WFRP - Karak Azgal
“The Realms of Man must not fall. Our fate is intertwined with theirs, and if they fall, so too do we. For this reason, I taught their first masters of magic, and for this reason, we must not abandon Men, despite their barbarous ways”
—Teclis, Loremaster of Ulthuan
Mankind, also called Men and sometimes Humans or Manlings by the Dwarves , are a race of intelligent, mammalian humanoids dominant in the Old World. The race of Men were one of the last intelligent peoples of the Warhammer World to become civilized. However, they are now one of the most powerful and populous species spread across the globe and might be considered the dominant intelligent race of the Warhammer World since the civilizations of the High Elves and the Dwarfs entered their mutual states of decline. Men are the chief devotees of the Imperial god Sigmar, as well as the primary opponent of Chaos’ continued incursions into the Old World.
Unfortunately, the race of Men is known to be highly susceptible to the influences of Chaos. And in fact, it is Mankind’s dominance on the Warhammer World that has shaped the Realm of Chaos and much of the form the Chaos Gods currently take, as they are ultimately no more than psychic manifestations in the Immaterium of the intelligent species of the galaxy’s collective psyches. Unlike the High Elves, Mankind has only just begun the transition into a race that can fully utilize the Winds of Magic. As yet, very few humans develop the genetic mutation that allows them to become wizards, though this number is slowly increasing as the centuries pass. However, most human wizards lack the mental discipline or inner strength to prevent themselves from becoming daemonhosts or the capability to access all the Winds of Magic simultaneously, like the greatest of the Elven Archmagi.
Humans have a highly developed brain, which is capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem-solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, allowed humans to make greater use of tools, much like the other humanoid intelligent races of the Warhammer World. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a “person”, though such features are shared with the other major intelligent species Men share the Warhammer World with, such as the Elves, the Dwarfs, and the Greenskins (some might question the latter).
Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With humans present across the world and having adapted to every possible environment, they are currently the Warhammer World’s dominant intelligent race. The current population of Men on the Warhammer World numbers in the hundreds of millions.
Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology, and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally, though cultural stagnation or even retrogression is possible, as the grim history of the Elder Races of the Warhammer World so readily demonstrates.
Nations of Mankind
The nations of Man located in the Warhammer World include:
- Albion – Albion is an island surrounded by mist and fog. It is home to the mysterious Ogham Stones and tribal, woad-wearing human barbarians.
- Araby – Araby is a desert nation that lies to the west of the Land of the Dead in the Southlands and is comprised of both highly sophisticated commercial urban centers and tribes of desert nomads.
- Bretonnia – Bretonnia is the human kingdom located directly west of the Empire whose people are ethnically related to the barbarian tribes of Men that founded the Empire, however the society is deeply segregated where the peasants of Bretonnia are highly oppressed by the ruling class, more so than other nations. Bretonnia is the Empire’s chief military rival, and the knights that comprise its heavy cavalry remain the best in the Old World.
- Cathay – Cathay is the largest nation of the Eastern Lands on the far eastern edge of the Old World’s continent. Like the people of the Old World, the Cathayans are in constant conflict with the mortal and daemonic servants of the Ruinous Powers of the northern Chaos Wastes. Another enemy the Cathayans face are the brutal Ogre Kingdoms to their west and northwest.
- The Empire of Man – The Empire stands as the mightiest nation of the Old World but also a deeply corrupt and often unjust human society where many have fallen to the corruption of Chaos, yet it is still the greatest bulwark the Old World has against Chaos, which push them back time and again. The Empire benefits from a great diversity of military units and the various orders of wizards who comprise the Colleges of Magic, and it is the home of the Cult of Sigmar.
- Estalia — Estalia is a peninsula southwest of Bretonnia in the Old World, far from the threat of Chaos, but without an external foe to unite them, the nation is a land of a number of rival Estalian kingdoms. Estalia was once occupied by forces from Araby, but the Arabyans were driven out by a combined effort known as the Arabyan Crusades by other Old World human realms like Bretonnia, the Empire and the Tilean city-states.
- Khuresh – Khuresh or the Hinterlands of Khuresh are in the Far East of the Warhammer World.
- Kingdoms of Ind – Ind is an eastern nation southwest of Cathay and west of the Ogre Kingdoms composed of many different competing kingdoms.
- Kislev — Kislev is a northern nation and an ally of the Empire that lies under constant threat due to its close proximity to the northern Chaos Wastes and the maddening Realm of Chaos.
- Nippon — The Empire of Nippon is the easternmost of the nations of Men, and is an island that lies off of the eastern coast of Cathay that is ruled by powerful feudal warlords.
- Tilea — South of the Irrana Mountains and the Vaults in the Old World, the fractious city-states of the peninsula of Tilea embrace trade, exploration and civil war with equal passion. Mercenary companies form the bulk of the armies that see combat in these lands, often fighting on behalf of the wealthy rulers of the many Tilean republics and principalities or further north in the service of the Empire.
- The Wasteland — The Wasteland is a low-lying land at the northwestern edge of the Empire that lies at the mouth of the River Reik and is home to Marienburg, one of the largest cities and commercial centers of the Old World. This region used to be a province of the Empire — when it was referred to as the province of Westerland — but seceded from the grip of Altdorf several centuries ago and is now fiercely independent. Perhaps out of spite, the people of the Empire soon after began to refer to the province as the Wasteland, sometimes due to the large marshes and bogs that surround the land.
- The Northmen are a loose collection of human tribes from three separate ethnic groups which inhabit the lands of Norsca and the other areas bordering the Chaos Wastes. While technically Men, many of these tribesmen have been so mutated and hopelessly corrupted by their worship of the Ruinous Powers that they cannot be compared to the more civilized Men of the south. Due to the harshness and lack of resources of the Chaos Wastes, the Northmen constantly raid the more prosperous regions of the Old World and Cathay for slaves and other resources. One must wonder why such people still live in such a harsh environment as the Wastes, but the truth of things in the desolate north is not as simple as it seems from the comfortable common rooms of warm taverns in the south. The Ruinous Powers, to the nations of the southern Old World, are but fearful whispers on the wind — but to the Northmen, they are the truth incarnate, for they live under the very real presence and watchful eyes of the Chaos Gods and their daemonic servants.