The Storm of Chaos (2522 to 2523)

The events of Storm of Chaos as generally known in the Empire.

2522

High Zar Surtha Lenk lead a mighty barbarian army of several Kurgan and Norscan tribes to invade the Empire, passing through Kislev and entering the Empire on the first of Sigmarzeit 2522.

After the ambush of Imperial forces in late Sommerzeit, at the Battle of Griffon’s Fall where the Emperor was wounded, the Empire gathered its forces and considered its next steps. Wolfenburg fell, most of Ostland was overrun.

Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg lead the Imperial army to smash the barbarian horde in battles throughout the month of Vorgeheim, driving them to retreat north. On Nachgeheim the 1st, Surtha Lenk was killed in Kislev.

Nachgeheim 9th was the The Day of the Bell, when a plot to strike against the great and powerful of the Empire was frustrated by the noble sacrifices of a band of heroes. A poisoning plot against the Emperor was revealed.

Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim called holy orders of knights and the devout to form the Army of Sigmar to march north and destroy the remaining forces of Chaos so that they will never be able to mount another assault on Sigmar’s folk. The Elector Count of Talabecland joined his forces with the Army of Sigmar. With great foresight (as now proclaimed with hindsight), the Emperor refused to send the Imperial Army as part of this venture.

In Erntezeit, the Army of Sigmar faced the army of Archaon the self-proclaimed Everchosen, a true chaos horde not simply northern barbarians with the odd mutation. The Grand Theogonist was lost as was most of the army and it became clear that the following spring an even greater chaos horde will fall upon the Old World.

News of this disaster reached Altdorf at the end of Brauzeit 2522, and the Empire’s celebrations of victory over the northern barbarians turned to mourning and fear of what is to come the next spring.

On the 15th of Kaldezeit, 2522, a new Grand Theogonist Johann Esmer was elected to lead Sigmar’s Church. Breaking with tradition he either does not take a dwarven name upon becoming Grand Theogonist, or at least does not announce it, acting under his own name.

Luthor Huss falls out with Grand Theogonist Esmer and his right hand man, the new leader of the Templars of Sigmar Wilhelm Steinberg. While travelling, Huss finds the charismatic young champion Valten, whispered by some to be Sigmar Reborn.

On Hexenstag 2522, witch hunters foil a plot to open a daemonic gate in Nuln with a sacrifice of nine souls. The arch-heretic Veneficus, who had corrupted several nobles and esteemed scholars of the University of Nuln, escapes Witch Hunter Captain Markus Reiner.

Magisters noted the winds of magic are blowing more strongly and unpredictably and Mórrslieb was more often in the sky.

2523

In Jahrdrung, the Emperor Karl-Franz convenes the Conclave of Light which lasted 30 days. High Priests and Electors attended (for Averland emissaries of both Leitdorfs and Alptraums attended) as well as representatives of all bordering nations including the dwarven realms and the elven lands of Athel Loren and Ulthuan – Teclis himself appearing again in the Empire after two centuries, accompanied by a force of 500 scale-armoured warriors of Ulthuan.

In Pflugzeit the “Miracle of Auerswald” changed forever the simple view of mutation. Valten grappled with a mutant and in his grasp the man’s mutations vanished! It is proven that Valten’s touch cures mutation, though for the badly mutated this simply means death. Chaos cults were riven by dissension though efforts to assassinate him now became common.

In Sigmarzeit Kislev was overrun by Archaon’s horde and Erengrad fell, next the northern Empire was invaded by the forces of chaos. At this time the invasions come to be called “The Storm of Chaos”. Fighting at the ruins of Wolfenburg is fierce as Ostland once again is ravaged.

In Sommerzeit, Luther Huss and Valten appeared in Altdorf, Valten became Imperial Champion and was given Ghal Maraz to wield as the Emperor was still not fully recovered from the poisoning and wounds he suffered the year previous. Many now believe that Valten was Sigmar Reborn (echoes of the Crusade of the Child of the previous year).

On the 11th of Sommerzeit, The Emperor issued the Edict of Tolerance for mutants, to the displeasure of those who doubted Valten.

On the 12th of Sommerzeit, the Day of Hope, the armies of the Reikland marched from Altdorf with the Emperor and Valten. The armies of the Empire were martialled in full with the forces of the southern provinces joining Reikland along with contingents of allies, dwarves and elves in the same force by the time the army reaches Talabecland.

At the end of Sommerzeit, Valten met Wolfmar von Krutz, High Priest of Ulric in Talabheim and a leading opponent of Sigmar’s Church. No one knows what passed between Valten and von Krutz, but von Krutz has since feverishly claimed that Sigmar was Ulric’s Chosen and that all Sigmarites and Ulricans should watch for the “Mark of Unification.”

On Vorgeheim 2nd, the Siege of Middenheim began,

“Men of Ulric stop your dreaming— Can’t you see their spear points gleaming? — See their mutant hordes streaming — To this battlefield. — Men of Ulric stand ye steady It cannot be ever said ye — For the battle were not ready — Stand and Never Yield! — Off the Fauschlag rebounding — Let this song be sounding — Summon all to Ulric’s call — The Eternal Flame summons Men of Ulric onto Glory — This will ever be your story — Keep these fighting words before ye — Middenland Never Yields!”

On the 16th of Vorgeheim, the Imperial Army and allied forces began their relief of the siege. The Battle of Middenheim lasted four days and on Vorgeheim the 20th, Archaon was slain by Valten, Sigmar’s Champion.

Victory celebrations were short-lived. Valten vanished on the night of the 21st. He is variously reported slain or missing. Reports conflict, some say he died of wounds inflicted by the Chaos Champion which resisted all cures. Others say he was unmarked after the battle and that the assassination was by unnamed figures in the Imperial court who did not wish to yield power to Sigmar Reborn. Still others say that like Sigmar, Sigmar Reborn left when his task was complete and will return again when needed. Different accounts report his chamber was found empty or his body found and then vanishing later.

The allied armies departed, the first being the kith bands of Athel Loren which left on the 22nd. The mopping up was left to Imperial forces, Kislevites and a cadre of dedicated Troll Slayers who still hoped “the real chaos champion” to show himself.

There was no talk this time of “carrying the battle to the foe’s homeland”.

News of the victory and Valten’s death began reaching the southern Empire three weeks later, in the second week of Nachgeheim 2523.

Misery and death have been visited across Ostland, Hochland, and Middenland. Towns and fields burned. Tens of thousands left homeless. Confronted by the horrors of Chaos, many have been driven insane and despite victory some find the call of Chaos ever stronger.

Though Archaon’s horde was shattered, the remnants of chaos warbands and Beast Herds still lurk throughout the northern Empire.

During the Storm, many abandoned their gods and bartered their souls to (what they thought to be) the all-conquering power of the Dark Gods. These were often so marked they could not skulk back to normal life and fled into the forests, foothills and marshes to hide.

Where two centuries earlier, the Great War of Chaos saw a divided Empire unite and emerge stronger, the Storm of Chaos has left the Empire shaken. Foes and even some allies now wonder if the Empire is too weakened to resist its internal divisions or external foes.

Greenskins from the World Edge Mountains and Badlands stir and threaten southern and eastern provinces of the Empire, Dwarf Holds and Border Kingdoms.

The dead are restless in Sylvania.

Strange figures prowl the Grey Mountains.

With the war over, recriminations begin within the Empire. The north believes the south was slow to send aid. The south resents Imperial decrees holding grain prices at 2521 levels in order to feed the north when its crops have burned. The Imperial Grain Policy being for the Empire’s greater good not sitting so well with the key producing provinces of Wissenland and Averland.

The Church of Sigmar is once again harangued for its worldliness, without Volkmar’s reputation to counterweight that view. Disputing claims about Valten circulate. Grand Theogonist Esmer has persuaded the Emperor to grant Sigmar’s Templars (witch hunters) additional powers to seek out heretics and cultists, and it becomes dangerous now to criticize Sigmar’s Church lest one be taken for a heretic.

The Edict of Tolerance has not been rescinded, despite the death of Valten leaving no apparent hope of salvation for mutants. The mere fact “they could be saved” makes some uncomfortable with killing them out of hand though most never accepted “mercy for mutants”. The Templars of Sigmar enforce the Edict’s requirement a mutant commit no crimes and wear distinguishing clothing to the letter, taking the broadest view of what constitutes a crime or a failure to properly distinguish oneself.

As a practical matter, the Edict serves more as a flashpoint for argument than a practical instrument. Most mutants did not trust the Empire’s intent in its proclamation and never came forward.

(This summary relies on Jackday’s great summary of the Storm. For those who know the original – there are changes. Volkmar’s fate never known, there is no greenskin or vampire activity at the same time – the need to satisfy a wargaming community each wanting its faction present is absent in my version so the most bizarre plot twists since the Force became microbes can be skipped, years are also adjusted)

Valten’s mutant curing powers come from the earlier campaign (he is Karl though publicly the connection is not known) and the Edict is of course 1st Edition’s divisive and mysterious declaration woven together with this. The Imperial Grain Policy is my own addition – points for Canadians who can spot a pricing policy that aggravates regional differences.

The Storm of Chaos (2522 to 2523)

After the Storm valvorik