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IneptusAstartes

Reproduction (aka Where Does The Pollen Go?)

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Posted (edited)

I had  one of those shower-thought moments where I started thinking about how the races of the Mortal Realms reproduce. I mean, someone's got to do it considering how many die on the regular. Which in turn led me to thinking about whether or not the separate genders are represented in the miniatures themselves. In this essay I will attempt to address these questions. I'll try to keep it G-rated and I'll try not to resort to magic to explain everything (although in a world where geology is shaped by giant magnetic griffins, using scientific reasoning is already a lost cause. Unless you hire me to fix your science, GW, I'm right here!). Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride. Sources are in ().

Humans: if you don't know now you never will. That said, can they reproduce with non-human races? Humans and aelves at least can have romantic liaisons (The Silver Shard) but they may not be procreative. Do Stormcasts reproduce? They're certainly capable of getting together (The Lightning Golem) but I haven't seen any sources about whether or not they're sterile. What happens to an unborn embryo if its parent is sent back to Azyr in a flash of lightning? These are the sort of questions that keep me awake at night.

Aelves: Both male and female models exist, presumably they do it like they do on the Discovery Channel humans.

Duardin: This one's interesting. Are duardin sexually dimorphic? Fyreslayers are all naked and bearded so I'm guessing they're all male, but considering that Kharadrons go around in diving suits and masks, for all we know half of them might be female behind those scowling bearded masks. We do know that female duardin exist, both in a domestic role (The Volturung Road, Overlords of the Iron Dragon) and as warriors/heroes (Battletome:Kharadron Overlords - Barak-Thryng panorama), and probably lack beards (ibid) so contrary to popular belief they do not pop out of holes in the ground. Personally I'd love to see female Kharadrons but that's probably not happening considering how much everyone likes their dwarfs "traditional". Sigh.

Sylvaneth: Come in various flavors, but they might not necessarily be male and female in the way we understand it (plant reproduction is fascinating). They also have a sort of pseudo-resurrection in the form of lamentiri.

Seraphon: From what we've seen so far they get conjured out of thin air by the Slann (Battletome:Seraphon) and so are the Order equivalent of daemons. But! There have been hints of skinks and saurus existing independently, and even suggestions of breeding pools (Dying Star), so there may yet be Seraphon colonies in the realms in the future. If the latter is true they probably reproduce asexually via breeding pool and have a strict caste system.

Chaos Mortals: Ain't no time for raising a family when you're out killin' and corruptin'. Someone on the AoS subreddit actually made a convincing argument that Khorne Bloodbound live much like the Spartans did, leaving the heavy labor and reproductive duties to a dedicated slave class. Nurgle Maggotkin presumably are capable of loving (if disgusting) familial relationships considering the importance of acceptance and growth in their belief system. Tzeentch Arcanites probably don't have time for reproducing if it doesn't fit within their plans, and I doubt Slaanesh Hedonites can make long-term plans enough to include families.

Chaos Daemons: The raw stuff of the Chaos Gods doesn't need to reproduce, but they apparently can do so (cf. Orghotts Daemonspew, yuck).

Beasts of Chaos: No female models exist (at least, unless males and females look exactly alike). But there are multiple hypotheses for the asexual creation of these creatures (Battletome:Beasts of Chaos).

Skaven: There have been no female Skaven models, sadly. I'm still holding out for that possibility, but the nature and existence of female skaven has been completely overlooked (Battletome:Skaven) with the exception of a fyreslayer raid into a skaven nest (The Volturung Road) in which the females are the same bloated breeding machines they were in WHFB. Re-sigh.

Death (all races): Ghosts and skeletons can't reproduce (the latter can certainly bone though, haw haw). Vampires transmit the soulblight curse, but can they still reproduce after that? The only living Death factions are the Flesh-Eaters, and I can only assume that they think they're high-born families raising beautiful heirs to their kingdom.

Greenskins (Orruks and Grots): No female greenskins, no idea. In 40K Orkz are sentient fungus that reproduce via spores, but there's been no sign of that in the AoS universe. Honestly I'm kind of disappointed that it wasn't addressed in any of the battletomes so far. Squigs are indeed mobile fungus though, and they've been described as spawning from areas they died in (Battletome:Gloomspite Gitz).

Ogors: Primarily male, but female ogors exist. There's I think just one maneater model that's female, and there's at least one memorable female ogor in the fiction (The Sea Taketh).

Troggoths: That's right, female troggoths exist, and from the limited information we have (that being a single Fellwater Troggoth Hag), it would appear that troggoths are strongly sexually dimorphic, with females being larger, stronger, and smarter than the males. Plenty of opportunities for exploration in the fiction if you ask me.

Gargants: Only one model (two if you go FW), it's male, no clue.

Did I miss anything? Disagree with me? Let me know!

E: edited to add Sylvaneth, embarrassingly.

Edited by IneptusAstartes
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In regards to the existence and appearance of female Kharadron Overlords my learned friend may do well to consult the work of Robert Charles and his monograph 'Faith In Thunder'.(1)

 

 

(1)Charles, R. "Faith In Thunder." Inferno! Volume 2: Ed. Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells. Black Library, Nottingham. (2019). 145-173 Print.

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18 minutes ago, IneptusAstartes said:

Chaos Mortals: Ain't no time for raising a family when you're out killin' and corruptin'. Someone on the AoS subreddit actually made a convincing argument that Khorne Bloodbound live much like the Spartans did, leaving the heavy labor and reproductive duties to a dedicated slave class. Nurgle Maggotkin presumably are capable of loving (if disgusting) familial relationships considering the importance of acceptance and growth in their belief system. Tzeentch Arcanites probably don't have time for reproducing if it doesn't fit within their plans, and I doubt Slaanesh Hedonites can make long-term plans enough to include families.

 

Ogors: Primarily male, but female ogors exist. There's I think just one maneater model that's female, and there's at least one memorable female ogor in the fiction (The Sea Taketh).

Thats quite a funny lore topic.

Indeed Chaos has a quite parasitic approach on this topic. Darkoath will be the first and only faction that actually bothers for a normal human life. All God-Related factions simply recruit humans and spoil them as desired. The only memorable distinct are Bloodreavers, beeing enslaved townsfolk who are given the decision between death and cannibalism which works as some kind of daemonic contract turning them from weak slaves into strong barbaric brutes. By the way there should be according to Lore also female Bloodreavers, but GW simply didn´t mind to produce them, therefore there is that weird conclusion that turning into a bloodreaver may also lead to an enforced gender-transition by khornes magic. Btw it´s somehow a shame GW didn´t gave us plastic valkyrias similar to valkia as some kind of elite flying female models.

On Ogors: The Model you mention is actually an male Ogor crossdressing

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Posted (edited)

Skaven actually survived the end of the Old world best out of all the races because they are basically identical to their Old World Skaven. So until GW changes or releases new details on the AoS lore, I would assume that Skaven still practice the same method of drugging their females and creating slave-like brood mothers from them. Big skaven who birth vast litters of new skaven and who basically feed and birth, suckle the young and breed. 

Now even in the old lore there were hints that whilst many of the brood mothers were basically mindless breeding machines - warped by warpstone and drugged up to their eyeballs; some were capable of higher thought. There were even hints that they might have their own coven style interactions and that they might even be able to exert their influence outside of the breeding nests. That said I don't think it was ever fully developed/explored into. Though for AoS this remains a possible avenue to explore. Thus far, at least, control is in the hands of the males. 

Note that because females are far fewer than males in skaven society, the right to breed is one many have to fight and compete for. So many skaven might never attain a chance to breed. 

 

 

 

Also don't forget that many factions would and still practice segregation of duties within their society based on gender. This easily explains why many races might have few or no females on the battlefield. Conversely look at Daughters of Khaine where the situation is reversed, though they do have males on the battlefield they are highly limited. 

Furthermore I think when it came to Aelves you've glossed over the two variations we have. We have Aelves who are naturally born within the realms, and who make up the bulk of the race. Then we have Aelves who are the result of souls freed from Slaanesh and given reformed bodies. This latter group then breaks down into its own segregations. The Idoneth show that they can breed, but that their souls are damaged and they must be essentially "soul vampires" in order to attain proper life - otherwise they become quite mindless and empty husks - physically alive but not "alive" as such. 

Daughters of Khaine have the section pair of saved souls through Khinerai and Melusai, however we are given no information on if they can breed and reproduce and even if they could if they reproduce warped offspring or regular aelves or a mix. The only details we have are that, thus far, they are all formed by Morathi and given bodies within her great Temple and are then sent out to the various other temples as elite warriors and agents of her will. Basically her most devout warriors. Noting that the Bloodwracks are not like this and are instead the result of being bitten by one of Morathi's own head-serpents. The Bloodwracks also maintain a strong mental link to Morathi and she can work her will over them directly - the others we can assume she might use magics and education and coercion to control, but doesn't have a mental link. So in theory khineria and melusai can act on their own, just likely never overtly against Morathi. We've yet to see the other Aelf soul saved to see how they might reproduce. 

This is an interesting angle because if Slaanesh ever escapes or stops the syphoning of souls from his belly it could spark changes in society for many of the aelf factions- 

 

 

 

When it comes to greenskins I think that unless GW confirms it otherwise, they are a nomadic warpeople and I would "expect" them to have females and children, who are just never in the raiding warparties or front lines. Ergo they've got a people and they are way back in the settlements. I think orks being somewhat of a "boogyman" faction means that some elements of their society in warhammer have been left a bit underdeveloped. I think and hope that AoS might address this and we get some proper details of their society and life. 

Edited by Overread

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Posted (edited)

Actually (and having spent half this week writing bibliographies and end notes that one above is the last you're getting out of me for some time) there are references to what I presume are intergenerational groups of Chaos mortal followers, off the top of my head in some of Josh Reynolds' 'Hallowed Knights' books you have the corrupted chivalric Order of the Fly, whose members, at least for the last couple of generations, I believe appear to be born into service of Nurgle. 

And my god I really wish the new Skaven Battletome had done away once and for all with the idea of Skaven broodmares, ****** awful concept, the kind of thing that if you were to write a horrible parody about the people into this hobby you'd come up with to illustrate your point.

Edited by JPjr

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1 minute ago, JPjr said:

Actually (and having spent half this week writing bibliographies and end notes that one above is the last you're getting out of me for some time) there are references to what I presume are intergenerational groups of Chaos mortal followers, off the top of my head you have the corrupted chivalric Order of the Fly, whose members, at least for the last couple of generations, appear to be born into service of Nurgle. 

Yes you reminded me in Gods and Mortals there is indeed a story which details a Chivalric Order of Nurgle who do indeed breed and repopulate themselves. Having had many generations of followers. I think that this is one key difference between AoS and 40K with regard to Chaos in that the woreshippers who were once or who still are mortal; are still quite "human" in themselves. They are twisted and corrupted, but they still have lusts, desires, hungers and passions and raise offspring. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Charleston said:

On Ogors: The Model you mention is actually an male Ogor crossdressing

I don't think that's true... 

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Just now, Charleston said:

The beard's optional, and the joke is that it's fake - it's her disguise so she can join the lads in combat (in old Fantasy ogres had a highly patriarchal society where women weren't really allowed to fight or do much of anything) 

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I hope it was a cold shower... 😉

Most of your examples are covered in the lore though. Dwarven women don't have beards according to the lore (although I'm hard pressed to point to an exact source except old world models). Most races never included women in the warfare though. So older factions are hard pressed on the female model side. Dark elves had a few female bodies in with the normal spearmen which is often overlooked. I still have the Female Dwarf Thane that now leads the warriors. Can't find the model online though, i'll see if I remember to take a picture when I next get my dwarfs out.

On the Maneater. It's a female with a fake beard. 

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39 minutes ago, robinlvalentine said:

The beard's optional, and the joke is that it's fake - it's her disguise so she can join the lads in combat (in old Fantasy ogres had a highly patriarchal society where women weren't really allowed to fight or do much of anything) 

Woah, okay :D Cool, didn´t knew this!

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The DoK battletome talks or at least hints on things about this. The only males that actively see combat are the Doomfire Warlocks. All the others are in essence are slaves for menial tasks and “other actions”. Purposely kept as the weakest souls that are created by Morathi and a malaise of the soul to weaken any males born to the sisters.

 

Death (excluding FEC I guess?) doesn’t have reproductive abilities, they just continuously get new “supplies” everyday with the countless deaths, natural and otherwise throughout the mortal realms. Save the ones Sigmar takes for his Stormcast and the ones The Idoneth take for themselves. I don’t know if the aelves have a way to stop those souls that already were extracted from Slaanesh from being taken by Nagash afterward, but Nagash is pretty pissed about the aelve souls that they are using to remake their races.

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1 hour ago, King Taloren said:

, but Nagash is pretty pissed about the aelve souls that they are using to remake their races.

I have never met or seen Nagash in a state of happiness, He is literally always pissed about something. Even worse then those grudge grumbling dwarfs.

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Posted (edited)

With mortal Chaos I imagine that at the beginning of their journey into damnation they got urges and feelings just like more normal folk and later those lessen or even vanish in some cases - else all those tribes would've died out in old Warhammer before some of them became huge champions of Chaos. Beastmen - apart from being born by the raw mutating essence of Chaos - I imagine to have females just like more standard races (Aelves, Humans and Dwarfs). Orruks are fungus to me, simply because I don't wanna imagine female ones or kids. I don't think there's anything feminine about them as a race so it would feel kinda weird to me as I can't imagine, less brutish, more nurturing, caring and diplomatic specimens - it's just diluting what Orruks are in essence. (Yeah, I know, I'm sooooooooo sexist for saying that - cool it, SJW poster).

Stormcast are in my opinion able to preocreate but don't out of duty. Since Seraphon got real/alive ones by now, i imagine they simply got females too - it's kinda hard to differentiate in reptiles anyways, so in theory the existing models could be female as well. That said, I don't know their background so maybe GW has other ideas. But in many real world cases the female often lays a huge bunch of eggs so it would fit the whole spawning pool theme...

Edited by MitGas

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Skreech Verminking said:

I have never met or seen Nagash in a state of happiness, He is literally always pissed about something. Even worse then those grudge grumbling dwarfs.

True enough. Heck all of Nighthaunt’s troops and who they used to be is an example of how many different ways he goes about seeking his brand of justice against “sinners” to the God of Death and his domain. 

 

Yeah, no telling who’s male or female in Seraphon, I think there is even mention of a female Slaan somewhere. The priest and the engines bring hem into reality and then those that Irvine the battle remain wherever they landed, unless the Seraphon come pick up the remainder and truck them back to their star empire.

As for female dwarves, they do exist but they are a slight rarity, only 1-2 out of 10 births among Duardin (least according to the Old world) so they are often considered too valuable to be sent to battle and more often are the ones behind the scenes running the logistics side of things or being the domestic rulers of the household.

 

I don’t know if Stormcast would be able or if Sigmar would let them if they could, after all they are dead heroes and virtuous people that Sigmar deemed worthy enough to be given the gift of reforging into his elite protectors. A good few of them probably had children in life before this, though possibly a good number didn’t having died too young or unwed.

Edited by King Taloren

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13 minutes ago, Skreech Verminking said:

I have never met or seen Nagash in a state of happiness, He is literally always pissed about something. Even worse then those grudge grumbling dwarfs.

He does have 9 books wholly devoted to spells grudges.

My view on Stormcast is that they may have the parts for it, but the ability to see anything to term would be influenced by how many reforgings they have been through.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Mortarch said:

He does have 9 books wholly devoted to spells grudges.

 

Nagash the long lost brother of Grimnir!

(🤪😂)

Edited by Skreech Verminking
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Stormcast are hard to work out. In Pestilens the Slaan makes comments that the Stormcast are like them but different and, if I recall right, not quite as "refined" a forging process initially. Also when you look at how Stormcast are almost slightly insane with their duty and hate of chaos and how they are almost 100% driven in a desire for rebuilding and beating them back; I think that they perhaps don't have all their natural drives instilled within them.

I think they can love and possibly even lust, but that much is overridden with a seething hate and burning desire to overcome Chaos. How much of that is them in their final moments before Sigmar plucks them before death; through to how much it is Sigmar imposing his own will upon them during forging and reforging; how much is hard to say. It's also impossible to say right now if they can have children. I would say that I don't think we've seen any families of stormcast, no offspring nor parents. I think we've seen lovers and lust, but not offspring. I would thus hazard that they cannot reproduce. 

 

That also makes sense as otherwise if they could continue to gain new souls through death (Sigmar is still plucking up souls of the faithful) and through breeding then Sigmar's army, considering that they cannot die either, would become fast infinite (already the not-dying ever bit gives him that option long term).

I think that lacking the ability to reproduce is also core to drawing a line between them and humans, for they are not wholly human. Heck it might even be that a stormcast child could cause huge issues within the stormcast. That Sigmar purposefully stops them having children to avoid them straying from the cause. That fathers and mothers would never wish to lay down the hammer and forge a family instead of forging fury upon Chaos. Indeed I can see a pathway to their own kind of madness - whence the hatred and fury against Chaos could burn in them so much that it burns them out. Driving them into the realms of madness; esp if we see the story advance and more lands freed from Chaos. Indeed what might happen if the Age of Chaos fully ends and Chaos is driven back to the dark corners of the world - when there are no more vast armies roaming the lands to fight directly. 

In the Old World there were ebbs and flow;s periods when Chaos pulls back to the point where its almost a nightmare told to scare children and humanity forgets the Skaven. Followed by periods of chaotic madness when vast hoards spill from the wastes and Chaos held domains. 

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What if skinks and saurus aren't actually two different species, but the Lizardmen just exhibit wild sexual dimorphism. In a lot of reptiles the females are larger than the males, so that might indicate which way around they are.

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Edited the post to add sylvaneth. Considering the title had pollen in it, that was stupid...

Stormcast being denied long-lasting romantic relationships sounds like a possible plot hook (although if this leads to Vandus becoming Anakin I quit).

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1 hour ago, EccentricCircle said:

What if skinks and saurus aren't actually two different species, but the Lizardmen just exhibit wild sexual dimorphism. In a lot of reptiles the females are larger than the males, so that might indicate which way around they are.

In the old world they were definitely separate species with defined roles in the  quasi-Confucian order of lizardman society.

Spawning pools were created by the old ones and once lost they couldn't be replaced, if I remember correctly. So either the reproduction was magical in some way or the environmental conditions needed for healthy seraphon tadpoles were not naturally occurring.

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Posted (edited)

I do remember old world ogres did sire children the traditional way and actually had great pride in their families! Of course how that was interpreted through their culture was.. not very traditional..

One segment I remember in the army book writing or maybe a snippet from something else was more or less that male ogres would often compete against eachother to be tyrant and any defending tyrants would boast about offspring that "put up a good fight" as they were certainly an ogreling to be proud of if they could nearly best a tyrant!

 

I don't know of much else mentioning family units or anything like it but I presume they have a very similar sort of system to cavemen.

 

Perhaps we should compile a fan-document; "Romance and family in the realms" or something as a bit of a jest

Edited by BalborBullguts
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In the Old World Orcs and Goblins were a fungus just like 40k, at least they were in the book Skarsnik. The titular ‘hero’ came from a mushroom patch beneath Karak Eight Peaks. I assume the same is still true for AoS. It would also explain the symbiotic linkage between Caves, Grots, Mushrooms, and Squigs.

until something says otherwise, I like to assume the Greenskin races are still mushroom people. It one of the defining features of Warhammer greenskins versus other fantasy Orcs and Goblinoids.

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On 4/13/2019 at 9:12 PM, dirkdragonslayer said:

In the Old World Orcs and Goblins were a fungus just like 40k, at least they were in the book Skarsnik. The titular ‘hero’ came from a mushroom patch beneath Karak Eight Peaks. I assume the same is still true for AoS. It would also explain the symbiotic linkage between Caves, Grots, Mushrooms, and Squigs.

until something says otherwise, I like to assume the Greenskin races are still mushroom people. It one of the defining features of Warhammer greenskins versus other fantasy Orcs and Goblinoids.

Although I agree with you, that Greenskins are fungus based across all of the various GW games, there are some "female" (maybe?) Orc cheerleaders in Blood Bowl.

Spoiler

99550909003_BBOrcCheerleaders01.jpg

 

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