in the warp. Warpstone can be formed in warp-realspace, or it can be found in places where the moon Morrslieb has shed ‘comets’.
The Empire is usually the place where WFRP (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) is set. In Earth terms The Empire is a kind of cross between Germany and England (place names and culture).
The Empire is famous for it’s black-powder artillery, it’s eight magical colleges and Sigmar. Sigmar is the regional god of the Empire, although the Empire has other gods too. Sigmar claimed the land the Empire occupies from the orcs many years ago with the aid of the dwarves. He has since been deified since then. His symbols are the twin-tailed comet and the warhammer; the former as it heralded his birth, the latter because it was his choice of weapon.
The Empire is divided into provinces controlled by Elector Counts; these men and women control their region and are among the few with the right to vote on the next Emperor. The Empire is largely forested; its cities, towns and villages islands in a sea of enemies including the greenskins (orcs and goblins), beastmen, mutants, wood-elves and undead that also call the Empire home (and these are just the threats from within). In the Empire even small villages will be well defended.
Stuff Around the Empire AKA The Old World
- Other boring European-style countries such as Tilea; source of many mercenaries and Estalia – home of the masters of fencing.
- Bretonnia: a French-English-style country to the South-West of the Empire separated by a mountain range. Ruled by a rightful King. Their mages are all spirited away while tiny, but only the females return strengthened by magic. Their Goddess is called the lady. It is believed that the wood-elves have a strong influence on their culture and that the lady either once was or is still a wood-elf. They produce very powerful knights and very trodden-down peasants. The Grail Knights are the ultimate Bretonnian knights; mighty in battle and touched by magic. Their culture is not very equal-opportunities.
- Kislev: the country to the North of the Empire serves mainly as a buffer for the horrible things spilling from the Chaos Wastes to the far North. It has a wolfy-icy-russian theme and is ruled by an ice-queen (a mage). It’s capital city, Prague, has been destroyed many times by Chaos incursion.
- Troll Country and Norsca: to the North of Kislev is troll country; broken lands populated by monsters and trolls. North of that are the lands of the might Norse tribes. These people worship cruel Gods (some say Chaos) and have a rough culture. The terrifying were-bears are Norsemen with special gifts.
- Border princes: Between the Empire and Araby lie the Border Princes; out here if you can hold it you’re welcome to it. Younger sons often try their luck out here against the greenskins, monsters, undead and orcs.
- Araby: Far to the South of the Empire is Araby. You can probably guess the culture here. Ancient Khemrian (read Egyptian) ruins lie dotted around, and the ancient remains within don’t always take death lying down (and nor do their terrifying skelleton armies and bone constructs).
Island home of the High Elves and a relatively large (albeit shrinking) population of their slumbering dragon allies. In Earth terms Ulthuan is analogous to Atlantis. It is an island ring with smaller islands within. The ring has only one way in navigable by boat – a narrow passage lit by a beautiful lighthouse; this arrangement allows the High Elves to focus their defenses on the outer lands.
The dragons of Ulthuan are among the most magnificent and powerful creatures in the world; however they sleep very deeply, bound by some power the elves have not yet unravelled. Sometimes an elven lord will descend to the caverns, spend decades identifying the name of a dragon, then many more whispering it to the beast to awaken it.
High Elves are masters of magic; they spend centuries learning to use the eight colours of magic together in harmony and are renowned for their mastery of sorcery. The Dragon Mages of Caledor are the exception to this however; these mages are barely finished with their apprenticeship in the lore of fire when they hear the call and are drawn down into the dragons’ caves. Walking up to one of the younger beasts the young elf speaks aloud its name. It awakens immediately and they fly from the caverns together, full of impetuous youth and the power of flame.
The New World
Lustra (Aztec themed): To the South of the new world are the lizardmen, a diverse group of creatures resembling lizards, chameleons, crocodiles and even frogs. The frog-creatures are large ancient and powerful mages who rule the others. The little ones are called skinks, the big ones Saurians, and the really big ones Kroxigor. These three groups are born in spawning pools, and so are genderless. They have a variety of dinosaur-themed pets. They are not strictly hostile to humans (although they are quite hostile to dark elves and very hostile to any form of chaos), although their true motives are unknowable, and if they don’t have any plans for you they might consider you lunch.
Naggaroth: The lands of the dark elves. Cast out by their brethren (or having abandoned their brethren) they are bitter, twisted and very evil. Their dragons are slaves rather than allies, and that’s pretty much how the rest of their culture runs too. They control daemons but do not officially serve any chaos Gods. They worship Khaine, the bloody handed god of slaughter, although there is a strong faction who illegally worship Slaanesh, Chaos God of pleasure. In this realm male mages are killed when identified, for the only male mage permitted to draw breath within Naggaroth is Witch-King Melekith. His chief advisor is his mother, a sneaky Slaanesh worshipper (although she doesn’t tell him that), and they have a creepy suggestively incestuous relationship.