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- "A Creator arises from the darkness, and life follows him. His family quarrels, blows are exchanged, and the Dark Gods pour in through the wounds. The world, once so vibrant, collapses under the weight of Chaos, but its glory can live forever so long as one remains to remember it."
- —Lileath, Goddess of Prophecy
The Warhammer World is the unnamed planet that serves as the setting for the Warhammer-universe. According to the earliest mythology of the Dwarfs, Elves and Lizardmen -- millions of years ago, a race of beings known as the Old Ones, strange creatures possessing almost god-like powers, shaped the climate and geography of this world. These creatures were said to be alien to the worlds and were crafters and engineers, they looked upon this newly discovered world and found it good, and knew that it would play the central role in the destiny of the universe, so they took to steering its path towards the warmth of the sun, forged its continents in accordance of patterns of ancient prophecy. To aid in their ordering, they created so-called Polar Gates at the northern and southern extremes of the planet which allowed them to travel instantaneously through the vast space that separated their various colonized worlds.
The Old Ones would later pay the price for their arrogant intrusions. For their Warp Gates at the poles of the world, each dwarfing the greatest mountains, were destroyed as the spirit realm beyond the veil writhed and boiled with the changing of the mortal plane. The Warp Gates collapsed in an epoch-shattering explosion, flattening continents and replacing the constructions with massive seas of boiling Chaos where reality and the aethyr overlapped. Hordes of daemonic creatures charged into the world and slaughtered the Old Ones, bringing their shining civilization to its knees.
Whatever the truth of its origins, the Warhammer World is a temperate planet whose surface is covered by several great continents, each with their own distinct civilizations and native creatures. The Warhammer World is orbited by two moons -- the white moon Mannslieb and the dark moon Morrslieb, which is said to actually be a giant chunk of Warpstone ejected into the atmosphere long ago when the Old Ones' Warp Gates first collapsed and began spilling the power of raw Chaos into the material world. Now, the world is ruled by the races of Men, most prominently the Empire of the Old World. Established by the warrior-turned-god, Sigmar Heldenhammer, from the myriad warring tribes of the region known as the Reik Basin, it has grown to become a nigh unapproachable global superpower. Yet the Empire is assailed from all sides -- from the frozen North comes the peril of Chaos, from the East the Greenskin hordes and from within disunity sullies the glory of Sigmar's Realm.
It is later revealed by the Elven Goddess Lileath, that the whole world is doomed to fall. No matter what the mortal nations of this world will do, Chaos will triumph, as she reveals that the death of the world is inevitable, a part of a great cycle that has repeated itself since the dawn of time; a Creator arises and gives life to a barren world, then his family quarrels, culminating in blows that disrupt the world's precious balance and allows Chaos to pour in through the wounds, inevitably consuming it once more. All the Gods of the World were in fact the survivors of the previous world, a world that was consumed in darkness, and those that survived it would come to lead a new life in the next. And so it was that the world's doom would eventually arrive, and Chaos will forever rule it as their own.
Continents of the Warhammer World
The Old World
The Old World is a large geographical area found in the Warhammer World's Eastern Hemisphere, consisting of several human states, such as The Empire, west of which lies the magically-shrouded isle of Albion. Bretonnia lies to the west of the Empire, Estalia and Tilea to its south and Kislev to its northeast. Directly north of Kislev and the northern provinces of the Empire lies the rugged land of Norsca, whose people are devout servants of the Chaos Gods and vicious enemies of the southern states. To the southeast of the Empire are the fractious petty kingdoms, city-states and towns collectively known as the region of the Border Princes. The natural borders of the Old World are the Sea of Claws or Great Ocean to the west, and the Worlds Edge Mountains which effectively form its eastern border. The Old World is inhabited mostly by populations of Men, with a notable Dwarf presence in the Worlds Edge Mountains and other mountainous regions. The Dwarfs are strong allies of the Empire, and have been for millennia, though the decline of their civlization and their numbers has weakened their ability to aid Men in the defence of the Old World from Greenskins and the Forces of Chaos.
The New World
The New World consists of the Western Hemisphere continents of Naggaroth, Lustria and the wild areas in between (notably the Isthmus of Lustria, a narrow strip of densely rain forested land that connects southern Naggaroth with northern Lustria). The New World has historically either been home to highly dangerous creatures like the reptilian Cold Ones (analogous to Old Earth's dinosaurs) or barren and desolate, with little in the way of flora, fauna or people. In fact only the Dark Elves, some primitive, Neolithic human tribes and the Lizardmen dwell in the New World at present.
The Eastern Lands
The Eastern Lands consist of the arid and barren Dark Lands east of the Old World and the Worlds Edge Mountains, the Grand Empire of Cathay, the isle of Nippon (from which it gets its name), the Ogre Kingdoms which are in the northern Mountains of Mourn, the Kingdoms of Ind, the Hinterlands of Khuresh (a region analogous both geographically and culturally to Southeast Asia) and the icy Eastern Steppes.
The Southlands consist of the tropical, jungled Southlands themselves which lie far to the south of the Border Princes, the ancient, tomb-filled ruins of the ancient Kingdom of Nehekhara (also known to the people of the Old World as the Land of the Dead) where the first civilization of Men rose to prominence over 4,000 years ago and the dry, desert lands of Araby, north of which lies the Badlands and the Marshes of Madness. The Worlds Edge Mountains continue down the eastern Badlands and run south straight through the centre of the Southlands' steaming jungles. The jungles of the Southlands are populated by the second largest population of Lizardmen outside of their original homelands in Lustria.
Ulthuan is an enchanted, circular island-continent in the northern Great Ocean which is the homeland of the High Elves on the Warhammer World. Ulthuan possesses many geographic and cultural similarities to the legendary Atlantis of ancient Greek legend. Many other islands surround Ulthuan and it is politically divided into the sheltered and highly cultured Inner Kingdoms found on the continent's inner coastline and the wild and rugged Outer Kingdoms which comprise the island-continent's outer coastal circumference.
The Chaos Wastes
The Chaos Wastes are located at the vast northern and southern polar regions of the Warhammer World. At the very center of the planet's north and south poles are the giant portals to the Realm of Chaos, another dimension of pure psychic energy underlying the physical world that is entirely separate from the four-dimensional material universe. This dimension is also sometimes called the Aethyr or the Warp. These now-open portals were once the Old Ones' Warp Gates, but they are now the source of the Winds of Magic that blow across the world from the Realm of Chaos. The Chaos Wastes are, at their very edges, a tundra-like, arctic landscape. As one ventures inwards towards the Chaos Portals, the land and its inhabitants become ever more twisted by the mutating and warping effects of raw magical energy - the pure, undiluted power of Chaos. Daemons, Northmen and savage mutants such as Beastmen all inhabit the Wastes. The deep Chaos Wastes near the poles are places unfathomable to most mortal minds, and no sane man has ventured so deep into the Wastes and survived. Excluding Felix Jaeger, of course.
The Great Ocean
The Great Ocean has also been called the "World Pond" by the Old Ones and their Slann servants and is a large ocean separating the Old World, the Southlands, and the New World and is also the geographic equivalent of the Atlantic Ocean on Old Earth. The Great Ocean joins the Far Sea at the southern tip of Lustria, and the Sea of Dread at the southern tip of the Southlands.
The Far Sea
The Far Sea is a large ocean geographically analogous to the Pacific Ocean on Earth between Cathay, Khuresh and the west coasts of the continents of Naggaroth and Lustria in the New World. Nippon and the Lost Isles of Elithis are in this ocean, as are the Sulpheret Islands, Turtle Isles and Broken Lands. The Far Sea joins the Sea of Dread at the Gates of Caliph (the southern tip of Khuresh and the northern tip of the southern Chaos Wastes).
The Sea of Dread
The Sea of Dread is a medium-sized ocean that is the geographic equivalent of the Indian Ocean on Old Earth. It lies south of the Dark Lands and east of the Southlands, west of the Kingdoms of Ind. The Dragon Isles are in the Sea of Dread, directly south of the Dark Lands, as well as many smaller tributaries and some isolated High Elf island colonies left from the time of Ulthuan's ancient imperial expansion across the Warhammer World millennia ago.
The Inner Sea of Ulthuan
The Inner Sea is the central sea inside the crescent-shaped island-continent of Ulthuan. It is divided into two major regions; an eastern region called the Sea of Dreams, and a western portion called the Sea of Dusk. The High Elf fortress city of Lothern guards the Straits of Lothern which lead into the Inner Sea, protecting Ulthuan's Inner Kingdoms from attack.
- Warhammer Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 153-264
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebook (3rd Edition), pp. 28-32