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Yodhrin

The "logic" of the AoS setting?

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Hello there, Yodhrin here, you might recognise me from all the time I spent on DakkaDakka over the last couple of years ****ting mightily on AoS ^_^

Basically, I'm after some help - with the Kharadron Overlords release, GW have finally produced something that, for me personally, begins to give value to the idea that ending proper WHF for AoS gave them freedom to develop wild and interesting new concepts(Land Marines, again for me personally, don't meet that criteria). I love the models & the art,  and most of the faction fluff is intriguing - I want to get into them...but I still keep butting up against one of my core problems with AoS as a whole: I don't understand its logic.

I'll try to explain what I mean by that in a semi-coherent way so perhaps you guys can help me understand:

Warhammer Fantasy was a world. There were maps. If I wrote some fluff about characters based here, then I knew that this thing there and that thing over this way would interact with them and help shape their story because of geographical proximity or an existing factional relationship. I could place things in the world in a precise way because its rules were mostly rational and intelligible - people travelled on foot, by horse, by barge or boat, at much the same speed they would do in the real world. Everything fitted together tightly and neatly, and I could see exactly where my own material could be slotted in without disrupting the pattern.

Warhammer 40K has a larger scale, but it's still a "world". There are more gaps in the pattern to insert your own stuff into, but there is still a map you can look at and an established, though somewhat malleable, concept of what it takes to move from place to place and how that's done, and the thing you're moving in is our Galaxy so it's easy to grasp.

The problem is I can't see that totality with AoS. I try and read the fluff(what there is online, the wikis are barren compared to the other two IPs) and they use words that to me mean different things interchangeably, or use the same word to mean several things - there are maps of Chamon in the KO book, but they're broken up into chunks, and I still can't figure out if that's because they're meant to represent sections of a larger, unseen map, or different planets/continents/dimensions all floating in some nebulous "firmament", or what. Without a view of the totality, I can't figure out where my own material could slot in, I don't have any sense of that shared space with a common reference that made 40K & WHF appealing to me - it's all very well to say "anything goes", but I don't find that appealing, if I want anything to go I could be writing my own setting from scratch, when I work within a pre-existing setting moving around and within its limitations is the whole point, they're what provides the experience with structure.

So, yeah, can anyone provide me with that logic, that context, that structure of limitations? Or at least, a specific publication in which it might be found because I'm not buying the whole AoS catalogue blind and, frankly, the first fictions were pretty dire for my taste.

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From what I've gathered, the world of Age of Sigmar is made up of several realms, with a bunch of realmgates (I presume) in each realm, leading to the other realms. Since there are still realms, and factions residing within these realms, that have yet to be fleshed out - there's a good amount of information missing for us to effectively imagine how the world is structured, and how the different factions might be affected by one another by proximity. In Old Warhammer, there was a singular realm(ish) with a map that laid everything out neatly, as you said. We don't neccesarily have that freedom here, but we are given enough to at least work with, and then fill in the gaps later as things are fleshed out further. I shall leave it in someone else's capable hands of reffering you to specific books that might assist you with that part, as I am lacking in that department. 

As for the logic of Age of Sigmar, it draws (or at least we can draw) some parallels to mythology - In the case of the realms, Norse mythology, with a bunch of realms that are tied to elements/races (Asgard, Alfheimr, Svartalaheimr, Midgard, etc) It could be worth looking into if you're desperate to wrap your head around the world we've been plunged into ;) I hope that helps you out a bit. 

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Thanks for chipping in Mayple. "Realms" is one of the big ones I'm struggling with tbh - is each a planet? A dimension with multiple planets? Croutons of reality floating in a cosmic bowl of soup? :D AoS just seems so slippery, every time I get close to nailing something down it scoots away from me again. It might just be that I won't be able to enjoy it properly until it's "settled down" and has much more definition - which would be a shame, because by that point people will have doubtless started agitating for GW to shake things up again, hah.

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1 minute ago, Yodhrin said:

Thanks for chipping in Mayple. "Realms" is one of the big ones I'm struggling with tbh - is each a planet? A dimension with multiple planets? Croutons of reality floating in a cosmic bowl of soup? :D AoS just seems so slippery, every time I get close to nailing something down it scoots away from me again. It might just be that I won't be able to enjoy it properly until it's "settled down" and has much more definition - which would be a shame, because by that point people will have doubtless started agitating for GW to shake things up again, hah.

That is an excellent question! Which my norse reference shall surely cover :D Hopefully. I'm no expert on norse mythology, but I dare say someone asked that very question in relation to their realms as well. 

Probably planet, but singular or plural?

Possibly flat. 

Definitely not a moon. 

Have you seen the picture of Sigmar's realm? It'll mess you up. 
400px-Age_Of_Sigmar_Map.png

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One of the things I like about Age of Sigmar's lore is the lack of definition.  In Warhammer Fantasy (which I still enjoy and play on occasion) I didn't have as much luxury in producing my own custom armies and fluff, since there was so much there that was predetermined, like the maps, regions, factions and sub-factions, and the fluff.

In AoS, the vagueness of the Realms's layout is a boon to me.  I like the idea of things not being exact and defined, as it gives us the freedom to make up more of our own home-brew fluff.  To use an analogy, Warhammer Fantasy is more like a historical wargame with magic, while Age of Sigmar is more akin with roleplaying games and open world building.

40K is in between WHFB and AoS.  Sure, the map of the galaxy is defining the locations, but the scope of the galaxy is nearly limitless.  There are a few dozen points on that map, with regions mapped out for where certain larger factions have a foothold.  But I could say that my customer Space Marine Chapter's homeworld is in a certain region without many people being upset by that.

As for how the Realms are shaped and connected, I am right there with you.  It is confusing and haphazard how things are presented so far, and it is kind of strange.  But then again, the lack of definition is one of the things I like best about it.  We could use a bit more structure (are the realms planets or dimensions or continents?  Or something else entirely?) but the vagueness can be fun, especially if you like to come up with your own stuff.

Your mileage will vary, as it is entirely subjective; you know what you want out of the game.

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From what I have gathered, I don't THINK realms are individual planets. Think more along the lines of reality. Each realm is a different reality. In the realm of shadows.. shadows govern how the worlds and beings on those worlds live and interact. In the realm of fire, fire is how the worlds and beings in those worlds live and interact. I wouldn't say realms are he size if universes.. but whose to say for sure? GW hasn't yet.. so it's left to imagination. 

 

This is a plus, for me. It's nice to not have everything left in a box. I get lost in my head thinking about hear realities and how the a reality based on a realm of metal would work! Also.. if you read the book godbeasts.. there are beings of unimaginable size and shape described. Like a the description of a snake cooked up in a "sphere" the size of a star.  It'll bend your mind for sure! And that's dope AF

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To go further with what @sal4m4nd3r said about the realms..

We could also look at the realm of Death as a baseline for the other realms. It's basically the underworld of Age of Sigmar - and we wouldn't think of the underworld as a planet, would we? Or of Hell? Surely, if those, being realms, are not defined as planets, we wouldn't define the other realms as such unless stated otherwise? 

Super heavy speculation train out of control speeding towards an orphanage! 

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There is no logic and there's not meant to be. I mean even in old fantasy and 40k there is a lot of stuff that has no logic. 

I find with age of Sigmar it's best not to concentrate on the entire realm just find a pocket of something you like and build your army around that. Don't worry too much about the whole logic of it fitting in. 

The lore of AoS is more of a mythical setting than a fantasy setting that warhammer was, compare it to the Thor/asgardian realms for a good comparison. 

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In WFB, if fluffing your army is your thing, you had a defined framework and maximum 'nerd' points on offer for - in essence - being able to alibi out your army because the established canon all support your story.
Part of the reason I can see the logic for destroying the old world is that there wasn't anywhere on the world map with "here be dragons" on it. It was all known. Very difficult to move things along, make significant changes or invent new stuff without it looking forced.
Granted that we had Ind, Cathay, Nippon etc. but more humans would have been unlikely to be a big deal...

Look at 40K. It's an accepted part of the background that billions die everyday, planets get wiped out on a whim. But that's possible because they only go down into lower levels of detail in certain places and for certain periods. There are many, many gaps to fill in, but enough temporal and spatial hooks for people to tie it in if they don't want to go it alone.

AoS is in a similar vein. Detailed maps and timelines are available where "needed".


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I think croutons in a cosmic bowling of soup is as close as anything :).

I like to think of the realms as planets before they became quite that formed (they aren't nessesarily​ spherical or conform to any specific real world thing.). They are also closer together and instead of "space" there is aether that can be traveled through.

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Hmmm. Interesting question, and one I really hadn't given much though until now. I always figured the realms to be planets , giving you a 40K setting where the realm gates stand in for space travel. But that ignores the connections magic draws between the different realms, or the fact that all the realms are connected to shyish through the souls of the dead.

Diving back into the first book, all it really says about the realms is that they were born from the maelstrom of a sundered world. We also know that each realms is named after one of the eight winds of magic from WFB. They even share most of the Incarnates from the End Times, though now as gods of their own realms. So is a realm a planet? Probably not. As @Mayple said, the underworld isn't necessarily a planet any more than hell is a distinct planet. It would be more reasonable to say that each of the mortal realms is the central focus of one of the winds of magic, that probably both stabilises it and influences it.

I don't think that GW really wants it to make sense in measures of space and distance. That would limit what they have to work with. Instead, you have eight realms connected by this network of realm gates. All the official story will probably be closely connected to that network. Everything outside and in-between is probably ours to play with as we wish. Think of it as an international railroad, connecting eight different continents, with lots of stops on each. You can only get off the train at a station, and traveling between each station takes the same amount of time no matter what, so where one station is in regards to another doesn't really matter. If you can accept that the continents doesn't necessarily have a fixed size either then I think we're getting pretty close.

IF (and I pretty much made this up five minutes ago, so take it with a ton of salt), the realms are stabilised by their respective winds, then their size could very well vary as the wind waxes and wanes. The realms gates would provide fixed points, but everything outside them could shift and change.

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To me, the strength of age of sigmar is the flexability of the realms. The limitless possibilities offered by a setting that hinges on no logic we are familiar with. Its like land mass in whfb, yeah we know that. Planets in 40k. Yeah we can relate. But the jack kirbyesque mania of the realms is something that kicks open the door of creativity, and of course, its NEW. its refreshing to not be stuck in the same slightly malleable setting.

The fact that the storyline starts in the middle of the timeline too is fantastic. Centuries have passed between the age of myth, age of chaos, and finally the age of sigmar!

These open holes give us narrative as the books come in, and over time we will have a beautiful graft of history, lore, and characters. 

 

Again, the lack of logic is the strength of the setting for me. Floating islands, mercury filled oceans, flying sky sharks and gods made manifest on the ground we share? Bring it on.

Edit: if anyone is familiar with the cartoon samurai jack, the aos setting is very similar to the way they handle their setting. Its vastly alien and screaming with diverse landscapes, they never go into detail on why the wolrd works that way, but the world itself becomes a vehicle to create striking and interesting stories.

Edited by hellalugosi
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If you have managed to wrap your mind around The Realm of Chaos, you can handle The Mortal Realms.

Same thing.  Big, endless dimensions. 

The big reveal to come?

All this time,  since Sigmar and Archaon fell into the void together, the new Mortal Realms have actually been in the Realm of Chaos, there to serve as a playground for Kweethl.

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Hey all,

I haven't read all the previous answer posts here so forgive me if what I'm saying has already been told.

I read roughly 90% of all released materials regarding AoS lore/fluff and here is my understanding of the realms:

The realms are huge, flat (though that "crust" of flat earth is hundreds of kilometers thick) and from tidbits of information are around the size of our solar system, so much larger then the surface of our earth or any single planet we know. Now there's a crazy spin on this, like in all things AoS, is that the realm constantly lose matter and gain new matter - as described in the short story "Pantheon" (I think that was the name ...), where a human wizard reaches the edge of a realm and sees that process going on.

Now, the realms "touch" each other and there are definite borders between them, as seen in several released sources. There are two realms that have no borders with other realms: the realm of chaos, which is somehow "parallel" to the AoS material reality, and the realm of Azyr, which exist just like all the other realms, but instead of bordering them on the "surface level" it floats above them, and can be seen in the night sky from certain high places at certain times.

The image shown above by Mayple is not Azyr, its the Sigmarabolum, built around the star Mallus and is the site where Stormcasts are created and equipped and the palace of Sigmar is.

 

Hope this helps :)

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The important thing is that Mallus Darkblade is a star now B|

@kor got us covered pretty well here, I believe. He was the hero we needed. 

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Welcome Yodhrin happy you joined us here! I will try and answer your question the best I can. The kharadron book is sections from a larger map most likely GW have said that they will release more world maps of the realms in time. Right now we only have one Ghyran.

This is the map of ghyran from the season of war. Each realm going by this map seems to be about the size of the warhammer world. The AOS realms are different interconnected realities that are linked together via realm gates the Kharadron overlords tomes notes that there are also sky paths that connect the realms so you can actually fly inbetween them if you know the route and have an airship. Now each realm is influenced by said wind of magic. We shall use Ghyran and Asqhy as an example. Both realms do indeed have normal plants, tree's, metals etc land for people to live on. 

lifemap-bg-1024x624.png

Said things are slightly influenced by said winds of magic one of the main cities hammerhal which is connected between ashqy and Ghyran take advantage of this. If you look closely they are noted on the detailed version of the map. From my lore thread. 

The twin tailed city is comprised of two sprawling metropolises linked together by the ancient stormrift realmgate and governed as one. Known as Hammerhal Aqsha and Hammerhal Ghyra, Together they are large enough to cover an entire continent. The former lies in the realm of fire while the latter stands amongst the encroaching wilds of ghyran, the realm of life. This unique symbiosis is both hammerhal's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness. For while Hammerhal reaps the benefit of both the mineral treasures of Aqshy and the fecundity of Ghyran, so dependent are the sister cities upon each other that should one fall, the other would surely follow. 

Ghyran has a huge bounty of food goods, plants etc and while Asqhy does have this in much more smaller numbers but Ghyran lacks many of the metal materials that Asqhy easily provides. Hence the trade between the two cities. Asqhy also provides Hammerhal Ghyra with magma via a realmgate to control the rampant growth so it does not overtake the city. 

Now as you can see by the image there are also very fantastical locations in AOS that you would not see in whfb, largely these are the places that the armies fight over including the realm gates due to ecnomic and military applications. 

The stormcast battletome fills in some of the details from the map also part of the world map of ashqy that looks rather similar to south east asia.

img_7960.jpg?w=780

ypzran2qtwql.png

Now the realms are indeed "near-infinite" what GW has done with the AOS realms is allow players to have scope to craft their own stories cities and societies. It's detailed in the pantheon novel that each realm has a "realms end". This realms end is where well.. the realms end! They essentially lead into the realm of chaos. Think the north pole of the whfb world and the AOS realms are actually separate from the realm of chaos. 

All of these worlds and dimensions are being held in the "great void" aka space essentially. It's noted in Archaon's battle tome that the realm of chaos easily connects to other worlds and realities with ease hence why Archaon could easily spend his time conquering in between end times and AOS. 

I also recommend the pantheon, city of secrets and warhammer quest hammerhal post for additional info. 

 

 

Edited by shinros
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So far it seems very much like I was just right to conclude at the outset AoS isn't for me, which is a shame now it finally has some interesting elements to it.

Sleboda - I never tried to wrap my head around the Realm of Chaos and my read of it was we were never meant to. It was a shapeless, formless, monstrous fever-dream. That works fine when the realm in question is external to the meat of the setting; an influence, a source, but fundamentally Other. But for me, I can't work with that if it's all there is; the irrational only works as a hook for me if you have a rational context to set it in or against, without that point of reference, without a core frame that everyone's working within, nothing makes any sense and I can't tell or invest in stories that don't make at least some sense.  To play the game I need to know the rules, as much when writing fiction as when rolling dice.

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Shinros & Kor - OK, that's really helpful thank you. What comes to mind when reading Kor's description is actually a kind of mystical Dyson Sphere, with the Realms forming a kind of constantly-shifting-at-their-edges interior facing,  Azyr existing "above" them in a kind of pre-modern-science "ether", with Chaos remaining an external "alternate reality" sort of affair. Or is that still too structured?

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12 minutes ago, Yodhrin said:

So far it seems very much like I was just right to conclude at the outset AoS isn't for me, which is a shame now it finally has some interesting elements to it.

Sleboda - I never tried to wrap my head around the Realm of Chaos and my read of it was we were never meant to. It was a shapeless, formless, monstrous fever-dream. That works fine when the realm in question is external to the meat of the setting; an influence, a source, but fundamentally Other. But for me, I can't work with that if it's all there is; the irrational only works as a hook for me if you have a rational context to set it in or against, without that point of reference, without a core frame that everyone's working within, nothing makes any sense and I can't tell or invest in stories that don't make at least some sense.  To play the game I need to know the rules, as much when writing fiction as when rolling dice.

A core frame? Hmm, think of it like this each AOS realm is like 8 warhammer worlds connected together that can expand due to the realm of chaos and realms end(where the realms end). They are connected together via gates and sky paths that the kharadron mapped. Each Realm has normal places, tree's grass, normal land etc where people normally tend to live. Case example the tree's in Chamon might have slightly more iron compared to the tree's in the Ghyran. 

The AOS realms are not UBER crazy like the realm of chaos where it's shapeless and everything changes at a whim. Now in the AOS realms there are a lot more fantastical locations and animals in the realms compared to whfb but the normal things also exist alongside it.  

Edit:Case example the realm of death Shyish some would imagine it would be a pure wasteland, but it is not it has some sylvania and tomb king style places in it. But also has beautiful things as well like as described in a novel that there was a long flower field that sigh's as you brushed past them(most considered them to be beautiful) but said flowers were influenced by Shyish. 

Most likely the sighing part. 

Edited by shinros
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54 minutes ago, Yodhrin said:

Shinros & Kor - OK, that's really helpful thank you. What comes to mind when reading Kor's description is actually a kind of mystical Dyson Sphere, with the Realms forming a kind of constantly-shifting-at-their-edges interior facing,  Azyr existing "above" them in a kind of pre-modern-science "ether", with Chaos remaining an external "alternate reality" sort of affair. Or is that still too structured?

Yeah you can view it like that some of the races even have made tunnels between some of the realms somehow bypassing the need for realm gates. Spider fang grots/goblins and skaven, chaos is also still the alternative mind warping bending reality it as always been. When chaos does appear in the mortal realms they literally mess with reality as always. Case example Asqhy and khorne all the magma rivers turned to blood, Ghyran and Nurgle? All the wonderful flowers start spewing pus and flies. Food rots, tree's fall into rotting decay etc. 

Also daemons can't hold their forms in the mortal realms and need to feed on a energy source to keep them within reality. 

You can even compare it to yggradsil considering how skaven handle the movement between the realms of course it's not as near mythological as norse mythos but you can see the similarities. Chaos place would be on the outside of the tree exploiting the holes at the end of each realm. Since ayzr can be seen somewhat from the highest points of certain realms. 

a5894e5ff030dafbe578f94f8eb93d18.jpg

Since joining chaos officially it seems the horned rat has given them the ability to even make tunnels through reality when described in a book the nurgle warrior essentially walked through a simple skaven(after gaining their service) tunnel that we all know and appeared in a far away location in Ghyran. Of course the gnawholes of different clans are in different condition pestelins is filled with all manner of disease and decay.

Also as detailed on each of the realms how clan pestelins mess with the landscape.

c7a40ca24843b0e12ba7bfa54dbe5b59.jpg

8038077a9be4df90b3ccaa7bc95b4f41.jpg

 

Edited by shinros
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47 minutes ago, Yodhrin said:

Shinros & Kor - OK, that's really helpful thank you. What comes to mind when reading Kor's description is actually a kind of mystical Dyson Sphere, with the Realms forming a kind of constantly-shifting-at-their-edges interior facing,  Azyr existing "above" them in a kind of pre-modern-science "ether", with Chaos remaining an external "alternate reality" sort of affair. Or is that still too structured?

Also as Kor said the realms do indeed lose and gain matter and it was through realms end that chaos first got it's hold on the mortal realms. The chief lesson Sigmar had with the everqueen on how chaos get's a hold of people and corrupt them is due to the fear of death. Hence why everyone tries to aim to become daemon princes. 

I am going to pull the pantheon post from the lore thread since some may have not read it yet. 

Pantheon

A Human wizard that mastered 5 out of the 8 pure schools of magic wanted knowledge on the end of the realms. Teclis met with him because he knew his search for knowledge was honest and few among his species ever got that far. Plus mastering 5 schools of magic as a human bloody hell. 

It also seems that perhaps depending on their portfolio the elven/Aelven gods might have a few human followers since they were a pantheon in the age of myth.(Also in a short chaos story it's revealed tyrion also has Human followers) It would not surprise me to see a life wizard thinking the everqueen is bee's knees or something. So Teclis told him to go to the mountains near possibly the edge of his realm. (He lives in Ghyran) Where he will find a door that lead's into a tunnel the door has no key and a beast that cannot be killed save by death, guard's realms end. So he went to the only people who can make such a key Grungi's folk, so of course he gets there in dwarf fashion, Grungi's temple guard told the manling to leave the iron temple disheartened he was sitting at the camp fire and met a dwarf/duardin with a REALLY long white beard and shared ale with him. (Also the journey to the mountains took 6 years) 

The human wizard told him his story and he found it interesting and the fact he let him in by the fire and shared ale with him he gave him the key to the door. The duardin/dwarf was hooded and the wizard was wondering where he got it from since he was told there was no key and the dwarf/duardin pretty much says don't worry about it and don't always trust what an aelf says and then leaves. He goes through the door and the last hurdle is a great chained wolf guarding an entrance(most likely a kin of Ulfric) of course he could not get past such a beast he then drank poison to slip into a near death like state. He went to shyish saw tons of skeletons, vampires in carriages etc and met with a necromancer with "black teeth" and said he wanted to meet with nagash. 

Wizard met with nagash and was careful around him nagash agreed to deal with the wolf because his journey interested him and he was a great mage but in return after his death he would serve him for 500 years. His spirit went back to his body and saw the wolf on the floor he went past and came to the edge and saw well random chaos stuff lightning etc all that jazz. 

He saw lands being made in the the random energy and latching onto the land of ghyran he then saw a three armed wizard holding a staff and he knew of his journey the "daemon" manipulated the chaotic energy and showed him his future of how much of a great wizard he would be and how much knowledge he would have and know if he served his master and how he is a searcher of knowledge. The one thing that kept him from taking the plunge was the family he left behind. The journey took six+ years and using magic he manipulated the chaotic energy to see what would happened to his family and wife(not good) he looked at the present and saw she was rather old and his son was pretty much a man. The daemon of tzeentch told him that they did not matter but he disagreed and realized what was important and went back just before blasting the daemon with magic of course he told the gods of his journey and what happened. 

I honestly suspect and it's noted it was through realms end and humans wanting to avoid death was how chaos first got it steps into the mortal realms and distorting the truth. 

There is also a bit where sigmar thinks back to the past when he was in the old hall where the pantheon gathered "divine" survivors from the world that was. It was pretty great with Alarielle calling sigmar "prince" and sigmar notes in the end that in actuality he did not want to become a god and he would of happily died a mortal king. 

Sigmar guesses that perhaps a higher being had other plans for him. (*cougholdonescough* still that's my theory and of course people's faith might of played the part.) 

TLDR: Also the realms end the end is pretty much the realms of chaos just like the "north" of the warhammer world. Bit's of random land are created and latch unto the mortal realms. The issue is going there deamons can easily appear and corrupt people. 

Edited by shinros
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To me the AoS setting is a very Moorcock-esque multiverse, with passages connecting what are ultimately very different places where reality often works in a different way.

It's the only way to explain how different factions (especially new vs old) are from each other.

Not the most original or appealing idea, but gives you something beside to explain steampunk balloon dwarves fighting a Middenheim militia.

 

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1 hour ago, Yodhrin said:

Shinros & Kor - OK, that's really helpful thank you. What comes to mind when reading Kor's description is actually a kind of mystical Dyson Sphere, with the Realms forming a kind of constantly-shifting-at-their-edges interior facing,  Azyr existing "above" them in a kind of pre-modern-science "ether", with Chaos remaining an external "alternate reality" sort of affair. Or is that still too structured?

I'd say you've pretty much hit the nail.

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Hey Yodderz, great to see you on here. :) 

People are giving some very good replies about the lore of Age of Sigmar. What I would like to try and convince you on are some of the themes I love about the setting instead, and see if it inspires you to go ahead and collect the Kharadron Overlords. (fingers crossed!)

1. The Mortal Realms are Post-Apocolyptic - Each of the realms are now millennia old, (or at least older than any scholar knows). The time of prosperous civilisation was so long ago it is referred to simply as the "Age of Myth", a time when gods walked the earth and mighty cities were founded. Those have since been shattered, smote and torn asunder under the following reign of chaos, another age of unknowable length.

What this means is that the realms are dotted with scattered ruins older than we can fathom. You can fill your stories with tales of ancient cities, wonders and myths to your heart's content. It means there are countless possibilities for you to create hooks and twists for you to set your armies and characters in. From cursed cities, to forgotten dungeons and shattered empires. 

It can give Age of Sigmar a "lost world" feel at times, and can let you imagine titanic statues or haunted necropolises bigger than any city from the Old World. I think that the realms being so wild and full of hidden histories is fascinating. In Age of Sigmar the maps only go so far, and so you get to experience the excitement of being the first tread off them and ask, 'What Next'?

2. The Mortal Realms are Mythic - When your adventurers set off into the wild and venture out into these forgotten hinterlands, they will find wonders and horrors unimaginable. Floating islands, seas of lava, titanic monoliths of gilded metals. Scenes that might resemble a Greek epic poem more than medieval Europe. This might be the part you have found hardest to come to terms with, the floating islands shaped like skulls with pouring waterfalls of molten metal coming out of each eye-socket etc etc. The way I look at is the same way you describe the Realm of Chaos above:

2 hours ago, Yodhrin said:

a shapeless, formless, monstrous fever-dream.

And I see the existence of these landscapes to be a direct result of Chaos having lordship over the realms through-out the Age of Chaos. Why is there a lake of fire and a mountain made of skulls? Because Chaos has ruled these lands for a thousand years. Their dominion over the realms has bled the realm of chaos into each of them, and now as we explore them we are seeing the result of that. 

3. The Mortal Realms are being "tamed" This is the newest theme I am seeing in the ever progressing story of Age of Sigmar and has grown out of the Season of War. The realms are being tamed by mortals once more. The mundane is creeping back into Age of Sigmar and all the low fantasy that goes along with it. Cities are being built, trade routes are being formed once more, humans are beginning to reclaim the land and bring with them civilisation. We now have the cities of Azyrheim, Hammerhal, Greywater Fastness and Excelsis, and with that comes the notorious and crime infested areas such as the Cinderfall District of Hammerhal. There is room once more for the pickpockets and thieves, the sell-swords and back-alley alchemists. The seeds of Tzeentch also begins to take hold in these cities and Witch Hunters are tasked to root it out as the heavy handed tactics of the Stormcast are woefully unsuited for governing regular humans.

 

So I hope this sheds some light and gives some inspiration to the stories you can set in the Mortal Realms. You can have your dirty, dingy back-alleys in the docks district, but that docks district itself can be in a Kharadon Skyport floating miles above the clouds of the Realms. The lowly-bum without much aspirations might join a venture onboard an Ironclad to set off out into the Mortal Realms to earn a bit of Aether-Gold, but that venture itself will leave the comforts of the skyport behind and the crewman will be witness to all kinds of horrors and wonders out in the ruins and shattered empires of the Mortal Realms. Perhaps they'll find a new human city and establish a trade route, perhaps they'll find a fool's horde of Ur-Gold and be chased down by enraged Fyreslayers who think it's been stolen from them, or perhaps they'll go get themselves lost inside an expansive cavern that stretches from horizon to horizon in the under-realm of Death before being set upon by thousands of crypt-flayers who have been clinging to the cavern roof like bats. :) 

Edited by bottle
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