AoS Shorts: Your Essential Guide to Age of Sigmar

Getting Started with Black Library – Age of Sigmar

Black Library have been pumping out Age of Sigmar fiction for over three years now, but where do you start?  How do you break into the Black Library works and read the Age of Sigmar story beyond the battletomes?  Well Michael from Track of Words has you covered with a new page up on the site.

IMHO Track of Words is the best website for coverage of Black Library works – news, reviews, and author interviews – in particular, for Age of Sigmar.  Michael updates the site almost daily and always has great takes.  So I highly recommend checking out his website, his Twitter and his Facebook.  Also, check out the Age of Sigmar Goodreads group and the lore section of this site for more on the Age of Sigmar background.

And, finally, as always, check out Dark Fantastic Mills for great 3D printed terrain perfect for wargaming.  Its super versatile and light so worldwide shipping is inexpensive.  Use the “aos shorts” discount code for a further 10% off the already decent prices.

Age of Sigmar


AoS Lore – The Tainted Axe by Josh Reynolds

Hey all, I’ve been on a massive Age of Sigmar lore buzz recently and reading as much of the Black Library works as I can.  I buy all the books electronically so that I can highlight up passages and take notes as I go along – The Tainted Axe being my most recent read.  The Age of Sigmar Black Library works are great for details that really ground and expand the Mortal Realms in a way that you simply can’t get just with reading a bit of background in the Battletomes.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how I can share these details in a way that will show people the depth of the Mortal Realms while also being accessible.  There are plans for a database and index, but for the moment, I’m just going to share my notes (hopefully as spoiler-free as possible).   So below you’ll find some short descriptions of the characters, locations and other points to note in the Josh Reynolds short, The Tainted Axe.

If you are interested in reading the Tainted Axe, please consider using my US and UK Amazon Affiliate links as a small part of the purchase price will go to supporting the site.  If you are interested in more AoS lore, check out the AoS Shorts Lore section and the Age of Sigmar fiction Goodreads site.

The Tainted Axe by Josh Reynolds

The Tainted Axe is an e-short following Sir Roggen of the Ghyrwood March at a time after the novel Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows.

The Tainted Axe is part of the Eight Lamentations series and I hope we get many more novels to come as Spear of Shadows was a great read.  Pick up Spear of Shadows if you haven’t already, you need no background knowledge of the Age of Sigmar lore and narrative (US / UK).  We also have another short in the series, Auction of Blood (US / UK), which is set before Spear of Shadows.

Characters in the Tainted Axe

Sir Roggen of the Ghyrwood March, a Knight of the Order of the Furrow, unkempt hair, thicket-like beard, scarred features, lost left hand, rangy limbs thick with hard-earned muscle, wears a simple jade habit of woven fibres belted at the waist with leather.  Sir Roggen lost his hand in the service of Grungni. Though they worshipped Alarielle, the Knights of the Furrow had often shed blood in service to Grungni.

“As novices, we are taught to be wary of Alarielle’s children, for they are not mortals and do not think as mortals do. They change with the seasons and cannot be trusted.’

‘No more so than the storm or the flood. We are taught to respect you, but not to trust you.’ He bowed his head. ‘Seek no favours of the tree-kin, but sink deep the roots of every bargain,’ he recited.”

Knights of the Order of the Furrow don’t use metal as it would break their oath to the Everqueen.  Instead they carry bronze-coloured ironwood war-plate and weapons grown from seeds gifted by Alarielle before the coming of Chaos.  Sir Roggen’s weapon is made from the seedpod of a devourer plant. Thick, vein-like convolutions connected the dark blade to the hilt, and the pommel-stone was a milky-hued gem, uncut and heavy.

They had worshipped a different god, once. Or so the stories said. Now, the Order of the Furrow bowed only to the Lady of Leaves, and watered her sacred forests with the blood of her enemies – and their own, when necessary.

Sir Roggen rides Harrow – demigryph, vibrant green feathers, dark ironwood armour.

The Bramble-Maiden, branchwraith, sister to the Lady of Vines and daughter of the Everqueen.  Set Sir Roggen his quest and promised to regrow his hand from wood in return for successful recovery of the Tainted Axe.

Kryael, formerly the Knight of Evensong – now a bracken spirit given as companion for Sir Roggen.   It is suggested that Kryael’s current form is due to either disfavour with or a broken promise to Alarielle

Sir Feculus, of the Duchy of Bitterbile, Knight of the Order of the Fly, kinsman of Duke Goral of Festerfane – sent to reclaim the Tainted Axe.

Hygal, a moss-leper, and Knight of the Order of the Furrow.  

With passing references to:

  • Drycha Hamadreth, Queen of Thorns, Regent of the Outcasts.
  • Alarielle, the Lady of the Leaves.
  • Grungni – often referred to as “The Crippled God” by critics.

Locations in the Tainted Axe

The Writhing Weald, Ghyran, an old and savage forest.
Verdant Bay.

Other points of note

Moss-leprosy – a condition where the person has ever-growing patches of cancerous moss.  It ate away at flesh and muscle, leaving only dense, green clumps clinging to the bone but causes no pain..   Sufferers smell musky.

In Ghyran, the honoured dead and bound in sacks and buried here, where they might add their strength to that of the trees.

The Tainted Axe, Lifebiter, an ancient weapon, once wielded by Duke Goral of Festerfane, a cursed scion of Nurgle’s demesnes.

Balefire – Nurgle’s fire, twists what it touches and spreads sickness.


Age of Sigmar Calendar

Today I also have a guest post from Jacob Burleson (@ReverendDangles) on a partial description of the Age of Sigmar Calendar as we know it.  Jacob used the journal entries of the narrator in the Malign Portents short story, “Beyond the Walls” to piece together the calendar of Azyr for, at least, this part of the Mortal Realms.

For more great lore articles, check out the lore section of the site.  But for now, I’ll hand over to Jacob.

The Age of Sigmar Calendar

While the Age of Sigmar lore grows ever expansive and broad, some smaller details are becoming known.  These little features may seem insignificant but they add more depth to the lore and they can have a powerful impact on our ability to imagine a particular place or people.

Age of Sigmar Calendar

The Malign Portents short story Beyond the Walls is presented in the form of a series of diary entries.   From these entries, we can deduce the calendar used in this part of the Realms.

  • Moonsday, 7th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Starsday, 10th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Cometsday, 13th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Voidsday, 19th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Starsday, 24th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Hawkswatch Tower
  • Sigmarsday, 28th of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Hawkswatch Tower
  • Starsday, 31st of Azyr’s Gleaming, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Voidsday, 2nd of Golden Harvests, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks
  • Cometsday, 2nd of Golden Harvests, City of Heldelium, Crowswatch Barracks

Two months are currently known: Azyr’s Gleaming and Golden Harvests, in that order.  Given the name of the first month, the Realm of Azyr is a safe assumption.  The second month implies it could be during the time of year that crops are harvested (October-November on Earth).  So this means the story could take place in the fall.

Five days are mentioned by name in the story: Moonsday, Starsday, Cometsday, Voidsday, and Sigmarsday.

There are three entries of Starsday in the story: 10th, 24th and 31st.  The 10th and 24th are 14 days apart and the 31st is 7 days. So the calendar seems to follow a seven day week.

If the 31st is the last day in Azyr’s Gleaming, the next entry in the story, Voidsday (2nd), would be 14 days from the previously mentioned Voidsday.  This shows that Azyr’s Gleaming has 31 days and confirms the 7 day week.

With this in mind, more days can be extrapolated to populate the calendar.

  • Starsday (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st)
  • Voidsday (5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, and 2nd)
  • Cometsday (6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th)
  • Moonsday (7th, 14th, 21st and 28th)

From this, it follows that Voidsday, Cometsday, and Moonsday are always in that order.

The fifth day mentioned, Sigmarsday, is on the 28th of Azyr’s Gleaming, which is also a Moonsday.  From this, it is likely a special day that the people of Azyr observe and not a separate day itself.

Age of Sigmar Calendar

You can find a Google Sheet of the Calendar here.

The Mortal Realms on the Age of Sigmar Calendar

You can also check out Eric (@StoneMonkGamer) of the Mortal Realms channel discussing the same subject 🙂 Video embedded here, but head over and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Further Reading

The State of the Mortal Realms

Today, I have something different – a guest post from Martin Orlando giving a State of the Mortal Realms address in his role as Sigmar Heldenhammer’s Personal Adviser.  Give it a read to see where the tides of battle sit at this stage.  You can find Martin and his excellently painted, Japanese inspired Stormcast on Twitter and Instagram.

One of my aims this year is to expand the lore section of this website.  If you have a particular faction, race, city or realm that you are interested in and would like to share a piece with the AoS Community, let me know on Twitter or through this site.

Anyway, on with the proclamation.

The God-King’s Proclamation on the State of the Realms

Good evening citizens of the Mortal Realms, this is Sigmar Heldenhammer.  I’m speaking to you live from the Sigmarabulum in High Azyr, and for the first time I am able to carry my voice to your hearth abroad on the wireless.  This arcane marvel of science allows me like never before to cross the threshold of Realms and speak to you as if I were in your own home.  I would like to take this opportunity to address the state of our Realms, for much has changed in recent years.

I regularly reminisce on a place you will only know of from fairy tales and legends, that place called the World-that-was. You may call it that, but to me it was Mallus, and it was my home. It exists today, as the broken red moon above Azyrheim. It may be hard to imagine, but in eons past it flourished with life. But it is no more.  Archaon the Everchosen consigned it to oblivion. Few survived, and those that prospered did so by chance or the will of a darker power. My own rescue by The Great Dragon, the founding of the Realms, all of you know these tales, for there are many. But none more than I remember fondly that old world. You are not the descendants of my kin, but you are their successors. And as such successors, you have thrived in ways even I did not think were possible. Azyr is free of the great greenskin hordes which blighted our cerulean shores. Great cities have risen in Ghyran, Aqshy, and Ghur. And armies of free peoples press against the darkness like never

These victories could not have been achieved without the valiant efforts of the men and women I address today in these heavenly halls. Stormcast Eternals, a weapon forged from everything I had lost, have traveled into the maw of Chaos itself to rid the realms of evil.From brave Vandus Hammerhand, who first struck Khorne at the Brimstone Peninsula, to Gardus Steelsoul who has traveled twice into the Garden of Nurgle, each and every one of you are exemplars or Order, and for that I thank you.

But despite our victories, and despite the tremendous progress we have made together, more threats remain. And as we discover new wonders in the vastness of the realms which were corrupted by Chaos in my absence, new threats will continue to reveal themselves. The Idoneth Deepkin, a race all but unknown to me until recently, has shown no love to our cities and towns abroad, for they cull man as easily as they do slaves to darkness. The High Priestess of Khaine has resurfaced in Ulgu after millenia in hiding, drawing cultists to her side by the thousand. Great mechanized cities soar across the sky, home to questionable privateers calling themselves the Kharadron Overlords. Yet even as I disparage these folk from my throne far removed from your struggles, know that I advise you to make peace if the opportunity arises. Life is plentiful, and it can thrive on many ways, even in those ways you may find to be unsavory. We have a greater common foe in Chaos, the destructive hordes, and now the Grand Host of Nagash.

From the days of the world-that-was, Nagash and I have known terrible conflict, and little if any peace. When the Realms were founded, the cosmos was vast enough to allow fair distance between our persons, but all is different now, rather unfortunate circumstances have brought us back to the relationship he and I were used to having. Far beyond the constraints of mortality and flesh, he seeks eternal dominion over all creatures, living and dead.He is beyond no tactics to accomplish his goals. Vampires have infiltrated the aristocracy, and kill for food in secret while spying for their shared master. Battlefields across the Realms become gardens for the deadwalker masters who raise new soldiers by the thousand. Whispers abound of these Malign Portents which plague the populace, who grow ever more frightened and superstitious as mad soothsayers interpret the signs as heralds of doom. In response to this growing threat, I dispatched several chambers of my Stormcast Eternals to pacify the Realm of Shyish once and for all. At their heels were any number of brave explorers and gloryseekers. This would turn out to be mildly insufficient.

I have seen the Portents as well. No place, however brilliant and full of light, seems free of fortelling doom. And I believed a more powerful action needed to be undertaken. In consultation with the Lord Commander of the Hammers of Sigmar chamber, he suggested that I, “could not solve all of my problems by opening another chamber”, to which I replied, “the hell I can.”

The Sacrosanct Chamber has been a weapon I deemed to only be used under gravest of circumstances, which I believe currently applies. As I speak, agents of the Sacrosanct Chamber are being deployed across Shyish. We know our mission. To stop Nagash once and for all, our armies must turn his soul-stealing sorcery against him. And by the divine might of the heavens themselves, our soldiers shall withstand their ceaseless hordes with hammer and shield. The time had come to act as never before. Our enemy is not like the followers of Chaos. It
does not know pain. It does not know rest. But it is similar to the forces of Chaos in that if we allow it a reprieve now, it will grow into something we cannot hope to overcome now or ever. Now is the time to strike. Now is the time to prove our worth as the defenders of Order, and smite the Undead menace once and for all!

Here ends the message.

Further reading on Age of Sigmar lore and narrative

For more great coverage of the Age of Sigmar lore and narrative, check out:

Malign Portents: An Introduction

Hey there, work is super busy at the moment, but I still wanted to put out a short show covering all that we know about Malign Portents so far and the great news out of the Studio Preview at the Las Vegas Open, Daughters of Khaine and more!

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Between recording and releasing the show, Warhammer Community put up a new article on the pre-releases for Malign Portents and Legion of Nagash.  All the information and pictures are covered in an addendum to the show.

This show also reflects where I want to see the AoS Shorts website growing over 2018.  The podcast will remain focused on succinct tactics and strategy advice for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.  But the website is expanding into the Age of Sigmar background and hobby.  Over the year, you’ll find coverage of all the major events – Malign Portents, Legions of Nagash, Daughters of Khaine – and summaries of all you need to know about the Mortal Realms – the people, the places, the cities and the agriculture (expect a crop rotation chart).  So keep checking out the website as it grows over the year.

A couple of final notes before we delve into the show:

  • I’ve added a list archive to the site to contain tournament lists and packs from events outside the UK.  This will hopefully be a complement to the Bad Dice UK archive, and you’ll already find lists for Cancon, the first 100+ player Australian event, and the Australian and New Zealand Masters.  Soon the Las Vegas Open lists will be added, and then Adepticon.
  • Games Workshop have announced that Warhammer Age of Sigmar will also be receiving two large FAQs a year (in January, i.e. now, and July), with erratas released within a couple of weeks of each new battletome.  It is great seeing this coming to keeping the game clear, balanced and accessible.

Malign Portents: an Introduction

Malign Portents has recently been announced by Games Workshop as the major focus for Warhammer Age of Sigmar through 2018.  From what we know so far, Malign Portents is a book, global campaign and so much more.  It is an advancement of the Age of Sigmar lore and an introduction to the Realm of Death, Shyish.  We can expect a number of model and book releases, presumably for each of the Grand Alliances.  At the moment, Malign Portents looks like a fantastic re-launch of Age of Sigmar.

The Malign Portents story

Malign Portents is a season of new developments to “deepen” and expand Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.  The storyline will run through battletomes and publications this year.

Already, Games Workshop have released a series of Warhammer TV videos, Warhammer Live interviews and a series of free and downloadable stories from the background team over at the Malign Portents website.  These stories have focused on the battle between Nurgle and Death to start but have given an interesting insight into the lives of normal people in Shyish.

The Malign Portents website also has a timeline and overview of the Mortal Realms if you are new to Warhammer Age of Sigmar.

Shyish, the Realm of Death

The story arc is set in Shyish, the Realm of Death.  From the start it is important to realise that the Realm of Death does not mean that it is the Realm of Undeath, such as we associate with Nagash.  There is such a thing as neutral and good death.  Think civilisations that can communicate and interract with their ancestors.  Shyish contains hundreds and thousands of underworlds (or afterlifes) for the Mortal Realms.  These are slowly being taken over by Nagash.

Nagash has plans, big plans!

Nagash is still, shall we say, a little peeved at Sigmar denying him the souls of the dead through the reforging process of the Stormcast Eternals.  However, Nagash has a plan and has been studying that reforging process.

Also, Nagash has been expanding his influence in Shyish and is distorting the normal balance of the realm.  He has commanded Arkhan to collect all the Realmstone in Shyish (think black sand) in order to build massive citadels and monuments, not least of which is a colossal inverted black pyramid of vitrified realmstone.  Now realmstone is powerful stuff.  It can impact the lifespan of those around it – it can sap your energy and decay you, or prolong you.

As a by-product of Nagash’s plans inhabitants of the Mortal Realms are experiencing weird visions, omens, prophecies and dreams of disaster with the occasional glimmers of hope – something nasty is coming.

Malign Portents

The Malign Portents book

The Malign Portents book will cover this story of the gathering maelstrom in the Realm of Death, and includes new Time of War rules for fighting in Shyish, from life-sapping wastes of Shyish to interpreting fell omens to aid your army.  These have been referred to as “prophecy points”.  The book will cover both narrative and matched play.

Malign Portents book

The Characters – the Harbingers


Malign Portents introduces four new heroes to Age of Sigmar, one for each Grand Alliance.

  • Vorrus Starstrike, Lord-Ordinator, Order’s Champion – an engineer for fates and destiny as well as warmachines – part astronomer, engineer, and warrior.
  • Keldrek, Knight of Shrouds – a betrayer and traitor who turned on his own people by doing a deal with Nagash,
  • Snazzgarr Stinkmullet, Fungoid Cave Shaman, a magic mushroom addled visionary; and
  • Marakarr Blood-Sky, Darkoath Warqueen, a charismatic tribal leader of Aqshian tribes coming to challenge Nagash

Now while these characters are named – they are one of hundreds in their roles, so their warscrolls are for generic heroes.  The warscrolls have been leaked, but I’m not going to cover them here in isolation.

Dread Solstice: the Malign Portents Global Campaign

Dread Solstice

Games Workshop have described the Dread Solstice Campaign is a “choose your own adventure” story style campaign with a branching narrative, where the games you play and models you paint can be used to decide where the story goes next.   Just as the Season of War campaign influenced the Age of Sigmar narrative, so will the Dread Solstice campaign.

Dread Solstice


The Campaign runs for 6 weeks from 15 February, in three fortnightly chapters.  These will tie into the painting competition that we know about.

  • 10 February: Start Collecting set painting competition finishes
  • 3 March: Harbinger painting competition closes
  • 31 March: Painting competition to complete your force

Also, don’t forget the Coalesence Global Narrative event on 17 March.

Finally, I’m keeping all the Malign Portents information in one place (because its a bit scattered over Games Workshop’s various platforms).

There is more Malign Portents swag coming too!

Legions of Nagash

Battletome: Legions of Nagash will revitalise (joke intended) the Death grand alliance.  And it looks like we can expect the book to arrive in February.

Battletome: Legion of Nagash

Legions of Nagash: new allegiances

The book contains all the warscrolls for every Death model “(so far…)” and the rules for six allegiances (including four new ones):

  • the Grand Host of Nagash;
  • Legion of Night;
  • Legion of Sacrament;
  • Legion of Blood;
  • Soulblight; and
  • General Death.

Legions of Nagash

Each of the new legions corresponds to a Mortarch (or Nagash himself), and each allegiance, while using a mixed pool of Death units, will feature its own unique in-game mechanics and abilities.

Now a large number of the warscrolls have leaked due to an early update of the Australian Age of Sigmar app.  I won’t be covering them here because I don’t believe there is much point in isolation from the allegiance abilities and points costs.  I’d rather cover everything in one show at the time of release.  However, the new scrolls do demonstrate changes to faction keywords, command abilities, summoning and ethereal.  So the book promises a big shake-up (which we all know Death needs).  So you don’t get too worried, a few locals have commented that the changes look like they are returning the Death factions closer to their roots in the Warhammer background.

I’ll keep all the official information on Legions of Nagash as and when we know it over on my Legions of Nagash page.

Daughters of Khaine

Now you have to have been living under a rock not to have seen the epic release videos and pictures for Daughters of Khaine that surrounded the Las Vegas Open this weekend.  If you haven’t you seriously need to check them out here.


Morathi, one of the coolest characters from the World that Was, is back and the Daughters of Khaine are getting a battletome.  Morathi, the Shadow Queen, and outspoken representative of Khaine, the Bloody-Handed Aelven god of Murder,  has returned for revenge but she is no longer quite what she was – having been held captive by Slaanesh.


I highly recommend you check out Warhammer Weekly’s breakdown of the reveal, but the high points are:

  • 2 new Medusae units – a combat and a range variant
  • 2 new Harpy-style units – with a strong, dynamic Sisters of Slaughter aesthetic
  • what appears to be 2 forms of Morathi – based on current theorising one is an illusory aelven form, and the second is a transformed/ascended large serpentine/drake form
  • the battletome itself

So, what’s to come?

Looking forward, the Las Vegas Open Studio Preview confirmed that a second Aelf faction is coming.   We’ve had a bit of chat on Twitter as to whether this is a link to the Aelfs, Collegiate Arcane or something else.  In any event it is a great piece of art.

Malign Portents Aelf

From my personal perspective, and with no inside knowledge, I suspect we will get a Moonclan battletome this year too.  Moonclan were not in General’s Handbook 2017, they have a champion in the Malign Portents narrative and their models are showing up in White Dwarf battle scenes.

We can expect to learn more with reveals at the Warhammer World Age of Sigmar Open Day (March 3), GAMA (March 12-16), and Adepticon (March 22-25).

Finally, we know that one of the most beloved Warhammer terrain pieces, the Skullvane Manse, is coming back into production.  We may even see more Age of Sigmar terrain this year (if you look closely at the Daughters of Khaine videos).


Conclusion and Further Reading

Thanks for listening – get in touch and let me know what you think.   The easiest way is to find my on Twitter.