Grand Conclave

As to be expected from such powerful organizations, the various cults have been anything but peaceful, and when they do agree, it is a tenuous alliance that almost always dissolves into heated debate, bickering, and outrage. Indeed, much of the Empire’s history is fraught with the infighting and the machinations of the various cults, each jockeying for power and influence, even at the expense of their beloved Empire. However, at the close of the Great War Against Chaos, Magnus the Pious called a great convocation, summoning the high priests of all recognised cults, and decreeing that they would meet once every five years in Nuln to work out issues between them. Because this meeting would occur under the watchful eyes of the Emperor himself, it was believed that cool heads would prevail, lest his wrath come down. So was the Grand Conclave formed.[1a]

Since its inception, the Grand Conclave has changed seats, following in the steps of the Emperor as the capital moved over the intervening years. From Nuln, the Conclave has had a time in most of the Empire’s greatest cities, but for now, it is firmly entrenched in Altdorf. Each Conclave is a moment of great celebration, revelry, and excitement. Old Worlders from all around the capital come to the city to see the spectacle of the high priests and their fantastic entourages marching through the streets of Sigmar’s beloved city. Wending their way down the labyrinthine corridors of this grand city are representatives of Manann, Morr, Myrmidia, Shallya, Taal and Rhya, while those of Sigmar hold passion plays on the steps of the Great Cathedral. In recent years, cultists of Handrich have earnestly lobbied for formal recognition by the Conclave, though their bribes and impassioned speeches have made little progress. Despite their failures, most people of the Empire believe it is but a matter of time before the Conclave gives way to public demand.[1a][1b]

Although the Grand Conclave is a meeting of religious orders, once the various elements arrive, and the pomp and ceremony has passed, the event acquires a somber, formal air. For a week, the Grand Conclave meets. On the first day each high priest makes a big show of thanking their respective Gods and pleading for divine blessings on the Empire. This continues until the Grand Theogonist grants the final blessing. It is at this point that the Emperor addresses the gathered audience, asking for respect, understanding, and fellowship during the proceedings. The working of magic, regardless of its source or intent, is strictly forbidden while the Grand Conclave is in session.[1b]

During this time, there is much feasting, politicking, the arrival and departure of pilgrims, reports of miracles, bestowal of titles and promotions, and more. This is a period of much intrigue, of whispers in shadowed alcoves, of trysts and affairs, and a great deal more. During this time, the cults air their grievances, voice their concerns, and debate amongst themselves and against each other. These talks, though theoretically civil, often erupt into heated exchanges full of yelling and threats—though the presence of the Emperor and his everpresent guard keeps it from ever resulting in bloodshed. Interestingly, theological debates are not allowed at the Grand Conclave, only pressing matters affecting the day-to-day affairs of the cults and their impact on the Empire as a whole. Still, it’s unavoidable for the high priests to avoid slipping in such language, although the Emperor has final say in keeping the debate steered towards ecumenical matters.[1b]

Common topics debated at the Grand Conclave include the rights of priests as they apply to Empire law, taxation of religious property and institutions, ownership disputes between cults, and dealings between the cults and the secular powers. Also, the representative of a cult formally proclaims any edicts of their given group that are then included in the Imperial Registry—the announcement of new holidays, induction of new Venerated Souls, and the passing of esteemed members.[1b]

Needless to say, a tremendous amount of back-room brokering, intrigue, and skulduggery occur during the Grand Conclave. Each high priest typically brings along a large entourage of cultists to handle other matters and other interested parties come to Altdorf in order to sway opinion towards their own special interests.[1b]


  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Salvation
    • 1a -- pg. 28
    • 1b -- pg. 29

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