|“||All decent folk find the common rat repulsive. Harbinger of disease, it scavenges on our waste-heaps and frightens our children. How immeasurably worse then is the foul Skaven - standing on its hindlegs in foul parody of a human. Rats as tall as man, and blessed with the most vile intellect and cunning. They are the dark side of our souls, come to destroy us for our sins.||„|
|~ Albrecht of Nuln. Burned at the Stake 1301 IC|
Skaven are a malevolent race of humanoid rats that reside in the fictional world of Warhammer Fantasy. They are an enemy of the human and dwarven races and seek to destroy them via manipulation, plague and conquest - almost all Skaven are worshippers of the sinister chaos-god known as the Horned Rat and even their own kind are unsafe from their evil intentions, as Skaven society is ruthless and cutthroat, with only the sneakiest and most despicable of individuals making it to adulthood - although similiar to the Beast-Men, the Skaven have always been classified as an unique threat in their own right and their exact origins have been debated for centuries by many scholars: although a popular theory holds that the Skaven are a result of a monstrous mutation in common rats caused by Warpstones, a strange and powerful source of power which many Skaven still seek almost obsessively.
Skaven are an army that lack much in the way of war-machines and rely mainly on their sheer numbers, although their twisted minds have conceived some notable weapons of war, such as the Screaming Bells and the Doomwheel - being a clan-based society, Skaven rarely march to war under a single leader and tend to be loyal only to those who are strong or vicious enough to keep them from rebelling.
The paranoia, hate and greed most Skaven possess is perhaps the only true weakness these rodents have and it is believed by many that if they could put aside their own differences and truly unite then the Skaven could effectively take over the world - thankfully for humanity there seems to be little chance of that occuring as the Skaven are stubborn in their ways and continue their in-fighting when not plotting the demise of the other races in the world.
Skaven traditionally held no allies, even amongst themselves, and no sane army would be caught dead with Skaven in their midst - even the Hordes Of Chaos will not ally with Skaven and, for this reason, they are one of the few races that are almost never seen in alliance with anyone else on the battlefield: although universally hated, the Skaven are especially despised by the Dwarves - who wage continual wars with them - and Lizardmen, who often feed Skaven as offerings to their gods. This has changed as of the Age of Sigmar and in the current era of the Warhammer Fantasy lore Skaven can ally with Chaos, especially Nurgle, in fact some Skaven are now themselves Nurgle followers - few others beyond Nurgle followers however would enjoy the company of these disease-ridden rodents.
Council of 13
The Council of Thirteen is the ruling body of the Skaven Under-Empire, and whose members are known famously throughout as the Lords of Decay. These Ratlords of the Skaven race oversee all matters pertaining to their entire species, from hatching terrible plots to initiating an invasion against the enemies of their kind.
The Council of Thirteen gathers at least once a month and sessions are occasionally called on a weekly basis, especially in times of war. The members discuss battle plans, political dilemmas and important issues that faces their race and must vote on what course of action needs to be taken. Politics also plays an important part in the Council’s discussions, and alliances are often made or broken in full view of the other members.
Divisive as Skaven are, the unity of the Council remains an illusion. Only when the issue is the most dire or when the Horned Rat personally intervenes in the decision-making will the Council ever unite under a single cause.
- Seat 1: Kritislik
- Kratch Doomclaw, Warlord of Clan Rictus
- Seat 3: Paskrit the Vast
- Seat 12: Morskittar
- Griznekt Mancarver
- Seat 10: Nurglitch
- Vrisk Ironscratch
- Seat 9: Verminkin
- Unknown Warlord of Clan Carrion
- Unknown Warlord of Clan Morbidus
Four Great Clans
The most powerful militarily, politically, and influential of the Skaven Clans. These Clans hold the greatest occupation within the Under-Empire, and whose wealth, power and influence has the potential to change the political and social landscape of the Under-Empire in a whim. Their power extends so much so that the leaders of each Clan occupies a seat within the Council of 13.
- Clan Moulder
- Clan Skyre
- Clan Pestilen
- Clan Eshin
Under the Four Great Clans, there are diverse and multicultural clans makes up the bulk of the entire Under-Empire. Thought the vast majority of these clans are far weaker than Four Great clans, some have either become so powerful, wealthy, or numerous as to be in par or even equal to the influence and wealth of the Great Four.
- Clan Mors
- Clan Rictus
- Clan Skab
- Clan Scruten
- Clan Carrion
- Clan Festerlingus
- Clan Gritak (lost in the power struggle against Clan Mors and are wiped out)
- Clan Krizzor
- Clan Makris (paid price with their existence for their overambitiousness)
- Clan Merkit
- Clan Rikek
- Clan Skurvy
- Clan Skuttle
- Clan Sleekit
A Skaven army consists of many different types of Skaven soldiers, warbeasts and war-machines, but they tend to focus more on sheer numbers than excessive firepower, but this can vary from clan to clan.
Grey Seers are the great wizards and overall leaders of the Skaven race, and are seen through the race as prophets of the Horned Rat. They commonly preach to the Skaven populace of a coming time called the Great Ascendancy, when all of the Skaven will rise up as one and overwhelm both the Old World and the New World. Any who oppose the Grey Seers are considered to be blasphemous heretics, and will be hunted down and killed in the name of the Horned Rat. On top of all of the power of the Grey Seers, there is also one of their number in the Council of Thirteen, known as the Seerlord, and is the informant to the rest of the Grey Seers of the council's actions. Some Skaven believe that there should not be a Grey Seer in the Council, and say that it is not the intended role of the Grey Seers. However, in the massive Skaven populace, their voices remain unheard for the time being.
Leaders of Skaven clans (usually), Warlords are the highest point that non-gray (or white) furred Skaven can reach. Though the Warlord position is the top spot, replacements can occur in but a blink of an eye. Truth be told, it is when a Skaven becomes a Warlord that the real battle begins; everyone is literally out to get one another in Skaven society, so a Warlord needs to show brute strength and cunning, so that he keeps power, even if Skaven do not respect one another in the slightest.
A combination of inventor and mage alike (though the latter is not always true), Warlock Engineers are the brilliant creators of Skaven society. They invent weapons mainly, though they have also created various mechanisms to help create the Under-Empire.
The Greater Daemon of the Horned Rat, they are large demons that resemble the Horned Rat himself and wield a large halberd known as the Doom Glaive: they are said to be the corrupted form of an ancient Lord of Decay.
Otherwise known as Skavenslaves, these are the lowest of the low in Skaven society. Often created when a larger Skaven clan conquers a smaller one, Skavenslaves are in overabundance in Skaven society. The lowly working class, these are almost always the first ones to be sent onto the battlefield (as well as the first to be torn to pieces in battle), as well as the most likely to be cannibalized by the larger Skaven so that they might stave off the Black Hunger - a natural hypermetabolism found only in Skaven society.
Rats that have been mutated with Warpstone until they have grown to the size of wolves. Also, in order to maintain order among these rats, a Packmaster is usually present with a whip to urge them forward. Without this Packmaster, the Skaven army will have a very hard time controlling the mutant creatures.
Stormvermin are larger than normal Skaven, and tend to have black or near black fur. They are hand-picked by Skaven Warlords for the Stormvermin units, and are then given better armor and weaponry. Stormvermin units are also commonly used as bodyguards for high-ranking Skaven such as Grey Seers and Warlords.
Rat Ogres are the byproduct of years of surgical experimentation, selective breeding, and Warpstone enhancement to Clan Rat stock by the so-called Master Mutators of Clan Moulder. The massively muscled beasts are led into battle by cruel packmasters like beasts of burden, seemingly incapable of rational or independent thought. They live only to serve.
The most devastating weapon in the Skaven arsenal, the Screaming Bell is the equivalent of a sonic weapon. One toll alone can cause peoples' heads to explode, whereas Skaven are driven into a frenzy by the tolling of the bell. Made in the likeness of the original bell at the Great Temple of the Horned Rat, the production of these brass-built horrors is tedious, lasting at least 13 days.
These Skaven are notable enough to be considered villains in their own right.