Warhammer Fantasy, also known as Warhammer Fantasy Battle, is the predecessor franchise to the popular tabletop gaming franchise Warhammer 40,000 produced by Games Workshop. Warhammer is set in a fictional land called “The Old World” but was changed in 2015 after the release of Age of Sigmar. Games Workshop has produced numerous models, spin-offs, games, books and other media since Warhammer was introduced in 1983.
Warhammer Fantasy was originally created by Rick Priestley in 1983 and was published by Games Workshop. The fictional universe for Warhammer is often described as “dark fantasy” and incorporates numerous references to historical cultures, mythology, and pre-existing fantasy worlds, such as Tolkien’s Middle-Earth and Lord of the Rings series. Between the Old World and the New World, the races comprising Warhammer’s universe include the followers of chaos, humans, high elves, dark elves, wood elves, dwarfs, vampires/undead, orcs, lizardmen, mummies, ogres and many other mythical creatures, lords, gods and monsters.
The series ran side by side with Warhammer 40,000 until Games Workshop decided to cancel the setting in an event known as the “End Times,” reportedly due to low popularity compared to Warhammer 40,000 with the final official release being the publication of 8th Edition back in 2011. However, due to a resurgence of interest in the setting, as well as Age of Sigmar (the franchise that was meant to serve as a revitalized continuation of the original) not performing as well as hoped, Games Workshop announced a re-launch of Warhammer Fantasy as Warhammer — The Old World sometime after 2022.
In Popular Culture
Warhammer saw the birth of the Golden Demon Awards in which people compete to create the most well-painted or -designed miniatures they can. The winner is then presented with the titular “Golden Demon” as a trophy. The Golden Demon competition has been held since 1987 in the United Kingdom, since 1991 in the USA, since 1997 in France and in other countries more recently. The overall winner across all categories at the event receives the “Slayer Sword,” which is a full-sized broadsword about 5 feet in length from pommel to tip.
Warhammer Fantasy is the setting for Total War Warhammer, Total War Warhammer 2 and the upcoming Total War Warhammer 3, all developed by Creative Assembly. Due to changes in Steam’s privacy settings, accurate data on the number of copies has not been possible since 2018, however, Total War Warhammer had over two million recorded sales in 2018 and Total War Warhammer 2 has since surpassed that number with between 2 to 5 million registered sales.
The series differs from most mainstream Total War games with it’s heavier emphasis as heroes as combat troops and the use of magic to turn the tide of battles through buffing or debuffing units or simply causing mass casualties across the board, tearing large holes in enemy battle formations.
Developed by Rogue Factor,Mordheim: City of the Damned is based on the Mordheim tabletop game, which is a skirmish-oriented derivative of the larger Warhammer Fantasy wargames. Accordingly, the video game puts the player in control of a small warband that fights rival teams over resources around the city of Mordheim.
At the start of the game, the player chooses a faction (Sisters of Sigmar, Mercenaries from the Empire, Skaven, or the Cult of the Possessed in the base game) and over the course of the game, is given to opportunity to improve their warband’s strength by recruiting, leveling, improving and customizing a roster of combatants as well as their equipment. Losing battles can lead to permanent injuries or even death of the members of the player’s warband, so the emphasis is on careful engagements and survival.
Warhammer Vermintide is a first-person co-op survival game, in the same vein as Left 4 Dead, developed by Fat Shark. The first game sees the players battling hordes of Skaven through the city of Ubersreik and the surrounding areas. The second game sees the introduction of Nurglite Chaos Warriors and, in the recent DLC, Beastmen as alternative enemy factions that the player can encounter. Just like in Left 4 Dead, there are very few set spawns in the game and it is left to the “Director AI” to decide how many enemies spawn, what enemies spawn, as well as what items spawn and where.
The community surrounding Warhammer Fantasy has enjoyed a prominent online presence for a number of years, ranging from community fan pages, groups and official sites, blogs and social media from Games Workshop itself. On July 20th, 2016, the @Warhammerofficial Instagram account made its first post (seen below) and has over 250,000 followers. On Facebook, the Warhammer Community page was created on February 20th, 2017, and has over 130,000 followers, while the @WarComTeam Twitter, which began in March 2020, has over 26,700 followers.
On Reddit, the official Warhammer Fantasy subreddit, /r/WarhammerFantasy, was created on June 22nd, 2010, accumulating more than 24,200 members in over a decade. The meme-oriented subreddit, /r/Grimdank, also consists of many fans of the Warhammer universe, which garnered over 158,000 followers since beginning in January 2017.
Nurgle, also known as the Plague Lord, Grandfather Nurgle and the Lord of Pestilence, is a fictional character from the Warhammer universe (Fantasy and 40K) and one of the Chaos Gods, specifically of disease, decay, death and destruction. In memes, he is often used alongside references to his association with diseases, which is frequently seen in both anti-vax memes and memes surrounding the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic. In these, Nurgle is often used as a reaction image to anything that depicts people making decisions that lead to the further spread of sickness where he appears to voice his pleasure or happiness due to their actions. “Papa Nurgle” is the name frequently used in humorous content featuring the Lord of Pestilence, which refers to his paternal stance.
Khemri TV is a parody of Memri TV which is a news channel that translates Middle Eastern media into English. Online, the channel has gained much notoriety for its absurd translations of news programs, many of which have spawned photoshops of screenshots showing false or edited subtitles.
Surtha Ek the Ever-Chariot
Surtha Ek the Ever-Chariot is a minor chaos lord from Total War Warhammer that has gained a reputation in the community as being more dangerous than the actual leader of the Chaos Warriors, Archaon the Everchosen, due to his tendency to attack players in the early game with multiple armies full of chariots.
Summon the Elector Cunts/Counts
The Empire faction is led by Emperor Karl Franz, who has to try and unite the fractured empire into one single entity through confederating all of the states together. Whilst engaging in diplomacy with these factions, one of the more common sayings said by Karl Franz is “Summon the Elector Counts,” which has gained notoriety within the community due to the sheer amount of times a player will hear it during a normal campaign.
Book of Grudges
Every Dwarf in Warhammer Fantasy carries around a “Book of Grudges” with them where they record every slight, insult and injustice that has happened to them, which is then compiled into the greater book of grudges of their clan. The phrase “That’s going in the book” is often used by members of the Warhammer community when someone says or does something stupid.
VLLLLAAAADDD is a variation of the “CRRRREEEEEDDDD” meme from Warhammer 40,000 from Total War Warhammer. Vlad von Carstein is a hero for the Vampire Counts faction whose special ability is granting his entire army vanguard deployment. This is supposed to simulate his army sneaking up and surrounding the enemy. However, this leads to situations such as an army full of dragons and cavalry being surrounded on all sides by thousands of zombies or no one spotting a giant Terrorgheist, a gigantic undead bat, landing behind them in the middle of a completely flat field on a bright, sunny day.
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