- "Ulric give me the fangs of the wolf,"
- "Ulric give me the claws of the wolf,"
- "Ulric give me the coat of the wolf,"
- "And I will show your enemies the mercy of the wolf."
- —Ulrican Prayer.
The Cult of Ulric, known also as the Church of Ulric or the Ulrican Cult, is a state-official religious organisation that administrates the worship and prayers of the followers of Ulric, God of War, Winter and Wolves. Second only in power and influence to that of the Cult of Sigmar, the Cult of Ulric is amongst the most ancient of religions, dating back long before the Empire of Man was created by its founder, Sigmar Heldenhammer. Ulric is by far the most war-like of all the gods of the Old World Pantheons, embodying all of Mankind's courage, strength and power in the face of overwhelming odds. In the Pantheon of the Northern Gods, he is the brother of Taal, God of the Wilderness and the brother-in-law of Rhya, Goddess of Fertility. He is worshipped predominantly in the north of the Empire, within the territories of the Grand Barony of Nordland, the Grand Principality of Ostland and especially the Grand Duchy of Middenland. Worshippers of Ulric preserve the spirit and traditions of their pre-Imperial ancestors, and the leadership of the Cult of Ulric is able to trace its roots back over three millennia.
The leader of the Cult is the Ar-Ulric, lead today by the courageous and war-like Emil Valgeir. Beneath him are the various High Priests that occupy the Cult's hierarchic, which includes the Grandmaster of the Knights of the White Wolf. Every High Priest is in charge of a major temple and has a Deputy High Priest, sometimes called a Denfather to help aid and administrate the Temple. Beneath them are the priest of various levels, and below them the initiates of the Cult.
The symbol of Ulric is the white wolf, and his followers often wear wolf pelts as cloaks, which were taken by an animal killed by their own hands according to Ulric's strictures. He is commonly depicted as a massive warrior in the style of the tribes who founded the Empire: his long hair flows unbound, his thick black beard is silvered with frost, he wields a giant two-handed hammer and goes into battle without a helm to show his bravery. His followers are many, and it is thanks to the savagery and honour that this God has instilled upon the northern people of the Empire that no army, no matter how large or terrifying, shall ever conquer the indomitable spirit of Ulric's chosen, and it is said that so long as the Flame of Ulric persists throughout even the darkest of days, the fortress-city of Middenheim, the heart of their very faith, shall never-ever fall from those that seek to destroy it.
- "Old White Wolf will sniff you out, Old White Wolf with braided hair,
Old White Wolf will hunt you down, Old White Wolf will rip and tear!"
- —Middenheimer children's rhyme.[2a]
Once, the worship of Ulric was almost universal among the tribes of the Reik basin. All the clans, from the Teutogens in the north to the Brigundians in the south paid homage to the Lord of Winter, and it was the greatest honour amongst the tribes for a warrior to die in battle and enter the halls of Ulric, where they would feast in his hall and hunt amidst the snowy plains of his realm. Whenever men rode to war, it was to the cries of wolves and under the sole gaze of the Wolf-King.
But amongst all the men of the ancient tribes, none were more devoted and pious in Ulric's worship than Sigmar Unberogen. Indeed, the God-King of the Empire was unshakably Ulrican; fighting every battle with the wolf-god's name on his lips and dedicating every victory to his glory, he was truly the chosen warrior of Ulric, and the fury of the winter wolf ran in his veins. When Sigmar was named Emperor of all the lands of Men, it was before the Ar-Ulric, a warrior-priest filled with the primal power of the god, he knelt to be crowed by. Thus, it was Sigmar himself, now held as the patron god of the Empire, who was the first Ulrican to bear the mantle of Emperor.
However, the southern provinces have forgotten the might of Ulric. And as the Empire has become more civilised, the men of the southerly provinces have become horrified by the harsh and stern strictures of Ulric's creed, favouring instead kinder, more lenient deities. Where the Ulrican cult preaches independence and capitulates only to their god, the cult of Johann Helstrum, which venerates the heroic Sigmar as the god of the Empire, preached absolute loyalty to the Empire and to its leaders. In time, the nobility began to convert from the Ulric's faith to Johann's new religion, favouring the latter doctrine as it helped to reinforce their authority. Increasingly, the worship of this ancient, heroic deity is becoming a relic of a bygone age in the southern reaches of the Empire.
However, the northern provinces of the Empire yet remain the stronghold of the Ulrican cult. And while the Sigmarites boast that their Grand Theogonist maintains the greatest power over matters of state in the capital of Altdorf, the Ar-Ulric, the high priest of the cult, remains an Elector in his own right, and the power of the cult in the north remains undeniable.
Despite his extensive loss in influence, Ulric remains the second-most well-known and widely worshipped god in the Empire, second only to Sigmar himself. His sheer historical significance as the chief god of the ancient Empire and status as the patron and Lord of Sigmar affording him a great deal respect, even amongst the Sigmarite Church itself. Much of the soldiery of the Empire still pays homage to the Wolf-King, for while Sigmar represents spiritual strength and the will to overcome evil and Myrmidia governs strategy, it is only Ulric who bestows upon men the strength to carry on war and the fury to destroy their foes. The competition between Ulric and Sigmar has led to a level of posturing between the two cults, with the Ulricans seeing the Sigmarites as upstart weaklings, while the Sigmarites decry the Ulricans as brutish barbarians.
The Ulricans are renowned for their steadfastness and reliability. Slow to forgive and vengeful when crossed, yet warm and open to allies and quick to offer friends the benefit of the doubt. Their ways are short and to the point, their strictures simple and their sermons without the pretentiousness common to other cults. This combination of strength of character, practicality and simple honesty makes the Cult of Ulric quite popular with the common man.
The Ulricans themselves are their god in microcosm: brash, boisterous warriors with a lust for battle and unmatched skill at war. Even the priesthood of Ulric is comprised solely of highly accomplished warriors, and in some cases the cult will only initiate those with an acceptable military record or those who are otherwise proven in battle. Fierce and contentious by nature, when two officers of the cult come into conflict, a duel between them usually erupts to decide dominance, with the loser ultimately acquiescing to the wishes of the winner. Thus, might, for the Ulricans, makes right.
The Glory of Ulric is his priests' primary concern, and the glory of such a god is fed with the blood of his enemies. Thus, the Ulricans howl with savage joy with every drop of blood they spill in battle and rejoice in the merciless contest of arms. For theirs is a martial faith; its very reason for existence being to create mighty warriors to serve in the armies of the Empire, particularly in its knightly orders, so that they might carry the word of Ulric across the world through their heroic feats on the field of battle. The cult frowns upon the use of ranged weapons and gunpowder, much preferring weapons that require the direct application of skill and force. The Ulricans also despise trickery and any sort of tactical nuance that might be interpreted as cowardly; thus bringing them into conflict with both the Myrmidians and Ranaldans.
Devout Ulricans can be recognised by their long hair and unkempt beards, worn in imitation of their deity. The cult's priests wear black vestments with a howling wolf badge, often with a wolf pelt or fur trim.[3a]
As a result, the Ulricans are renowned throughout the Empire and beyond as fearsome warriors. Perhaps the strongest and most resolute in all the Emperor's armies. The fearsome Warrior-Priests of the cult are admired throughout the Empire for their battle-prowess and courage under fire, as are the rightly legendary Knights of the White Wolf: a templar order dedicated to Ulric. Military training is mandatory for each and every one of Ulric's priests, and there are none amongst them who have not seen battle. The most fanatical warriors of Ulric are true terrors of the battlefield -- bloodthirsty berserkers, feared by many in the Empire and considered little different from the monstrous Chaos-worshipping Marauders of Norsca.
Signs of Ulric
Cultists of Ulric make use of the "U" salute. It is formed with the thumb holding the middle and ring fingers to the palm, and the index and pinkie finger sticking up. This salute is used before battles and to greet other Ulricans. When reversed, it serves as a dire insult to the cultist's enemies. Scholars of the various cults see great similarity between this symbol and that used by Sigmarites, and it's possible that both salutes originated from the same tribes long ago.[1f]
Among the more primitive members of the cult, holding open your mouth, with your teeth not quite closed, is a sign of disrespect—much in the way a wolf would bare its teeth towards an enemy. This is often coupled with a feral growl, so the intent is rarely misconstrued.[1f]
Wagging the finger or tapping the foot is a sign of favour, shown to those who have made a good suggestion. Closing one's eyes is construed as a sign of great trust. Finally, a rare few Ulricans make pacts by biting each other's hands until they draw blood. They then mingle the fluid to form a pact.[1f]
Ulric demands his followers to be aggressive and confrontational, both on and off the battlefield. They are never allowed to use trickery or deceit as a tactic and must always keep their word. Cowards are always despised by the Ulricans. Other strictures include:
- Always obey your betters.[3a]
- Defend your honour. Do not refuse challenges.[3a]
- Never back down, unless ordered by a superior.
- Stand honest and true. Deception and trickery are not Ulric's ways, although ambushes are permitted.[3a]
- You may only wear a wolf pelt if you have killed a wolf using weapons you made yourself.[3a]
- Shun helmets. Let the enemy see your wolf mane.[3a]
- Black-powder weapons and crossbows are the weapons of cowards.[3a]
- Keep the sacred flames of Ulric always burning in his holy places.
- The Ulric Creed contains many stories of Ulric's deeds. It is recognised as an allegorical metaphor of how his followers must live.
- Liber Lupus tells of the ancient history of the cult.
Holy Sites of Ulric
Ulric's temples resemble military fortresses more than houses of worship. They are large, square-walled buildings protecting a fortified inner sanctum and are designed to quarter great companies of warriors and hold off sieges. With their only windows being high arrow-slits, they are lit by large hearths. Often behind one of these hearths is a statue of an enthroned Ulric, flanked by two great wolves.[3a] Within, there is as much training and preparation for war as there is prayer. When they are not fighting, the Ulricans loudly and boisterously proclaim their god's name in their congregations and admonish those too weak or cowardly to fight the Wolf God's enemies.
Smaller chapels and shrines can be found in barracks and fortifications across the Empire. They emulate their larger cousins the temples, but on a smaller scale– a lamp instead of a hearth-fire, a small figure instead of a large statue.[3a]
There are many sites consecrated to the might of Ulric, chief amongst them being the legendary Fauschlag. But others also exist, and no settlement of the northern Empire is complete without a shrine honouring the Lord of Winter.
Ulric's holiest site is the legendary Fauschlag, known also as the Ulricsberg. In ancient days, the greatest of the gods were Ulric and Taal; the mightiest and most widely worshipped. Yet Ulric was troubled, for it seemed that his elder brother came before him in all things. To Taal he voiced this concern, and the Lord of the Forests asked his brother what would put his mind at ease. Ulric replied that he desired a domain that he could say that belonged to him and him alone. Taal considered this request and decided to grant his younger brother's request. He gifted Ulric with a great mountain surrounded by harsh forests filled with fierce beasts. Pleased with this, Ulric thanked his elder brother and smote the mountaintop flat with his mighty fist. Here, he declared, would his chosen people, the Teutogens, abide and build a mighty fortress and temple, where his fires would burn eternally and men would journey far and wide to pay him tribute. Thus was born the Fauschlag, which in the tongue of the Teutogens, means 'Fist-Strike.'
The Ulricsberg was discovered by Artur of the Teutogens in -50 IC. Pressing the Dwarfs into service, he had tunnels constructed through the mountain, reaching to its peak. Thus, he was able to construct the magnificent city of Middenheim, which in Dwarfish means, 'watch-tower in the middle place'. In 63 IC, Wulcan, then Ar-Ulric, experienced a vision of Ulric's striking of the mountaintop and inspired, built the great Temple of Ulric around the mighty flame that sprang from the place where Ulric's fist struck the stone of the mountain.
The Flame of Ulric
The magnificent silver-white flame that burns eternally in the center of the great Temple of Ulric located in the god's stronghold of Middenheim. In ancient days, when the tribes of the East were still settling the lands of the Reik basin, Ulric chose a great mountain in the north of the land to be his earthly domain. With a single strike of his fist, he obliterated the top of the mountain, rendering it flat. Where his fist had struck, there sprung a great, cold flame that forever rages in white-hot fury. Around this fire, Ulric's chosen people, the vicious Teutogens, took the mountain, now to be known eternally as the Fauschlag, as their home. It was under the belligerent chieftain, Artur, that the city of Middenheim was built upon the Fauschlag, after Artur had pressed the Dwarf-Folk into burrowing through the mountain in -50 IC. The Great Temple of Ulric upon the Ulricsberg is the holiest site dedicated to the god in all the Old World, and it is incumbent upon the god's followers to make the pilgrimage to it at least once in their lifetimes.
The Flame of Ulric is the embodiment of Ulric's favour and everlasting rage. It is said that should the fire ever be allowed to go out, winter shall forever grip the world. It is the sign of Ulric's favour if a man can enter the Flame and emerge from it unscathed. Indeed, when Sigmar Unberogen fought Artur of the Teutogens for control of the Teutogen tribe, he was knocked into the fire by Artur's attacks. Rather than burn, Sigmar communed with the very essence of his god and emerged from the fire not only unhurt, but also blazing with the cold power of the wolf-god. When his roar broke from his throat, it was the howl of a wolf, not the sound of a man, and with a single strike did he smite Artur -- thus did Sigmar finally unite the tribes, with the aid of his mighty Lord.
The Shrine of the Wolf
On a country road but ten miles north of Altdorf lies an obscure shrine. But ten feet square and four storeys high, the tower tapers and rises until it ends in a tiled bellfry. There is no bell there, however, there has not been one for hundreds of years. On the ground floor of this tower is a wooden altar supporting a carven statue of wolf. Upon the wall behind the altar is wrought the ancient tale: Sigmar and Ulric. According to local legends, the tower commemorates the site where Sigmar is said to have been tested by Ulric, who is said to have fought him in the form of a great white wolf. Sigmar fought the mighty beast to a standstill and, impressed by his valour, the wolf spared Sigmar.
Though it is clear from its dilapidation that few have visited it in the recent past; the strength of the Ulrican cult has long been in decline in the more genteel south, and thus there have been few to tend this ancient shrine. Despite the shrine belonging to the cult of Ulric, it is unsurprising it remains untended this far south.
Orders and Sub-Cults
- Order of the Howling Wolf - An order of priests, the Order of the Howling Wolf is one of the major orders within the Cult of Ulric. Although they are popular within Middenland and Nordland, the rest of the empire considers them unsophisticated barbarians.[3a] They are most notable for teaching the importance of self-reliance.
- Knights of the White Wolf - The Knights of the White Wolf are the largest Knightly Order in the Empire. A unit of these knights is found at nearly every Ulrican temple.
- Order of the Winter Throne - Members of the Order of the Winter Throne live in secluded monasteries in Ostland, Nordland, Kislev, and Norsca. They believe a time known as "Evernacht" will come, when Ulric destroys his greatest enemies. Winter is believed to be a training period for this time. The current leader of the Order, known as the Ulricsson, is Haargald.
- Sons of Ulric - The Sons of Ulric are a heretical sect of Ulricans believing themselves to be the direct descendants of Ulric. They believe that they should have the right to rule the entire Cult, and that only Ulrican worship should be legal in the northern states of the Empire.
- Wolf-Kin - The Wolf-Kin are a fanatical sect of the Ulrican Cult that is found in the northern territory of the Empire. They are known for seeking out whatever enemies of Ulric they can find and fighting them head-on.
- Brotherhood of the Axe - This order is made up of only the most devout Ulricans. It is unknown who controls this cult or what its goal is, but most believe it is trying to reserve the Cult of Ulric for only those of Teutogen descent. Another rumour states that the Ar-Ulric is taking orders from this mysterious group.
- Knights of the Bloody Fist - An Ulrican Knightly Order.
- Knights of the Northern Cross - An Ulrican Knightly Order.
- Knights of the Order of the Grey Wolf - An Ulrican Knightly Order dedicated to protecting Grey Wolf Temple.[4a][4b]
- Emil Valgeir - Ar-Ulric of the cult. As an Elector, he wields considerable political power, though he invariably casts his vote in favor of the Count of Middenheim.
- Erich Granholm - High Priest of Salzenmund.
- Katherine von Siert - High Priestess of Sudfast Temple, an all-female temple in Nordland.
- Ulricsson Haargald - Leader of the Order of the Winter Throne. He is a huge Norscan. It is said he never speaks and eats only melted snow.
- Rein Volkhard - Grandmaster of the Knights of the White Wolf.
List of Known Miracles
Note: the following spells have been limited to fluff material only, and the translation thereof.
Ulrican Petty Spells
Some factions of the Cult of Ulric teach the following blessings.
- Blessing of the Blood-hand: Your furious prayers incite a berserker rage in another character.[1i]
- Blessing of Ulric: Your harsh words and roared prayer bless a character with Ulric's savagery.[1i]
Divine Lore of Ulric
The cult of Ulric practises different rites according to where the Warrior Priest is from. In the northern reaches of the Empire, most Ulrican temples teach prayers that focus upon their deity's winter aspects (Ulric, Snow King). Farther south, including most of Middenland, the temples still practice rituals revolving around winter, but they also learn prayers spoken during war (Ulric, White Wolf ). Lastly, some far-flung temples, including many ideologically on the fringes of the Cult, focus solely on Ulric's wild patronage of war, and include some of the cult's most fearsome warriors (Ulric Blood-Hand).[1j]
- Crush the Weak: Reciting the vitriolic prayer fills you with Ulric's scorn for the weak and cowardly.[1k]
- Frost's Bite: You pray to Ulric to freeze your enemy's body and blood.[1k]
- Heart of the Wolf: Your allies are inspired with the martial spirit of Ulric.[1k]
- Hoarfrost Thews: Your prayers send ripples of chill through your body, and frost forms on your flesh. You are immune to exposure caused by freezing conditions. This spell may only be attempted once per day.[1k]
- Howl of the Wolf: You howl like one of Ulric's wolves and instil your allies with a lust for battle.[1k]
- Ice Storm: You summon up a fierce storm of lashing ice anywhere within range to decimate your foes.[1k][1l]
- Ulric's Gift: Your touch and blessing awakens the slumbering berserker in one ally.[1l]
- Unbridled Rage: You roar dedications to the God of War, and those already under his sway respond.[1l]
- The Snow King's Decree: Ulric's hatred for the weak, the cowardly, and the dishonourable drips from the scornful words of your bellowed prayer. Silvery, freezing fire erupts about one target within range.[1l]
- Wild Pack: You howl forth your angry prayers to Ulric, and your allies bristle with barely restrained violence.[1l]
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Salvation pgs. 109, 202
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- Tome of Blessings
- 2a: pg. 17
- 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th ED -- Core Rulebook
- 3a: pg. 213
- 4: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- Heroes Call
- White Dwarf 325 pg. 54
- Sigmar's Heirs pgs. 40-41, 67