- "Does our most holy father reward those who take the easy road? Does he traffic in temptation? Of course not! Sigmar rewards hard work, resolve in the face of temptation, and, above all, courage when confronting mortal danger. My friends, the easy path leads to corruption... to damnation... to perdition. Only through suffering can you ever see the glory that is the truth, that is the founder of our glorious Empire, that is our divine father; Sigmar! "
- —Rolf von Steulden, Flagellant.[2a]
Flagellants are the names given to those that have lost all hope for a dying world, and now wander the lands in marauding hordes, preaching the end is nigh and fighting the darkness with a fervour that borders unto insanity.
The Empire is a dangerous and cruel place. Wars, plagues and the predation of terrible monsters can destroy whole towns and force their inhabitants to become beggars, vagabonds and brigands. Most who endure such hardships are hardened by their losses, but some are driven over the edge by their suffering. Many of these dishevelled wretches see their plight as a morbid sign that the Empire is about to collapse, an irrefutable portent that these are the last, desperate days of a dying world. These men revel in their despair, yet they see that the only true way of salvation now, is to fight and die in the defence of their Gods.[1a]
Such unfortunates flock like moths to a flame, to hear the despairing speeches of lunatic doomsayers, and in their desperation, they join these penniless zealots in their rants about lost hope and the end of the world.[1a] Led by a Prophet of Doom,[3a] these deluded bands of Flagellants roam the Empire at will, spreading their gospel of desolation before them. It is a common sight to see groups of fanatical madmen whipping and beating themselves as they travel from village to village, begging for scraps of food as they preach their nightmarish vision of ruin.[1a] However, the occasional flagellant prefers to travel alone.[3a]
When word reaches the Flagellants that a battle is brewing, they gather together in anticipation for the end, believing it to be the final hopeful battle between good and evil. Thus, as armies clash, the Flagellants throw themselves into the fray in desperate gesture of self sacrifice and repentance. Although they are mad, Flagellants are not cowards. They firmly believe that the end of the world is about to come, and their conviction gives them a courage that borders upon insanity. Indeed, for many are completely fearless; having long since confronted their own vision of the world's ending, nothing holds terror for them any longer. Their madness gives them the ability to fight anything that stands before them.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 41
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Tome of Corruption (2nd Edition)
- 2a: pg. 23
- 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Core Rulebook (4th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 88