- "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[4d]
The Slann form one of the core species of the Lizardmen race, created by the Old Ones to be the leaders, organizers, architects, and techno-mages of their society.[4a] Being one of the most magical-powerful races within the face of the Warhammer World, these favoured servants of the Old Ones have considerable intellect and magical abilities beyond the keen of most mortal races, and rule the Lizardmen as a venerated caste of semi-religious magic-users. 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. Enemy wizards find even the mightiest incantation they try to employ unraveling before them as a Slann contemptuously waves its hand.[1a]
There were five spawnings of Slann created by the Old Ones, each with a particular role to play in their Great Plan. No new Slann have been spawned since the departure of their creators; all the Slann alive today are those self-same ones. Without any new Mage-Priests to pass the torch of their generation, they are a dying race, faced with extinction. Well over half of their kind died in the Great Catastrophe, including all of the First Spawning - the wisest and most powerful of the Slann, and the only ones that had direct contact with the Old Ones. In the ages since then, many other Slann have died violently — irreplaceable losses that are greatly lamented. With each Mage-Priest lost, the Saurus and Skinks further insulate those that remain, protecting them with their very lives.[1a]
- "At the end of the long chamber I dimly perceived an impressive creature enthroned upon a golden palanquin. It was set on a carved plinth which formed an island in the middle of a small rectangular pond. There were several guards and Skinks in attendance around him, and numerous fan-bearers in ranks behind. As I was taken closer, I could see that it was another of the Mage-Priests, except that he was even bigger and more bloated than the one I had met before. It was obvious that these gigantic toads acted as high priests and rulers over the Lizardmen, and I assumed this one to be the big chief of the city himself. My palanquin was set down before the potentate and he began to regard me with intense concentration, blinking first one eye and then the other."
- —Extract from "The Tale of Marco Colombo", circa. 1492 IC[4d]
The Slann see the world differently from other beings. Their orderly minds are constantly at work — deciphering complex problems and wandering the cosmos. To the Slann, time passes more quickly than it does for short-lived creatures, and a Slann will regularly slip into extended periods of restful contemplation that might last decades, or even centuries, at a time. They sit unmoving on their stone palanquins or in their Star Chambers, and to an outsider a Slann might appear asleep, or even dead. So deeply do they meditate that signs of life are hard to detect - their breaths are shallow and far apart, their eyes unblinking and vacant, yet the Slann are attuned to more than mortals realise — for they can perceive the magic and raw disorder that has hung in the very air since the great influx of Chaos.[1a]
So it is that the Slann are the last of a dying race, and even the youngest is over seven thousand years old. Their numbers are slowly dwindling, never to be replaced. They are very rarely slain in combat, for they will usually magically teleport themselves out of danger before a killing blow is landed. The husk-bodies of those who are somehow killed are mummified and entombed beneath the temple-cities, and they are venerated as much as ever they were in life. However, so strong is their consciousness that the Slann are able to hold their spirits in this world. Even when their physical bodies are slain, they are still able to influence the world through their arcane powers, as well as communicating with their living Slann brethren and appearing to the Skink Priests in visions and dreams.[3a]
The Slann of the First Spawning died many thousands of years ago, and their mummified corpses are venerated as holy relics. So strong is their spirit, that they can still affect the world around them, manipulating the winds of magic and advising the younger Slann. It is believed that only five Slann of the Second Spawning remain, ruling the greatest temple cities in Lustria. They are the most powerful of these creatures left in existence, and the ones who spend the most time in meditative states. The Third, Fourth and Fifth Spawnings of Slann are more common than their ancient forebears, and yet are still immeasurably ancient beings that can remember a time before Elf or Dwarf history began.[3a]
Some of these younger Slann have even been known to shift their weight on occasion, though such occurrences are momentous and rare, and it is these younger generations who are more inclined to warfare and aggression. As the Slann have begun to get more agitated by the pressing concern of the spread of Chaos, so they too have become more active in the world. Their armies have been mustering, and even the most ancient Slann has readied himself for war. In battle, a Slann's hovering platform gently glides forkards, born aloft by ancient magicks and the will of the Slann himself, surrounded by devoted Saurus Warriors. From his reclining position, the Slann gestures with multi-jointed fingers, unleashing devastating magic against all who defy him. The Slann know that they were entrusted with the task of maintaining and completing the grand design of the Old Ones. The Known World is but a small element in this awesome universal plan.[3a]
Privileged Skinks attend to the Slann, patiently waiting for the ancient beings to stir and recording their every prophecy or proclamation. Most often, however, Slann converse telepathically between themselves; they can also see through the eyes of some Skinks, such as the Priests and Oracles, and enact their will through them. Although they have lost much of their former power since the incursion of the Dark Gods into the world, the Slann are still the undisputed masters of the magical arts.[1a]
- "The Lizardmen around us turned and began making obeisance towards the top of the great edifice. High up on the top platform, a palanquin emerged from the darkness of an ornate doorway. On top sat a creature of a kind which I had not seen before. It resembled a large, bloated toad. The gold and jade ornaments it was wearing glinted like jewels in the sun. By the great respect being shown by all the Lizardmen, I took this being to be the high-priest or ruler of the city. This great one made a gesture and the Lizardmen ceased-their obeisance and began their rasping incantations."
- —The Voyage of Yin-Tuan to Lustria, circa 1690 IC[4b]
The Slann were never truly meant nor created to be natural born warriors. Indeed, for the body of a Slann is frail, bloated and slow-moving. Yet it is not their physical form which they must fear. Instead, the Slann are considered the most powerful magic-users on the face of the earth. With but a flick of their finger, they could incinerate whole companies of warriors and with a wave of his hand, he could topple entire cities or move mountains with his very mind.[1a]
During the Great Catastrophe, the world was contaminated. Since then, Slann have avoided setting even a single toe upon the earth, for this grounds their magical power and disrupts their thoughts. While ensconced in their pyramid-temples, the Slann are protected, but when forced to leave, they sit upon floating palanquins made of stone and other, unknown substances. A Slann controls his slab-throne’s movement with his mind, hovering motionless or moving at a respectable pace, and it shimmers with a powerful protective force field.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 31
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 42
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 22
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)