- "You may call us heathens, savages or even brutes, but we are closest to the gods. We see their work in all things. And we do not create new, seemly gods to conform with our hopes for the world."
- —Alakreiz, Kurgan Marauder
Kurgan is a term used to describe a race of mighty, nomadic horse-warriors who dwell under the shadow of Chaos, in the vast Eastern Steppes that border the Chaos Wastes. The very term is derived from the burial mounds raised by the Scythian horse-warriors of old, from whom both the Kurgan and their traditional foes, the Gospodarin, descend, and the Kurgan have thus come to be known by the name, for it is said that they desire to bury the peoples of the south under such similar hills. A hardy race of brutal warriors, the Kurgan people rule a vast if not empty empire, bereft of all marks of civilization, leading a grim nomadic existence punctuated by merciless inter-tribal warfare. The Kurgan are renowned throughout the world as some of the greatest and most proficient horsemen ever to ride, favouring short, squat ponies adapted for survival among the cold steppes where the larger warhorses of the south would be hard pressed to survive. Though their domains lie far from the borders of the Empire, such is the fleetness of their steeds and their lust for battle that none can be sure where their next savage assault will fall. The horsemen of the Chaos Wastes know neither fear nor mercy, and slaughter all whom they find with unremitting brutality, piling high towers of skulls to stand as testament to their victory. Yet the Kurgan are also a deeply spiritual people, who worship countless spirits and daemonic gods, each of whom who are but an aspect of the Dark Gods, whom the Kurgan perceive as forces of the natural world, and who keep the earth and all who dwell within it in a constant state of growth and becoming.
The Kurgans are divided into countless clans and tribes, the most northerly of which are generally the fiercest and most barbaric of all. Indeed, the Kurgans are by the far the most numerous of all the accursed peoples of Chaos, with numbers far outstripping those of even the bloodthirsty Norscans or the treacherous Hung. Raised in unforgiving climes, the Kurgan are immersed into violence from an early age. They recognize no concepts of nationality, borders or allegiance. Indeed, such things are alien to them. To them, the only law is that of might and power, the will to take and hold. Thus, they are a race of skilled warriors, who rule their bleak dominion with the axe and bow. After all, they must fight from birth to survive.
When the shadow of Chaos expands over the world and the Northmen hear the clarion of battle, the Kurgan are most benefited by their rootless existence, for as a nomadic people they are, alone amongst the men of the north, able to bring each and every last member of their race to bear in these dark crusades. Such is not motivated only by their sense of devotion to the Dark Gods they worship, but also because to attach themselves to a great horde imparts numerous advantages, for they are able to ride ahead of their Norse and Hung brethren as scouts and thus take for themselves the easiest of the plunder. No true loyalty do the Kurgan harbour, for when the horde is inevitably reversed or gainstayed, it is observed that the horsemen are just as quick to break off from the army and settle the lands they have conquered, glutting themselves fat on stolen plenty before riding back to the steppes, thus escaping the forces of retribution that march against them. Never will the horsemen, for all their great personal strength and martial might, engage their enemies on equal terms, but will rather turn tail when met by men of mettle, only to lead them into a trap and cut them down with abandonment before turning their bows and blades upon the cowering innocents those fallen warriors strove to protect.
The Doom of the Great Kurgan
Before the raising of the Great Bastion of Cathay, or even the rise of hammer-handed Sigmar in the verdant lands of the Reik, it is said that in their vast lands in the east, the Kurgan had established an empire whose dominion spanned the length of the mighty steppes and ranged yet further afield. An empire of swift horsemen, snarling beasts and dread sorceries that cut down their foes far swifter than any arrow, and whose warriors' blades were ever whetted with blood. So mighty was this empire bereft of fortress or border that its ruler was known simply as the Great Kurgan, the mightiest warlord his people had ever known, for his dominion was but an extension of his bloody will. By war and conquest, the Great Kurgan gathered all the war-like tribes who bore his name under his yoke. Those who opposed him he destroyed. Those who prostrated before him he enslaved, for only the mighty would he allow to dwell amongst his ranks.
With a never ending hunger for power over the steppe lands and their people, the Great Kurgan prayed to the myriad gods of his people -- he prayed to the winds of the North, South, West and East. He prayed to earth and sky and rain. By day to the sun and by night to the moon, giving up great offerings of slaves and plunder to curry their favour. The Great Kurgan was mighty, but he was wise enough to know that the Dark Lords of the Uttermost North were mightiest above all -- and so in pact with Chaos's dark lords did the Great Kurgan pledge himself and his race in fulsome service, and swore before the Gods that he would never falter in his dues to them. The Great Kurgan had taken many wives from amongst the clans, but they had only borne him four sons: Four brothers who were rivals to each other for their father's favour and the glory of conquest. Sons whom their father had, in his greed, pledged to the Four Great Gods.
In the legends of the steppesmen, it is said that the Great Kurgan drew his sons to his side after gaining victory in a great battle. There, within his ger, the warlord spoke of the favour he had been granted, and how by the grace of the Gods he had been allowed to forge the Kurgan peoples into a mighty empire, driving before them the hosts of Man, Orc and Dwarf to ruin. With this, his sons roared their battlecries and boasted of how they would expand their father's domain yet further and spill the blood of his foes. Yet the chieftain also spoke of how there are debts that not even a king can avoid to pay, and of how it pleases the gods to take from a man that which he loves above all. In great despair did the mighty Zar fall to his knees as the Children of the Dark Powers began to walk amongst his people, driving many to the darkest depths of insanity and debased obeisance. Within his tent, the myriad trophies and battle-honours of the Great Kurgan were cast contemptuously down, and the Dark Gods did take from the Great Kurgan that which he treasured most. His four sons, taken screaming from their father's city, each transfigured with the stigmatas of the Dark Gods. Khorne -- Gore-clad Lord of Battle, Slaanesh -- Prince of Fell Pleasures, Nurgle -- Corrupt Father of Plagues, and Tzeentch -- Changer of Ways.
With his beloved sons taken from him, the Great Kurgan withheld his tears and instead raised his skull-chalice in thanksgiving to his masters, though he knew well now that every victory he would attain from henceforth would ring hollow, and every joy would turn to ashes in his mouth. The bargain complete, the fickle gods grew bored with the Great Kurgan's exploits, turning their attentions to their other servants, and met the Great Kurgan's prayers with cold silence. Though still mighty beyond all reckoning, a shade of ill-omen followed the warlord closely. His subjects whispered dark things in his passing, and warriors began to offer sacrifices in the hopes of avoiding his fate. Soon, with no bloodline to follow him, his lords gave in to cruel games of politicking, each vying for greater power and glory and rulership of the empire. Thus it was that the Great Kurgan saw his mighty empire, which he won through strength and cunning, fall from within thanks to the quarrelsome nature of his own people. All glory it once had now ground to dust and forgotten. When finally the Great Kurgan fell in battle, none would speak of his fate, and so it was that he became all but forgotten, a fireside legend amongst the men of the North. As the centuries passed, many warlords arose in the Steppes, claiming descent from this legendary father of the Kurgan people, but none could ever hope to match the legendary strength of this ancient warrior-king.
The Enslavement of the Khazags
- "I have returned, father, to claim my birthright and my destiny. Once you spared me death, such was your folly. I shall not make the same mistake. By right of birth and conquest, I claim leadership of the Khazags in the names of the true gods."
- —Tarok, First Zar of the Khazag, claiming leadership of the tribe
Though the Kurgan are considered by the south to be amongst of the most significant of Chaos's servants, due to their numbers and willingness with which they are known to prosecute the unholy crusade of the Dark Gods, it is also true that various tribes of Kurgan have not always been slaves to Darkness. In ancient days, the Khazag tribe knew and cared little of the wars and gods of the outside world. For them, the hunt amidst the snowy steppe and the ancient gods of the wild were enough. The tribes herded the mighty mammoth, subsisting on the creatures' colossal bounty and gloried in the fury of the hunt. Theirs was a simple life, but a fool's paradise nonetheless, for none who dwell amidst the northlands can evade the baleful gaze of the Dark Gods for long.
The fall of the Khazags into the worship of the Chaos Gods began with the fall of the chieftain's son, Tarok. Foremost amongst the tribe's young men, he was ever renowned for his skill and strength as a hunter, but his was a cruel and vengeful heart and as a young hunter, he and his followers often fell afoul of knowledge the tribal lores. One day, while Tarok and his followers were out hunting, an argument arose regarding whose spear it was that felled the great mammoth. It was a custom of the Khazag at that time that the hunter who slew the mammoth was alone entitled to feast upon its heart, thus imparting its strength to its slayer. Tarok insisted it was his weapon that had dealt the killing blow, and incensed by the continued denial of the other tribesmen, had struck him dead with his blade. Kinslaying was the worst sin a tribesman could commit, and word of Tarok's crime got out and spread amongst his people like wildfire. Many were the voices calling for his dead. His father, the chieftain, could not bring himself to kill his own blood, and instead decreed that Tarok and his followers be cast from the tribe and exiled to the lonely steppes, to live or die as Angkor, the god of the Khazags, decreed.
The Khazag moved on in their nomadic fashion, leaving Tarok to curse his fortunes. He led his warriors northwards and by some stroke of dark luck, or the will of some greater power, did not die in the wastes, but rather thrived. Not through honest labour, but rather by bartering their souls to the Dark Gods for power. In time, Tarok became a mighty champion in his own right, having earned his glory by facing the warbands of the other tribes and succeeding in battle against them. As he learned more of the dark lore and rites of Chaos, Tarok also began to plot his revenge upon those who had betrayed him. When his band grew strong enough, Tarok tracked his former tribe down and, in a night of blood and horror, did avenge himself upon his erstwhile kinsmen, slaying his own father in cold blood and forcibly installing himself as the new Zar. The Khazags were not quick to accept a murdering patricide as chief, no matter his power, and many times did they revolt against Tarok's leadership, always failing to oust the treacherous cur, but never did their spirits break regardless of whatever brutality he visited upon them. The Khazags too did aggressively resist Tarok's attempts to convert them to the worship of the Dark Gods, stubbornly adhering to their own worship of Angkor and the other spirits of nature.
Tarok grew anxious to cement his rule. Whatever he believed of his power, the truth of the matter was that his entire existence was as a pawn the Dark Gods had used to cement their hold upon the Kurgan race. The Zar begged his masters for the knowledge to turn his people to the true path. The Dark Gods answered by telling Tarok he would have to prove the weakness of the Khazag's own gods before their baleful might. Tarok knew at last what he was to do. One bloody night, he sacrificed a multitude of his kinsmen to the gods that they would grant him aid for the battle to come, and he did take his trusted band of followers north to the Chaos Wastes to find Angkor and bring him back in fetters. For a year and a day it is said Tarok was abroad hunting He Who Carries the World On His Back, and it is said that the battle to finally bring the creature to heel lasted fully three days, where most of Tarok's sworn band was slain. At last, Tarok broke the Father of Mammoths, binding him to the service of Chaos and riding him back to the lands of the Khazag, thereby demonstrating amply the supremacy of the Dark Gods. Seeing their old god broken and humbled so, the Khazag submitted at last before Tarok and eagerly accepted him as their chieftain and lord. Accepting his deities in place of their own, for truly they must have been the greater powers, as he had always claimed. From then on, the Khazags had joined their fellow tribes as servants of the Dark Gods. Once simple hunting folk, the Khazags were now willing pawns of Chaos. In the ages to come, the Khazags would fight in the endless holy wars of the gods, marshalling the ancient might of their mammoths to warfare and death. The scions of Tarok, the Zars of the Khazags, leading their kinsmen to war from the back of Angkor himself, bow and pallasz in hand. For thousands of years has it been thus, with the mighty Khazags raiding and pillaging the stanistas of the Kislevites to carry back plunder, slaves and sacrifices in honour of their Gods.
The Vengeance of the Norsii
- "Now is the time to take the fire south."
- —Comac Bloodaxe, High King of the Norsii
In 9 IC, the Kurgan tribes bestirred themselves for battle once more with the rise of the mighty Norsii in the north, who gathered under the leadership a great king who was exalted in the eyes of Khorne. His name was Cormac Bloodaxe of the Iron Wolves clan, and already had he forged a reputation as perhaps the greatest warrior of his age. Cormac, son of the slain High King of the Norsii, had thirsted for the chance to avenge the offenses the Emperor Sigmar and his people had made against the Norsemen when he drove them from the Reik decades ago, and had thus resolved to make of the Empire a sacrifice to Khorne. As tales of the Norse King's valour and exaltedness spread throughout the north, the Kurgan, their shamans recognizing the signs of battle, journeyed west and joined their forces to Cormac's banner. In time, the Kul, Mung, Khazag and other great tribes marched alongside the axe-wielding armies of the Norsii, intent on bringing about the End Times upon the weakling Empire of Sigmar.
Under Cormac's leadership, the Norsii decisively defeated Sigmar's army, slaying a thousand men and routing them. The horse-tribes had played an integral role in this triumph when they surrounded the Thuringian vanguard and bogged them down, thus allowing heavily armoured Norsii cavalrymen to run down and slaughter the berserkers, spelling the end for Sigmar's army. The Kurgan chieftains enjoyed the spoils of victory alongside their Norsii counterparts. Sacrifices were offered to the Dark Gods in droves, with hunchbacked Kul shamans ritualistically disemboweling their captives while daemons gibbered and screamed at their shoulders, bidding them to devour the entrails. Khazag strong-men pummeled their prisoners to death with their bare fists, and yet other tribes made more gruesome sacrifices in their own traditional ways. The Norsemen and Kurgan then laid siege to Middenheim, the great mountain city of the savage Teutogen. In a long, grueling siege where the Northmen carried the walls, Cormac Bloodaxe is said to have ascended to daemonhood, becoming an avatar of Khorne's fury. The Daemon Prince scaled the mountain and shattered the city walls, allowing the Northmen to pour through and slaughter, but whatever havoc they could wreak paled in comparison to the utter devastation Cormac now unleashed upon the Imperials. At last, the Daemon Prince thundered its way to the menhir ringed Flame of Ulric to face Sigmar Heldenhammer himself in combat. Strengthened by Ulric, Sigmar struck the Daemon Prince down, sending Cormac screaming back to the Realm of Chaos. At the king's downfall, the spirit of his hersirs was broken, and the Norsii were routed from Middenheim, though none would quickly forget the terror and horror of their invasion. This was the first instance of contact with the Norse in the Kurgan's history, and was also the first instance of the Kurgan waging war against the Empire, as allies and sword-brothers to a Norse force. It was also the event that would mark the beginning of relations between the Norsemen and the Kurgan, where both races would begin to influence each other greatly.
The Rise of Asavar Kul
In 2297 IC, the Dark Gods gathered in apocalyptic union, at last seeing fit to impart their ultimate blessing upon a warrior who would rise to unite the disparate peoples of the North into a mighty army capable of bringing about the End of all things. Many great champions arose seeking to earn the favour of the gods, but it was Asavar Kul, the mightiest warrior of his age, chieftain of the bloodthirsty Kul tribe, and vicious devotee of the Dark Gods, who finally proved worthy over all others, slaying his enemies in their thousands to earn the crown of the Everchosen. Clad in his red-lacquered plate, it was said that his eyes burned with an otherworldly fury that marked him outwardly as the chosen warrior of the Gods. Under the mighty Asavar, the Kul tribe arose as the greatest power in the North, vanquishing their rivals in brutal wars in order to establish their supremacy. Legends tell of Asavar's power, of his eyes that blazed with the power of Chaos, of his red-lacquered armour festooned with the totems and fetishes of the Dark Gods, and of his savage hunger for human flesh. When Asavar had succeeded in binding the fractious Kurgan and Hung tribes to his banner, he turned his gaze westward and brought the savage Norsemen under his command as well, enlisting his lieutenants from that hardy race -- Engra Deathsword, Sven Bloody-Hand and Valmir Aesling. In 2301 IC, Grandfather Nurgle saw fit to grace the lands of the Empire with his bounteous gifts, sickening portents blooming across the length and breadth of the land, thousands dying as a result of abject crop failure and ravening plagues, and massive corruption within the Empire's politics began to rise even further to the fore. To the Kurgan chieftain, the Empire of the southmen seemed ripe for conquest and destruction. As the Anointed One gathered his tribespeople for a new attack against the south, warbands of Northmen had already begun to proceed his mighty warhosts, raiding and pillaging Nordland and some even ranging as far as the walls of Altdorf itself.
Kul travails first led him northwards, for he could feel in his soul that the gates that divided the worlds swelled with power and made haste to witness their glory. He knew well upon seeing them that all the Men of the North would feel the call of the Dark Gods as he did. The Dark Shadow spilled southwards, engulfing the lands of the tribes and absorbing them into the Realm of Chaos. Before this irresistible tide, the Warriors of Chaos gathered, and Kul gathered them into his host. As the shadow spread further south, he found his army growing all the more, joined as it was by hordes of ravenous Trolls, battle-hardened Northman warbands from the borders of Troll Country, and all manner of monstrous and hellish beasts that followed such a mighty horde. Asavar Kul's army soon grew to be amongst the largest ever to threaten the realm of the Hammer and the Wolf.
Kul's horde swept into Kislev, setting all before it alight in an orgy of rape and pillage. Tzar Alexis of Kislev sent calls for aid to the south, and in answer rode Count Bavaric of Ostland. Long had his province been subject to the malignancy of the Beastmen, and thus was he a staunch foe of all the Scions of Chaos. With Bavaric's armies reinforcing them, the Kislevites found renewed drive to resist the northern invaders, and fought like maddened bears in defense of their homes. Yet their fury was little compared to that of the Kurgan, who blanketed the steppes between Murmagrad and Chazask with Gospodar corpses. Asavar Kul himself fought at the head, a true warrior-king of the Kurgan race, his wrath eclipsing all other warriors. His twin battle-axes slaughtered and smote all about him, hacking cavalryman and footsoldier alike with terrible ease. Kul even faced and hacked down the Great Bear, Urvitch, said to be the embodiment of primal spirit of the land of Kislev itself, in single combat, turning the snow to slush with the noble creature's blood. As Kul's armies pressed on from the East, from the North came his Norscan allies, who laid waste to the cities of Praag and Erengrad with the terrible martial power for which the Norse are so renowned. The two mighty forces joined at the screaming corpse of the great Ungol city of Praag, and then began to march upon the city of Kislev, the seat of Tzar Alexis himself. To aid the Kislevites in opposing him rode forth the armies of Magnus the Pious of Nuln, who had united the warring states of the Empire into a profoundly mighty fighting force. Asavar Kul's incursion culminated in the cataclysmic melee that was the Battle of Kislev. Tzar Alexis, grimly with characteristic Kislevite fatalism, resolved to hold the great capitol against the Kurgan and Norse horde until Magnus and his vast army could arrive. To aid him in this was a throng of doughty Dwarfen soldiers, who despite the unrest of their mountain realm of Karaz-a-Karak would not forsake their oaths of friendship to the Empire and her allies. Though they were few in number, these were the most battle-hardened warriors of the Dwarfen realm at the time.
Kul's warriors gathered before Kislev -- a sea of black-iron and war-like faces all screaming for the death of the cowardly south. In the first assault the bloodthirsty men of the North made their onslaught, their unmatched savagery and peerless fighting skill more than making up for their lack of discipline. With unbridled ferocity, the Kurgan and Norse drove the Kislevites from their hastily constructed outer positions, driving them back behind the walls of the city that held their name. The Dwarfen warriors were the last to retreat, their rearguard action keeping the Northmen at bay and buying time for the Kislevites to safely withdraw. As Kul prepared his hordes for the final assault that would have surely wiped Kislev from the annals of history, the forces of Magnus the Pious had at last taken to the field and fell upon the Forces of Chaos like the Hammer of the God-King Sigmar himself. Seeing the army arrayed against him, Kul called his war-chiefs to his side and divided his forces into two groups -- one to carry on the siege of Kislev and keep Tzar Alexis from joining the fray, and the other to slaughter the dogs of Sigmar. Seeing the Imperials thrash the Chaos Horde, the Kislevites felt their hearts soar and their hopes rise. Yet this elation soon died out as they beheld Magnus' army stumble and fail, its momentum dying out as the Kurgan hordes fought back against them. Fearing their downfall of their allies, the Dwarfs of Karaz-a-Karak charged forth from the gates of the city, roaring ancient Khazalid oaths of death and vengeance. Yet the fighters surrounding Kislev were Chaos Warriors -- the greatest champions of the Norse and Kurgan tribes, and Asavar Kul's personal vanguard. Not even the most hardened Dwarfen warrior could hope to withstand the fury of the greatest warriors of the North. Asavar Kul himself fought alongside his brothers, with the spirit of Khar raging within him as he slaughtered a score of Dwarfen Longbeards with hideous ease. The Dwarfs were beaten back with heavy losses, and not even half managed to escape back to Kislev alive.
With the Dwarfen offensive defeated and the threat from Magnus contained, Kul ordered his forces to turn their attentions once upon Kislev. Though many Kurgan and Norscans had been slain in the battle with Magnus' army, many thousands more yet remained, eager to sink their cruel axes into Gospodar flesh. The beleaguered defenders thus grimly resolved to their lives in the last doomed defense of their city. But just as Kul's siege towers were about to reach the city walls, the tide of battle took a sudden and dramatic turn. Magnus's advance force of cavalry, the very warriors who had arrived too late to lift the siege of Praag, now arrived to charge the northern flank of Kul's horde. Out of the foothills they galloped, their lances lowered, and smashed into the Chaos army with truly unbridled fury. With the tremendous force of their cavalry charge, the lines of Kul's horde began to waver. Emperor Magnus and Tzar Alexis, both realizing that victory could yet be snatched from defeat's gaping jaws, exhorted their men to one final act of defiance against Chaos. In this mighty charge, Asavar Kul too fell, though the circumstances of his death remain an elusive mystery. Imperial chronicles foolishly claim that the Kurgan lord was slain in single combat with Magnus himself, but this is little more than the patriotic ramblings of bards and storytellers. Magnus was ever regarded in his time as a statesman, not as a particularly exceptional warrior, and Kul was not only a battle-hardened chieftain of the warlike Kurgan, but also the greatest Chaos champion of his time. More even-headed scholars theorize that Asavar Kul was slain by one of his lieutenants, for a jagged blade was found impaled in his skull in the aftermath of the battle. Though a rather unremarkable end for the greatest warrior of the age, the cause of Kul's demise ultimately proved irrelevant, for without his force of personality and military skill to unite them, the combined Kurgan, Norse and Hung tribes found their fragile unity fraying. Caught on three sides, Kul's once mighty horde had now devolved into a screaming mass of tribal warriors, unable to be brought to true order. The Norse and Kurgan warriors fought on regardless, feeding the Imperial, Kislevite and Dwarfen troops a horde of their own dead for every one of their own number that fell. Nonetheless, these men were too few in number to fight on all fronts. Slowly, the Chaos Horde began to fracture, and by the day's end, was broken and scattered. Thus did the Great War Against Chaos draw to a close, but not without a massive cost to the enemies of Chaos.
Tamurkhan and the Throne of Chaos
Tamurkhan, the Maggot Lord, was known to have been amongst the mightiest servants of the Plague Lord Nurgle, and who claimed himself to be one of the lost sons of the mythical Great Kurgan of yore, who had pledged his children to servitude before the Great Gods. In the Year of Crow in the sixth reign of the Black Moon, by the reckoning of the Norscans, the Dark Gods saw fit to sound the clarion of war which no man of the North, Norse, Kurgan and Hung alike, could deny. The champions of the Dark Gods marshalled their vast hosts and made way to the city of Zanbaijin deep within the Chaos Wastes to earn the right to lead the next Great Incursion. First from the frozen lands of Norsca came Khorne's favoured slaughterer, Hakka the Aesling, whose brass-armoured berserkers marched in brutal column. From the endless steppes rode the Kurgan horsemasters of Sargath the Vain, chosen slave of Slaanesh, and from the south came the daemon acolytes of Urak Soulfiend, servant of Tzeentch.
The three armies clashed within the ruined cities, the fury of Hakka and his Norscans eclipsing that of his foes, while Sargath's hordes of amorous madmen spitted themselves eagerly on the blades of their foes and dragged them down, and above them both, Urak Soulfiend and his magicians' dark powers wrested away victory from either army when it seemed triumph was imminent. Thus were the armies locked in perpetual, bloody stalemate lifted only with the arrival of the Kurgan warlord, Tamurkhan. The Nurglite champion's vast armies of plagued warriors and debased monsters smashed into the competing hosts of his rivals. Sargath's horsemen bared the greatest brunt of the attack, driving the vain Kurgan Zar into a rage as his noble hosts were undone by plagued abominations. Sargoth cut a path to Tamurkhan, seated upon his colossal Toad Dragon, and leapt up upon the beast's broad head to cross blades with the son of Nurgle. Sargath was renowned in the steppes for his swordsmanship, and so did he cut down Tamurkhan with ease. Screaming his victory to the heavens, Sargath failed to notice the great, pale carrion that broke out of his fellow Kurgan's corpse -- Tamurkhan's true and malignant form. The child-sized, fang-mawed maggot pounced upon Sargath, and feasted upon the screaming champion of Slaanesh, eating its way within his body, and then arising to take control. With Sargath the Vain's death, his Kurgan horsemen lost all hope in the face of their insurmountable doom. The plague hordes to their front, and the ravenous Aesling blood-worshipers to their backs, the army of Sargath was hemmed on all sides and annihilated. Urak Soulfiend, sensing victory was unattainable with the coming of Zar Tamurkhan, promptly quit the field. leaving only the mighty Norscans to oppose the scion of the Great Kurgan. After slaughtering the preening dogs of Slaanesh in honour of their god Khorne, the Aeslings then prepared themselves to face Tamurkhan. Realizing their deaths were at hand, Hakka and his battle-kin consigned their souls to Khorne's keeping and swore a solemn oath to slay as many of their foes as they could before succumbing to death. Against the incredible might of the Norse warriors, the front ranks of the Nurglite horde wavered and buckled. Hakka the Aesling was in the thick of battle, slaughtering and slaying all about him, even when he was swept away from the shield-wall by the press of battle. Though many thousands fell to the whirlwind fury of Hakka's twin battle-axes, the Khornate champion was eventually overwhelmed and torn limb from limb by four hulking Bile Trolls. Not enough remained of him for Tamurkhan even to fashion a trophy. With that, the Maggot-Lord had established supremacy at Zanbaijin, and had thereby gained the right to quest for the fabled Throne of Chaos.
By right of conquest upheld by the Northmen, the remnants of the vanquished warhosts accepted the Maggot-Lord's supremacy and pledged themselves to his service. The great horde thundered from Zanbaijin into the Eastern Steppes, making for the snow-capped Altayan Hills. As news of his victory spread, the sons of the Kurgan tribes, wandering warbands from Norsca and further abroad, and creatures pulled from the darkest nightmares all attached themselves to the ever-growing army, and so did Tamurkhan rule at the head of a fighting force unlike any other.
Amongst the Altayan Hills dwelt the fierce Dolgan, one of the most southerly and most powerful of all the Kurgan confederations, renowned for their fractious nature and insular hatred of all other Northmen. Tamurkhan greatly desired to bring these powerful warriors into his fold, particularly in order to add their mighty war-mammoths to his repertoire. The Zar of the Dolgan at he time was the sorcerer known as Sayl the Faithless, despised and feared amongst his people for his dark magic and duplicitous nature. Yet Sayl was too a consummate politician and schemer, hence was he able to maintain his precarious power over the honour-bound Dolgan. Befittingly, Sayl had not proved deaf to the tales of the rising power of Tamurkhan, son of the Great Kurgan, nor of the size of the great army he rode ahead of. Seeing his promised victory in the entrails of slaughtered sacrifices, Sayl realized it prudent to throw in his lot and the lot of his tribe with the ambitions of Nurgle's chosen. It is testament to Sayl duplicity that even while preparing to join his forces to Tamurkhan, he had deftly eliminated the more outspoken elements in the tribe by sending the clans and chieftains who had often questioned his rule to their deaths in harrying Tamurkhan's horde, having been sent under the pretext of 'defending the tribe's honour from invaders'. When Tamurkhan finally fought his way to the lands of the Dolgan, Sayl the Faithless prostrated before him and sold the Dolgans into slavery. Though the sorcerer had made no honourable oath of fealty, merely a declaration of comradeship and common cause, he had appeased the Maggot Lord well enough with his obeisance.
Though Sayl had suggested leading the horde south and west towards the rich and unprotected lands of Kislev and the Empire, as many Kurgan warlords had before them, Tamurkhan led his army north, far, far north, to the very edges of the monstrous storm known as the Chaos Wastes. This caused consternation in the ranks of the newly formed host, and some began to tremulously whisper that Tamurkhan sought to make war upon the Gods themselves. These fears at last proved ill-founded when Tamurkhan adjusted his course eastwards, and those versed well in daemon-lore knew well where the Maggot Lord was bound -- the Gallows Tree; a place of nightmare and legend to rival any within the Chaos Wastes. Tamurkhan departed from the horde and entered the Tree, when he emerged he earned the immediate rejoicing of all the devotees of Nurgle within his horde, as well as the weary respect of those who shared Tamurkhan's goal for conquest rather than his faith. All could see that the Maggot Lord had been greatly favoured by his god all the same, for when he emerged his body bore the blessings of Nurgle and was strengthened, and in his hands he bore rotting scrolls scribed in blightened words the True Names of mighty daemons. With the scrolls in hand, Tamurkhan sought out the hag-daemon of the Gallows Tree, from whom he received hellish visions of what was to come, as well as the location of the Throne of Chaos itself -- the great Imperial city of Nuln. In order to overcome this obstacle between him and his ultimate goal, Tamurkhan would require great warmachines to reduce the gleaming walls of the city to rubble, and great beasts and mighty daemons to whom the vaunted black powder weapons and legendary battle-wizardry of the Imperial Colleges of Magic would prove naught but a distraction. Only then would the superior fighting skill and battle-lust of the Kurgan horse-nomads and other scions of Chaos prove ascendant over the weaklings of the south.
Tamurkhan's later travails would bring him each of these weapons in turn. His path to glory lead him to battle his way past the western defenses of the Kurgans' mortal enemies, the Cathayans, and even the haunted magic of the Ghost Fells. After fighting free of these obstacles, Tamurkhan was drawn into a conflict with the debased descendants of the once mighty Sky Titans -- the Giants. These foes too were crushed by the savagery of the horde, and near a hundred Giants were bound with black sorcery and bound to the service of the Zar of the Kurgan. After overcoming and binding the Giants, Tamurkhan found himself in battle with the barbaric Ogre tribes of the Mountains of Mourn to the west, for the path southwards into the lands of the Empire lay through the vaunted High Pass, held by the intractable Ogres of the Red Fist tribe, and their iron-fisted Tyrant, Karaka Breakmountain. The Kurgan overcame the Ogres and took the pass, though at great cost, and Tamurkhan did slay the mighty Tyrant and took his body for his own ends, discarding the putrefied carcass of Sargath. With that victory, the horde pushed south.
After breaking free of the High Pass's deadly snows, the horde beheld the burning and cracked hellscape that was the home of the Chaos Dwarfs -- the Empire of Zharr. Though only half of the Kurgan and Norse horde that had come to Tamurkhan's band remained, his numbers had been replenished by the enslaved giants, beastmen and ogres that had been brought to his banner. Many of whom had begun to take a far more terrible aspect. Though Tamurkhan had fought a long and terrible war against the Legion of Azgorh, the Chaos Dwarf army that defended the area he and his horde had arrived at, neither the Kurgan nor the sons of Zharr were fully able to achieve a lasting advantage over the other, and so were locked in stalemate. To alleviate this, Tamurkhan forged an alliance with the master of the Legion, Lord Drazhoath, in exchange for not pillaging his lands further. Thus, soldiers and warmachines from the Legion of Azgorh, comprising a full third of that army's strength, known as the Infernal Guard, joined Tamurkhan's vast horde, and in order to cement his friendship with the Kurgan, Lord Drazhoath forged for Tamurkhan a mighty black axe fit for his new Ogreish frame. So it was that in the dying summer of 2510 IC, Tamurkhan's forces had finally managed to circumvent the Death Pass and arrive in the unprepared Border Kingdoms. At the sight of such rich lands, the tenuous discipline of the horde frayed apart until the army was divided into a thousand independent warbands that drowned baronies and petty kingdoms in lakes of blood as they pillaged and ransacked the length and breadth of the land. Eventually, the remaining principalities of the Border Kingdoms joined together into a large single force known as 'the Confederation of the Eagle', under the leadership of the fearsome Border Prince, Lietpold the Black, a mercenary captain and self-proclaimed lord who boasted a truly terrifying military reputation. Unfortunately for the Empire, not even Lietpold's generalship and brutality was capable of stemming the tide of death-hungry Kurgan horsemen, who easily annihilated his army of knights, pikemen and heavily armoured infantrymen, leaving only Lietpold himself as the survivor of the ill-fated battle.
After some weeks, Tamurkhan dispatched messangers to bring the Kurgan and Dolgan nomads back to the greater horde. Of these, most succeeded in rejoining their lord's army, but a few warbands, having grown tired of Tamurkhan's yoke, fled into the highlands of the Border Princes, where they continue to plague its successors to this day, forsaking their oaths to the Great Kurgan's scion. Yet nonetheless, the army that had been gathered would prove enough to allow Tamurkhan to press on to Nuln. The armies of Tamurkhan eventually faced off against the defenders of Nuln led by the fearsome Theodore Bruckner, Countess Emmanuelle von Liebwitz' champion and one of the most brutal and deadly warriors in the Empire. In several confrontations, Imperial knights and infantrymen faced off against mighty Dolgan Khans and Kurgan riders, but the Kurgan horde was eventually blunted at the Battle of Crow's Levee, where the Imperial flank had held. When Theodore Bruckner and his party had fought their way to where Tamurkhan and his greatest acolytes were tapping into the power of the Throne of Chaos, readying themselves to unleash a plague of unholy stature and to enact the final steps that would grant Tamurkhan the dark apotheosis he so craved. The body Tamurkhan had claimed in the Mountains of Mourn had now the stigmata of Nurgle writ so clearly upon it that all who looked upon him that shared his faith rededicated themselves afresh to their lord. Theodore Bruckner and his allies emerged into Tamurkhan's sanctum and fought him there, with Theodore succeeding in striking down the Kurgan Zar, but this proved a hallow victory. From the husk of his daemonic host, the grey, pale maggot that was Tamurkhan's true form leapt out upon the screaming body of Theodore Bruckner, intent upon claiming his mighty body in order to complete his apotheosis, though the maggot was foiled at the moment of truth and destroyed, along with Theodore himself. With Tamurkhan's death, the final fate of the Kurgan horde was sealed, and the Children of Nurgle were scattered and withered to filthy ribbons in the span of a heartbeat.
- "It is better to take your own life than to fall into the hands of the Kurgan."
- —Karl Althaus, Imperial Pikeman
The Kurgan are a race of hardy savages -- tall of stature and grizzled of limb, powerfully built and vicious in combat. Most Kurgan keep their coal black hair long and unbound, and grew long, bristling beards which form great manes about the broad, oriental savagery of their faces. They match the mighty Norscans for brawn, if not height. Robust and strong, they are ideally suited for life amidst the cold, barren plains of the Eastern Steppes, where they must fight a constant struggle for survival against their rivals and against the very land itself. It is a struggle the Kurgan have prevailed at for thousands of years, creating a race of warriors unsurpassed, for even a single Kurgan is a threat to an entire band of southern warriors.
The Kurgan are some of the most skillful archers to walk the world, their composite bows letting heavy arrows fly with such force that no bascinet, cuirass or mail can protect against. The Kurgan let fly their arrows with such rapidity as to evoke some mechanical marvel of the College of Engineers, their skill at ranged combat marking them as unique from the other races of the North, such as the Norse, who see the bow as the ultimate emblem of cowardice. Their ponies, smart and hard-trained, do not need rein control, which further affords the Kurgan warriors great independence, as it allows them to fire even while turning in the saddle. This combination of mobility and great offensive power causes the Kurgans to be masters of the battlefield, easily a match for the heavy, ponderous knights of the southlands. The preferred melee weapon of the Kurgan hordes is the pallasz: a double-edged broadsword six feet in length drawn for combat on foot, while slightly curved scimitars are wielded while striking from the backs of thundering horses. Other weapons more iconic of the Chaos Hordes, such as brutal axes and maces so favoured by the Norscans, are too utilized by the Kurgans, as the two peoples have had their contacts over the millennia. Indeed, these races, both so savage and proficient in warcraft, have much in common, and it is not uncommon to see Kurgan tribesmen fighting alongside Norscans when the Shadow of the North waxes, and most instances where Kurgan have raided the Empire have been while allied to a larger Norsemen warband. Some Kurgan tribes are even bound to Norse ones through marriage or blood oath, though this is rare.
The Kurgans follow age old migration routes throughout their barren grasslands, leading into lands they dwell in seasonally. Other tribes simply plot their courses based on their seers' interpretation of the myriad signs of the Dark Gods. Other tribes adopt a more settled lifestyle, establishing primitive villages at appropriate sites, coaxing what wealth they can from the earth. Kurgan tribes commonly travel with large caravans pulled by their fleet steppe ponies, or in some rare cases, creatures molded by Chaos who are all together less savory.
The Kurgan tribes are led by chieftains known as Zars, perhaps in imitation of the Tzars of Kislev, once again illustrating the similarities between the great northern Steppes and the realm of the Ice Queen. These chieftains rule with the guidance of the shaman and wise men, and claim a special connection to the tribal gods the Kurgan serve, and indeed, many amongst the Zars are those who bear the marks of Chaos. In times of war, the Horde possesses numerous levels of organization, such as the hetzars, who are charged by the lords of the clans to lead the warriors of half a dozen or more tribes in battle. The greatest of the Kurgan lords are the High Zars, who are roughly analogous to Norscan High Kings, as they rule over multiple tribes and clans. The High Zars are celebrated champions of Chaos, no less mighty than their Norse counterparts, who have distinguished themselves in battle time and time again.
The Kurgan Tribes
- "We are the prophets, we are the servants, we are the warriors of Tchar, and we will destroy you."
- —Deitzaad, Kurgan Shaman
The Kurgan are a race of nomadic people, constantly prowling the great Eastern Steppes in search of food and tending their herds. They have no sense of a permanent home, for their theology holds that the world is ever-changing, and so they are content to wander and live off their hard and bleak land. It is a common mistake made by Old Worlders to lump all Kurgan into one group, which is perhaps understandable as they are constantly on the move. In truth, the people known as "Kurgan" are in fact divided into several independent tribes, much like the Norse. These tribes owe fealty not to any one chieftain nor have any true concept of nationhood. They war with Kurgan and non-Kurgan alike, fighting each other in savage wars, some nearly to the extinction of one side or the other. The Kurgan tribes must fight a constant struggle against ferocious Norse raiders, bellicose Hung tribesmen and most of all, against the merciless slavers of the Tong that dwell in the far north. This has hardened the Kurgan into a race of born warriors, who would rather die than submit. Although there are countless tribes, the most renowned amongst them are:
In addition to these tribes, there exist a multitude of lesser clans and families; such as the Vaan, the Muhak, the Hunn, the Gahhuks and yet others besides. The Kurgan organize themselves under chieftains known as Zars, perhaps in imitation of the Tzars of Kislev, and share other characteristics with the Gospodars and Ungols. For instance, there is a distinct linguistic similarity between many Kurgan dialects and Kislevarin. Furthermore, there exists a clear kinship between the northerly Ungols and Gospodar tribes and the Kurgan Khazag and Ungol, with many common traditions existing between the former and latter. The more northerly Kislevites bear a great affinity with the Kurgan tribes, and see their more southerly kinsmen as somewhat weak and effete for forsaking this kinship in favour of giving into what they see as "corruptive" Imperial influence.
The Kurgan possess a deep, spiritual and dynamic culture. They see the work of the Dark Gods in all things, whom they perceive as the natural forces of the world who keep it in flux. All is in a state of evolution and becoming. Thus, mutation is not an affliction to the Kurgan, but rather an evolution of divine will made flesh. This belief draws many parallels with the Norscan belief, which holds that mutation is the hand of the gods revealing to a man his true form and a mark of the gods' favour. Those afforded a mutation are granted a special place within the tribe. In order to hasten these changes, some of the more northerly Kurgan tribes bind the heads of their children so that they grow oddly, becoming elongated and malformed. Since the body is seen as an instrument of divine will, the Kurgan place a great emphasis on strength and the mastery of the physical form.
- "A foul people, they prostrate themselves to the enemies of humanity."
- —Reiholt Von Krishoff, Demilancer
The Kurgan venerate the Ruinous Powers, seeing those deities as aspects of the natural world. A strike of lightning could be the will of Tchar, an outbreak of plague the blessing of Nieglin, the Kurgan aspect of Nurgle. Every stone, every plant, even the clouds that float through the sky, all hold the secrets of the gods. No one Ruinous Power holds more sway than the rest, and most tribes will venerate all four in a pantheon, or even uphold a pair of them in some cases. The Kurgan tribes also venerate various other gods in addition to the Ruinous Powers, such as spirits and daemons. Change is the most important theme in the Kurgan pantheon. Some Kurgan tribes also worship, or at least acknowledge various Kislevite gods, such as Ursun and Dazh.
War is a central component of Kurgan beliefs, for war brings about the greatest change of all -- death, and death in battle is the greatest expression of divine glory. When the armies of Chaos gather in the North, the Kurgan leave their herding grounds in force in order to take up arms alongside the swollen hordes of daemons and mutants, much like the Norse and Hung with whom they share the North. The Kurgan construct no shrines to the Chaos Gods, though they tend to raise Monoliths as the Norse and Hung do. Whilst the Kurgan may not regularly raise shrines to their gods, they do claim certain sites as sacred. Of these, many are the burial mounds of Scythian warrior-kings. One of the most significant of the Kurgan holy sites is known as Chamon Dharek, or "place of gold and darkness", a site of great wonder and secrets tended by a clan of reclusive sorcerers on behalf of all the Northern Tribes. It serves as safe haven for the Kurgan, and lies northeast of the great city of Erengrad. Though it is a sacred place to the Kurgan, many Norse tribes also make pilgrimages there, offering prayers and bloody sacrifices to the Dark Gods amidst the bones of Kurgan kings. Out of all the races of the North, it is perhaps the Kurgan who live most directly under the corrupting shadow of the Chaos Wastes, and are thus able to immerse themselves freely in the foul blessing of mutation that afflicts all who dwell so deeply in the North. As a result, the Kurgan feel as though they are the truest champions of the Dark Gods. Truly, they are dutiful people, who give themselves most willingly to their gods no matter the cost to their minds or sanity. It is also for this reason that the Kurgan fight terrible blood-feuds with the Norscan tribes to the west, for the Norse too claim the honour of being the greatest of Chaos's servants. Of these scuffles, it is the Norscans who most often emerge victorious, driving the horsemen back to their vast empty quarters in the east.
The Kurgan worship the Dark Gods as others of their kind: Khorne is looked to for strength in battle. Tzeentch is prayed to by sorcerers and shaman for aid with their spellcraft and to gain pre-eminence over the warrior-kings who command the tribes. Slaanesh for fulsome feasting and fertilty. And Nurgle that his gifts might be withheld. Of all the Dark Gods, it is Tzeentch, or Tchar the Eagle as he is known amongst the Kurgan, that seems to hold the most sway over the hearts of the nomads. The Changer's doctrines of mutability appeal greatly to the nomads. Life on the great steppe is ever changing and the Kurgan know well that to bind themselves too closely to one particular way of life is to consign themselves to doom, thus, change is what shall preserve the tribes and lead them to bloody victory over their foes. The Kurgan venerate Tzeentch a sky god, believing the eternal blue sky to be a manifestation of the mutable truth of the Changer of the Ways. After Tzeentch, the worship of various aspects of Khorne is most popular amongst the Kurgan, for they are a warrior race and the simple, brutal strictures of the Blood God dovetail neatly with a people whose lives are based around wandering, blood-sacrifice and war.
As the gods are thought to be very active in the lives of the Kurgan, their shamans wield incredible power and influence amongst the tribes. The shaman attach themselves to warlords who have attained great success in battle, in a sense wedding themselves to a Zar. To gain the services of these dark sorcerers is a sign of great prestige and honour amongst the Kurgan, for they are able to call upon unholy sorcery to aid the warriors in battle, and conduct black rituals and cast powerful spells that are said to gain favour with the gods, convincing them to crush the enemies of the tribe. Much like their Norse counterparts, Kurgan tribes dedicated to Khorne have little love for magic, and hence slay shaman where they find them. The Kurgan are not known to have Bloodfathers amongst their ranks as the Norse do.
- "There was so much killing and bloodletting that no one could number the dead. The Kurgan pillaged the temples and shrines and slew the Priests and virgins. They so devastated this land that it will never rise again as it was before..."
- —Marcia Nassus, On the destruction of a city in the Border Princes.
The Kurgan as a people value but one virtue over all others: strength. A people of hardened warriors; courage, skill and brawn are their celebrated traits. If anything, they are most notable for the thoroughness with which they carry out the slaughter of their enemies. They butcher any and all who dare to stand against them, and pursue those who flee like cowards to the ends of the earth. Those few who survive a Kurgan attack have but a life of slavery and misery to look forward to, for the horsemen are so dark of soul that compassion and mercy are entirely foreign to them. They are ruthless warriors, who fight in no regular order of battle, but instead by being extremely swift and sudden in their movements, they disperse and come together in loose array, wreaking havoc upon their foes by hammering them into oblivion with hails of arrows, spreading havoc upon the battlefield. The Kurgan are no less fearsome in close-quarters; for with their cruel axes and curved swords, they fling themselves into the fray without regard for their own safety and strike with ferocity and savagery unmatched by the men of the south. While the enemy is intent upon parrying the thrusts of their swords, the Kurgan will ensnare them with chains, so that he is made defenseless and thus all the easier to kill.
The Kurgan fight primarily as horse-archers, and so they are some of the most mobile warriors in the Warhammer world. The primary Kurgan melee weapon is the Pallazs; a straight-edged blade nearly six feet in length, a blade easily swung from the back of a charging horse as it is on foot in the slog of melee, curved swords are just as common; cruel, crook-bladed weapons wielded by Kurgan warriors with surpassing skill and deadliness. It is in their mastery of the bow that the Kurgan are truly fearsome, however; their archery unmatched by all save the elves and the Ungols. While in the saddle, they are invincible, unassailable. Heavy arrows sail through the air on wings of death when the Kurgan attack, and no armour forged by Men can defend against the sheer power of their draws which strike with such accuracy that fell their targets then and there. Some Kurgan are so skilled that they can launch multiple arrows from their bows with a single draw, and these are warriors to be reckoned with on the field of battle.
The Kurgan are led in battle by Zars, barbarian chieftains of untamed savagery and brawn. These tribal warlords hold their position by dint of martial skill, the favour with the Dark Gods, and the allegiance of their warriors. Much as in Norsca, the obeisance warriors pay to their chieftain forms the fabric of society in the Eastern Steppes. Chieftains earn the loyalty of their warriors by gifting them with spoils garnered from the battlefield, with the most successful fighters reaping the lion's share of the rewards. When not raining arrows upon their foes from horseback, these warriors serve their tribe as hunters, riding down cattle and wild anteloppe in order to feed the tribe. More often than not, Chaos Spawn and other dangerous beasts are brought back to the tribal yurts for even greater feasts. Not only do these efforts serve to provide sustenance to the nomads, but they also sharpen the warriors' skills for when they are called by the Zar or Khan to ride with him into battle.
So insatiably warlike are the Kurgan that they see it as their very duty to wage war upon those they perceive as lesser men. Regularly do bloodthirsty horse warriors thunder southwards to ravage the Kislevite stanistas, wreaking indescribable havoc upon the hovels of Gospodar scum scattered in the shadow of the mountain. Amongst themselves, the tribes are constantly locked in war. Raiding and stealing cattle and women from each other until some other tribe returns the favour. Their western holdings are threatened by the Sea Wolves of Norsca, particularly the Aesling and Vargs who are ever thirsty for Kurgan blood. While the most favoured among them make the journey northward to the Chaos Wastes to prove themselves as true warriors before the Gods.
- The Great Kurgan - The first great Zar of the Kurgan hordes, the Great Kurgan united all the tribes of the Steppe into a single, indivisible whole, a feat unrivalled by all his successors, even the mighty Asavar Kul. With his people united into a single great force, he unleashed untold destruction upon the Cathayan Empire, shattering all their armies with the might of his hordes of savage horsemen. He subjugated the Hobgoblin Khaganate and crushed them, breaking the power of the Greenskins for centuries. He led the Kurgan to victory against the bloodthirsty Hung, driving the easterners before him and enslaving them. It was the Great Kurgan who first drew his people to the dark service of Chaos, making unholy pacts with the Dark Gods in order to forge his endless empire on the Northern Steppes. When he at last fell in battle, his monumental legend faded into myth. A fireside legend amongst the warriors of the East.
- Asavar Kul - High Zar of the Kul tribe of the Kurgan people and 12th Everchosen of Chaos, Asavar Kul was renowned as the single greatest warrior the Kurgan people had ever known. A bloodthirsty warlord clad in lacquered armour, with the fire of forsaken gods burning in his dark eyes. Though many great warlords followed him, none could match the Kurgan in strength or ferocity. His armies destroyed all foes they met, and from the east they came and ravaged the lands of Kislev and the Empire. Despite his might, Kul was slain at the walls of Kislev, having been betrayed by one of his own warlords and left for dead with a jagged blade buried through his horned warhelm. Despite the Everchosen's death, few men of the North truly believed that a man as vicious as Asavar could truly be killed. In the centuries following his death, his name became a source of pride for the Kurgan tribes, and many arose in the Steppe claiming descent from the great warlord.
- Tamurkhan - A Nurglite warlord of unsurpassed power, matched only by the fearsome Glottkin of Norsca or the ferocious Valnir the Reaper in favour before the Lord of Decay, Tamurkhan was a mighty Kurgan warlord who earned the right to lead a great invasion of the Empire after triumphing over the armies of the other Chaos Gods at the forgotten city of Zanbaijin. His maggot-ridden horde of Nurglite warriors and Dolgan steppesmen penetrated deep into the southerly lands of the Empire, and even wreaked untold havoc in the lands of the Kurgan tribesmen's ancient foes, the Cathayans. His horde's bloodthirsty advance was finally thwarted by the armies of Karl Franz at the gates of Nuln.
- Surtha Lenk - A mighty warlord dedicated to Tzeentch, Surtha Lenk's Kurgan horde served as the vanguard for the later invasion of Archaon Everchosen in 2523 IC. His Spring Drive into the lands of the Kislevites dealt the Gospodars a terrible blow, and it was only by sheer luck that his armies were halted at the Battle of Muzarond. In addition to Kul, Dolgan, and Khazag tribesmen, Surtha Lenk's vast horde was also joined by savage Aesling berserkers sworn to the worship of Khorne. Surtha Lenk's horde also penetrated deep into Ostland and annihilated the Imperial city of Wolfenburg.
- Vardek Crom the Conqueror - Successor to Asavar Kul as the Zar of the Kurgan tribes, he eventually pledged himself as the Herald of Archaon Everchosen. Pledging himself to creating an army worthy of the Lord of the End Times, Crom conquered the other Kurgan tribes by slaying their Zars and Khans in single combat, asserting his dominance over the clans. He then led the horsemen in a whirlwind of brutal conquest, charging out of the steppe, besting Grimgor Ironhide himself in combat in his quest to slaughter his way through the Empire. He fought his way through the defenses of the Auric Bastion in order to raid the northeastern Empire, where he was slain by Valten, Herald of Sigmar.
- Liber Chaotica: Khorne (Background Book) pg. 16 - 19
- Tome of Corruption (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition) pg. 151 - 154
- Riders of the Dead (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Ursun's Teeth (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Warhammer Armies: Hordes of Chaos (6th Edition) pg. 12, 25
- The Daemon's Gift (Short Story) by Robert Baumgartner
- Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos (Forgeworld)
- Chaos War Mammoth Background and Experimental Rules (Forgeworld)