Griffons are fearsome beasts that have the heads of birds of prey combined with leonine bodies and massive feathered wings. Their beaks are hooked and can easily sever a man's limb. Their claws, which are reminiscent of a hawk’s talons, they keep sharp by regular scoring against stone. Griffons swoop down on their prey, screaming war cries as they come. They continue to attack until no opponent is left moving. Survivors of Griffon attacks often have dreams of being hunted down and rent limb from limb for years afterwards.
These mighty predators dwell amidst the highest peaks of the World's Edge Mountains, occasionally flying to the lowlands when food is scarce. A rare few serve as mounts for the richest and most powerful Imperial nobles, who are willing to pay vast sums of gold for a single egg or chick. Griffons are fierce and wild creatures, never entirely tame, no matter how many years of domestication they’ve endured.[2b]
Other than depictions of the mighty Warhammer of Sigmar, no symbol holds as high a place in the Empire's esteem as that of the Griffon. The renowned Griffon Standard of the Empire rests in the Cathedral of Sigmar and it is said that no unit that ever carries it in good cause can be broken. The Grand Theogonist of Sigmar's badge of office is carved from green jade in the likeness of a Griffon. Indeed, to the citizens of the Empire, the Griffon is a sacred beast.[2a]
Griffons prefer their meat raw and screaming, though they'll scavenge if no other prey presents itself. This is fairly rare, though, as their hunting grounds tend to range for hundreds of miles around their chosen mountain aerie. Their eyesight is a sharp as the raptors that they resemble and they can see motion from miles away. Their war cry causes fear in all but the hardiest souls and Griffon mounts must be forcibly restrained from hunting down fleeing opponents, as it is in their nature to rend all foes that flee from them.[2a]
They are voracious predators, flying out for miles to hunt from their mountain lairs. Griffons them swoop down on their prey, screaming war cries as they come. The cry of a Griffon is often enough to send enemies running. For the Griffon, this is an ideal situation as it prefers its meals on the run, and alive. They then continue to attack until no opponent is left moving. Survivors of Griffon attacks often have dreams of being hunted down and rent limb from limb for years afterward. Despite being large and monstrous creatures, Griffons have reputations as noble beasts. This is in part due to their proud and regal bearing – Griffons are not ravenous and frenetic like Manticores. Instead a Griffon strikes with swift and precise grace, its motion poised and controlled. Yet this elegance in no way undermines its deadliness, for a Griffon is more than capable of using its talons and razor beak to rip a foe apart. Skilled and efficient fighters, Griffons do not kill indiscriminately, although they show no reluctance when hunting or protecting their territory. They are fierce and merciless, but never cruel.
As a result of a Griffon's possession of a noble temperament and an impressive intelligence, they can be trained as loyal and deadly mounts. For anyone to have the slightest hope of mastering a Griffon, the beast must be captured and trained while young, forcing a bond that only death can shatter. Griffons are prized for their sharp claws, their powerful beaks which rival Greatswords in their deadliness, their excellent reactions and high overall resilience. Most surprising, however, is the way they can easily bypass enemy parries while staying out of reach themselves, something only the most skillful warriors can achieve after decades of training
Many are the tales of entire regiments being broken by a Runefang-wielding Elector Count swooping in to attack while astride his Griffon. The Griffon is a sacred symbol in the Empire of Man which appears frequently adorning temples dedicated to Sigmar. It is no coincidence that the Order of the Griffon was so named. Emperor Karl Franz himself enters battle on the back of Deathclaw, his personal Griffon mount. As well as the Empire the High Elves also use Griffons as mounts.
Many Griffons dwell in the Annulii Mountains and the rocky slopes of Chrace in Ulthuan, where they are far more colourful than the ones in the Old World, but equally as deadly. The Griffons of those mountains are creatures of noble bearing and keen intelligence. Such is the Griffon’s wild appearance, that a stranger to Ulthuan might deem it merely another savage beast of the mountains. Yet all Elves know that Griffons are seldom given to cruelty – least, so long as you do not offer harm to those they think of as kin.
For an Elf to have any hope of mastering a Griffon, the beast must be captured and trained while still young, forging a bond that only death can shatter. Griffons are particularly favored by those who fight in the thick of the fray. Indeed, many a battle has been won at the moment a shrieking Griffon descends into the heart of the enemy army, leaving a trail of dismembered and disembowelled bodies in its wake. An example of this is Stormwing, a famous Griffon used as a mount by Eltharion the Grim.
- Stormwing -- mount of Eltharion
- 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 51
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Old World Bestiary