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Hexates
03-12-2015, 13:09
Hello everybody!
I plan to make a short AoS-adventure for a small group (2-3 people) of "celestial paladins" that live (i.e. start off) in the holy city of "Azyrheim". Since this is a quite new setting with rather sparse background information until now, I would like to use this thread as a place to collect all the (official) information and your own, personal ideas, theories and fan-fiction on the titular topic:

LIFE IN AZYRHEIM: The holy capital of the celestial realm Azyr, ruled by the God-King from his divine throne in Sigmaron, forge of the mighty Stormcast Eternals.
Culture: What is life in Azyrheim like? Which set of laws and moral codes do its people abide by?
Places: What places do exist in Azyrheim, what do they look like and what function do they serve?
Inhabitants: Who lives in Azyrheim, in what kind of community and with which set of tasks?
Events / Activities: What are (regular) occurences in Azyrheim? Which activities may its people turn to in their spare time?
... [anything else you can think of]

Official information on Azyrheim seems to be limited to the AoS core book, art-works, the SE's battletome and the first set of novels, which all appear to deal with combat scenarios for the most part (in true Warhammer fashion).

Roleplaying in the AoS setting seems to be uncharted territory in general (I know of nobody who ever made an attempt at it, anyways), so let us do this as a pioneering effort!

HERE IS A SHORT SUMMARY OF THE OFFICAL INFORMATION KNOWN TO ME:
Judging from GW's official artwork, Azyrheim looks like a flying mega-city, shining bright and shaped like a crescent moon in the celestial void (or: an interstellar space station). In its midst rests the ember core of the World-That-Was. Floating above or orbiting around it is Sigmaron, the globular throne of the God-King and divine forge of the Stormcast Eternals.

Azyrheim itself looks like a gigantic, sprawling metropolis with various types of architecture (some ancient, some rather modern or even futuristic) but a general focus on the immense size, extraordinary craftmanship and luxurious material of its buildings. Its bright light seems to emanate from the buildings itself (as a contrast to the darkness of the void around it). The lore speaks of 5(?) golden gates that were shut by Sigmar to ward off Chaos. The general symbolism emphasizes celestial motifs (e.g. comets, stars, planets), statues of "man" (ref. 'Golden Humanity' mythos) and mythical creatures (esp. those with a noble connotation, like griffons, lions and dragons). It is populated not only by men, but also by elves/aelfs, dwarfs/duardin and many other creatures, who seem to live and work there in relative harmony.
Sigmaron is even more mysterious. To my knowledge, we only get a glimpse of a rather empty throne room and the palace of the God-King from far away. The second picture confirms that the entirety of Sigmaron is draped in the bright (bluish) light of lightning and/or pure energy and there are rows of gigantic man-statues (maybe forming walls?).
Concerning the Stormcast Eternals, we know that they assemble (and reassemble) in large chambers that fill with energy to send them into other realms on bolts of lightning. Also it is mentioned that they have to perform various trials and tests during their mythical "forging" process, all of which have to take place somewhere. Lastly, there have to be realm gates in Azyrheim somewhere, so the SE's can travel from Azyr to other realms.

Other than that, not much seems to be known. If you know anything else, please tell us !

AND HERE IS WHAT I CAME UP WITH BY MSELF:
Note: As a freethinker and creative person in general, I regularly take liberties in designing my own versions of RP universes (i.e. its setting, timeline, metaphysical laws), in order to make them feel right to my personal sense of aesthetics as much as possible. Personally, I would advise anybody to do the same, because personal preferences should be acknowledged to create a setting that can fulfill all of one's individual RPing desires.

I envision Age of Sigmar's Azyrheim as the epitome of a perfect super-city with great infrastructure, just laws and a diverse (high-fantasy) populace that coexist peacefully. This civil peace is held together by a strong system of laws and morals that are supervised by Azyrheim's authorities/institutions and guard(ians) which are ultimately accountable to the God-King himself whose "light" (i.e. the orbiting Sigmaron) is a constant reminder of his ever-watchful gace on his people and their actions.
In this we can find some similarities but even moreso contradictions to the society and life within Warhammer Fantasy's Empire and its grim-dark asthetics (e.g. death and conflict everywhere, inevitable damnation, social inequality). One of the tropes that I would really like to keep, however, is the cultural veneration of the dead and the sacrifices of heroes/martyrs (but not the Empire's borderline obsession with it) which could be exemplified by many temples, shrines and statues dedicated to the deceased. This way Azyrheim would retain some of the Empire's "memento mori" spirit without delving all too excessively into morbidity. Lastly, here's another idea for the Stormcast Eternals: SEs might even erect graves/memorials for their former lives as testament to their new focus, but to still remember and respect their mortal origins (i.e. as far as they have been able to unlock them).

Economic hotspots might be market places (forums), large forges, administrative institutions and celestial harbors (with flying galleons that might be powered by rowing Eternals and/or arcane machinery). That's all I can think off right now, though...
In line with antique ideals of holistic refinedness and the cultivation of one's body and mind/soul, there should be many public establishments in Azyrheim that can be freely utilized by its population, such as basilicae (baths), libraries, the 'gymnasion' (extremely diverse gym with interior and outdoor zones), theatres etc. And because this is still WARhammer there are also colliseums where the masses can watch various performances, particularly those of a martial kind (but not in a way that would necessarily glorifiy carnage, but prowess and skill instead).
Furthermore, logistic needs could be taken off by arcane means, which should be a common thing in a magical city such as Azyrheim; e.g. dragons heating forges or saunas, elementals tempering water for different purposes.
With a strong and rather communistic society, the way I imagine it, I find it hard to believe that every single person would live in a "home" of their own, but rather that there are some shared forms of housing, based on the individuals' tasks. I'm not quite sure what that would look like, however... any ideas? (hagen88: community dwellings)

The "design" of its inhabitants I imagine as a mixture of many influences (e.g. typical WHF designs of old, some universal fantasy and/or high-fantasy tropes, possibly some clever references to 40k as well). To my mind, the general populace should be clad in a refined manner that automatically reminds of scholars, clerics and/or magicians, i.e. robes, cloaks, jewellery. Other races should still be strongly identifiable as themselves with the appropriate differences in design (e.g. dwarven emphasis on metal designs and armor even as civil clothing; or elvish focus on slimness, semi-organic attire and tons of jewelery).

Lastly, which might be a bit of a controversial point, I also imagine there to be different kinds of paladin-esque warriors, created in and fighting for Azyr. The main concepts of the Stormcast Eternals feel quite nice to me, but so far they still lack a whole lot of variety to me.With regards to 40K, I would love there to be not only female SEs (ref. Sororitas) but also those types that specialize in magics (s. Psykers) and arcane machinery (s. Mechanicus).

... Whew, that was quite a lot to write down. Now it's your turn: What are your own ideas, theories and fan-fictions about Azyr, Azyrheim und everything inside it? :)

Edit #1 (04.12.2015): some clarifications and slight additions, kudos to hagen88, please reread if you haven't already.

blackcherry
03-12-2015, 15:01
I don't have much to add as of this moment, but I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this thread. It's a great idea Hexates - thanks for starting it :)

hagen88
03-12-2015, 16:47
Actually from what I could get from the artwork
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/ageofsigmar/images/5/5a/Azyrheim_Sigmaroteca.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150719160726&path-prefix=es
Azyrheim is "just" a regular slightly 40kish city, while the weird space station orbiting around Mallus is Sigmaron, which is the place where Sigmar himself dwells and where his stormcasts are forged... I n the image you can see the orbiting Sigmaron in the top right corner.

Anyway your effort is absolutely admirable! I am also beginning a campaign of wfrp in a very customised setting inspired by the AoS (check my blog for some hints of the bg and models), so I am definitely curious to see what you are going to produce with the few material they provided us with by now... I for one am finding the whole idea of a more free (freer?) setting very interesting and challenging!

hagen88
03-12-2015, 17:50
Sorry for double post, but I actually re-read through your ideas and I must admit that some of them I find really inspiring and well conceived! Congratulations, if I had to imagine life on Azyrheim I would probably envision it as you described it.

I only have a couple of concerns... The idea of elves, humans and dwarves cohexisting in the same city is not totally new, there were similar situations in the old world as well (marienburg) the HUGE difference is that you seem to suggest a rather perfect society where the different races don't live in ghettos with their kindreds but share the same life and even live under the same roofs (as you suggest community dwellings). Now maybe it's just my problem after too many years of fantasy cliches, but I cannot imagine the three races living in the same way and in the same place in peace and harmony without needing strict laws. Let's forget about the ancient hatred between elves and dwarves (which might well be forgotten in AoS and it would be a nice and innovative move) and let's just think about their physical differences and needs... Elves are almost immortals, don't feel emotions like humans do, everything for them seems to be extreme, be it grief or joy and they need to live an elevated and creative life always striving toward perfection. Dwarves are stout, sometimes brutal and ingenious and greatly respect craftmanship. Humans, no matter how we treat them, are humans, with all their ambitions, energy and flaws. So how would these three very different species live in harmony without one feeling on top of the other or without a very strict division of roles? I am not saying it could not be done (and I would indeed welcome such a new and innovative idea) but if you want to make it believable you must create a very deep and rich history and tradition of tolerance which might seem weird for some of the established ideas/bg of the races. OR, you would have to have a very strong authority imposing social order from above without ending in bloodbaths and purges a la Imperium.
Let's take a scenario you described: the gymnasium (great idea btw!). Now imagine elves, dwarves and humans practicing sports together. Would you imagine them competing against each other in a very polite way? A human would never match the superior speed and grace of an elf, or the sheer physical power of a dwarf and that might easily lead to racial hatred and disappointment (which is the way ti all started back in the old world). I think you got my point.

Now an idea you might want to explore to solve these problems is the one of the Paths... Similarly to what happens for the eldars in 40k, a society imposing strict limits to each species' roles but allowing and actually encouraging a strife to perfection in each specific field would make for a great way to avoid contrasts. I am thinking about elves developing their phsychic talents and following the path of the seer or the one of the wizard, dwarves being carpenters and artisans and so on... Maybe you could call the system "Guilds" or something along this line, with every Guild controlling a specific aspect of society and being very strict and selective about its competence and memebers.
The only difficulty with that would be finding the right place for humans in all that... humans cannot achieve the abyss of talents of a dwarf jeweller or an elven mage, so they would need to fit a different role in society to feel indispensable. Maybe that could be beurocracy? I know it might sound lame, but think about 40k imperium... The real force keeping everything together is the immense machine of its beurocrats and administrators and a society like the one I am talking about would need a rigid and calculated control the creative elves wouldn't be able to provide, but also require a flexibility that dwarves would not tolerate... Having humans sitting in the middle and pulling the reins of government sounds like a viable solution to me at least. Or maybe also a religious and spiritual caste uniting all the races in the worshipping of the Great Alliance.
I realise this might sound a bit too 40kish maybe but I am thinking at a difference in results rather than methods... Imperial society is suffocating, pointless and tyrannical, while Azyrheim could actually be a place where everyone knows its place and everything actually work perfectly and harmoniously.
I would then find a proper historical reason for that, digging into the few things we know about AoS and trying to find an explanation to why and when things started to work like that. In the bg they refer to a great alliance between all the gods united under Sigmar's rule then why not having all the races venerating Sigmar in different ways... For the humans he would be the King/Father a la Zeus, while for dwarves he could be worshipped as part of an ancient oath (sigmar freed their gods at the beginning of the Age of Myth and they swore allegiance to him) and elves as a uniter which will help them re-establish contacts with their lost kins.

Just some ideas, I really enjoyed yours so I hope you can get some sense out of these suggestions.

Hexates
04-12-2015, 11:46
@blackcherry:
Thanks, blackcherry! I'm looking forward to many contributions to this in the future.

@hagen88:

Thank you very much! Your praise means a lot to me, especially seeing that you're a creative RPer as well. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite find the background connections of your own setting with AoS which you mentioned. Can you give me a short resume?

Actually, many of my thoughts and ideas seem to be very similar to yours, so that I can agree with you for the most part.

To be a bit more precious on my visions of community life in Azyrheim: Despite there being great cultural diversity in Azyrheim, the population would still be hold together by a pervasive system of laws and social customs that is ultimately uphold by the strong authority of the God-King's servants (what else would one imagine from an expy of the Imperium and Space Marines? albeit not as cruel).
In this envisioned society, its people would still have a right to heterogenity in all things (similiar to the US' "salad bowl' theory), so that their diverse talents may contribute to life in Azyr. I, too, can not imagine every individual of every race possessing the same homogenous potential but there being specialisations instead that cater to a species' and/or individual's abilities and talents (e.g. dwarfs working primarily in forges due to their traditional craftmanship and their affinity for metal; humans fulfilling the lion's share of Azyrheim's logistic tasks that are particularly in need of large bodies of personell, such as -just like you mentioned- bureaucracy); this is quite similar to your Eldar paths theory but a bit simpler and not necessarily as spiritual.
Due to this specialisation, the community life would automatically affected by segregation, in turn leading to districts (rather than ghettos, I think, because one wouldn't think of them as outsiders but merely a different, maybe 'lesser' or 'greater' depending on whom you ask, part of a whole) and possibly some form of "guild" system, as you pointed out (although I'm not too happy with that terminology and its implications yet).

In the sports scenario you described (and thanks for the term gymnasium btw, which I will personally alter to a more Greek sounding version "Gymnasion", because that way it prevents misunderstandings in my mother tongue) I would not see any particular problems since racism and racial prejudices or even racial violence would be strictly prohibited in general by the higher-up authorities. Of course, there will be envy and jealousy and even the occasional fights and hatred, but as a whole tolerance and respect should predominate the city life, because in the end everyone needs each other to preserve life and order in the multiverse and uphold their common ideals. Lastly, due to the 'natural' segregation different species or groups would be less likely to compete against each other (in whatever way) anyways.

[Note: Although I am a great adherent of the mediocrity and relative chaoticness of humans on the one hand and the superhuman or even supernatural skills of elder races on the other, I still like to at least open up to under-dog species the possibility to become something greater through a mixture of talent, fate, "supernatural support" and huge amounts of personal effort (of will, training, etc.). That way humanity's finest (which is just a permille of its number) would be able to rival the feats of even the elder races. This also goes in accordance with the concept of the Stormcast Eternals, superhumans who have left behind their mortality and now do equal or even surpass the abilities of the elder races.]

Like you I believe that the 40K similarites could be a strong boon to AoS lore. Concerning the bureaucracy and administration by human scholars, I completely agree with you - they are the right ones for the job due to the exact reasons you mentioned.
In general, the society and harmony of Azyrheim might be held together by sharing common goals and ideals and be historically connected to the Great Alliance of Order. A very interesting point that you bring up and which I haven't thought about much before is the importance of the God-King himself and the reasons for his veneration by the different people of Azyr and other realms. In general, we could probably argue that his willingness to help and defend 'the good people' combined with his might and resources would be self-explanatory for outside veneration. But to impress those races with great power themselves (e.g. dwarfs and elves), he would have to win their favor and allegiance in special ways; I really like your idea of saving the dwarfs and the whole oath-thing which works perfectly for them as usual, but I'm not so sure about the elves since they seem so relatively libertine and unruly (e.g. they might think of the God-King's system as flawed in some ways). A final question that still lingers in my mind, though, is whether the God-King would want his people to worship him (like a god) anyways or to believe in ideals and themselves instead (like the Emperor of Mankind originally demanded); I'm not quite certain about this yet, but as of now I suppose that a mixture of true loyalty and veneration plus a good set of individual morals and mental/spiritual autonomy would be about right.

Thank you very much for your contributions, hagen88!

hagen88
04-12-2015, 16:48
You are very welcome, your ideas are very inspiring and it was a pleasure to discuss them with you... I find all your points very reasonable and I would love to take part in such a rpg experiment.

Question... You mentioned your mother tongue... Are you italian by chance? 'cause that would make our conversation much easier!

About my AoS project, the idea was very similar to yours, only set on a different realm, and although it started as a wargame I am planning to expand the lore I'm writing and use it for rpg as well!

The idea is basically the following:

In the Mortal Realm of Ghur (wind of beasts) the Five Tribes of the Appalathians Plains still worship the God-King Sigmar, who they know as Or, the Great Father.
It's been centuries since Sigmar was forced to abandon the lands and the descendants of the once great Five Nations of the Uplands are now scattered and live a primitive and dangerous existence in the hostile plains, having forgotten much of what their ancestor had come to master and being incapable of rebuild their once great and united kingdoms. They lost the Secret of Iron, how to forge it and make weapons and trappings out of it, and they now live as nomad tribes wandering the grasslands and the forests hunting beasts and fighting against each other for food and shelter. A pretty classic post-apocalyptic prehistory scenario. The Age of Sigmar has not yet begun and the Stormhosts did not show up in Ghur, though the signs and portents announcing their coming are all there but are lost to the eyes of the tribal chieftains and shamans of the plains...
And here is where the Wandering King shows up.
Once a great king of the Uplands, before the Age of Chaos begun, he was taken by Sigmar in the final days of the legendary Wars of the Alderans (the first stages of the Age of Chaos, when Sigmar abandoned the Mortal Realms and the five Kings, the Alderans, of the Upland Kingdoms united for a last war for survival) and disappeared from Ghur for centuries, becoming one of the commanders of Sigmar's growing legions of Stormcasts in Azyrheim. He could not forget his human existence though and never truly forgive himself or his god for having saved him while his people had been condemned to a bloody and miserable death or worse. During the long centuries of the Age of Chaos he grew restless in Azyrheim... He knew Sigmar's plan for reconquering the realms once the legions were ready, but how many long centuries before the time for vengeance would have come? And what would have been the point in reconquering the lands if they were despoiled of their mortal inhabitants? The king could not wait for the childrens of the Dark Gods to destroy all he and his people had built during his mortal existence and eventually he disobeyed Sigmar's orders and deserted his legion to come back to his ancient lands and bring hope to his descendants.
His intentions were noble and pure but his actions were reckless and put to great risk the God King plans, which strongly relied on secrecy and required more time to come to completion. Therefore, once Sigmar found out of his disobedience, He felt utterly betrayed and condemned the king to never be allowed to come back to Sigmaron and to wander upon the scorched plains which were once his kingdoms until he would have met his doom.
Many long decades passed and the Wanderer King taught much to the primitive people of the Five Tribes and tried to restore unity and hope and they called him Orar, "He who Comes from the Father", and begun to worship him like a demigod, a warrior-king from the heavens come to free them from their tormented existence. But the damage done by the children of the Snake (chaos) was too deep to be healed and their cruel deeds too terrible to be undone so the king grew bitter and anguished and from liberator he turned into tyrant. Relying only in his personal strength and, in spite of his god who so easily turned His back on him and his people twice, he roamed the lands of Ghur far and wide, waging war against Chaos and greenskins, smithing tribes and drawing others into his bloody allegiance. Now that the time has come and Sigmar's vengeance is about to be unleashed upon the Realms and the storms are gathering already on the distant horizon, Orar feels the hour for his redemption is close at hand and he finally returned to the Appalathian Plains with the intention to gather the Five Tribes together for the first time since the Age of Myth and lead them to the Gates of Azyr and the Realm of Sigmar where they will be safe and he will ask his god to answer for his abandonment.

So, to resume it a bit, the idea is the one of a Prometheus (Orar) who comes back from the heavens to protect his people disobeying the god's decree (Sigmar) and is banished and forbidden to return to his celestial realm. He is therefore forced to live as an outcast among primitive savages, the degenerate descendants of his long gone people and, incapable of pulling them out of the darkness alone, he turns into a bitter tyrant whose only ambition is to guide them to Sigmar's realm and demand justice from the god who abandoned them.
But what does Sigmar think of it? Would He be glad to open His gates, when the our has come, only to allow a horde of primitive barbarians through His doors? And will He be ready to forgive His exiled commander and accept him back in the ranks of his legions?

That's the main frame of the narrative, I did write a lot more of background and define the setting of the plains, but I did not have time to translate everything in english and that is why I am pulling out short bits of story with every update on my blog.

Greyshadow
06-12-2015, 02:53
Your background is fantastic Hagen. Great to see someone giving the Age of Sigmar paradigm a go. Loving your blog on pinxit too. Keep it up.

Azaireal
06-12-2015, 23:31
Azyrheim reminds me more of a "Mos Eisley" type place.
i imagine the 16th century interpretation of heaven decayed by a disinterested Emperor where various cultures coexist out of necessity rather than unity as the best and brightest are drafted into an oppressive regime quality army hellbent on living out the glory days of lore.

Maybe it is similar to Heaven after Diablo III sacks it.

Either way, I can't imagine any non-Storm Cast enjoying their time in Azyrheim. A caste society does match the seermingly dire situation for mortals. Maybe because Storm Cast are drawn exclusively from humans, the dwarfs, elves and others are ranked in accordance to desired social traits to potential storm cast heroes.

An issue I have with Azyrheim is that outside of the will of Sigmar, it could never function as an independent city state. The have no viable economic potential, and their only export is Storm Cast. Even if they were a manufacturing center, they would have to import all the raw materials which most likely would need to come from colonies which are indebted to Azyrheim, or Azyrheim has some kind of crafting unobtainable elsewhere.

maybe in the absence of a mortal ruler (Emp. Karl Franz), the peoples of Azyrheim have fallen into narcotic production (
Sigmarite Dust is a hallucinogen?) and exchange it for the rare materials required to produce the city itself.

maybe Sigmar has a Slaan dream up memories of buildings and all the inhabitants of Azyrheim are just the same as

PS: I do like your story about Ghur. It is very idellic to the setting.