AoS Shorts: Your Essential Guide to Age of Sigmar

Malign Portents

Malign Portents has recently been announced by Games Workshop as the major focus for Warhammer Age of Sigmar through 2018.  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.  At the moment, Malign Portents looks like a fantastic re-launch of Age of Sigmar.

This page will contain everything you need to know on Malign Portents in one place and will be updated regularly.  If you are looking for more:

I’m also running a competition over on my Twitter feed for a brand new set of Realmgates to run with the new releases.  Simply follow me, and quote retweet this tweet with #aosshorts and your best tactics advice, lore snippet or epic battlefield tale that will fit in a tweet.  The competition runs to 3 March.  All the details are in the tweet.

The Malign Portents story

Check out the Warhammer TV Behind the Scenes video below for an introduction to Malign Portents.

Warhammer TV also produced a range of videos to accompany the countdown to the launch of the Malign Portents site:

Warhammer Community have also provided an article on why each of the races are involved in Malign Portents.

Warhammer Live with Phil Kelly on Malign Portents

You can find further discussions with Phil Kelly, Games Workshop Background Writer, over on Warhammer Live on Twitch – however you will need a subscription in order to view it.   I’ve made some notes of the key points regarding Malign Portents below:

  • 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 is a season of new developments to “deepen” Age of Sigmar.
  • Malign Portents storyline will run through battletomes and other publications in the future.  Stories on will cover and introduce new territory.
  • Malign Portents book:
    • new era, and a new time in Age of Sigmar – stage two
    • everyone is involved, all four grand alliances
    • civilization under threat from an ancient foe, Nagash
    • mainly focused on Shyish
    • missions and new rules for use in games, including prophecy points (a look into the portents) which can be used for the benefit
  • Nagash unhappy with the souls lost to him through the reforging of the Stormcast Eternals.
  • The Realms: No night time in the realm of light – realm of shadow has variance from gloomy to pitched black, but no formal day and night.  You will see a cosmic swirl if you look up from any of the realms – galaxy in the firmament, realm of azyr,
  • Shyish, the Realm of Death:
    • The living work and fight alongside their ancestors in Shyish.
    • Realm of Death not the Realm of Undeath. Neutral death and good death as well as evil undeath. “good guy Undead armies”
    • Its normal to live and interact with ghosts.  For example, a battalion that swears to protect the city for the rest of time (even after Death)
    • Hundred and thousands of underworlds within the realm
    • Souls will stay their indefinitely unless some process interrupts that – some underworlds may be like jail terms, most afterlifes are in perpetuity
    • Some of the souls from the World That Was will have been saved, but they are the exception (less than 10 or so).
  • But when Nagash comes in and takes over an Underworld in Shyish he distorts the normal balance and corrupts the Dead in Shyish.  Ancestors will turn into vengeful cairn wraiths etc.
  • Nagash has consumed the gods of these underworlds – expansionist empire of Nagash.
  • Originally the Mortal Realms universe was deliberately broad and vague to allow the miniatures designers freedom, now the background team is crystallising that picture.  To cover day to day life etc, draw on the best bits of old Warhammer.   New rules opportunities from the narrative such as the Free Cities.
  • Harbingers – not unique models, hundreds of them
    • Lord Ordinator -engineer for fates and destiny as well as warmachines – part astronomer, engineer, warrior – leads SCE into Shyish
    • Darkoath Warqueen – charismatic tribal leader – won a lot of warriors to her cause – invasion through Realmgate into Shyish – Aqshian tribes – walk through the Abyssal fires to take on Nagash
    • Shaman – being followed by goblin visionary – deathcap mushroom – dreams visions that come true around him – powerful shaman – hoping to capitalise on the outcome of the battle
    • Knight of Shrouds – betrayer and traitor – turned on own people by doing a deal with Nagash – sold soul to Nagash – great influence over the dead (benefit to the undead around him) but the living hate him
  • Nagash / Tarsus Bullheart – storyline happening in parallel, rather than in Malign Portents.
  • Nagash has been tinkering with the reforging process to see how the process works.
  • Anvils of Heldenhammer exclusively recruited from realm of Death.  From Nagash’s view, Sigmar has taken his best guys.
  • Nagash been laying plans for ages – a number of redundancies lined up.
  • Massive citadels and monuments to himself – colossal inverted black pyramid – vitrified realmstone used for pyramid – realmstone is like grains of sand – grainsand – mortality sand which can impact your lifespan either positively or negatively.  Can sap your energy and decay you.  Very similar to shadeglass.  very powerful stuff.  Nagash hardening it into stone.
  • Not hiding what he is doing, just believes no-one can stop him.
  • All of the Mortarchs have their place in this – Nu-Lahmia, Carstinia (Mannfred making new Sylvania), Arkhan overseeing Nagash’s great works.  Legions of Nagash has lots of details on the Mortarchs.  The books focus on the existing Mortarchs with models, but models for other Mortarchs may be added later.
  • Lots of underworlds in Shyish – depending on the underworld they may be different –
    • Amethyst Princedoms (original home of Ionus Cryptborn, Lord Relictor) a lot of Amethyst energy.
  • Interaction between inhabitants of azyr and the desperate survivors and refugees of the realms – cultures, prejudices, castes – more life and character for the cities.
  • Crimson Monarchy wont be explored as such.
  • Vandus Hammerhand returns with a critical role – always been plagued by visions – has some visionary ability – all people in the realm of heavens do.  Visions more pronounced through reforging.
  • Ionus has a secondary role.
  • Sigmar knows there is something wrong with the reforging process and has sent some emissaries to work it out (for example the force that entered Shadespire).  Reason why the process doesn’t work is because Sigmar’s hand was forced by Chaos’ imminent victory – so couldn’t perfect process with Grungni.
  • Plans for new factions in the future (not so far away – soon, like really soon).

Stories from the Games Workshop background team

Games Workshop are also releasing downloadable short stories every week for Malign Portents.

Malign Portents: The Champions

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

  • Max and Aiden of the Eavy Metal Team discuss the new models on Warhammer Live here (subscription required).
  • Great portraits, art and wallpapers of all the Champions can be found over on the artist’s ArtStation page.


Vorrus Starstrike, Lord-Ordinator, Order’s Champion


Lord Ordinator

Keldrek, Knight of Shrouds, Death’s Champion


Snazzgarr Stinkmullet, Fungoid Cave Shaman, Destruction’s Champion


Marakarr Blood-Sky, Darkoath Warqueen, Chaos’ Champion


Marakarr Darkoath

The Dread Solstice Campaign

Dread Solstice is the Malign Portents global campaign, a worldwide event where the next chapter of this dark new age in the Mortal Realms is influenced by you and decided by your efforts on the tabletop and at your painting table.

In Week 1, the Time of Tribulations dawns as the Mortal Realms shake at the rising of an ancient power. This is a time of fear and madness, but also one of conquest for those bold enough to face the coming darkness. You’ll be able to choose this week just how you interpret these portents – remember, your decisions going forward will shape the future of the Mortal Realms and the rest of the campaign, so consider your options wisely…

Malign Portents

Submissions for this first week of the campaign end at 10 am (GMT) on Thursday February 21st – so get cracking! You can find your nearest participating store (and even check the results in your area) in the Dread Solstice section of the Malign Portents website.

You can find more on the Dread Solstice campaign here.

Community Coverage

Malign Portents is getting a lot of coverage from the wider Age of Sigmar community.  Check out these links:

More reading

For more on the Age of Sigmar lore, background and setting, check out the Lore section of the site, the description of the Realms, and the Black Library reading.

Also, check out Warboss Kurgan’s great blog (including for his excellent terrain and warband projects)  the TGA Community thread for Malign Portents – 40 pages and counting – and the Reddit!