- "Before Elves, before Dwarfs, before Men, the Old Ones arrived upon this world. Then came Chaos and the Great Plan of the Old Ones was unmade. We are the last of their servants, and only by our hand shall the Great Plan be restored, with the total defeat of the usurping younger races."
- — Inscription upon the eastern boundary stone of the temple-city of Hexoatl.[2a]
The Lizardmen, sometimes known as the Cold Ones or the Children of the Gods[1d], are an ancient, savage race of cold-blooded reptiles that were at one time the first and oldest civilization within the Warhammer World. Long before the rise of Men, Elf or Dwarf, the Empire of the Lizardmen ruled supreme. Alien, enigmatic, and without mercy, the Lizardmen were there when it all began and will be there when the world draws its last dying breath, never tiring nor relenting until order is finally restored to this uncaring, chaotic world. Such is what they were made to do, for they are the ancient servants of the Old Ones, the one true protectors of this very world.[1a]
Once, in a long and forgotten age, the Lizardmen ruled over it all, dominating this ancient world during an age of primeval monsters. Although their realm is now partly in ruins and overgrown, they seek once more to rise up and reclaim that which they have lost many millennia ago.[1f] While the task at hand remains near impossible, the Empire of the Lizardmen still fight on - unleashing their cold-blooded savagery upon any who would stand in the way of their sacred mission.[1c]
From the lush jungles they come, beneath totems of gold, the Lizardmen march to war, the ground trembling from the approach of their large and mighty reptilian armies. They go to battle for reasons indecipherable to others, an ancient plan known only to themselves. None can ever understand their motives nor their ceaselses drive, for none truly understand that they are the rightful inheritors of the world and it is their sacred, if inscrutable, duty to restore order across the planet. If this means the wholesale eradication of the lesser upstart races outside of the Great Plan, then the Lizardmen Empire shall enact this world-spanning genocide once more.[1d]
- "There is wisdom and there is ignorance, and in between are the gateways to eternity through which the Old Ones so long ago passed."
- —Archival transcript of the words of Lord Xuatep[2c]
Utterly enigmatic, the Lizardmen have been stranded by their creators, the Old Ones, left to contemplate a world irrevocably changed. Over the millennia, the Lizardmen have sought after the clear guidance once supplied by their almighty creators. Against the growing threat of an age-old enemy, the Lizardmen have slowly come to the realisation that there is no gain in lamenting a bygone age, and that the time to enact the Great Plan is upon them. From temple-cities and ancient ruins they issue forth, emerging out of the jungle to coldly implement their vision upon the world.[1d]
Dawn of Creation (-10,000 to -5600 IC)
The origin of the Lizardmen is a tale that goes back to a primeval era when the world was dark and largely encased by thick sheets of ice. Long before Chaos came to the world, in a time before Elves, Dwarfs or Men, the land was ruled by titanic monsters. These enormous creatures battled for dominance and the warmest regions, those nearest the equatorial band, became the most highly contested zones. Some of these life forms were unthinking creatures of pure instinct, others were established civilizations that rose and fell in that forgotten age. Of that time of eternal twilight there is little knowledge, although buried ruins and descendant creatures still remain.[1d]
Into this brutal age came a mysterious race of god-like beings that plied the heavens in silvered ships. These strangers, known as the Old Ones, came from beyond the stars where they ruled an empire that spanned not just the cosmos, but time itself. Their technology was advanced beyond imagination — to them, astrology and astronomy, science and magic were all one and the same. Each world in the Old Ones’ empire was linked by a gateway. Some were small portals, allowing an individual to travel inconceivable distances with but a single step. Others, often situated in the cold void of space, were portals so large that vessels the size of moons could pass through. In their travels across the endless expanse of the universe, one planet caught their eye, for they saw in it a unique and boundless potential.
The Old Ones decreed that this world would have a central place in their unknowable plans and stellar gates at either pole were created to allow easy access to this hopeful new colony. Before the designs for their newest planet could be fully set in motion, the Old Ones had to reshape it to better fit their needs. Using powers beyond mortal comprehension, they shifted the planet’s orbit towards the warming sun. In time, the ice sheets retreated, verdant forests soon growing to cover over the newly revealed land.[1d]
Children of the GodsThe Old Ones created servants to tend to their needs. Thus was the first spawning of the Slann Mage-Priests begun. They were the grand viziers, trusted creatures of prodigious intellect, and the only beings able to withstand direct contact with the near-omnipotent Old Ones and comprehend their teachings. It was the Slann who were to guide the lesser races whose creation would soon follow. For upon the world, the Old Ones had encountered many primitive creatures, including those that would one day be transformed into the first Elves, Dwarfs and Men. Powerful and far-sighted, the Old Ones could shape new life forms even from these imperfect materials. They did encounter some creatures whose existence was incompatible with their future plans. As the climate warmed, the Saurus were created to destroy these anomalies and soon vast armies marched to war — a fight to eradicate those native races that needed to be removed.[1d]
The Old Ones frequently used the polar gateways to travel the cosmos, but in the meantime they created further spawnings of Slann to execute their plans. While the Saurus brought order to the world with their brutal campaigns of destruction, greater projects were undertaken. By command of the Old Ones, the Slann established the rainforest temple-cities in the region that would one day become Lustria. The Skinks were the technicians and the overseers; it was their role to direct the beasts of burden to haul and heft the heavy loads. In this manner, the Lizardmen built fabulous structures that rose high above the steaming jungles.[1d]
The Old Ones’ instructions to the Slann were very specific as to the locations where the temple-cities, and the many other architectural wonders, were constructed across the globe. Each one was raised up purposefully to form a vital nexus in a world-spanning ‘geomantic web’, an interlinked matrix of natural earth-energy that encompassed the planet. Each site was linked to the next and the Old Ones were able to draw upon this vast reservoir of energy to manipulate untold devices and enchantments of great power. The Slann Mage-Priests were also able to tap into the geomantic web, and with its energies they could shift continents and further aid the unknowable plans of the Old Ones. So long as each link remained connected, they could be used to telepathically communicate with one another over vast distances. By entering a trance, the Mage-Priests could transmit pure thoughts and hold councils of communion.[1d]
The Great Catastrophe (-5600 to -4420 IC)
All was not well with the world, however. Distressing signs began to manifest outside the gateways at the planet’s poles. They were but portals to another dimension, and it was from there that trouble arose. In the swirling madness of that otherworldly realm, nascent beings stirred, malign intelligences that resented the Old Ones’ trespasses. Disaster came suddenly. Whether due to enemy attacks or structural failure, the Old Ones’ great polar gates, the means by which they traversed the stars, collapsed upon themselves. The eldritch machineries of the gates crashed down upon the world in a burning hail of star-metal. Simultaneously, the poles of the world imploded, opening rifts into the beyond. Chaos spewed forth from the spirit realm.[1d]
Meteors of congealed magic, a substance known as warpstone, left weirdling contrails that set the skies aflame. The planet shuddered under thunderous impacts, with some meteorites burrowing like animals, gnawing deep into the world’s foundation. A layer of warpstone dust was cast into the air, its mutating properties causing untold atrocities. Across the globe, the seas churned and the forest canopies shook, convulsing with grotesque growth. Where the northern gateway had once been, there now throbbed a second moon, a green satellite made of pure warpstone -- Morrslieb. Many cries were lifted to that sickly orb, as hideously twisted creatures were born, howling in their agony.[1d]
As their portals collapsed, the Old Ones disappeared, their fate unknown. Yet the disaster could have been worse, if the Old Ones’ most powerful servants, the Slann, had not staved off complete destruction by sealing much of the rent in reality. So great was the strain of that undertaking that half of their number were slain — their brains melted by the incongruity of Chaos. Despite their sacrifice, the Slann could only shrink the gap; they could neither close it nor stem the tide of magical energy that swept the planet. The Old Ones were gone, and the Lizardmen and the fledgling races were now abandoned before a new and diabolical foe.[1d]
The World Besieged
In the wake of the clouds of magic came the daemonic legions of the Chaos Gods. They crystallised out of the swirling madness, materialising in numbers beyond count. Each Daemon was a powerful facet of its master, an unnatural being that burned with the urge to destroy. And so the war for the mortal realm was begun. Faced with annihilation, the remaining Slann rallied, mustering armies the sizes of which have never been seen in the world since. The Daemons attacked everywhere, but the Lizardmen bore the brunt of the attack. What followed was a series of terrible wars, titanic clashes that spanned continents, lasted centuries and claimed untold lives.[1d]
The Saurus met the daemonic tide, able to match their ferocity and return it in kind, but the might of the Lizardmen did not rest solely with its armies. The Slann, atop their pyramid-temples, gathered the rampant magical energies to fuel spells of unprecedented destruction. They gulped in the magic-infused air and belched forth firestorms, unleashed tidal waves, or split the earth asunder to lay waste to the invaders. In the war’s opening stages, the Slann proved more powerful than even the most magically adept of the Daemons. However, as the Chaos energies and unending reinforcements continued to flood into the world, the balance began to shift.[1d]
The Crumbling of Civilization
As the Chaos energies ebbed stronger, the Slann felt their powers dim, their spells growing harder to control. Even a minute error while manipulating magical forces resulted in horrific mishap — many Slann suffered mind-shredding backlashes or were lost to their own incandescent miscues. While the unconstrained Winds of Magic sapped the Slann, it conversely invigorated the Daemons, for they were born of the unnatural stuff and could readily shape it for their own use. As the magical supremacy shifted, so too did the war.[1d]
On the battlefields, titans made of pure fury smashed into the Saurus cohorts until the land was awash with blood. Plague monsters and beasts of living brass hurtled headlong into cold-blooded colossi, while above, flying reptiles battled batwinged behemoths for control of the skies. Despite mauling their daemonic foes, the Lizardmen were driven back. The Slann drew ever more upon their nexus of power, using its grounding to steady the unstable energies swirling around them. In desperation, they enchanted the jungle, turning their surroundings into a deathtrap full of carnivorous plants, living quicksand pits and teeming swarms of insects whose stings could crack Dragon scale. Rivers were redirected to impede the daemonic advance and volcanoes rose and erupted to slow their hellish progress. Yet still, the fell legions rampaged onwards. The Lizardmen withdrew to their temple-cities, bastions of order amongst a sea of Chaos.[1d]
For a time, even the relentless minions of the Dark Gods were checked as the Lizardmen exacted a tremendous toll. Giant reptilian beasts waded into the tumult, crushing paths through the hellish hordes before being lost to sight beneath the writhing masses. Strange devices left by the Old Ones were unleashed, artefacts of power that melted away the opposition by the thousands. Heedless of their losses, the Daemons continued to batter away at the protective barriers conjured by the Slann to protect each temple-city.[1d]
Eventually, the Daemons devised a way to breach the wards and Xahutec was the first to fall, its inhabitants slaughtered and its sky-scraping pyramids cast down. It began a chain reaction, weakening the magical barriers erected over each other temple-city in turn. So Huatl, Tlanxla, and Xhotl fell in quick succession. At Xhotl, the Slann Mage-Priests managed to hold out long enough to send warnings to the remaining cities, allowing them to employ suitable counterspells. The Daemons were stymied for a period, yet they were unrelenting. They devised new devilries to defeat each defence, unleashing a plague to overcome Chaqua, levelling Quezotec with the sonic barrage of a billion slaughtered souls in agony, and summoning shadowy tentacles to drag the great triangular temple-city of Zarmuda deep under the sea, where its force dome eventually cracked. After a thousand years of battle, only a handful of temple-cities stood, each a bastion protected by the greatest of the remaining Slann.[1d]
The Defence of Itza
At last the way was clear for the Daemons to besiege Itza, the First City and lynchpin of the Lizardmen’s arcane defences. Itza was under the protection of Lord Kroak, first of all Slann spawned upon the world and the mightiest of mages. The energy dome that surrounded Itza crackled with energy, turning Daemons to dust as they railed against it. Yet after years of strain, even Lord Kroak could sustain such mystic walls no longer, and with a final surge, he exploded the barrier outwards, flattening the surrounding jungle. A hundred thousand Daemons were banished in an instant. Nevertheless, the remainder swarmed into Itza.[1d]
Of all that long war, no battle was more fiercely fought than the one amongst the streets of Itza. Only an epic stand by Lord Kroak’s army of Temple Guard prevented the Daemons from overrunning the Great Pyramid. For many days and nights, the elite Saurus warriors stood firm on the lofty Bridge of Stars. Using his reservoirs of energy, Lord Kroak prepared his final incantations. As the last of the Temple Guard was cut down, Lord Kroak spouted forth spells that were the preserve of gods, raining fire from the heavens to vaporise the foe. Time stood still as the fabric of the universe strained at the outpour of sheer power.[1d]
Yet eventually even Lord Kroak succumbed. A dozen Bloodthirsters, protected by the favour of their dark god Khorne, fought through the deluge of spells and reached the top of the pyramid. There, they fell upon Lord Kroak’s form, ripping him apart in a savage instant. So overcharged with arcane energies was Lord Kroak that his spirit fought on, refusing to let even death hinder him. Set free of his flesh, Kroak’s radiant will soared above the ruins, scourging the invaders with a divine light that was like unto a second sun. The First City was saved.[1d]
Although Itza was delivered, the war raged on. Across the globe, the younger races also faced the Daemon legions. Despite retreating to their mountain holds, the Dwarfs had been decimated. The Elves of Ulthuan suffered tremendous loss, but in the end, their mages enacted the Great Ritual - a spell that created a vast vortex that drained away swathes of the magic that flooded the world. Deprived of their lifeblood of magical energy, the Daemons disappeared back to their seething realm, yet the world was irrevocably damaged, now transformed into a world saturated with magic and monsters.[1d]
The Age of Isolation (-4419 to -1500 IC)With the Daemons of Chaos banished, a new era dawned over Lustria. The Lizardmen issued forth from amongst the ruins of their temple-cities to a blasted, smoking wasteland. The Slann ordered their minions to begin reconstructing that which they could. This task was urgent and gave the Mage-Priests time to meditate upon the proper way to advance. The struggle for survival against the Daemons had allowed no time to contemplate a future bereft of the Old Ones. The Lizardmen were uninterrupted during their rebuilding as the rest of the civilised races were also recovering from war, and because Lustria had grown treacherous. To tread upon that continent was to invite death, as predatory beasts, tropical diseases and all manner of deadly flora still remained — the residual effect of the Slann’s many defensive spells and perhaps the corrupting taint of Chaos.[1d]
It was the intention of the Slann to fortify their own defences before re-establishing contact with the younger races. They certainly intended to continue their monitoring duties and most probably their mentoring roles to those under-developed projects begun by the Old Ones. But in this new age, the Slann soon discovered that even their best-constructed designs now seemed error-prone and displeasingly flawed. Details slipped away from the leaders of the Lizardmen and they spent much time contemplating why.[1d]
The Slann struggled to remember the rituals they had routinely performed before the coming of Chaos. Over a thousand years had passed since those days, and there were no longer any Slann of the First Spawning to guide them — none had survived. Of those Slann that remained, there was not one amongst their number that had entered the presence of an Old One. It was a lengthy task simply establishing which nodes of the geomantic web were still serviceable, as many sites had been damaged or destroyed. The Great Catastrophe had a lingering effect upon the Slann, for they had looked into the swirl of pure Chaos and that image had imprinted itself upon their orderly minds. It clouded their consciousnesses and dimmed their memories. Long rests were required to sustain them after serious bouts of deeper thinking. Yet despite the fact that they were but shadows of their former selves, the Slann remained masters of the mystic arts, their arcane skills unsurpassed by other mortals.[1d]
Although the Great Ritual of the Elves had driven much of the power of Chaos away, it had not banished it entirely. The poles of the world still writhed under its corrupting sway and the world still suffered an influx of its energies, ebbing and flowing in a patternless way. The Slann identified the tremendous threats already seeking to undermine the Elves’ vortex at the centre of their island home of Ulthuan. Were it to stop draining the world’s magic, the Daemons would soon reappear. Thus did the Slann begin their greatest undertaking of this new age. What remained of the geomantic web was used to strengthen the Great Warding — a string of lesser siphons, defences and sentinels that would keep the Realm of Chaos at bay and secretly lend its power to the vortex of the Elves. Many Mage-Priests spent the following millennia attending exclusively to this task alone.[1d]
The remaining Slann Mage-Priests set about piecing together the Great Plan. Immediately before the Great Catastrophe, the Old Ones had dictated instructions and predictions onto many plaques of stone or gold. The remnants of the god-like beings’ intentions were now scattered throughout the world, often buried in ruins. Those sacred plaques that were recovered were studied and their meanings mulled over. Since those days, the Lizardmen have continued to scour the world in order to recover more such artefacts. Even the suspicion of such an item being found was sufficient to rouse a Mage-Priest from deep contemplation, and for a mighty host to be dispatched to retrieve it.[1d]
The Long Decline
While the daily activity of the long-lived Slann slowed, new spawnings of Skinks and Saurus were continually generated at all the remaining temple-cities. As the Slann withdrew into their own cerebral worlds, the Skink Priests - the most intelligent of their kind — became the daily leaders of the Lizardmen. It was their ceaseless industry that restored the temple-cities, rebuilding everything for which they had architectural plans. It was they who ordered the overgrown jungle cut back to develop the roads between temple-cities.[1d]
And so, over the years, the Lizardmen, once the most advanced civilisation to walk the world, regressed to a primitive state. The Old Ones took on the aspect of distant gods, worshipped by the Lizardmen and called upon in times of need by the Skinks. They began to make bloody sacrifices to attract the attention of their missing gods. The relics that they collected upon the orders of the Slann were held in wonder; all hope of understanding the technology or their function lost, replaced with superstitious ceremony and ritual.[1d]
The Rise of the Warmbloods
In the wake of the Great Catastrophe, the first of the younger races to set foot upon Lustria were the High Elves. Only the most learned of Elven mages had even an inkling of the beings that dwelt in the southern jungles, and they expected to find only ruins. On a mangrove-choked shore on the isthmus of Pahuax, a graceful ship pierced the steamy veil. To tread the soil of Lustria was deeply significant for the explorers, for their race had been forbidden to leave Ulthuan and they suspected they now trespassed in the hall of gods. Skink watchers noted the intruders before they had marched a hundred paces. When runners arrived to deliver word to what remained of the temple-city of Pahuax, the Mage-Priest Huinitenuchli was roused from his recuperative slumber. He was still recovering from the battle of Xuhua Lake, and had yet to fully regain his previous vigour. Displeased that his slumber was disturbed, he uttered a number of orders to his attendants that were indecipherable, yet undeniably offensive, before lapsing back into sleep. Shorn of their master’s wisdom, the Skinks were forced to deal with the High Elves as best they could. As such, they adopted a watch to see what the fair-skinned trespassers would do.[1d]
The High Elves, sickened by the cloying heat, had already suffered losses to bloodwasps, piranha-lizards and the jungle itself. After twenty days, their captain led only a score of survivors to stand in the shadow of the bronze gates of the great city of Pahuax. By this time, Lord Huinitenuchli had awakened. He was carried to the Star Chamber at the apex of the Golden Pyramid where he ordered the intruders to be brought before him, so that he might look upon them and determine their place in the Great Plan.[1d]
With proper ceremony, the Elves were brought into Pahuax. They walked what remained of the city’s processional avenue. Even in its ruined state, the Elves gazed in awe at the majesty of the architecture and the hulking Temple Guard that flanked them. They climbed the steep stairs to the top of the Golden Pyramid, their skin tingling from the powerful confluence of the geomantic nexus. Complete silence fell, as Huinitenuchli appeared not to register their presence. At long length, the Mage-Priest’s eye focused upon the beings before him and he croaked out a single sentence before lapsing into unmoving repose. The Skink Priests attending Huinitenuchli erupted in excited chatter as they debated the meaning of the Mage-Priest’s utterance. Finally, the most senior of their kind pointed at the High Elves and declared that Huinitenuchli had said, ‘They should not be here’.[1d]
In an instant, the Temple Guard closed in around the Elves. Seeing their peril, the Elves drew their own weapons and bedlam erupted. The Temple Guard instinctively protected their master and half of the Elves were cut down. The High Elves’ captain led a desperate fighting retreat down the steps and through the vast city gates. They were allowed to escape, but even so, only the captain and a handful of warriors ever made it back to their ship. Many months later, wracked by disease, the captain brought word back to the Phoenix King, Bel Shanaar, of the cold-blooded creatures of the jungle. It would be many years before the Elves of Ulthuan dared to set foot in Lustria again.[1d]
In time, the other younger races discovered the hidden continent of Lustria and attempted to penetrate its depths. Most that set foot upon its golden coastlines died a gruesome death before travelling far into the jungle. Others succeeded in plundering outlying sites, stealing away treasures sufficiently valuable to establish entire empires in the lands from whence they came. The coming of these races was, to a degree, predicted. Where once the Slann had been tasked with controlling every step in the development of the approved mortal races, now they could plainly see that entropy had crept into the Great Plan.[1d]
The Rat and the Serpent (-1399 to 100 IC)
One of the most significant events in the history of the Lizardmen was the rise of the cult of the Serpent God, Sotek. Traditionally, the gods of the Lizardmen were, and still are, the Old Ones; such shadowy entities as Tlaxcotl, Chotec, Quatl, Tzunki, Xapiti, Huanchi and the inscrutable Тероk. Sotek was a new god, an upstart god of the Skinks who has now risen to reign as the pre-eminent god of the Lizardmen, eclipsing much worship of the mysterious Old Ones.[1d]
Amongst the sacred plaques of Chaqua there existed a passage not found in the inscriptions of any other temple-city. This was known as the Prophecy of Sotek, and it predicted a cataclysmic invasion of Lustria by two-legged vermin. It said the ruination would last centuries and must be borne. It foretold of the fall of many temple-cities, including Chaqua, and the spreading of a terrible plague. However, this Time of the Rodent would be brought to an end when the mighty Sotek would appear, and his coming would be heralded by the forked tongue of the serpent.[1d]
The Prophecy Comes True
It was not until a virulent pestilence arrived in Chaqua that the Prophecy of Sotek was brought forth from long neglect and scrutinised in detail. A careful analysis required months of study, and in the meantime, thousands of Skinks sickened and died. Even worse, the spawning pools were infected, as it was not fully-formed Skinks that emerged out of the primordial liquids of Chaqua’s spawning pools, as was custom, but instead foul, malformed creatures that crawled forth to mercifully die within a few hours.[1d]
Chaqua’s Slann Mage-Priests were alarmed, sending war patrols to sweep the nearby jungle. South of the temple-city they discovered a vile new race that had infested the nearby ruins of Quetza. They were rat-men that walked upright and bore the taint of corruption. The Skaven were already established in Lustria; the pox-ridden Clan Pestilens, disease-worshipping monks of their loathsome race, had gnawed out vast warrens and undertunnels. After harsh skirmishes, the Skinks returned bearing Skaven captives. The Slann knew these twisted beings were not part of the Great Plan and said so. The Skaven were to be studied in hopes of finding a cure for their entropic maladies. However, unbeknownst to the Lizardmen, the captives brought something else to Chaqua.[1d]
The temple-city was soon fully in the grip of plague, and even the Mage-Priests showed the unmistakable signs. They withdrew into council to consider the matter and after several days of fevered contemplation, the sickly Mage-Priests agreed that the time spoken of in the prophecy was at hand. Looking to the sky, they saw through eyes made rheumy by contagion the distant gleaming of a heavenly portent. As the light in the sky grew stronger, its twin tails began to look like the tongue of an enormous serpent. When the light was visible even in the daytime, the Mage-Priests succumbed to their maladies. The remaining Temple Guard bore their masters into the pyramids, sealing them from within. So passed the venerable Mage-Priests of Chaqua. Leadership of the city’s survivors fell to the Skink Priests who had, until recently, served the Slann. The greatest of their number was Tehenhauin, who recovered the plaques relating to Sotek and carried them at the head of a great column of survivors leaving Chaqua. He sought to warn all Lizardmen of the impending danger and rally them for revenge.[1d]
A Century of Battle
Tehenhauin travelled across Lustria, preaching the Prophecy of Sotek. He claimed that the Serpent God would rise to deliver the Lizardmen from plague and rat-spawn, but the god could only become manifest if given his proper due — and as payment Sotek demanded millions of ratmen to be sacrificed in his name. Skinks took to this new cult, but the Mage-Priests held it in disdain, refusing to acknowledge Sotek, for no mention of his name could be found in any other of the ancient plaques. This disbelief became increasingly difficult to maintain in the face of the plague’s devastation and the oncoming tide of ratmen. All across Lustria, Skaven armies emerged from the underground, bursting forth to overrun outposts, ruins and even fully occupied temple-cities.
All of Lustria was soon plunged into an age of war, pestilence and bloodshed. As the Slann meditated on the right course of action, it was Tehenhauin who rose up to lead the Lizardmen. He proclaimed himself the Prophet of Sotek and his fiery oratories — consisting of much chittering on the subjects of Skaven-slaying and growing the power of the Serpent God - became very popular amongst the Skinks. He gathered an army around him and fought wherever the Skaven were most numerous. Neither side showed the slightest mercy towards the other. Screeching Skaven hordes threw themselves upon the temple-cites, while Skink war-parties scoured the jungle, seeking out entrances to the ratmen’s underground lairs. Without consulting the Mage-Priests, Tehenhauin ordered forth the Engines of the Gods, arcane devices of great destructive power left behind by the Old Ones. The Skaven were blasted into ashes by the thousands.[1d]
The years turned to decades and still the conflict raged on, the comet waxing stronger. Tehenhauin exhorted his followers to capture and sacrifice more of the cursed vermin. With each battle, the number of Skaven rendered unto the Serpent God swelled. Although the coming of Sotek was foretold by prophecy and heralded by the comet, Tehenhauin claimed it was still necessary to grant the new god many sacrifices to assure his full might upon his arrival.[1d]
After a century of open battle, the war reached its bloody climax. Although he led his host to many victories in that time, it was the battle of Gwakmol Crater where Tehenhauin caused the most slaughter. There, so many cowering Skaven were captured that their long columns took days to pass as the Lizardmen herded them deeper into the jungle. Upon the crumbling altar of some long-lost and forgotten god, Tehenhauin began the most potent ceremony he had yet led. So many Skaven were slain that their streams of blood ran into the River Amaxon, turning it crimson. While the twin-tailed comet filled the sky, throughout the jungles a writhing carpet of snakes crawled forth. From that day onward, the power of Sotek coursed through Lustria and Tehenhauin’s forces proved to be all but unstoppable.[1d]
The Rise of Sotek
The Prophet of Sotek, and his armies, drove the Skaven back, breaking their armies and slaughtering them as they fled. The many armies of ratmen retreated back to their last remaining stronghold, the ruins beneath Quetza. There, Clan Pestilens’ leader, Lord Nurglitch, gathered his Plague Lords for desperate council. Mustering into a single horde, the Plague Lords led their clan in a breakout attempt. Suffering enormous losses, they pierced the encircling Lizardmen and fought their way many hundreds of miles to the coast. Every step was contested, for Tehenhauin strove for nothing less than total annihilation of the vile ratmen.[1d]
The final battle was fought upon the vitrified shores of Fuming Serpent Island. There, the Skaven attempted to flee the continent, for Lord Nurglitch had seen enough of Lustria and hoped to establish a new base in the Southlands. By tricking a quarter of his army into performing a sacrificial delaying action, the rest of the ratmen deserted their kin and sailed eastwards on a ramshackle fleet. What happened next is the stuff of legend. With a menacing hiss, the Skinks claim that a serpent of unimaginable size, none other than Sotek himself, rose from the bubbling volcano. Accompanied by slithering snake-spawn, the Serpent God plunged into the sea in pursuit of the fleeing Skaven. Such is the myth of Sotek.[1d]
With the Skaven defeated, the Slann Mage-Priests could no longer ignore the power of the new Skink god. They declared a Great Convergence - a physical meeting of the Mage-Priests, as had not been done since the age of the Old Ones. Every single Slann was conveyed to Itza, where they gathered in solemn convocation. Tehenhauin, the Prophet of Sotek, was summoned to speak before the Slann, although by their orders his words were not recorded. None but those present know what truths were revealed, but in the council’s wake, the Mage-Priests declared it was fitting that Sotek be venerated and that pyramid-temples be built in his honour.[1d]
Clan Pestilens had been expelled from Lustria, although there were still many signs of their malignant passing. The temple-city of Chaqua was re-opened, although the sealed pyramids were left untouched. The warrens beneath Quetza remained tainted beyond redemption. Swarms of serpents guarded the twisting tunnels, but no Lizardmen could set foot therein and survive the plagues that still lingered there. Henceforth, Quetza would be called ‘the Defiled’ and left to the jungle, although Skink patrols assured nothing escaped in or out of that cursed region. The long war had instilled in the Lizardmen a cold contempt for the twisted ratmen that would long endure. Having taken each other’s measure, the two races would clash many more times. Whenever the Lizardmen and Skaven face each other, Sotek and the Horned Rat, the verminous god of the Skaven, enact once more their eternal struggle. Even in their deepest trances, the Slann still listen for the gnawing below. The Lizardmen no longer stood upon the cusp of a new era, but had fully entered it. This was to be an age of blood, sacrifice, and the worship of savage and inscrutable gods.[1d]
The Age of Strife (315 to 954 IC)
For ages, Lustria was a hidden continent, a nigh-impregnable realm whose forbidding jungles deterred almost all invaders. Yet a new era was underway, and the younger races were increasingly drawn to the Lizardmen’s lands, covetous of their wonders and wishing to see for themselves if the rumours of cities of gold were true. A number of these intrusions were lone raids, of little concern to the Slann. They used such opportunities to observe the younger races. While Mage-Priests were wholly obsessed with the discovery and protection of the ancient plaques and sacred sites, they were dismissive of golden trinkets or baubles.[1d]
Thus, the most tumbledown, vine-choked ruin in the depths of the wilderness might be under heavy guard, while jewel-encrusted statues of purest gold were wholly abandoned to the jungle. Their Skink underlings were far less forgiving, however, and would seek to obtain orders to retrieve objects of even the least significance. When denied their wont, the boldest leaders of their kind fabricated excuses to attack invaders, tolerating no others in their domain. When enemies came in greater numbers, as they began to do with more frequency in this new era, it was the job of the Skink patrols to alert the armies of the nearest major outpost or temple-city. None of the invaders could stand before the might of a fully deployed Saurus host, but these larger-scale attacks upon Lustria shook the lethargy from the Slann Mage-Priests. The world was changing again.[1d]
They Came from NaggarothThe most prolific raiders were the Dark Elves of Naggaroth. Using their far-seeing ability, the Mage-Priests had watched the civil war on Ulthuan and had long pondered its meaning. To the Mage-Priests, these twisted creatures were scarcely distinguishable from any other of their kind. The Lizardmen had scant contact with any Elves following the disastrous encounter at Pahuax. The Slann Mage-Priests had, at first, allowed the Dark Elves to enter Lustria unopposed, or rather, not faced by the Lizardmen themselves — the jungle’s natural defences were unavoidable. In this way the Slann hoped to gain insight on the Elves’ intentions. What the Mage-Priests saw only served to confirm their opinion that the younger races had deviated far from the Great Plan. It was their shared telepathic determination that any contact with such a race of creatures could only lead to conflict.[1d]
The Dark Elves were arriving in Lustria in larger forces since their discovery of the Black Way, an underground network of subterranean rivers and seas that stretched all the way from the cold lands of Naggaroth. Armies of Dark Elves had been using this route to emerge in the heart of Lustria, allowing them to avoid the lethal dangers of the jungle. The passive approach of the Slann came to an end with the desecration of the Monument of Izzatal and the Elven attempt to capture the Skink Priests from the floating temple of Chotec, but perhaps the most damaging of the Dark Elf assaults was the theft of the Star Stela of Quetli.[1d]
The stelae are stone slabs inscribed with eldritch symbols and the Star Stela was an especially prized artefact, for the stone held the secrets of star alignment. Even as the Dark Elves hauled their plunder through the Black Way, the Mage-Priest Tepec-Inzi was startled awake, roused from a decades-long trance. He sensed the ramifications of the Star Stela in the wrong hands. Acting in great haste, the Mage-Priest mustered an army and transported it all the way to the grey shores of the Ashen Coast — intercepting the Dark Elves as they emerged from the Black Way.[1d]
The battle that ensued was remarkable for its ferocity, for the Dark Elves had no intention of being cheated of their prize. Tepec-Inzi left the battle plan in the hands of his trusted Saurus leader, Gor-Rok, whose albino scales marked him as blessed by the Old Ones. Given the order to ‘retrieve’, Gor-Rok met the Dark Elf assault head-on. He famously used his massive stone shield to smash the opposing commander’s chariot into splinters. When stabbed through the chest, Gor-Rok refused to die, instead pulling his assailant towards him by drawing the iron lance through his own body until he was close enough for his jaws to rip out the Elf’s throat. Steadily, the Lizardmen forced their foe back against the cruel breakers of the underground sea. Only after the battle had ended and Gor-Rok had retrieved the Star Stela was the Dark Elven weapon removed from the mighty Saurus’ blood-slicked form. The Star Stela was returned to its rightful place in the temple-city of Itza, where henceforth it would be protected by the Temple Guard, lest any attempt to steal it again. Furthermore, all Dark Elf raids into Lustria from that time onwards were to be met in force, and Skink patrols were assigned to scout deep into the Black Way.[1d]
The Coming of Man
The first humans to land upon the coasts of Lustria were from Norsca. Led by an infamous Norscan adventurer, Losteriksson, Northmen crossed the seas and ransacked an overgrown ruin they found near Lustria’s coast. Heedless of the blasphemy they had just committed against the Old Ones, the men loaded their longboats with golden artefacts and sailed for home. It was not long before word of their riches spread throughout the growing realms of Men, and many ships sailed west to find their fortune. Few survived the perilous journey and most that did were slain in the jungle — eaten by enormous reptilian creatures, swallowed by sentient quicksand or overcome by tropical disease.[1d]
The Norse, however, led by the returning Losteriksson, succeeded in establishing a settlement on the isthmus — a colony named Skeggi. Fearing what might lurk in the hinterlands, Losteriksson forbade his followers from entering the deep jungle, instead concentrating on building a stockade fort and collecting the gold and precious stones from the ruined watch posts along the coastline. Not all of his followers listened, however, and one reckless band probed the thick jungle, stumbling across a site of great riches that was guarded by the Lizardmen. The humans seized what they could before fleeing to their base.[1d]
Losteriksson only discovered what had happened when an army of Lizardmen emerged out of the jungle, encircling the settlement. The Norse believed themselves doomed, but Losteriksson ordered all treasure to be cast over the log ramparts. Recovering only a single glyph-inscribed plaque, the enigmatic Lizardmen left without a backward glance. Unbeknownst to the humans, the army had been sent to recover a particular item; gold and jewels did not concern the Lizardmen, though they represented a fortune.[1d]
And so Skeggi survived, in time becoming a prosperous base from which the men of the north would launch many ventures. Although raiding parties that intruded deep into the jungles never returned, those that stuck to the coastlines found sites ripe for plunder. The wonders, and treasures, of the great temple-cities of the interior of Lustria remained hidden. On the orders of the Slann Mage-Priests, the Lizardmen endured the minor raids, for they had far greater matters on which to focus their much-needed meditations.[1d]
The Ancient Enemy
It was not only greedy treasure hunters that the Northmen brought with them to Lustria when they established their settlement of Skeggi. The fierce tribal men carried with them their warlike gods - erecting crude idols and performing barbaric ceremonies in their honour. The names attached to these deities by their human worshippers had not been previously heard upon Lustria, but the continent had felt their power before. Strange stirrings not sensed for millennia disturbed the meditations of the Mage-Priests, echoes from the distant past reverberating from the mind of one Slann to another. Chaos once more walked upon the shores of Lustria, this time carried in the souls of the men of the north.[1d]
What awakened the Slann to the re-emerging threat of Chaos was the tragedy of Lord Zhul, the master Mage-Priest of Xahutec. Lord Zhul was especially steeped in the lore and study of the Old Ones and his wisdom was legendary, yet during his few waking hours, he began to issue irrational orders. When Lord Zhul’s Skink attendants considered his latest words, it was observed that he made contrary pronouncements only when his palanquin was positioned to face the rising of the northern constellation at the zenith day of each month. The alignment, as tracked along the geomantic web, passed directly over the ruined pyramid-temple of Tlencan. Suspecting this might be the root of the confusion, an expedition in strength was launched to discover what marred the tranquility of Lord Zhul’s thoughts.[1d]
The overgrown ruins of Tlencan were located on an island off the Scorpion Coast. Led by a skink known as Chief Quzipantuti, the Lizardmen force travelled quickly, mighty Bastiladons crushing paths through the jungle while a flight of Terradons scouted the path ahead. Once there, an investigation of the vine-covered ruins ensued. In the uppermost chamber, in the holy pool of power reserved for Mage-Priests, there slumped a vile Daemon Prince. Quzipantuti saw that a blade of Elven forging transfixed the creature, its innards glowing like lava. The wounded Daemon had followed the lines of the geomantic web, hoping to leech the power to restore itself.[1d]
Quzipantuti knew that the Daemon must be destroyed, but before the Skink Chief could summon his army, the Daemon had called upon its patron. Balefire spewed from the pyramid and a swarm of iridescent and crimson Daemons emerged from out of the air itself to do battle. They were met by a storm of javelins and barbed darts and, though many fell, the Daemons pressed home their attack, tearing through the Skink cohorts and crashing into the Saurus lines.[1d]
So fierce was the Daemon attack that they cut down half the reptilian warriors and would have swept them away altogether were it not for a timely charge by the Bastiladons. Thick armoured plates protecting them from harm, the enormous beasts waded through the Daemons, crushing more with every stride of their trunk-like legs. Twin Arks of Sotek borne on the creatures’ backs poured forth serpents beyond number. Perhaps Sotek, or the Old Ones themselves, took outrage at the contamination of the temple, for the serpents were joined by further swarms from the jungles. A living sea of serpents, a veritable tidal wave not seen since the wars with the Skaven, swept over the Daemons and into the pyramid-temple itself. There, they entered the topmost chamber and assailed the wounded Daemon Prince, their venom overcoming even that unnatural creature. With their leader gone, the Daemon army vanished completely.[1d]
At the very moment the Daemon Prince succumbed, Lord Zhul gave a feeble croak and perished. The mental duel to keep his thoughts pure had finally defeated him. His body was prepared with resin and bedecked with gold to rest within the crypt of the Great Pyramid, to be honoured as long as the Lizardmen realm stands, yet his loss was not in vain, for it opened the minds of his fellow Mage-Priests, alerting them to the return of that most malign of influences. Chaos was no longer invading Lustria only through its mutated offspring or the stained souls of the younger races.[1d]
Lord Mazdamundi Awakened
Despite the upsurge of invaders entering Lustria, some of the eldest and most powerful of Slann Mage-Priests could not be roused. The great Lord Mazdamundi, the oldest Slann still alive, was especially groggy and his Skink Priests despaired of ever wholly waking their exalted charge. It took a spectacular display of greed and hubris to finally impel Lord Mazdamundi to a fully awoken state. On three separate occasions, El Cadavo, a mercenary captain, established a settlement upon the Isthmus of Pahuax, always naming it ‘Cadavo’ after himself. Each time, Skink patrols eagerly sent back word and the Skink Priests climbed high onto the Great Pyramid of Hexoatl.[1d]
There, Lord Mazdamundi reclined - slumped in concentration, his eyes glazed and his prodigious tongue lolling. None of those wakings went well, but each ended with the groggy Slann acquiescing to the Skink request to drive off the invaders. It was like a Stegadon tail swatting away a bloodwasp. None believed the humans would be so foolish as to return. When the Skink Priests, with anxious glee, reported that El Cadavo had, indeed, returned and established a new settlement again, Lord Mazdamundi’s eyes opened wide for the first time in ages. His contemplation had now been disturbed three times in a decade - to a Slann but the blink of an eye. So Lord Mazdamundi made his preparations and read the constellations, learning that he was destined to be awoken yet again unless he took matters into his own hands. The Mage-Priest ordered his throne placed upon the back of the largest Stegadon and marched to meet the intruders.[1d]
Lord Mazdamundi was determined to see the settlement destroyed once and for all, as a warning to all those who would dare invade the realm of the Lizardmen. The Slann unleashed such immense power that the tectonic plates shifted beneath the human encampment. A terrible earthquake shattered the region, reducing Cadavo to ruins. When the dust settled, all its defenders had been crushed to a bloody pulp. Satisfied that the troublesome warmbloods would trouble him no more, Lord Mazdamundi returned to Hexoatl, with a mind to resume his contemplation of the great mysteries of the universe once again. Yet his blood was stirred, and his slumbers were not again so deep.[1d]
It was during the year of the Jade Star Sea that the largest Daemon incursion since the Great Catastrophe came to Lustria. Its leader was Slaa'Ulaan, a Daemon referred to in ancient stone tablets as ‘the nether-thing of the second moon’. Slaa'Ulaan was amongst the most destructive and vile of fiends during the Great Catastrophe and had been responsible for the capture of many Mage-Priests, all of whom were sacrificed in obscene rituals. It was the great Lord Huinitenuchli of Pahuax who had finally banished the foul Daemon at Xuhua Lake all those years ago.[1d]
When Slaa'Ulaan returned to Lustria many thousands of years later, Lord Huinitenuchli, who had relocated to Xlanhuapec, could not be roused. Only Lord Tenuchli, subordinate Mage-Priest to the great Lord Huinitenuchli, could be awakened. Accompanied by Chakax, the Prime Guardian of the City of Mists, Lord Tenuchli led an expedition to the Pillars of Unseen Constellations and there found the full might of Chaos assembled. The battle that ensued was a one-sided massacre, for the Saurus warriors were made sluggish by the arcane energies that flowed forth from the corrupted site. Slaa'Ulaan led the slaughter-filled charge and strode amongst the Lizardmen, snipping off heads and striking down whole ranks at a time, while the Saurus struggled to raise their weapons, so sapped were they of strength. In scant moments, only Lord Tenuchli remained, with Chakax immobile by his side.[1d]
Slaa'Ulaan charged the Prime Guardian, believing him incapacitated by magic, but Chakax was able to shrug off the disorienting spells and was only static because as of yet there was no direct threat to himself or the Mage-Priest he guarded. As Slaa'Ulaan neared, Chakax exploded into violent motion, pulping the Daemon into a steaming mass of bubbling daemonic ichor. Yet even in its death throes, the great Daemon directed its last energies into an arcane blast aimed at Lord Tenuchli. Chakax saved the Slann from instant death by stepping in front of part of the blast, yet Lord Tenuchli was badly wounded, his throne crashing to the ground. With Slaa'Ulaan’s death, the daemonic host dissipated, leaving only Chakax and the wounded Lord Tenuchli alive. With orders to stay by his Mage-Priest’s side, Chakax could only stand immobile, unable to seek help. A cycle of the moon passed before a patrol found them and escorted the unconscious Slann back to the City of Mists, the faithful Eternity Warden keeping pace every step of the way.[1d]
The Age of Awakening (2303 IC to Present)
A new era was beginning, for more and more often the Slann were awoken from contemplation by nightmares; beset with waking visions and ancient memories of daemonic attack. Led by the rejuvenated Lord Mazdamundi, the Mage-Priests felt the great forces stirring in the world once more, sensing with their mighty minds the waxing of Chaos at the distant poles. Although still troubled by soporific fits, the Mage-Priests committed themselves to opposing Chaos, and sought to counter its influence wherever it was discovered. At any given time, up to half of the Mage-Priests still living are engaged upon the monumental task of confronting Chaos. From their places of power - most often atop pyramid-temples — the spirit-selves of the Slann Mage-Priests battle in the ether against foes that would expand the Realm of Chaos over the entire world.[1d]
It was not coincidence that as the strongest surge of mystical energy seen in millennia erupted out of the north, the largest horde of mortal servants of Chaos invaded the northern reaches of the Old World in what was known in those lands as the Great War against Chaos. Though the Lizardmen did not march against the forces of darkness, every Mage-Priest pooled their powers so that the Chaos incursion might be repelled. Through their combined wills, the Slann dampened the influence of the Chaos Gods and denied Daemons the chance of entering the fray themselves. Though Magnus the Pious - the great hero of the Empire who led the defence of the human realms — never knew of it, without the endeavors of the Slann, his armies would have been ravaged by Chaos Sorcerers with unlimited powers, as well as beset by the full might of the Daemon legions.[1d]
At this time, the Slann also detected a subtle instability in the mystic vortex maintained by the Elves of Ulthuan. The workings of the Great Ritual were weakening, in danger of ultimate collapse. The Slann lent their own efforts to form mighty magical bulwarks around the Elven spell, helping to maintain the vortex with power drawn from the geomantic web. To date, the High Elven Loremasters remain unaware of this mystical aid, though perhaps the wisest of them suspect that a power other than their own is also at work.[1d]
The Return of the Ratmen
Skink patrols had long watched the boundaries of Quetza, the Defiled City, guarding against the return of the Skaven. Suspicions were raised when many of these patrols suddenly went missing: the Skink Astromancer Tetto'eko had foretold the Skaven’s return, and had seen in the stars that the Lizardmen were quickly coming to a junction in the course of the Old Ones’ plans. When no Slann could be awoken, he led a mighty force out of Tlaxtlan himself. The army approached the Defiled City, Tetto'eko at its head, mounted atop his stone palanquin, when suddenly he relayed a series of sharp commands. Dutifully, the Saurus shifted from their marching columns into fighting ranks and none too soon. Moments later, the ground caved in and a tide of filthy ratmen erupted from below. The Skaven had returned to Lustria, and in numbers beyond counting. Were it not for Tetto'eko’s foresight, the Lizardmen cohort would have been instantaneously surrounded and overwhelmed.[1d]
As it was, the Skaven were forced to attack the front of the Lizardmen battle lines and many of the degenerative ratmen were slain. However, it was a price the invaders were willing to pay, for not only did they outnumber their reptilian foes a hundred to one but, during the tumult, their secret weapons were able to deploy. Small teams of ratmen carrying devious fire-throwing devices came forward, unleashing torrents of tainted flame to incinerate many Saurus. As the brunt of their numbers slowly pushed the Lizardmen back, a strange portent occurred. The Chaos Moon, hanging low in the sky, slipped from view as the true moon eclipsed it. This sign gave hope to the Lizardmen, and in it, Tetto'eko read many things — including the key to victory and the dire consequences should his Lizardmen army fail.[1d]
For the next few hours, Tettoeko chittered out high-pitched commands, all of which were followed to the letter by the army, and each manoeuvre came just in time to blunt a forthcoming Skaven attack or counter some devious trick of the ratmen that was otherwise destined to overtax the precarious Lizardmen defence and turn the battle into a rout. The Saurus Cold One cavalry did not question the command to charge suddenly into the thick mists on their right flank, but when they did so they smashed aside Rat Ogre packs that were hauling massive constructions into place — war machines whose enfilading fire would have obliterated Tetto’eko’s forces. Skaven tunnelling teams bored up from below to discover not vulnerable flanks, but waiting Salamander hunting packs. Soon, the smell of burnt rat filled the battlefield. Again and again, the outnumbered Lizardmen staved off defeat with timely counter-attacks, each time mustering the ideal retaliation. Infiltrating Skaven Assassins were revealed and slain before they could employ their poisoned blades, and Skaven weapon teams were destroyed even as they prepared to fire — their own demise often causing a chain reaction of explosions that ran down the Skaven lines as further diabolical devices burst into flames.[1d]
With the immediate threats stymied for the moment, Tetto'eko closed his eyes and drew upon the Winds of Magic, reaching out to the heavens. Employing his prodigious will, the mighty Skink Priest pulled an unseen giant celestial object from out of orbit in the heavens above, bringing it crashing down upon the deserted city of Quetza. With a thunderous impact, the comet fell to earth, collapsing the tunnels underneath the city and stemming the endless tide of Skaven reinforcements. The remaining ratmen, a cowardly lot, sprayed their musk and fled - only to be cut down by the pursuing Saurus or preyed upon by the many hungry creatures awaiting in the surrounding jungle.[1d]
By his mighty deed, Tetto'eko won the battle and steered the fate of the Lizardmen to victory where their defeat had seemed inevitable. However, the Astromancer scried the stars, and the message was unequivocal: the rat stars waxed strong. A vast network of tunnels was revealed to Tetto'eko; far beneath the surface of the earth, it stretched across the world, and each passage was choked with malevolent vermin kind. Led by their loathsome god, they were coming to Lustria; indeed, many of their agents were already in place. The Lizardmen must ready themselves for another war against the Children of the Horned Rat.[1d]
The increased watchfulness of the Lizardmen proved wise, as the Mage-Priests detected a subtle ripple in the geomantic web and a straining of the Great Warding. The spirit-forms of the Slann traced the lines of disturbance until they reached the Spear of the Gods, a mighty column of glittering crystal rising a mile into the sky from the stormy waters of the Sea of Squalls. From this vantage point, the Slann determined the source of the trouble lay in the Turtle Isles, a thousand milelong chain of islands skirting the west coast of Lustria. To find out more, the Slann sent out an expedition of Terradon Riders, which were joined by a Skink Oracle. The Oracle guided his Troglodon, following the strange scent of magic - swimming through monster-infested waters to allow the Mage-Priests to see through his eyes. It was not hard to pinpoint the disturbance; an incandescent pillar of light rose miles into ominously swirling clouds. At the base, the Oracle discovered a ziggurat of purest gold.[1d]
A site of great power in the days of the Old Ones, this once-sacred nexus had become uncoupled from the grid and long been forgotten by the Slann. Yet it had not gone undetected by the Dark Gods, who had sent their minions to befoul it. The sea-faring human tribes, Marauders of the north, had defiled the pyramid, unleashing ancient powers that they did not understand. At the end of their ritual, the barbarians had been slain by the forces released, yet the pawns had played their part. With its corruption, the Golden Ziggurat was fully unlinked from the geomantic web, and the spells weaving together the Great Warding grew a fraction weaker.[1d]
For the Lizardmen, some unintentional good came out of the defiling of the Golden Ziggurat. Deep in the innermost chambers of the structure, the Skink Oracle found a plinth whereupon foul sacrifices had recently taken place. There also was a scattering of sacred plaques; the relic crypts had been opened in the barbarians’ quest for treasures, but they had not recognised the glyphs or the inherent value in the stone tablets. The Oracle, however, did - instantly identifying that these were a segment of the Great Plan of the Old Ones — left forgotten on this forsaken island many ages ago.[1d]
The Great Warding Falters
No sooner had the lost plaques been delivered to Hexoatl than other disturbances reverberated across the geomantic web. The Mage-Priests could not distinguish a source, and those Slann not engaged in studying the newly found plaques sought out that which was increasingly putting pressure on the arcane sentinels that helped keep the power of Chaos at bay. There was no single answer, for at dozens of points across the globe, the sea-faring human tribes of the northlands sought out ancient waystones. Some sites, like the Golden Ziggurat, were left deserted in the wild places of the world, while others were defended by various creatures or races; in many cases, Elves, attracted by the unseen power, had established colonies atop the older ruins, unintentionally serving as guards over the distant nodes. With fire and slaughter, the Northmen stormed these garrisons, and cast down the standing stones, rededicating them to their own Dark Gods. The effect on the geomantic web was felt keenly, as each lost site weakened the whole.[1d]
It was clear to the Slann that Chaos was ascendant, and they predicted that the attacks on the nexus points could only be followed by a direct assault upon Lustria itself. Yet Lustria is vast, and where the foe might strike was hidden from their foresight. The mind-miasma that had affected the Mage-Priests since the Great Catastrophe was intensifying, and each Slann felt his orderly and tranquil thoughts pulled in all directions. With the depletion of so many sacred sites, for a time all balance was lost and the Mage-Priests were blind to what was about to occur. From the jungles north of Hexoatl came a vast army, a force composed of thousands of mortal servants of Chaos. A mercenary throng of Dark Elves from Naggaroth led them, acting as scouts for the hordes from the north. At the head of the force, atop a smoke-belching Dragon the shade of midnight, rode a being of purest evil - Vashnaar the Tormentor, an anointed Champion of the Dark Gods.[1d]
With the sentinel stones not functioning, the Chaos armies marched undetected into Lustria. It was Hexoatl’s Master of Skies, a Skink Chief named Tiktaq'to, who first sighted the invaders. Atop his Terradon, he swiftly sent word to Hexoatl but, to his dismay, Lord Mazdamundi was absent; secreted atop a jungle ruin contemplating the recently discovered plaques. All of the other Mage-Priests were in trances and would not awake for days. Assuming command of the army of Hexoatl, Tiktaq'to set to the city’s defence before leading a series of hit and run attacks to slow the foe down. For three days and nights, Tiktaq'to and his aerial army of Terradon Riders harried the approaching advance. They struck from above, launched counter-attacks and dropped boulders to crash into marching columns. On the fourth day, with his enemy seething with rage and seeking an opportunity to swat the irritating nuisance, Tiktaq'to lured many tribes of barbarian horsemen and Naggarothi cavalry into the Bloodleech Swamp, where they were cut down by ambush. Despite the losses, the Chaos forces advanced to dominate all approaches to Hexoatl.[1d]
As the two great forces began to clash in earnest, several of the younger Slann awoke and terrible blasts of sorcerous power rent the skies asunder. In the midst of the sprawling carnage, Vashnaar dealt death. Backed by the Chaos Gods, none could stand before him. Although the Saurus fought with cold-blooded discipline, they were driven backwards until the Chaos host was at the gates of the temple-city, and the siege of Hexoatl began. While Chaos Sorcerers and Slann lit the air with mystic duels, Vashnaar the Tormentor ordered up batteries of war machines the like of which had never been seen in Lustria. All gears, cogs and vast rune-etched barrels, they were siege engines twisted to contain the tortured souls of Daemons. Their fire was fury made manifest, and they rained blazing hellshot to smash apart the stone blocks of Hexoatl’s walls, creating gaping holes. Into those breaches, Vashnaar ordered his heavily armoured warriors, the elite killers of his army. In their vanguard raced mutated behemoths, muscle-bound monsters made of teeth and rage.[1d]
Time and again, the defenders of Hexoatl repulsed the Chaos attacks at the walls. From the jungles came aerial assaults led by Tiktaq'to, and the wings of his airborne assaults blotted out the sun. Many of the foes’ war machines were smashed, but after two cycles of the moon had passed, the battle was still ongoing, and it could only be a matter of time before the forces of Chaos entered the city. However, on the sixty-third day of the siege, everything changed. As the sun rose over the margin of the world, a saurian roar came from the mist-wreathed jungle. The forces of Chaos stood dumbfounded as they sought the source of this bellow, and the earth began to shake under a heavy tread. The jungle itself erupted; a mighty Carnosaur led the surge, Kroq-Gar, the great Saurus war-leader on its back, and behind him came an army of Cold One cavalry. To meet this new threat, Vashnaar the Tormentor mounted his Dragon and charged. Yet Kroq-G ar’s army was not alone.[1d]
Gathering the might of Lustria about him, in an army whose power had not been seen since the Great Catastrophe, came Lord Mazdamundi. He rode upon a Stegadon so large that the jungle parted in its wake. The ancient judgement of the Old Ones burned in the Slann’s eyes, and at his command, the earth was rent, a gap that swallowed half of the Chaos host before the true battle began. And what a battle it was - Kroq-Gar and Vashnaar were locked in combat, each the equal of the other. Reptilian titans of an elder age clashed with the monstrosities of the north. With a blaring of war horns, the gates of Hexoatl were flung open and the defenders sallied forth to join the fray. Steel-clad barbarians crashed into the scaled Saurus warriors and the carnage was total.[1d]
By dusk, Lord Mazdamundi and Kroq-Gar stood upon the batdefield and surveyed their victory. The jungle was flattened in a twenty-mile ring and the dead lay in mountainous piles. Vashnaar’s severed head hung from Kroq-Gar’s saddle and the hooves of Mazdamundi’s Stegadon were crimson with the blood. The forces of Chaos had been defeated and Hexoatl was saved.[1d]
Message of the Old Ones
With Vashnaar’s defeat, the pressure upon the Great Warding lessened, but did not disappear. The Slann reasoned that Vashnaar had taken advantage of an upsurge in the power of Chaos and that others would follow in his wake. Lord Mazdamundi announced that he had deciphered the meaning of the plaques found on the Turtle Isles, saying they were composed mere days before the Great Catastrophe and their message was incontrovertible. They stated that the Great Plan could not proceed until all the corrupting elements that were sure to be introduced by the looming disaster were eliminated. Foremost amongst these would be the followers of Chaos.
All such creatures, the plaques claimed, must be expunged and, as Lord Mazdamundi pointed out, anything less would be a failure of their duties to the Old Ones. The true power of Chaos was stirring in the world once more, and the Lizardmen must rise to meet it. Those younger races that would not join them against the common foe must be considered enemies. A time of vast battles, Lord Mazdamundi pronounced, was at hand.
- "Thus the Al Nehekharin were destroyed and they collapsed into heaps of skulls and bones strewn across the desert. Their numbers could not prevail against the might of the Stegadons and the rage of the Al Saurim. Although the wailing and sight of the evil hordes would've struck terror into the hearts of mortal men, the Al Saurim were not at all afraid, they just slew anything that came near."
- —Extract from Ibn Jellaba's Expedition to Zltatlan, circa. 1150 IC[4b]
The term Lizardmen, is the name used by many outsiders to represent all of the intelligent cold-blooded denizens of the jungle-continent of Lustira. The Lizardmen as a whole are a race of large, bipedal reptile and amphibian hybrids that live almost exclusively within warm tropical climates and jungle environments. Though many often find little distinction between each of the individual species that make up their civilization, the Lizardmen race is not a single race but rather consist of a collection of vastly different species. Though they may be genetically related to other reptiles that inhabits the continent of Lustria, only the Slann, Saurus, Skinks and Kroxigors are considered an actual part of the core Lizardmen race.[4a]
The mystical Slann appear almost toad-like, with bloated sluggish bodies that contains an almost alien intellect. Large, unearthly creatures, the Slann are quite unlike anything else seen within the world. Their heads are large to match the mighty intellect held within, and their eyes are bulbous and all-seeing. They can live for thousands of years and their bodies become more bloated with the passing centuries.[3g]
The powerful Saurus are like large, bipedal crocodiles whose entire body seems geared towards combat and warfare. They stand larger than a Man, with bony crest protecting their heads and neck, and tough scales that run down their backs, arms and spines. Even unarmed, Saurus are perfectly capable of slaying their enemies, for their tails and limbs are equipped with all manner of naturally hard spurs and talons, and their jaws are powerful enough to crush bone.[3h]
The crafty Skinks are small, agile, and intelligent creatures that evolved from the amphibious animals that lived in the swamps of Lustria many millennium ago. The Skinks have the greatest variation in comparison to other Lizardmen species, but all are universally small, skittish, stealthy and swift. This makes them exceptionally good hunters, stalking through the dense jungles and killing any warm-blooded creature that would dare to venture into their world. The Skinks have a natural affinity with water, and can swim swiftly through dark jungle swamps and rivers.[3i]
The hulking Kroxigors are the largest of the Lizardmen race. They are essentially giant cousins of the Saurus, bred for their brute strength and power. They are large, powerful creatures, yet their intellect and speech capabilities are far more limited than those of the Saurus. They are terribly strong creatures, able to bear enormous loads, and is encased within almost stone-hard scales of powerful reptilian armor.[3k]
The Lizardmen's core species such as the Slann, Saurus, Skinks and Kroxigors are not born from eggs, like their feral reptilian cousins, but are birth from special pools and ponds located within sacred regions of jungle. This birthing of a new generation of Lizardmen are called Spawnings. Every Temple-City has its own sacred ponds and expanses of marsh where these spawning events occur. Skinks and Kroxigors tend to spawn in ponds and swamps open to the sky, whereas Saurus and certain other Kroxigors are usually spawned in dank subterranean caverns. Pyramid Temples are frequently built over the top of the entrances to such caverns and outlying swamps are sometimes made into rectangular ponds encircled by stone.[4o]
Due to their amphibious origins, some days after the spawning event begins, little tadpoles emerge out of the water, growing in numbers and size at an extremely accelerated rate, feeding on the enormous number of tropical insects that hover above such waters. When the Lizardmen are fully developed they emerge unto dry land in enormous numbers all at the same time.[4o]
The interval between spawnings can be very long and usually a spawning will not recur in the same pond within the lifetime of the last generation that was born there. Thus each city is surrounded with multiple spawning pools which spawn at different times of the year. Each spawning is linked to astrological cycles and will alway begin at certain conjunction of stars and planets. Since each generation emerge from different ponds at different intervals in time, there are always several dozen Lizardmen of the same age and origins living within tightly-knit groups within their home city. Being of the same spawning, different age-groups will also have varying degrees of features which are unique to that particular spawning, such as different skin tones, unique markings, a calm and calculated attitude towards administrative duties or a more fierce and warlike attitude towards war.[4o]
These large groups of Lizardmen are given a single directive or purpose upon their birth, such as either being formed into cohorts of tribal warriors or become the artisan and workers for their respective Temple-Cities. Those spawning that only birth a single individual usually means that this particular Lizardmen is meant to be a leader amongst their kind. Due to the timing of spawnings, the Mage Priest have careful records which detail the time when a new spawning will occur, but not all are recorded and some spawnings will appear to happen at completely random intervals in time.[4o]
- Slann - the Slann are an amphibious race of mystical seers and leaders of the Lizardmen.
- Saurus - the Saurus are a brutish race of carnivores that are devoted as tribal warriors.
- Skinks - the Skinks are a crafty race of ampibious reptiles that roam the jungles as hunters and crafters.
- Chameleon Skinks - a subspecies of the Skink who has the ability of camouflage.
- Kroxigors - Kroxigors are large cousins of the Saurus, and are the heavy labourers of their community.
- Dread Saurian - the largest and most powerful jungle-predator to ever stalk the lands of Lustria.
- Thunder Lizard - the largest creature within the Lustrian jungle.
- Coatl - A large species of flying, featured serpent.
- Salamander - Salamanders are large, fire-breathing reptiles that inhabit swamplands.
- Terradon - Terradons are massive flying reptiles that serve as mounts of the Lizardmen.
- Stegadon - Stegadons are massive horned reptiles that serves as a beast of burden.
- Troglodon - Troglodons are a cave-dwelling species of albino carnivores.
- Carnosaur - Carnosaurs are the largest predators within Lustria.
- Cold Ones - Cold Ones are hunched bipedal carnivores that dwell within subterrean lairs.
- Ripperdactyl - Ripperdactyls are enormous flying lizards that hunt the skies of Lustria for prey.
- Razordon - Razordons are large armored reptiles encased in powerful spiked armor plating.
- Bastiladons - Bastiladons are massive armored reptiles that acts of beasts of burden.
- "We came upon a small, ruinous platform. On top of this were arrayed a group of Skinks and the larger and more ferocious warriors called Saurus. Sat in front of them on a golden carrying throne was a creature like a great, bloated toad. This I had not expected, though some Norsemen I had questioned back in the Old World had told me that such creatures existed and were indeed the priest and rulers of the Lizardmen. They were called the Slann..."
- —Extract from "The Tale of Marco Colombo", circa. 1492 IC[4q]
The Lizardmen are all ruled by the mystical Slann, the most intelligent and powerful of the Lizardmen. It is they who rule the other Lizardmen as a sacred caste of powerful magic-users, each one bearing the title of Mage-Priests. The Mage-Priest are in all practicality, the political and religious leaders of their entire civilization. All of the Slann living to this very day belong to this sacred caste, because they all possess the ancient intellect and magical powers bred into their race by the Old Ones of a halcyon age.[2g]
However, all of the Slann that are alive today are only the descendants of those that have seen the Old Ones in person. Those that actually came with the Old Ones are already long dead and their relics lost to time. Within the hierarchy of the Mage-Priest caste, the oldest of the Slann are the most powerful within their caste, each of which are divided into five spawnings in descending order in relations to power and importance.[2g]
Those of the First Spawning are the greatest and most powerful of them all. Unfortunately, all of them have since died out, leaving the Second Spawning to claim the title of Lord Mage-Priest. There are only five Lords left in existence, but each one reigns over one of the great and major Temple-Cities of the Lizardmen Empire. The Slann of the Third Spawning, known as Master Mage-Priest, are twice as many in numbers and rule the lesser Pyramid-Temples within the Lizardmen realm. The Slann of the Forth Spawning are known as Mage Champions and serve as the generals and leaders of the Lizardmen army in times of war. The Fifth Spawning is the most numerous and are the most energetic and alert of them all. They also occupy the lowest position within their caste and only carry the simple title of Mage-Priest.[2g]
- "At the time of the three hundredth cycle of this world, the two moons shall unite and summon forth the Rodent God and his evil spawn to deliver plague and pestilence upon the land named Lustria"
- —Extract from the Prophecy of Sotek[4i]
The Lizardmen all revere the Old Ones as all-mighty deities, the ancient and long forgotten creators of this very world. Many long, bloody millennia have passed since the collapse of the polar gates and the departure of the Old Ones. No living Slann Mage-Priest remains to speak of them and so they passed from memory into legend. Ever since then, the enigmatic Old Ones have come to be regarded not as benevolent rulers of an order spanning the universe and the dimensions, but now as a distant, long-lost pantheon of hungry Gods.[2e]
With no first hand knowledge of the Old Ones, and with their records scattered and incomplete since the Great Catastrophe, the Lizardmen have but a fragmented picture of their creators. The sacred plaques are replete with oblique and obscure references to various Old Ones and their deeds, and from these the Lizardmen have come to associate specific traits with individual Old Ones. Tlanxa, for example, is an Old One described in many glyphs as the embodiment of the warlike nature of the Lizardmen, and a pair of matching glyphs sequence in Hexoatl and Itza make reference to him riding to war in a all-mighty sky-chariot.[2e]
Quetli is spoken of in the sacred plaques of Hexoatl as the "Protector of the True Way". Xhotl, the Old One after which the temple-city is named, is described in every sequence that mentions him as the chooser of those destined for greatness. As the Lizardmen have come into conflict with more and more races, those Old Ones associated with the martial aspects of the Lizardmen's nature have come to the fore.[2e]
Worship of the Old Ones is a highly ritualistic affiar, but its exact form depends on the deity in question and the nature of the worshiper who conducts it. The Mage-Priest, for example preside over all manner of ceremonies that occur within his domain but yet remain impassive throughout the entire experience. A Mage-Priest may be carried to a high altar to make the ceremony an official event yet he would remain in his meditation trance all the while, completely unaware or uncaring of the ceremony itself. As such, it is the Skink Priests that actually carry out the many and varied observances, abasement's and rites associated with each Old One.[2e]
The Saurus too pay homage to the lost gods, though these simple-minded creatures do so in their own, simple way. They may heap the bodies of fallen enemies before a totem to the warrior-defender Quetzl for example, or swallow whole the still-beating heart of the vanquished in honor of Tzcatli, he who grants strength to a warrior's arm. Even the near mindless Kroxigor make obeisance to the gods of the Lizardmen. This worships comes from a resounding, low rumbling chant as the sun rises. Perhaps once, before the Great Catastrophe, the Lizardmen communicated directly to their masters, or had no need to do so at all, since all their needs were already predicted and met. Long after their departure however, the Lizardmen go to ever-greater lengths to enact the will of their lost Gods.[2e]
Those few races that encounter Lizardmen and live to tell of it find them an alien and incomprehensible race - utterly cold and devoid of compassion. Like wild beasts, the Lizardmen are instinctive and savage. They are able to slaughter every last one of their foes with brutal efficiency and they do not know the meaning of remorse, however, the Lizardmen way of war is not inherently cruel. Even when mercilessly mauling an invader or wiping out those deemed undesirable, the Lizardmen do not kill wantonly for its own sake. That changed the day the Skaven came.[1d]
While superstitious acts have gained in popularity since the loss of the Old Ones, these were taken to horrific new levels with the coming of the new god Sotek. Inspired by Tehenhauin, Skink Priests led the ritualistic slaughter of untold thousands of the foul ratmen. These Skaven were sacrificed in horrific fashion - sometimes thrown alive into writhing pits of serpents, other times split open and choice organs proffered to the heavens. If the Skaven was lucky, he was simply beheaded by a Saurus executioner. It is recorded that Kroq-Gar, a mighty Saurus leader, has personally delivered the killing strike to over a thousand Skaven warlords since the event known simply as the Rise of Sotek. Entire temple-cities would turn out to watch the sacrifice of an important Skaven commander, the vast plazas filling with clamourous Skinks. For the most part, the inscrutable Slann Mage-Priests leave such barbaric practices alone, although they could no longer ignore the popular rise of the new god Sotek, nor could they rein in the base practice of offering up sacrifices to attract the blessings of the gods.[1d]
Major Old Ones
- Sotek - God of Blood and Serpents[2e]
- Tlanxa - God of War[2e]
- Quetli - Protector of the True Way[2e]
- Xhotl, Chooser of Greatness[2e]
- Tzcatli, God of Strength[2e]
- "Their leader, who was bedecked in feathers, edged towards me. It was I who spoke first. "Salaam brother, we come in peace!" He spoke to me in his own tongue which I could not understand. It was time to delcare the reason for our entry into his land before they decided to attack us..."
- —Extract from Ibn Jellba's Expedtion to Zlatlan, circa. 1150 IC[4b]
The Lizardmen language known as Saurian is a primeval reptilian tongue. It is almost unpronouncable for any race other than the Lizardmen to speak, due in part because it contains so many unique sounds that can't be spoken in other tongues. Only a Lizardmen can voice these or interpret them as words or sentences. The Lizardmen's written language is much more understandable, mainly being composed upon glyphs chiseled unto bare stone or gold. It is doubtful whether the Saurian tongue was spoken by the Old Ones as they probably communicated with the Slann by means of telepathy. As such, many scholars believe that the Saurian language is one unique to the Lizardmen race.[4m]
- "There were many small pyramids clustered around the larger pyramids, as well as these there were terrances, numerous rectangular pools glinting in the sunlight, tall obelisk and other structures. All of these were intricately carved and painted. One building was still under construction. I could see huge beasts which looked like a cross between a Dragon and an elephant, dragging massive blocks of stone up large ramps. The din of thousands of Skinks chipping away at the stones with chisels reached by ears, as well as the rasping of orders of the foremen directing the work."
- —Extract from "The Tale of Marco Colombo", circa. 1492 IC[4q]
The society of the Lizardmen is highly sophisticated and ancient beyond reckoning. It was they who first became the world's first true civilizations, erecting their cities of ancient stone long before the rise of Men, Elf or Dwarf. It was they who once ruled the world as the most dominant civilization, eradicating whole species of undesirables from the face of the earth and writing down ancient mathematics and astronomy upon chiseled tablets of stone long before mortals even learned how to write.[1d]
While many other civilizations have arisen and fallen over the long millennium, it is the Lizardmen who have truly endured throughout all the ages, having been there from the birth of creation unto its final lasting day.[1d] Even throughout all this time, Lizardmen society has remained unchanged for millenium, being focused around a highly structured and strictly enforced caste system. This caste system was built and formed by the orders of the Old Ones, whom themselves created each of the separate Lizardmen species to fulfil a certain role in their society.[1d]
Each and every core species is born into one of these caste. The Lizardmen are taught and perhaps bred to be fanatically loyal to their respective duties, offering little room for any sense of individuality or freedom of thought amongst their kind. Within the system, each caste is composed strictly of one or two of the core species meant to fulfill an extremely important part of Lizardmen society as dictated by the Old Ones instructions, either as workers, warriors or rulers.[4a]
The Caste of the Slann are meant to provide the leaders and priest of the Lizardmen cities. The Slann originally came alongside the Old Ones, acting as the organizers, architects and techno-mages of their society, who are responsible for building the cities to the specific design of their masters. It was the Slann who built the polar warp gates and their magic had maintained them until the Great Catastrophe. Unlike the rest of the Lizardmen species, the Slann are notoriously few in numbers, with population usually consisting of no more than a few dozen individuals at any given place.[4a]
The Caste of the Saurus were bred by the Old Ones to become the warriors and guardians of their society. Bred from the reptilian life that had already dwelt within the primeval jungles during the time of the Old Ones, they were bred specifically for the purpose of warfare. From the moment they are grown enough to crawl from their spawning pools, they know how to fight, enact military formations and to carry out simple yet effect battleplans. They are extremely stubborn and ferocious fighters, encased within natural and highly effective reptilian body armor. They are rather simple creatures, and as such they lack greatly in the ability to comprehend and do complex duties other than fighting.[2h]
The Caste of the Skinks and Kroxigors were bred by the Old Ones specifically to be the workers, artisans and laborers of their society. The Skinks were bred to be physically and mentally agile, capable of executing complex tasks that their larger cousins can't comprehend. This allows them to perform many roles that requires a quick mind to work such as being translators, scribes, artisans and administrators of their own communities. Highly organized and sociable creatures, they are perfectly adapted to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the Temple-Cities. Alongside the smaller Skinks are the monstrous Kroxigors that act as powerful laborers for their smaller cousins. Being extremely dull-minded, the Skinks work closely with their Kroxigor cousins to enact large construction projects that would require their immense strength in order to finish.[2i]
- "Amid the darkness and horror of a world splintering apart, the armies of the true creators, we who were ancient at the dawn of time, will march forth once more. We shall sweep away all that is Chaos and Disorder, for ours is the true path, and none shall defy us! "
- —Translation from ancient plaques attributed to Venerable Lord Kroak[3a]
Since the days of their creation, the Lizardmen have been at the forefront of the battle for the world’s survival. Their armies are anchored by savage warriors spawned for the sole purpose of war and augmented with titanic reptilian beasts whose tread shakes the earth. Their enigmatic leaders are powerful wizards and wield magics beyond the ken of mere mortals.[1c] From deep within the steaming jungles of Lustria, the Lizardmen sound the drums of war while gargantuan creatures from a primordial past bellow their blood-rage.[1f]
From temple-cities and overgrown ruins, they issue forth to defend their ancient civilization or to unleash their cold-blooded savagery upon the world. Merciless and relentless, the Lizardmen will not stop until all their foes are dead and the entire world re-ordered according to their ancient plan.[1f] A Lizardmen host deployed for battle is a formidable sight. A screen of nimble skirmishers spreads out first, followed by rank after rank of merciless warriors. They are guided by the mightiest of mages and their war leaders are battle-scarred veterans who will fight to the bitter end. In the air above, winged beasts screech, while out of the jungles stomp hulking reptilian monsters; pitiless, savage creatures of an elder age. Yet the Lizardmen do not war for plunder or territory, but instead fight for a higher cause — a world order laid out ages ago by their long-lost cosmic masters.[1b]
In times of war, a Temple-City often has a standing army to protect it from harm or to march out and eliminate their foes on the field of battle. The Saurus typically form the core of the Lizardmen armies, for their sole purpose in life was to be trained as powerful and fearless warriors. Alongside these mighty reptiles, cohorts of Skinks are often called up to aid the army as a force of dedicated scouts and skirmishers, able to navigate the lush jungles of Lustria with extreme ease. Alongside these small Skinks come the massive Kroxigors, whom are often given the duty of hauling equipment and heavy machinery or sent into the fray as powerful shock infantry.
Yet it isn't these mighty warriors that truly evokes fear upon their enemies, but rather the mighty reptilian beasts that fight alongside them. From mighty Carnosaurs to hulking Stegadons, these massive reptilian monsters have proven themselves time and again as powerful allies for the Lizardmen's cause. Yet even above these mighty beasts comes the true power of the Lizardmen. From above the fighting, the mystical Slann unleashes magic so powerful that it is liken to does of Gods, hurling powerful lightning-storms or massive meteorites against their enemy with an ease that belie imagination. The Slann are truly intelligent beyond mortal comprehension, able to foresee the outcome of a battle long before it has even begun. It is said that so long as a Slann leads them on their campaign, the Lizardmen cohorts are reassured of ultimate and glorious victory time and again.
- Saurus Warriors - Saurus are brutish yet disciplined creatures. Even unarmed, they are extremely dangerous — their sharp claws can gouge grooves into rock or tear out a foe’s throat with ease. Their muscular tails can smash a man’s ribcage and their mouths are full of enormous dagger-shaped teeth.
- Skinks - Skinks take up weapons during their many patrols as well as to join the fighting during times of war. As troops, they range between reckless audacity and sudden panic. Their skittish nature makes them much more prone to fleeing than the stoic Saurus. They are typically used in two different types of formation. Most commonly, the Skinks advance before the bulk of the main army, harassing the foe’s advance with hails of darts.
- Chameleon Skinks - Chameleon Skinks do not dwell within the temple-cities, but instead strike out deep into the Lustrian jungles. Some spawnings roam in groups across the land, while others instinctively guard a home territory — most often a neglected monument long lost to the jungle. From there, they join Skink patrols and stalk rogue beasts when they inadvertendy enter sacred grounds.
- Temple Guard - The Temple Guard are a revered and uncommon spawning of Saurus. They were created to protect the Slann Mage-Priests and the temple-cities in which the Lizardmen dwell. To their tasks, they dedicate every fibre of their beings, displaying a single-minded determination that will result in either the safeguarding of their charges or their own deaths.
- Kroxigors - Kroxigor are giant crocodilian relatives of the Saurus. They are hulking creatures, their bodies consisting of slabs of rock-hard muscle and their massive jaws bristling with razor-sharp teeth. They move in silence, save for the heavy thumping tread of their feet. When enraged, they unleash their only form of speech — a blood-curdling roar that reverberates across the jungle.
- Cold One Riders - The Cold Ones are foul-tempered and dim-witted reptilian creatures. They emerge from subterranean lairs to prowl in packs throughout Lustria. They are hunched bipedal beasts with muscular legs, but when Cold Ones move at speed, they often use their forelimbs for balance and to achieve a more rapid pace. These shortened arms come into their own, however, at the conclusion of a hunt.
- Terradon Riders - Skinks have mastered the art of riding Terradons by capturing Terradon hatchlings young enough that the beasts bond with their future riders — no easy matter considering the height and precariousness of Terradon lairs. There is a great demand for these Terradon Riders as messengers and scouts, and they are exceptionally useful in battle.
- Ripperdactyl Riders - The Skinks who survive bonding with their Ripperdactyls are bold warriors, the most elite of their small kind. Once mounted atop a Ripperdactyl, they forgo javelins and blowpipes, for the blood-hungry beasts they ride cannot be stopped from plunging down upon foes. Instead, they arm for close combat, donning ceremonial helmets and carrying shields and long spears.
- Jungle Swarms - When threatened by invaders or when amassing an army to march on distant lands, a Skink Priest will call unto himself one of the jungle swarms. What crawls, creeps and slithers forth is mind-boggling for warmbloods to behold — a living carpet of creatures that moves in a writhing mass. In battle, they wash around the legs of a foe in a wave, hissing, spitting and plunging sharp fangs into unprotected flesh. The smallest of their kind can slip between even the slightest crack or arm oured joint to deliver a mortal sting.
- Salamander - Salamanders are giant, predatory creatures that stalk the swamplands and estuaries of Lustria’s jungles. Propelled by four thickly muscled legs and a powerful tail, they are swift-moving creatures whether on land or in water. Salamanders are voracious hunters, and their favoured method of catching prey is to swiftly close the distance, moving through underbrush or even submerged under water.
- Razordon - Barbed Razordons are covered with a profusion of great spines — hardened spikes made of bone that project menacingly out of their bodies. As a defensive protection, this razor-sharp body armour serves to deter all but the most determined of creatures, and even the most monstrous of Lustria’s many apex predators will think twice before attacking a Razordon.
- Stegadon - Stegadons are mighty beasts that have dwelt within the primeval jungles since long before the coming of the Old Ones. They are bulky creatures whose heads are covered by armoured crests, out of which project massive horns. With bony scales and spikes shielding their bodies, there are few predators that dare challenge them.
- Bastiladon - Known to the Skinks as the Bastiladon, this hulking quadruped is perhaps the most heavily armoured beast in Lustria. It is a walking fortress, a living bastion covered in a rock-hard bony skin, and then further protected by massive iron-like plates — a natural armour so dense that it can, sometimes, thwart the bite of the mighty Carnosaur.
- Troglodon - Their clammy presence revealed by ominous hissing, the great beasts known as Pale Death, or Troglodons, are amongst Lustria’s deadliest hunters. Lone cave-dwellers, Troglodons haunt subterranean grottos, emerging only to feed. These creatures are virtually blind, but hunt using senses other than sight.
- Carnosaur - The jungles of Lustria are filled with a cacophony of sounds, but all come to a dead silence when the bellowing roar of a Carnosaur reverberates through the land. Not even the dense undergrowth can drown out that roar, which can be heard for many miles. It is a sound that sends shivers of fear through even the most hulking of behemoths, for it can mean only one thing — a Carnosaur is on the prowl.
- Slann Mage-Priest - The favoured servants of the Old Ones, the Slann have considerable intellect and magical abilities, and rule the Lizardmen as venerated Mage-Priests. Although not physically menacing - their bodies are toad-like with large heads and bulbous eyes - with a flick of their multi-jointed fingers, Slann can topple cities, engulf foes in flames or open vast vents in the ground below.
- Saurus Oldbloods - The most powerful of their kind, Saurus leaders are more than eight feet of savage reptilian muscle. The highest rank given is the title Oldblood, while those beneath them are known as Scar-Veterans. They are perfectly designed killing machines, their martial prowess further enhanced by battle experience. To their foes, be they ancient nemesi or simply those who trespass upon the sovereign territory of their masters, the Saurus leaders are nothing less than the vengeance of the Old Ones made manifest.
- Skink Priest - On occasion, a Skink spawning will not produce an entire cohort from the pools of life, as is the norm, but instead only a single Skink will issue forth. These individuals are marked by the Old Ones and destined to lead, or otherwise achieve greatness amongst their kind. Those Skinks attuned to the energies of the world and that show an aptitude for magic are the Skink Priests, the most intelligent of their kind. Their role is to become the personal attendants of the mighty Slann Mage-Priests, and act as the prophets of the Lizardmen.
- Skink Chiefs - Skink Chiefs are the leaders of Skink society, second only in command to the Skink Priests. In the Lizardmen chain of command, Skink Priests direct their orders to Skink Chiefs. These are Skinks who have been marked for greatness. While the Priests attend to prophecies, it is left to the Skink Chiefs to execute orders.
- Saurus Scar-Veterans - Saurus Scar-Veterans, also known simply as Saurus Leaders, are the most powerful of their savage kind. More than simply eight feet of savage reptilian muscle, Scar-Veterans are perfectly designed killing machines, their martial prowess further enhanced by battle experience. To their foes, be they ancient nemesis or simply those who trespass upon the sovereign territory of their masters, the Saurus leaders are nothing less than the vengeance of the Old Ones made manifest.
- Lord Kroak - Venerable Lord Kroak, Defender of Itza, is said to have been the first of the Slann Mage-Priests spawned upon the world, the eldest of the fabled First Generation. The mysterious Old One Тероk taught Kroak of the Winds of Magic, and it was the serene Potec who shared the secrets of unwinding the threads of time. It is written that Lord Kroak and his peers were the ones to teach the first ancestors of the Elves to wield magic. These things and more has Kroak seen and it is said he is fated to endure until the last moment of the universe itself.
- Lord Mazdamundi - Lord Mazdamundi, Lord of the Solar-City is the oldest and most powerful of the living Slann Mage-Priests and the current ruler of Hexoatl, the City of the Sun. At the Dawn of Creation, Lord Mazdamundi was instructed by none other than Lord Kroak himself, making Mazdamundi his successor. With a matchless mind unfathomable to others, Mazdamundi is obstinate in his ways and will not be deterred from that upon which he has decided.
- Kroq-Gar - Kroq-Gar, known as the Last Defender of Xhotl is an ancient Saurus Oldblood, the last of the remaining Saurus warriors from the now ruined temple-city of Xhotl. The spawning that brought Kroq-Gar into the world produced a handful of other Saurus, each marked for greatness. In the instinctive ways of battle-cunning these warriors were unsurpassed by any of their kind, and each possessed an innate dominion over the native beasts of the jungle.
- Gor-Rok - Gor-Rok, the Great White Lizard, is amongst the greatest and most renowned Saurus in living memory. When Gor-Rok first emerged from the spawning pool of Itza, his size, pure albino colourings and lone arrival immediately marked him as a future champion. And so it has been — for the Great White Lizard, as Gor-Rok is also known, has fought in countless battles, his heavily scarred body a testament to many thousands of hard-fought triumphs.
- Chakax - Chakax, the Eternal Warden, is the greatest of the living Saurus Temple-Guards of the city of Xlanhuapec, the City of Mist. Very few warriors will ever prove worthy enough to protect a Slann Mage-Priest at his most vulnerable moments — when he meditates in his Eternity Chamber. Those few Saurus Temple Guard who earn such honours are given the sacred rank of Eternity Warden.
- Tehenhauin - Tehenhauin is the name of the first and greatest Prophet of the Serpent God, Sotek. It began when Tehenhauin rallied the population of disease-ridden Chaqua, leading them out of that defiled city. Before he left, he claimed two treasures - a gleaming sacrificial blade and the hidden plaques of Chaqua, which proclaimed the coming of the Serpent God.
- Oxyotl - Oxyotl, known as "He That Hunts Unseen" is a legendary and much-feared Chameleon Skink who was at one time, the last and most greatest Chameleon Hunter within the jungle-continent of Lustria, an ancient being who was alive when Chaos first came to this very world.
- Tetto'eko - Tetto'eko, Astronomer of the Constellations, is the Chief Astronomer of the Temple of the Eclipse in Tlaxtlan and one of the greatest Skink Priest the Lizardmen have ever known. His appearance on the battlefield heralds events of such importance that heavenly bodies have been known to realign themselves in his favour. Those sensitive to the skeins of destiny can feel its precarious balance as well as sense Tetto’eko’s uncanny ability to shift the winds of fate his own way.
- Tiktaq'to - Tiktaa'to is the current Master of Skies of the Temple-City of Hexoalt, and is considered by all to be the greatest of the Terradon Rider. When it comes to aerial combat and leading bold hit-and-run attacks, the Skink known as Tiktaq’to has no peers. Atop his particularly fierce Terradon, Zwup, Tiktaq’to leads his squadron of flying reptiles on reckless paths through dense vegetation or steep-sided valleys so narrow that the Terradons touch the edges with each flap of their mighty wings.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (8th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (7th Edition)
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th Edition)
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)