The Great Human Empire of Sigmar
“Three things make the Empire great; faith, steel and gunpowder.” -An imperial solider.
Of all the Human nations of Ambrien, the largest and most powerful is that of the Empire of Sigmar, more often called simply The Empire. It was forged by the warrior-king and ascended deity Sigmar, from the primitive Human tribes of barbarians and scattered nations that inhabited the lands of the Empire long ago. Although not as skilled in craftsmanship as the Dwarfs or in magic as the High Elves, the people of the Empire are not beholden by the limits of tradition to the same extent as the Dwarfs or High Elves and continue to progress culturally, technologically and magically. Having yet to succumb to any threat, external or internal, it is the faith, the sense of righteousness, and the unconquerable spirit of its citizens which gives the Empire its strength, as well as the ruthless efficiency of its military and religious orders.
One of the greatest nations of Ambrien The Empire is ruled by an Emperor that is a descendant of the great Human warrior Sigmar Heldenhammer. Sigmar and the Dwarven King Kilkon Graybeard formed an alliance and fought against the hordes of the black lands eventually destroying the dark city of Abrath and its ork overlords. Sigmar was killed facing Overlord Grum in single combat, but Grums’s defeat ended the reign of the orcs in northern Ambrien. Sigmar was deified after his death by his people and his promise of eternal aid from the Empire for the kingdoms of the Dwarfs still stands today. This action solidified the relationship between Men and Dwarfs and planted the seeds for the burgeoning Empire through trade between the two races. Today, the Empire is led by Emperor Pious Sig , who rules from his court in the Imperial capital city of Altdorf.
There are ten provincial states in the Empire, each ultimately ruled by an High Barron who owes his or her power to the unifying figurehead and ultimate authority of the Emperor. It should be noted that the Empire is not truly a single, centralized nation-state, but instead a confederation of individual, feudal states united only by the common tongue of Reikspeil, a shared faith in Sigmar and a mutual Imperial culture. The Imperial states correspond roughly to the ancient tribal territories brought together by Sigmar when he united the tribes of Man beneath one crown to defeat the Orcs of Ambrien.
The southern Imperial states are partially surrounded by near-impassable mountain ranges from which drain the mighty rivers which are the lifeblood of Imperial trade. To the west of these are the Grey Mountains, beyond which lies Black Realm and the Kingdom of Bretonnia. To the south is the Lonely Sea and the Holy Kingdom of Paladrea. To the east lies the conquered nation of Rusk and the World’s Spine Mountains. The Empire’s expansionist attitudes have lead to the subjugation of Ustalev and the invasion of Kislev on the far side of the World Spine.
To the north, the rolling hills and rapid streams of the south and east are gradually transformed into the forested lowlands and deep waterways that define the heart of the Empire. The vast forests that comprise the central and northern Imperial lands stretch almost unbroken across the countless leagues to the shore of the Sea of Ice. The Great Forest, Drafold Forest and the Forest of Shade are all essentially part of the same dark, untamed wilderness, with the green blanket of trees punctured only by the abrupt appearance of a farm, village, or city.
The life of a citizen of the Empire is a perilous one, for there are foes within every shadow and enemies around every corner. Secret Cults abound, or at the very least, there are rumors of them running rampant, as well as cities infested with the rat-men that some call the Skaven. No one is certain who is trustworthy, and fear and paranoia are omnipresent in the settlements and cities that dot the Empire’s provinces.