The insidious Council of Thirteen is the body that rules over all of Skavendom.
It is the council's role to unite the clans against the Skaven's enemies and interpret the will of the vile Skaven deity -- the Great Horned Rat. In truth, the Council of Thirteen is far more interested in pursuing its own nefarious plots and schemes, manipulating the lesser clans and assassinating those who pose them the slightest threat.[1a]
The Council of Thirteen's member, known as the Lords of Decay, are always twelve in number, being completed symbolically by the Horned Rat. The positions on the Council command a descending order of precedence. The first and twelfth places (the right and left hand of the Horned Rat) are the most important seats and the sixth and seventh places the least.
The seats on the council are occupied by the most wicked and cunning of Skaven. In times past any clan leaders strong and devious enough could seize power if only he could depose a rival and 'create' a vacancy. However, not since the Second Civil War and the coming of the Horned Rat have any challengers defeated, disposed of or else supplanted any of the existing Lords of Decay.[1a]
The Council of Thirteen was reformed under the commands of the Horned Rat who laid out the dictates of rulership on the 13-sided Black Pillar of Commandment. This unholy monument, made of purest Warpstone, was also a test for any aspirant to the Council, as only the favoured of the Horned Rat could touch its rune-inscribed surface and survive.
However, those that lived became the most powerful of all Skaven, gifted with unnatural longevity and imbued with dark power. The Horned Rat ordered all Skaven to obey his new council or else feel his wrath. The Skaven, notoriously craven, dared not defy their god or his favoured servants.[1a]
Skaven politics are convoluted and labyrinthine beyond imagining. There exists many complex and intricate laws that must be obeyed, including a system whereby a Council member can veto his opposite number, a method of overruling and proxy voting.
The results are a circle of maze-like plots, blackmails, manipulations and even assassination attempts. However, scheming and plotting come naturally to Skaven and no doubt even these machinations amuse the Horned Rat greatly.[1a]
Current Council Members
This includes which seat they held at the time of the image above;
- 1st Seat: Seerlord Kritislik -- Grand Grey Seer of all Skavendom, and secret ruler of Clan Scruten.
- This seat always serves as the head of the Order of the Grey Seers.
- 4th Seat: Paskrit the Vast -- Warlord-General of all Skavendom[5b]. No known Clan affiliation.
- The corresponding rune matches one used by Clan Morbidus, so it is possible that he hails from that clan.
- 6th Seat: Arch-Brutelord Hesh Vrakspine of Clan Krizzor, noted political rivals to Clan Moulder.
- 7th Seat: Arch-Pontifex Sitch -- Ruler of Clan Morbidus.[7a]
- As a thrall clan, this seat grants Clan Pestilens additional sway despite its low rank on the council, always voting or vetoing in line with Ar-Plaguelord Nurglitch's lead.
- 8th Seat: Lord Griznekt Mancarver of Clan Skab.[7b]
- Clan Skab's ownership of this seat is determined by process of elimination in recent sources[7b] but was previously said to have been in the 6th seat instead. This is further complicated by Clan Skab's apparent near-destruction at Nuln in 2499 IC.
- 9th Seat: Grand Nightlord Sneek -- Ruler of the Great Clan Eshin.[3a]
- 10th Seat: Arch-Plaguelord Nurglitch VII -- Ruler of the Great Clan Pestilens and leader of the Plaguelords.
- 13th Seat: The Horned Rat --- The Unholy God of all Skaven, seated symbolically with his will interpreted by the Grey Seers when needed.[1a]
- Lord Griznekt Mancarver was said to hold the 6th seat in earlier material, but must actually be placed in the 8th seat by process of elimination in current sources.[7b]
- The sourcebook Children of the Horned Rat purports that the warlord clans currently sitting on the council include: Clan Mors, Clan Skab, Clan Flem, Clan Skaar, Clan Sleekit, Clan Skaul, and Clan Verms. This information is drastically inconsistent with other sources, notably missing Clan Rictus and Clan Skurvy.
- 1: Warhammer Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven
- 2: Thanquol and Boneripper: Grey Seer (Novel) by C.L Werner
- 2a: Chapter 2: Maze of Merciless Penance
- 3: Thanquol and Boneripper: Temple of the Serpent (Novel) by C.L Werner
- 3a: Chapter 2: "Streets of Skavenblight"
- 4: Rise of the Horned Rat (Novel) by Guy Haley
- 5: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (4th Edition)
- 6: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 7: WFRP The Horned Rat Companion