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Unburdened by the weight of history, the Skaven enshrine no accounts of great deeds, tragedies, or inventions. Some clans keep records, but these are solely hyperbole, excuses or apportioned blame. Thus, this brief outline of the Under-Empire's momentous events has been compiled from Dwarf records and the few remaining Imperial markings not destroyed by espionage. The dates are all recorded in the Imperial Year and many (c) are best guesses, as accurate dating for such an anarchic race is impossible.[1a]

One reliable dating system for the Skaven are birthcycles, since this is the rate at which new Skavenslaves and Clanrats are produced that are needed for the schemes and battles of their superiors, making a reliable schedule necessary. Three birthcycles constitute the time length taken for a year in the Imperial Calendar.[4a]

Ancient History

  • c.-2500-2000 -- The ancient city that later becomes Skavenblight is occupied by men and rapidly built to become the most populated human city in the Old World. The city is known to have traded with many of the wandering Dwarf Clans from the Black Mountains.[1a]
  • -1950 -- A wandering Dwarf clan from the Black Mountains establishes trade with the city and eventually settles there. The city grows even faster with their help and many advances in architecture and engineering are achieved.[2a]
  • c.-1860 -- Construction of the great temple begins and goes on continuously for at least a century.[1a]
  • -1880 -- The Humans, with the help of the Dwarfs, begin work on their great temple. Work continues for a century.[2a]
  • c.-1780 -- The temple is completed and coincides with great flares from Morrslieb. Many meteors are sighted. Within a year the city is overrun by a tide of vermin of unusual size and viciousness.[1a]
  • c.-1600 -- The first true Skaven emerge as masters of Skavenblight. In search of more Warpstone, they look beyond their city. Skaven begin experimenting with magic. They expand their tunnel system to accommodate their rapidly expanding population.[1a][2a]
  • -1499 -- Dwarf records from many holds begin to document (and curse) their first sightings of ratmen.[1a]
  • -1498 -- The flooded Dwarfhold of Karak Varn comes under full-fledged Skaven attack.[1a]
  • c.-1420 -- At least one Skaven clan is sighted in Araby.[1a]
  • c. –1400 -- The wandering Clans establish the first Skaven strongholds in the areas later known as the Southlands, Araby, and the Dark Lands. Lord Malkrit leads Clan Moulder into what will become known as Hell Pit in the Troll Country of Kislev. Lord Viskrin instructs Clan Eshin to establish its stronghold in far Cathay.[2a]
  • c. –1300 to c. –1250 -- The War of Cripple Peak is fought with the legions of Nagash, the Great Necromancer.[1a][2a]
  • c. -1200 -- The treaty of Cripple Peak is marked in blood on Dragonhide and the Council of Thirteen enters into a pact with Nagash.[1a] In exchange for Warpstone mined below Cripple Peak, Skaven temporarily join forces with Nagash's Undead legions to lure several tribes of Orcs and Goblins into the Cursed Pit. Skaven break through to the lower levels of Karak Eight Peaks, which falls to the combined forces of Orcs, Goblins, and Skaven. Once the Dwarfs are driven out, the Skaven keep fighting against the Goblins for possession of the upper levels.[2a]
  • c. -1200 to -420 -- Dwarf soldiers discover gunpowder on a Skaven corpse, proving that the Ratmen have begun using the Dwarfs' own weapons against them.[2a]
  • -1197 -- Nagash is slain by Skaven treachery and his bones melted, save for his hand, which, unknown to the Council of Thirteen, crawls away to safety.[1a]
  • -701 -- Battle of Karak Eight Peaks. The Book of Grudges records that Miners first break into a Skaven tunnel. The Dwarfs are shocked to discover the extent of the Skaven burrows beneath them. A terrible and bitterly fought underground war begins.[1a]
  • -513 -- The Dwarfs record that Karak Eight Peaks falls as King Lunn orders the last of the survivors of the fierce battle to seal the tombs, armouries, and treasure holds, and break out towards Karaz-a-Karak.[1a]
  • c.-500 to c-300 -- The Skaven battle the Greenskin hordes for domination of Karak Eight Peaks, or the City of Pillars as it is renamed. The top levels and ruined city are cleared of Orcs and Goblins by around -300.[1a]
  • c.–400 -- Establishment of the Skaven Under-Empire and the first great tunnel networks beneath the Old World. Human tribes settle across the Old World.[2a]
  • c.–380 -- Dwarf cannons are first used in battle, helping to prevent the Greenskin and Skaven armies from taking Karaz-a-Karak. Skaven spies steal the designs for the cannons and begin building warp-pistols and jezzails. Clan Skryre rises to power with these devices.[2a]
  • c.-300 to 200 -- Skaven of Clan Pestilens return from Lustria, and a great civil war erupts in the Empire. Without support from the Skaven, the Greenskin armies weaken and the Dwarfs begin to turn the Goblin tide back.[1a]
  • c.-250 -- Clan Rictus bribes the Council for exclusive rights to establish a foothold at Crookback Mountain, the underground gateway to the Dark Lands.[1a]
  • c.-50 -- Lord Nurglitch leads the majority of Clan Pestilens to the Southlands and establishes new strongholds.[1a]
  • -15 -- Dwarf King Kurgan Ironbeard is captured by Skaven of Clan Eshin in the Grey Mountains. He is then sold to Orcs for many pieces of Warpstone; he is later rescued from the Orcs by Sigmar, a Human chieftain.[2a]

From Sigmar's Time Onwards

  • 17 -- Three different Imperial records and a tapestry record that, in this year, Sigmar, the man-god of the Empire, destroys an army of ratmen. These accounts have since been lost and the section of the tapestry dealing with this era has been eaten away by pests.[1a]
  • c.100 -- Clan Pestilens, long forgotten, makes a dramatic return to Skavenblight and starts a civil war. Back in Lustria, the remnants of the clan are destroyed or driven out of Lustria, although several key tunnels and strongholds escape notice.[1a]
  • c.500 -- Clan Eshin, the long-lost clan led east in the Great Migration, returns from far Cathay having developed and perfected many nefarious skills.[1a]
  • c.600 -- After consuming many Warlord Clans, devastating the Southlands and killing a Lord of Decay in ritual combat, Clan Pestilens finally place one of their Plaguelords on the Council, thus ending the civil war.[1a]
  • c.700 -- Warlocks of Clan Skryre perfect the warpfire thrower. Reports of these terrifying weapons are discounted as tales of madmen.[2a]
  • 1110 -- Lord Vilner, heir to the Drakwald throne, is assassinated by Deathmaster Slike, sparking civil war in the Empire.[2a]
  • 1112 to 1124 -- The Man-things War. The Skaven Wars begin in the Empire. Few Imperial documents mention this period, leading many historians to brand it as an elaborate hoax (the kind favoured by university students with too much time on their hands).[1a]
  • 1115 -- Skaven start to systematically enslave the surviving Human settlements in the Empire. Emperor Goldgather is assassinated by Deathmaster Slike. When no successor is named, the Skaven declare themselves rulers of the Empire.[2a]
  • 1116 -- The Skaven march into Sylvania. Necromancer van Hel raises a massive Undead army to turn back the Skaven advance. The two forces fight to a standstill for the next five years.[2a]
  • 1124 -- The Empire finally drives the Skaven below ground. Mandred is crowned Emperor.[2a]
  • 1125 -- Warlord Krricht Dwarf-slicer defeats all comers to become the new Warlord of Clan Mors.[1b]
  • 1152 -- Emperor Mandred Rat Slayer is slain by Nartik of Clan Eshin by order of the Council.[1b]
  • 1247 -- Tilean explorer Marco Polare reaches Cathay, and writes of spying the Skaven under the great city of Wei-jin.[2a]
  • c.1300 -- Clan Moulder creates the first successful Rat Ogre, and begins their rise in prominence amongst the other Clans.[1a]
  • c.1435 -- Sultan Jaffar, a powerful Arabyan sorcerer, welds together a coalition of desert tribes (and summons daemonic spirits, it is said) and carves out a sizeable realm. The Skaven spy for the Sultan and murder many rivals in exchange for warpstone.[1b]
  • c.1448 -- Jaffar is manipulated into invading Estalia and captures Magritta. This begins the Araby Crusades by the human realms of the Old World, notably Bretonnia and the Empire. Distrust and anarchy are spread wide.[1b]
  • 1492 -- Marco Colombo discovers Lustria, and reports sighting many Skaven in the jungles, still fighting their Lizardmen enemies.[2a]
  • 1563 -- The Tilean city of Tobaro is overrun by Skaven breaking in through the ancient Elf-carved tunnels that riddle the cliff.[1b]
  • 1565 -- Tobaro is recaptured by a mercenary army mustered by the Prince of Tobaro, reinforced by a contingent of High Elves from Ulthuan.[1b]
  • 1601 -- The village of Escantos in Southern Tilea is completely devoured by swarms of rats.[2b]
  • 1666 -- Clan Skryre warlocks develop a reliable (by Skaven standards) warpfire cannon. Its terrifying payload can wipe out entire armies.[2b]
  • 1707 -- Skaven forces aid Orc Warlord Gorbad Ironclaw in his attack against the Empire. Skaven forces cripple Nuln from the inside, allowing Ironclaw to take control of that city without any significant losses. The Skaven are repaid handsomely with Warpstone.[2b]
  • 1786 -- The Red Pox breaks out in Bordeleaux in Bretonnia.[1b] Clan Eshin releases rats infected with the Red Pox in the town of Bordelaux. The city loses over a third of its population to the Red Pox in a single week. The Baron Giscard Du'ponte orders the poor quarter to be burned to the ground in a fit of desperation. The pox is halted immediately.[2b]
  • 1812 -- Southern Bretonnia and northern Tilea are ravaged by another outbreak of the Red Pox. Panic, anarchy and rioting spread through several Bretonnian cities as mobs rampage in the cities, burning anything that might carry the pox, including sheep, dogs, frogs and fish. In Brionne, the resulting Great Fire of Brionne razes three-quarters of the city. Again with the disease at its peak, the Skaven attack. Brionne, Bordelaux and Miragliano are all but destroyed by disease and invasion; the Ratmen then lay siege to Quenelles.[1b][2b]
  • 1813 -- Skaven armies emerge across Bretonnia, but are soundly beaten by fierce counter-attacks and driven off entirely at the Battle of Remarche by Bretonnian and Wood Elven forces.[1b] Duc de Parravon convinces the Elves of Athel Loren that the Skaven will turn on them next, and an alliance is struck. The combined forces of the Duc and the Elves break the siege at Quenelles and drive the Skaven underground once more. Over a third of the Bretonnian population lie dead from the plague and the invasion.[2b]
  • c.1850 -- The Skaven Under-Empire is mired in another civil war. The Council of Thirteen is broken and all clans strive for supremacy or simple survival.[1b]
  • 1941 -- Warlord Skinchewer of Clan Skab allies himself with one of the Tomb Kings. Acquiring new and dark magic from this arrangement, Clan Skab rises in power amongst the clans, although it is still far below the four Greater Clans.[2b]
  • 1999 -- The city of Mordheim is hit by a meteorite composed entirely of Warpstone, providing the largest concentrated source of that foul material ever known. Skaven immediately take possession of the town, and begin mining the stone.[2b]
  • 2084 -- Clan Skryre warlocks perfect the Farsqueaker, allowing instantaneous communication between warrens any distance apart.[2b]
  • 2111 -- Lawful citizens of Rötebach discover that the Count of Middenland, Luitprand II, has made the Chaos Bargain. Luitprand has the entire town hanged to cover his tracks.[2b]
  • c.2150 -- Ikit Claw completes the great Iron Exo-skeleton after his major lab accident.[1b]
  • 2207 -- Another, smaller, Warpstone meteorite crashes to the ground, this time in the Barren Hills. Skaven crews carry much of it away but not all: a Human Wizard manages to grab one piece. He transports it in secret to Castle Wittgenstein.[2b]
  • 2250 -- Small skirmishes between the Skaven and the Tomb Kings of Khemri turn into outright war. The war lasts for some two centuries and provides cover for the Skaven to greatly expand their tunnel network to the Southlands.[2b]

Recent History

  • 2302 -- The Great Summoning. The Grey Seers order all clans to Skavenblight and dare to summon the Great Horned Rat. The feuding ends as Warlords are terrified into a level of obedience previously unthinkable. Warlords Gnawdwell, Vrisk Ironscratch, Griznekt Man-carver, and Paskrit the Vast join the Council of Thirteen.[1b]
  • 2302-2320 -- Terror in Tilea. Many small towns near the Blighted Marshes are razed or disappear altogether.[1b]
  • 2302 -- Magnus the Pious leads the Empire in holding back the forces of Chaos at the gates of Kislev. The rising tide of dark magic prompts the Grey Seers to step in and call upon the Horned Rat for divine judgement to stop the warring between their clans. In a massive ceremony at Skavenblight during Vermintide, the great annual feast of the Horned God, the Grey Seers succeed in summoning an incarnation of the Horned Rat. The Clan Lords are terrified into a level of obedience and cooperation previously unthinkable as the Horned One dictates the plan they are to follow. The Council of Thirteen is completely reorganised and all hostilities between Skaven are ended immediately.[2b]
  • 2303 -- During the Great War Against Chaos, the Skaven fight the Chaos armies as well as the armies of the Empire and Kislev, but after several hundred years of internecine warfare, the Skaven's numbers are almost exhausted. The Chaos hordes are eventually defeated by Magnus the Pious at Kislev. The Skaven ambush several contingents of the Empire army as it returns home, and soon afterwards minor plagues erupt in Nuln, Talabheim, and Marienburg.[2b]
  • 2320 -- Skaven agents in Marienberg burn half the ships in that harbour to the waterline with firepots. The motive for this attack is never discovered.[2b]
  • 2321 -- Skaven warships are spotted in the Tilean Sea. Many coastal raids begin at this time. The Dwarfs of Barak Varr report sinking a Skaven fleet.[1b] During the winter, Clan Eshin Gutter Runners make a number of raids on Imperial, Bretonnian, Tilean and Estalian warfleets at anchor in their respective ports. The Gutter Runners use firepots and naptha to burn the fleets with varying levels of success.[2b]
  • 2335 -- Following a warning from the Elven Mages that protect Lothern, a Tilean vessel is stopped and boarded. The search by the Sea Guard turns into a battle. Rumours persist that several ratmen escaped the ship, leaping overboard and disappearing into the city.[1b]
  • 2377 -- The Monkey King seizes power in Cathay. He installs Warlord Kishkik of Clan Eshin as an advisor, and begins trade with the Skaven Empire.[2b]
  • 2387 -- Prince Karsten of Waldenhof employs Skaven to undermine the walls of the invincible Castle Siegfried in Sylvania. When refused their warpstone payment, the Skaven steal all the children of Waldenhof.[1b]
  • 2399 -- Skaven of Clan Skryre begin developing warpfire-powered underground locomotives (“warprails”). Originally used to move mining carts, they are soon adapted for troop transport as well.[2b]
  • 2473 to present -- The Dwarfs return to Karak Eight Peaks under King Belegar, descendant of King Lunn. They capture several levels and joining the ongoing battles for the upper levels against both Clan Mors and the Night Goblins of the Crooked Moon Tribe.[1b]
  • 2485 -- Clan Mors devastates several rival clans (including much of Clan Skab) and begins to rise in power and status.[2b]
  • 2491 -- The deadly artefact known as the Skaven Black Arc is stolen from Skavenblight but recovered at the Battle of the Monastery of La Maisontaal in Bretonnia.[1b] Bagrian, master of the monastery of La Maisontaal in Bretonnia, infiltrates Skavenblight and steals the awesome Black Arc. The Grey Seer Gnawdoom and his Skaven, along with allies in the form of the Undead army of the Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler, move against the monastery and recover the Arc after a vicious battle with the monks.[2b]
  • 2499 -- The Battle of Nuln. Half of the great Empire city is destroyed by invading Skaven and ensuing fires.[1b]
  • 2504 -- Sea Lord Aislinn's Dragonship squadron engages a ramshackle fleet near the Shifting Isles. Despite the foe's arcane machines, the Elves triumph. The Skaven corpses that wash up on the north-east coast of Ulthuan are gathered and burnt by the shore patrols.[1b]
  • 2512 -- Skaven sappers completely destroy Castle Wittgenstein and retrieve the Warpstone stored there.[2b]
  • 2513 to present -- Towns and forts along both sides of the Grey Mountains begin to disappear due to Skaven attacks. The Empire and Bretonnia suspect each other. Although tensions are raised between the nations, only border skirmishes have thus far taken place.[1b]
  • 2514 -- Fritz von Halstadt, Chief Magistrate of Nuln and head of the Countess Emmanuelle's secret police, is discovered trading Warpstone to the Skaven in the sewers beneath Nuln. Grey Seer Thanquol has been feeding real information, half truths, and outright lies to the insane von Halstadt, manipulating him with the ultimate aim of starting a civil war in the Empire. The plot is exposed and von Halstadt is killed, but Thanquol escapes. Later the same year Thanquol returns, seeking vengeance with a Skaven horde. Using Nuln's extensive sewer network to infiltrate the city, they almost overrun it in a single night, halted only by fires lit by the defenders, which then rage through the city. Eventually the Skaven are driven back, leaving half of Nuln in ruins. Grey Seer Thanquol swears he will have vengeance upon Nuln and its inhabitants before returning to Skavenblight to face the inquisition of the Lords of Decay.[2b]
  • 2515 -- The Skaven burrow of Fester Spike is attacked by a Dwarf expedition seeking to reclaim one of the lost hammers of Valaya. Grey Seer Thanquol attempts to summon a Verminlord of the Horned Rat. Instead, he mistakenly conjures the legion of the Bloodthirster Skarbrand, which then rampages amongst both the Dwarf and Skaven armies.[3a]
  • 2518 -- Lord Throt the Unclean and his army from Hell Pit fight Chaos Lord Aelfric Cyenwulf and his barbarian force. Cyenwulf later leads his army the opposite way, preferring to take on the might of Kislev rather than the mutated beasts of Clan Moulder.[1b]
  • 2520 -- High Mage Torinubar, Mage Lord of the Gates of Calith, is mysteriously slain. None of the typical signs of Dark Elf outrages can be found.[1b]
  • 2521 -- Clan Mors Warlord Queek Headtaker is recalled to the City of Pillars in an attempt to bring an end to the ongoing battles there. Elsewhere the copper mines of Grim-Duraz in the Grey Mountains become the latest Dwarf holdings to fall under Skaven control.[1b]


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 30
    • 1b: pg. 31
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Children of the Horned Rat
    • 2a: pg. 35
    • 2b: pg. 36
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Daemons of Chaos (8th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 23
  • 4: The Black Plague Book 3: Wolf of Sigmar(Novel)
    • 4a: Chapter XXI