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: Seer Lord Kritislik -- Grand Grey Seer of all Skavendom, head of the Order of the Grey Seers,[6a] and secret ruler of Clan Scruten.[1b]
- 4th Seat: Paskrit the Vast -- Warlord-General of all Skavendom[5b]. No known Clan affiliation.[4a]
- 5th Seat: Warlord Vrisk Ironscratch -- Fleetmaster of the Skaven Clanfleet, ruler of Clan Skurvy.[6b]
- 6th Seat: Unclear, probably Clan Skab.
- 7th Seat: Unclear.
- 8th Seat: Unnamed leader of Clan Carrion
- 9th Seat: Nightlord Sneek -- Ruler of the Great Clan Eshin.[3a]
- 10th Seat: Arch-Plaguelord Nurglitch -- Ruler of the Great Clan Pestilens and leader of the Plaguelords. Named for Nurglitch I, the first Arch-Plaguelord; every member of Clan Pestilens to ascend to the leadership of the clan takes his name.[5a]
- 13th Seat: The Horned Rat --- The Unholy God of all Skaven, seated symbolically with his will interpreted by the Grey Seers when needed.[1a]
- Warlord Griznekt Mancarver, Ruler of Clan Skab.[6c] He was said to hold the 6th seat until as late as 2499 IC.
- Possibly the leader of Clan Krizzor, an ally/thrall of Clan Moulder; the rune for the 6th Seat is one of their Clan runes.
- Possibly the leader of Clan Morbidus: The runes for the 4th and 7th Seat both these match those used by Morbidus, which is a Thrall Clan of Clan Pestilens. the unnamed Warlord of Morbidus is a Lord of Decay. It is unlikely the other Great Clans would tolerate this unless the other three also had thralls on the Council of 13.
- The leader of Clan Skaul is said to be a Lord of Decay in some sources.
- 1: Warhammer Uniforms & Heraldries 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)