- "Thus was gathered into Mordheim on the eve of its destruction all the sins of men together, as a boil gathers the poisons of the body ready to be lanced by the surgeon’s knife."
- —Bernhardt Hal, Witch Hunter General.
Once a mighty city that could rival many others within the Empire, Mordheim grew decadent with corruption, and as these multitudes gathered for the arrival of the Twin-Tailed Comet, it is said that Sigmar judged them false and smited the city, killing all those left within.
Now, it is a dead city, where only the foolish, mad or greedy seek to venture forth, either to plunder the riches of the ruins or to covet the green shards of comet-borne Warpstone that lace the entire city with its corruption.
Mordheim sits next to the great River Stir, which runs through the town of Waldenhof down from the titanic peaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains. The city of Mordheim was founded by the Knights of the Order of the Crow thousands of years ago, after the conquest of the land of the Goblins. They called Mordheim to their fortress in memory of their fallen leader, Count Gotthard Angelos. Although the settlement prospered in the commerce (mainly of fish and lumber), the population was composed basically of veteran warriors expert in the handling of the spear, the axe and bow. For centuries, Mordheim was a bulwark in the face of incursions by Orcs and other diabolical creatures that attacked in great numbers from the eastern mountains.
Mordheim was one of the few cities in Ostermark that could escape the destruction caused by the Waaagh! from the mighty Orc warlord Gorbad Ironclaw in the year 1707. Each province of the Empire had to send troops to deal with the immense orc invasion and many desperate battles were fought. In the last battle, the soldiers went to the elevated area of the city from which the river flowed and verified that the Greenskins of Waaagh! Gorbad approached on the right flank. Most of Mordheim's army perished at the Battle of Camp de Valen, but Count Steinhardt managed to survive and the city was saved while the Waaagh! redirected towards Averheim, which was not so lucky.
In the Imperial year 1999 there was a sighting of a great comet in the sky, a Twin Tailed Comet, the sign of Sigmar. Many astronomers predicted the return of Sigmar, and that he would arrive in Mordheim. Massive amounts of people from all corners of the Empire started to travel towards Mordheim, filling the city far beyond its capacity. The morals of the city quickly degenerated into almost nothing, everyone was living a hedonistic life in anarchy, and as more and more people arrived in Mordheim the situation only got worse and worse. When this happened, the seeds of chaos and corruption started to spread among the new citizens of Mordheim, and it wasn't long until daemons walked the streets.
The Destruction of Mordheim
It happened on New Year's Eve, the comet fell, but it was not the return of Sigmar as predicted. The comet smashed into the city, instantly turning it to rubble and brutally killing everyone who had gathered in and around it.
People speculated that Sigmar had passed his judgement on the people living in the city, killing them for their unworth.
City of the Damned
After this event, the place of Mordheim became a place of great fear and paranoia. Word spread about a mysterious stone that was located in the city, known as the Wyrdstone. Many factions of the world would pay a gigantic sum of money in return for the stone. Many warbands began travelling to Mordheim, recently dubbed The City of the Damned, with hopes to find the precious stone.
The North-East Quarter of Mordheim was renowned for trade and learning. When Mordheim was a living city, the crowded labyrinth of streets and market plazas were called the Merchant's Quarter, more commonly known as the District of the Flying Horse. Mordheim became known as the finest market of the city in the Empire, rivalling even the busiest ports as Marienburg. There were many traders who would claim that for the right price they could locate any object for you so desired in a day.[5a]
The once thriving Market Square, more commonly known as the District of the Flying Horse has become a deserted plaza. Only the exceptionally brave or downright foolhardy dare cross the open cobbles, where once thousands of merchants sole their wares. To venture into the Market Square is to expose oneself to all those who keep a close watch from the surrounding shadow.[5b]
Many eyes peer from the dark alleys and ruined buildings, in search of a fresh opportunity to make a quick killing. There is still a vast quantity of precious and exotic goods lying in the broken cellars of merchant's houses for the taking.[5b]
It is said that a few of the Pegasi escaped the destruction and their cages and have made their lairs around this area. Some have mutated horribly and are twisted diabolic parodies of their former selves. The infamous of these creatures is said to be a huge Black Pegasus with several additional horribly mutated heads, that of a serpent and a ram. Hunger gnaws at the stomachs of these beasts and they will face many times their number if they catch the scent of prey.[5b]
In a terrible twist of fate, the Merchants Quarter remains the most opulent region of the accursed city. Should any adventurous soul wish to visit the ruined library or take a chance and stroll through the market place, it is highly likely that they may discover some rare goods that have survived the fall. Leaving the quarter with your life is a different matter though, for the District of the Flying Horse is also rich pickings for those who seek to spill blood.[5b]
The Great Library
Another notable aspect of the North-Eastern Quarter was the Great Library. During the rule of the extravagant Count Ignatius Steinhardt, the library grew extensively to become the largest building in the entire city. The Count was particularly fond of collecting mystical and religious tomes. Of course, unwittingly, The Great Library managed to collect on of the largest deposits of Daemonic and Necromantic lore in the Empire.[5a]
Now after the disaster struck Mordheim Library was engulfed by flames from the comet. Only the bravest ever consider going anywhere near the ruins but the lure of ancient tomes is enough to persuade mages from across the Empire to hire warbands to retrieve any books that they can find. For enough gold, fools can find enough bravery to risk even this dark place.[5a]
The Middle Bridge is the main crossing point for the City of the Damned. Whoever holds the bridge controls all aspects of movement in Mordheim. The bridge is rumoured to have piles of Wyrdstone or treasure around it but are said to be guarded by massive Trolls, who have a strange affinity for bridges. The area is also constantly veiled in fog.[5c]
There are many a vile warband that resides at Cut Throat's Den. Cut Throat's Den is known to house unscrupulous warbands who are some of the foulest scum to visit Mordheim. Warbands such as the Righteous Sisters, Witch Hunters and other do-gooders would shun such a decadent area.[5d]
The main path from Cut Throat's Den to the City of the Damned is by the West Gatehouse. Normally, most would think nothing of going to Mordheim via the West Gatehouse but danger lurks at every corner of Mordheim and this area is not different. The West Gatehouse remains guarded by a dark and sinister tree beast, and to enter the city from this direction adventurer must first brave passing by this monstrosity. Skeletons hang from its branches and who knows how many skulls are entwined within its blackened roots. Warbands tend to scale the walls or have found tunnels into the city from the West side in order to avoid the giant oak that lurks at the West Gatehouse.[5d]
The Great Oak
The Great Oak that once stood near the ornate gates of the garden uprooted itself and began a rampage of death and destruction. A huge one hundred foot tall monster, it smashed through the perimeter wall of the gardens and began to make its way to the West Gatehouse where crowds had gathered in a desperate attempt to flee the disaster.[5d]
With evil eyes glowing red, the instrument of the Shadowlord stomped through the crowd sending broken bodies hurtling through the air as its huge branches lashed out at the throng. Few managed to escape the Northwestern Quarter of the city during the disaster, as the monster had rooted itself at the gateway slaughtering all that dared to pass.[5d]
Many warbands have disappeared when they have ventured through the West Gatehouse. There are rumours The Giant Tree guards not only the West Gatehouse but treasure. The treasure horde has been rumoured to include wyrdstone, jewels, armour, weapons, precious and rare items.[5d]
Many warbands have decided to go after the Giant Tree together to split the riches but many have died by the hands of the Great Oak or my each other as truces only last as long as a warband wants.[5d]
The Raven Barracks, located North West side of Mordheim, housed the military arm of Count Steinhardht. The Empire was deeply embroiled in a bitter civil war. During this turmoil, Count Steinhardt refused to commit his forces to any of the three warring factions. The Count had the finest uniforms made for his soldiers. As the Empire went to war, expending valuable resources on arms and soldiers Mordheim grew rich in selling arms and supplies at extortionate prices to any side. The weapons were for top quality and craftsmanship.[5e]
After the great disaster the barracks are empty of soldiers. The soldiers have perished or left the city as fast as they could. Now many warbands are attempting to get to the Raven Barracks to stock up on supplies for themselves or to sell them at a profit. The City of the Damned is a dark and deadly place. The route to the barracks is dangerous and leaving alive from the barracks might be more difficult than the warbands think.[5e]
The Death's Head District
Known locally as the Death's Head District before the comet, this area is the hunting ground of Soloman Vantor's minions and where the agents of Morr have been directed to through their dream-visions.
The district itself runs from the ruined south-west wall encompassing the Gaol, along the south side of the Old Palace Road that leads to the banks of the River Stir, down the west side of the river bank and once more to the city wall. The Death’s Head district sits within the shadow of the now-ruined palace of Count Steinhart. The Temple of Sigmar's Rock is within a bow shot's range from the banks of the district. However, the solitary bridge that connects the island temple to the city crosses on the far bank, meaning the Sisters have a long journey through the rubble and across the middle bridge should they wish to reach the district.
Even when Mordheim was at its most prosperous the Death's Head was viewed as a place to be on your guard, for while the buildings and shops that edged the Old Palace Road were seen as reasonably opulent, the quality of the housing and its inhabitants rapidly declined once you moved past Executioner's Square. The exception to this was the business premises that sat on Death's Head Road, the street which the district was named after, that lead from the southern exit of Executioner's Square to the Temple or Morr. At times of the executions, the convicted was bought from the nearby gaol to the square. Once the axe had fallen a ceremonial possession led by the "head bearer", who held aloft the freshly decapitated head and was followed by "corpse carriers", moved from the square down the Death’s Head Road to the gates of the Temple of Morr, where Acolytes would be ready to receive the body. Bystanders would congregate along the road to mock and jeer the criminal's dead body as the possession walked by.
It was rumoured that before the comet the local Thieves Guild, known as the Guild of Shadows, had numerous safe houses in the back alleys and narrow streets of the area, although their presence was not as strong as in the Poor Quarter. It was also said that the House of Coils – the most powerful Death Guild outside of Altdorf, held court within the district.
The vast majority of buildings within the district, like most of Mordheim, now lay in ruins. Ever since the comet plunged into the city and the warbands started to hunt for wyrdstone, the Death's Head district has been given a wide birth. It is said that Executioner’s Square now contains the incorporeal spirits of damned criminals. Rumours persist that the gaol, which was crammed full on the fateful night of Mordheim's damnation, is still inhabited even though a great crack rent the building in two, allowing any surviving criminals a means of escape. Most chillingly of all, the district was home to the crowded cemetery of St. Voller, and everyone knows that the dead do not rest easily in Mordheim anymore.
One of the oldest places in Mordheim, Executioner's Square was named for obvious reasons, the daily executions were a crowd puller making the area busy and surrounding businesses successful. Now the gallows and chopping block stand deserted amongst the rubble. Since Mordheim's downfall the many victims of Executioner's square – the guilty and innocent alike - have returned as restless spirits eager to scream their anger at all who pass or linger.[6c]
Mordheim's Gaol was not only used to imprison the city's criminals but those of the surrounding areas. Even with the daily executions that took place in Executioner's Square the crumbling building was literally full of society’s detritus from the humble debtor to callous murderers. When the comet crashed into the city, a great crack fractured the Gaol in half allowing the few surviving prisoners to escape. However, even two years later rumours persist that someone or something still inhabits the dark recesses of its inner sanctum.[6c]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 14
- 2: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 16
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (7th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 30
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition)
- 4a: pg. 23
- 5: Warhammer: Mordheim, by Andy Tobor
- 6: Mordheim: Thy Soul to Keep, by Nik Kyme and Andy Hall
- City of the Damned (Novel), by David Guymer.
- Mordheim: Rulebook (1999)
- Mordheim: Rulebook Annual (2002)
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 238 (October 1999)
- pgs. 77 - 85
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 239 (November 1999)
- pgs. 35 - 74
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 240 (December 1999)
- pgs. 71 - 94
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 241 (January 2000)
- pgs. 60 - 62
- pgs. 67 - 92
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 242 (February 2000)
- pgs. 61 - 82
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 243 (March 2000)
- pgs. 65 - 80
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 244 (April 2000)
- pgs. 69 - 80
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 244 (May 2000)
- pgs. 59 - 76
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 315 (February 2006)
- pgs. 58 - 60
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 315 (March 2006)
- pgs. 62 - 68
- White Dwarf Magazine Nº 316 (April 2006)
- pgs. 96 - 101
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 28
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 29
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 30
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 31
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 32
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 35
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 36
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 37
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 38
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 39
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 41
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 42
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 43
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 46
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 47
- Warhammer Monthly Nº 50
- Mordheim: City of the Damned (PC Videogame)
- 5: Old Games Workshop`s Web
- 6: Old Games Workshop`s Web - 2