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"They took me to their city called Tlax, upon a carrying chair, which I took to be a great honour. The route followed winding jungle tracks and causeways across wide expanses of swamp. Then we proceeded along a straight, wonderfully paved road. flanked at intervals with ancient mould encrusted statues carved in the form of grimacing lizards and toads. After a long time we entered into a wide plaza, teeming with Skinks engaged in all manner of activities. As a stranger in their midst I aroused a great deal of interest. I was conveyed across the broad paved area towards one of the enormous pyramids which it flanked on three sides. The bearers carried me up countless steps towards the highest platform of the pyramid."

—Extract from The Tale of Marco Colombo, ca. 1492 IC[2b]
Warhammer Temple-City

A mighty temple-city of the Lizardmen

A temple-city is a large, monumental metropolis of pyramids, ziggurats and temples, many of which that dot the lush jungle landscapes of the continents of Lustria and, to a lesser extent, the Southlands. These cities are not just unique because they were built and inhabited by the cold-blooded Lizardmen, but because they also function as nexus points for the magical Geomantic Web of naturally-generated earth energy maintained by the Lizardmen that stretches across the Known World. Each of the temple-cities was constructed to be different in its own way, although all have been carefully positioned to relate to a specific celestial body or astral phenomena.[1a]

In this manner, the structures sit atop and serve as pivotal nexus points in the Geomantic Web, the source of much of the Slann's power and of energy vital to the maintenance of the "Great Warding," a large, magical shield which guards Lustria from the outside world. The majority of the temple-cities of Lustria are now in ruins, choked and overgrown by the jungle, although not necessarily deserted.[1a]

There are many different reasons why these wonders have been reduced to such decrepit states. Most were ravaged during the Great Catastrophe when the power of Chaos first flooded into the mortal world, overrun by Daemonic hordes. Over the ages, other Lizardmen cities have fallen to disasters, plagues, the invasions of warmbloods, shifting tectonics instigated by the Slann themselves, and other reasons unknown. Those that remain are some of the greatest within Lustria, and those that defend it will willingly die by the thousands to ensure its continued survival.[1a]


"Looking around I could see the entire plan of the city from above. There were many small pyramids clustered around the larger pyramids, and as well as these there were terraces, numerous rectangular pools glinting in the sunlight. tall obelisks and other structures. All of these were intricately carved and painted. One building was still under construction. I could see huge beasts which looked like a cross between a dragon and an elephant, dragging massive blocks of stone up large ramps. The din of thousands of Skinks chipping away at the stones with chisels reached my ears. as well as the rasping orders of the foremen directing the work."

—Extract from "The Tale of Marco Colombo", circa. 1492 IC[2b]
Warhammer Lustria Geometric Web

Each city within Lustria is aligned as part of a nexus of points within the Geomantic Web.

Amongst the eldest structures in the world, the temple-cities were raised during the age of the Old Ones. For their size and simple grandeur, they have never been equalled by the constructions of any younger race. Monolithic structures and vast pyramids still stand, breathtaking in their scope, unrivalled in their enormity. In their time, each one teemed with thriving activity; the Slann Mage-Priests and their viziers were kept busy supervising the nurturing of the various races created by the Old Ones, the Skinks ensured daily operations ran smoothly and, from under the decorative arches, the Saurus legions marched on their wars of extinction. Dozens of saurians from the jungle were captured and trained for domestic uses — Stegadons hauled forwards building materials for the Kroxigor, Pliodons acted as living ferries across the wide canals, and Voxosaurs emitted their piercing screams to sound alarms. The Old Ones themselves would come and go, their star-sailing ships landing in the wide plazas.[1a]

Since the coming of Chaos, and the deviations from the Great Plan, some of the alignments have drifted apart. Much that once was has been lost, as many temple-cities were destroyed. Where possible, their ruins are still guarded, for they are still circuits that make up the greater whole. Yet over the ages, some sites have been left permanently neglected, their power and population lost to the Lizardmen forever. At the heart of every city are the pyramid-temples. Large and majestic, these stepped ziggurats loom over everything. At each of their summits, far above the world, sit the most ancient of the city’s Slann Mage-Priests. Each apex is known as a Star Chamber and within this sacred space a Slann can align his thoughts and engage in conversations with others of his kind, though they be far distant over the horizon. From his seat of power, a Slann can turn his attentions to the constellations above, seeking signs of the return of the Old Ones. The taller the pyramid, the more powerful the Mage-Priest; the surrounding smaller structures are for lesser priests. This is done so that the elder generation can keep their mental pathways clear - undisturbed by the naive questions and less weighty thoughts of younger Slann or, worse still, the impertinent and impatient Skink Priests.[1a]

Deep within each pyramid are many vaults, crypts and chambers, each accessible only through secret and well-guarded passages. These vaults may contain the mummified remains of venerated Slann, mirror-like pools for observing distant locations, ancient devices left behind by the Old Ones or other relics, such as a temple-city’s sacred plaques. Four major temple-cities currently stand intact, although this has not always been the case. In the ages since the Great Catastrophe, the fortunes of the temple-cites have risen and fallen according to the unknowable will of the Old Ones. Some cities have been inexplicably abandoned, their populations marching in long columns to rebuild an ancient ruin many miles distant. Sometimes a Slann Mage-Priest will set out to refound some other location — temporarily re-establishing a dwelling amidst the overgrown ruins so that he can meditate in peace upon deep matters that require thoughts from that particular alignment.[1a]

Notable Lustrian Temple-Cities[]

  • Itza, the First City
  • Huatl, the City of Reawakening
  • Oyxl, the Eternal City

Notable Southlands Temple-Cities[]


In the wake of the Albion campaign around 2520 IC, the Slann rediscovered the island and the treasures of the Old Ones that were left behind there at the ruined temple-city known as the Forge of the Old Ones. Determined to not allow the relics to fall into the wrong hands, Lord Mazdamundi of the Second Spawning and Nakai traveled to Albion via the Geomantic Web. Using their magic to create a new jungle and maintain the mist that hid the island, the Lizardmen founded a new temple-city there, the first since the Great Catastrophe.

It was called Konquata, the Place of Resistance.

Lost Temple-Cities[]

Total War Warhammer Wulfhart

The troops of the Imperial Huntmarshal Markus Wulfhart plundering a ruined and abandoned Lizardmen temple-city, as depicted for Total War: Warhammer II.

Those temple-cities that were destroyed during the Great Catastrophe are often haunted by their past, such as what remains of Tlax, which is now known as the City of Ghosts. So momentous were the calamities suffered there that unspeakable things were etched into the air itself. To this day, when the alignments of the stars are right, the past replays itself and spectral forms battle once more for possession of the city. Many other temple-cities have similar tales, such as Xahutec, which was destroyed when the Daemons entered within its protective barrier through a rift; a portal that allowed troops from the nether-realm to bypass the Slann’s protective wards. Like a wound that will never fully heal, that self-same hole in reality has re-opened several times, causing major incursions that have destroyed each of the attempts to resettle the ruins. Now called the City of Echoes, the Lizardmen have since vacated Xahutec’s cursed ruins, but post a strong guard around its perimeter to raise the alarm when the Daemons return in force yet again.[1c]

Chupayotl, now called the Sunken City, toppled into the sea, while Chaqua, the City of Gold, fell to the plagues of the Skaven -- the contamination within its walls remains so potent that its overgrown ruins still cannot be repopulated, even after so many years. Axlotl, the Star City, fell first during the Great Catastrophe and again in the Skaven rising. Since those days it has been partially reconsecrated, although it stands empty - or it appears so, as it is nearly impossible to pick out the Chameleon Skinks that keep silent vigil in the treeline outside the tumbledown city. Quetza, the birthplace of the Skaven Clan Pestilens, has remained defiled and unfit for Lizardmen to return; however, its labyrinthine undertunnels are now haven to serpents beyond count, and Sotek’s Children have not allowed any of the ratmen to return.[1c]

Not all of the ruins stand empty, however, for some, such as the temple-city of Huatl, are in the process of being refounded. Hundreds of Kroxigor work to replace stone blocks in alignment, and the jungle has been beaten back. Already the Great Temple has been rebuilt and its Star Chamber houses a Mage-Priest for the first time in an age. Oyxl, the Eternal City, was ruined by Daemons, but its Great Pyramid is still attended by Skink Priests and it is said that the Skinks of that city have almost mastered the carnivorous, flightless birds that roam the surrounding plains. Pahuax, the City of Ash, has been abandoned and refounded no fewer than six times; through it all, the pyramids have stood tall, a weathered but defiant testament to the powers of the ancients.[1c]

Ruined Temple-Cities of Lustria[]

  • Tlax, the City of Ghosts
  • Spektazuma, the City of Lenses
  • Qu'ittax, the City of Scales
  • Kaiax, the Lost City
  • Xlanzec, the City of Outsiders

Ruined Temple-Cities of the Southlands[]

  • Tlaqua
  • Teotiqua
  • Nahuontl
  • Cuexotl
  • Enxilada

Temple-City Geography[]

"The smaller lizard-folk live and work in places similar to our own barrios. These were a hive of activity, each individual focused entirely upon their task."

—‘One Thing Further: My Voyages with Marco Colombo’ by Filipa de Ruiz[3a]
Warhammer Itza Map

A stone tablet ilustrating the geographical layout of Itza, the First City.

General Principles[]

Lizardmen temple-cities are both wonderful and often incomprehensible to outsiders. Their buildings are formed from stone cut to precise dimensions, held together without mortar. Lizard-sphinxes, stylised snakes, and colourful murals cover every surface. Over everything loom many-stepped pyramids, a constant reminder of the power this civilisation wields. Living temple-cities are constantly awash with activity, only subsiding during the coldest parts of the night.[3a]

Nearly all of the temple-cities of the Lizardmen in Lustria and the Southlands are immensely ancient, having been founded in the time of the Old Ones. Since then many have been abandoned and fallen into ruin. Those that remain have not grown in size, but often have diminished slightly, with ruinous precincts on their outer edges, gradually being overwhelmed by the advancing jungle. From time to time the Slann mage-priests of a temple-city will deem that the time is appropriate to reclaim one of these ruined areas and rebuild the temples. Sometimes an expedition led by lesser Skink Priests will be sent out to re-found an old abandoned temple-city, or at least, re-establish a presence there.[2a]

This is usually done because the priests are interested in maintaining the network of astral alignments between the temple-cities in order to continue the venerated intentions of the Old Ones. Although most of the temple-cities were founded in the time of the Old Ones, they are not all built on a standard plan. Each one was laid out differently according to certain astral alignments.[2a]

Thus Hexoatl is planned according to important solar alignments, while Itza is planned according to alignments of the two moons of the Known World. Other temple-cities are planned according to the alignments of various constellations. Several temple-cities may be aligned to the same planets, astral bodies or constellations, but in different ways. Thus Huatl is also a solar city, but is laid out differently from Hexoatl. Apart from these differences, all Lizardman cities have certain features in common, as described below.[2a]

Pyramid Temples[]

The dominant features of any temple-city of the Lizardmen are the pyramid temples. These are arranged around the central plaza and rise up in platforms, giving a stepped appearance. The temple itself is erected on the flat, topmost step. One or more staircases ascend the pyramid to the temple, up to a maximum of four (one on each side).[2a]

Within are sacred crypts and chambers reached through secret tunnels and beneath the temples are labyrinths of catacombs where the Saurus warriors dwell ready to defend the inner sanctums. The pyramids are decorated with sculptures painted in striking colours. These depict aspects of Lizardman mythology and of course the totems of the gods. Each pyramid is placed in alignment with one or more stars or planets.[2a]

Although each pyramid temple is dedicated to a god, who will also be considered a manifestation or messenger of one of the Old Ones, it serves as a residence for a Slann mage-priest. Exceptionally revered mage-priests may even have their own pyramid temples built for them. The mummified relics of former mage-priests are hidden in crypts within their own pyramid temples or the pyramid temples of the gods. From the palanquin chamber in the temple, the mage-priest can commune telepathically with other mage-priests on top of distant temples or even receive inspiration from the sun, moons, stars and planets to which the pyramid is aligned.[2a]

The palanquin rests on a plinth enclosed by a sacred pool. Saurus guards and Skink scribes attend the mage-priest in the surrounding chambers and pillared porticos. Pyramid temples dedicated to Sotek have a deep sacrificial snake pit descending from the top platform into the depths beneath. At the bottom dwell enormous serpents, believed to be a manifestation of Sotek, fed by sacrificial victims hurled down from above. In some temple-cities the pit is located within the pyramid or in the plaza.[2a]

Temples to the Old Ones[]

While every city counts an Old One as their divine patron, all are honoured. The major pantheon members have their own temples, each differing in size, architecture, and placement reflecting an interpretation of an Old One's character. One city's temple to Chotec might emphasise that Old One's command over the sun, honouring them with ever-burning fires, while another might focus on Chotec's relationship to the Lizardmen, providing flat stones on which to bathe in Chotec's power.[3a]

Temples and altars of Sotek[]

After purging the Skaven of Clan Pestilens from Lustria's shores, the Cult of Sotek became an inescapable part of Lizardmen society. Every temple-city boasts temples dedicated to the vengeful serpent god. These temples often rival those dedicated to a temple-city's patron Old One, though few Slann choose to live atop them.[3a]

On the temple's steps, Skink Priests carry out grizzly sacrifices, offerings to empower Sotek in its endless hunt for the ratmen. Smaller altars are also placed throughout temple-cities, most often pits filled with the god's slithering children. Skink Priests of Sotek call upon these creatures in times of war, sending them ahead to carpet the ground with writhing, snapping bodies.[3a]

Sacred Spawning Pools[]

All Lizardmen begin life in spawning pools. These differ depending upon the intended function of those born from their waters. Some are surrounded by ornate walls, watched over by devoted Temple Guard and Skink attendants. From these crawl individual Skinks, whose solitary spawning marks them out as priests or leaders.[3b]

Outside the city proper, the land is given over to swamps, with spawning pools almost indistinguishable amidst the brackish water. Causeways allow travellers safely through these regions and let Skinks keep an eye on their soon-to-be spawned fellows. The larger body of Skink society come from these: labourers, scribes, artisans, and farmers. Pool attendants watch over them, helping their newly born brethren emerge and directing them where to commence their duties.[3b]

A typical Lizardmen temple-city occupies a clearing in the jungle, often bordered by swamps. The roads leading into the city often cross over these by means of paved causeways, flanked by avenues of lizard sphinxes carved from massive blocks of stone. The swamps are the spawning places of the city, where Lizardmen have been born from time immemorial.[2a]

Some of these places may have been enclosed by stone embankments and made into rectangular sacred ponds. Among the spawning ponds are other ponds infested with carnivorous piranha fish. These hazards act as defences for the city, trapping the unwary foes who try to approach through the jungle to circumvent the causeways.[2a]

Causeways and Central Plaza[]

Though the Lustrian landscape makes temple-cities inaccessible, they were not built to be hidden. Causeways and roads radiate from their centres, stretching off into the jungle. These are carved with intricate sculptures, some showcasing the city's history, others dedicated to unnamed Old Ones. In this way, a temple-city's roads are also its memory. These roads converge before the pyramid-temples to form grand central plazas. Such places are reputed to be where the Old Ones first laid each city's foundations.[3a]

The causeways become processional ways as they proceed into the heart of the city. They are lined with carved stone stele covered in sculptured scenes and glyphs recording various events, myths or rituals important to the Lizardmen inhabitants. The roads may pass between tall obelisks which are positioned to define the alignment of the axis of the city on various stars and planets.[3a]

At the heart of the temple-city is always a great paved plaza. The pyramid temples face onto the plaza from all sides. This place is where the population gather to observe rituals and where the army of the city parades before marching off to battle.[2a] They also form gathering places for ritual and warfare, with Saurus using the space to train, running through tactics and manoeuvres under their Saurus Oldbloods' watchful command.[3a]

Skink Barrios[]

Barrios inhabited by Skinks lie to a temple-city's outer edges, but they are its true life. Named for the Estalian districts early Human explorers from that land in the Old World compared them to, barrios are where the Skinks live and work. Hundreds sleep within a single building, clustering together for warmth during the night. Their homes are cunningly crafted to hold the day's heat, helping the cold-blooded reptilian inhabitants stay active, and most feature low, flat roofs for sunbathing.[3b]

Here the Skinks live and pursue their craft of making the artefacts of Lizardmen civilisation. There are many types of craftsmen here, including the makers of scrolls, beaters of copper, brewers of intoxicating potions and the sculptors of glyphs, as well as vast numbers of workers, skilled and unskilled, and their overseers. These clusters of small houses, courtyards and workshops are crowded and full of activity, with Skinks scurrying about attending to various tasks.[2a]

A thriving Lizardmen temple-city may have a teeming population numbering many tens of thousands; the majority of the population being Skinks. In the open spaces around the barrios are kept the Stegadons and other beasts needed for work in the vicinity of the city or ready for marching out with the army. Others are kept in small clearings further out in the jungle, among the overgrown ruins on the edge of the city, or at the outlying stone quarries and mines.[2a]

Skink culture places little value upon personal space. They group together based upon their assigned profession and barrios are often divided by vocation. One might be a place of crafting -- potters, weavers, and metal workers living alongside one another. Another is home to scribes, the barrio containing repositories of scrolls where those edicts relating to day-to-day matters are recorded and stored.[3b]

The Kroxigor Labour Districts exist alongside these, large buildings filled with resting pools where the colossal Kroxigor are given their assignments each day. Between the barrios lie open squares where Skinks meet to exchange goods with traders from other cities, while Skink Priests share pronouncements on the Great Plan.[3b]

Corrals, Roosts, and Caves[]

The Lizardmen have tamed many of Lustria's reptilian creatures, and these are usually kept in corrals outside the city limits. In these cultivated areas, Stegadon and Bastiladon are left free to graze. Meanwhile, Salamanders and Razordons are lured to patches of swamp with the promise of good nesting and plentiful food left by (and made of) Skink handlers.[3b]

Alongside corrals, artificial caves replicate these Cold Ones' natural habitats. These are stables for the Lizardmen cavalry, their Saurus riders living close by in an attached barracks. Those used to the agricultural practices of other cultures may see little to separate these spaces from the surrounding jungle, as the Lizardmen do not cut back the vegetation. They have no need to, as their creatures are perfectly adapted to Lustria's environment.[3b]

Roosts take two forms. Terradon roosts are often housed within the temple-city proper, sometimes even within a pyramid-temple's upper reaches. These roosts double as messenger stations, with scribes climbing up to deliver and receive word from other temple-cities or settlements. Ripperdactyl roosts, however, are another matter. These aggressive creatures cannot be trusted not to attack anything they see on the ground. Only their bonded riders can approach, so Ripperdactyl riders form small settlements away from their home temple-cities, made exiles by their own beasts.[3b]

Satellite Structures[]

Structures such as Pliodon landings and harbours must exist outside the temple-city due to accessibility of resources.[3b]

Chameleon Skinks make their ambuscades deep in the surrounding jungle, away from their fellows.[3b]

Granaries and meat storage houses may also exist beyond the formal boundaries of the temple-city, providing well-hidden supplies in case of attack or contamination. The Lizardmen have learned from their struggles with the Skaven to always keep a number of granaries independent of each other.[3b]


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (8th Edition)
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition: Lustria (RPG)
    • 3a: pg. 98
    • 3b: pg. 99