- For Sigmar in the Mortal Realms see: Sigmar in the Mortal Realms.
Sigmar Heldenhammer was a king of the Unberogen tribe who went on to unite the disparate human tribes and found the Empire. He was made into a god by his people after his reign, and remained the most prominent patron god of the Empire until its destruction.Needs Citation
Birth and childhood
The Imperial Calendar (IC), which takes its starting date from Sigmar's coronation as Emperor, places his birth as the year -30 IC. Sigmar was born in the town of Reikdorf, an Unberogen settlement which went on to become Altdorf, capitol of the Empire. His father was King Bjorn of the Unberogen, and the night of his birth was marked by the appearance of a twin-tailed comet, which the human tribes took as a great portent from the gods.Needs Citation
In the year -15, Sigmar is believed to have helped drive off a Goblin invasion of his village, and in the same year, led a punitive expedition against a Orc war-party that was holding Kurgan Ironbeard, High King of the Dwarfs, prisoner. In gratitude, Kurgan presented the young warrior with a magical rune-enchanted warhammer called Ghal Maraz ('Skull-splitter', in the Dwarf Khazalid tongue). According to King Kurgan, the dwarf party had the hammer with them when Sigmar's party found them, and it "called" to him after his own spear broke. Though a Dwarf-made weapon, Kurgan believed that Ghal Maraz and Sigmar were meant for each other.Needs Citation
As a young warrior, Sigmar led the Unberogens in the Battle of Astofen Bridge, where he succeeded in defeating a marauding band of Orcs thanks to the sacrifice of his friend and sword-brother Trinovantes. Trinovantes' sister Ravenna and twin brother Gerreon were devastated by his loss, but while Ravenna forgave Sigmar and went on to become his lover, Gerreon held a grudge which would come back to haunt Sigmar and the Empire. Needs Citation
When an army of Norsii invaded the human lands, King Bjorn led the Unberogen to battle in aid of their fellow tribes and left Sigmar in charge of Reikdorf. On the eve of battle, Bjorn was visited by the Hag of the Brackenwalsch, a sorceress who guided the human tribes through prophecies even though they shunned her. The hag told Bjorn that in order for Sigmar to survive, he had to allow the Norse warlord to kill him in single combat. Bjorn grudgingly agreed. Needs Citation
Meanwhile, Sigmar and Ravenna traveled away from Reikdorf on a day trip and were ambushed by Gerreon, who murdered Ravenna with a sword coated in poison he had obtained from the hag of the Brackenwalsch. Cut by Gerreon's blade, Sigmar fell into a river and washed up near Reikdorf, where he lingered on the verge of death. His spirit entered the Grey Vaults, a twilight-realm between life and death, where daemons came to claim him and were only thwarted by the spirit of Bjorn, who unbeknownst to Sigmar had obeyed the hag's prophecy and let himself fall in battle so that his spirit could come to save Sigmar's. Saved by his father, Sigmar's spirit returned to his body and he recovered. Needs Citation
A short time later, the Unberogen army returned to Reikdorf with Bjorn's body, and Sigmar was crowned king.
Uniting the tribes
As new-crowned King of the Unberogen, Sigmar began to pursue his vision of a united Empire of Man, but first avenged his father by driving the Norsii from their lands and across the sea to a frozen peninsula. Some of the tribal kings, such as Marbad of the Endals, had already sworn sword-oaths with the Unberogen, and one by one, through conquest or diplomacy, Sigmar won the allegiance of the rest. Aloysis of the Cherusens, Krugar of the Taleutens, Adelhard of the Ostagoths, Siggurd of the Brigundians, Otwin of the Thuringians, Henroth of the Merogens and Wolfila of the Udoses all joined their peoples to Sigmar's nascent empire. Freya of the Asoborns joined after renewing the sword-oath she had sworn to Bjorn through sex, while Markus of the Menogoths joined after Sigmar slew the Dragon Ogre Skaranorak that had been terrorising his people. Artur of the Teutogens refused to join, grown arrogant atop the Fauschlag Rock, but Sigmar scaled the rock and slew Artur in single combat, earning the allegiance of his right-hand man, Myrsa. In the end, only the Jutones under Marius and remote northern clans like the Roppsmenn remained apart from Sigmar's empire. Needs Citation
Sigmar's newborn empire was threatened almost immediately by a massive Orc invasion, but Sigmar led the united tribes to victory in the Battle of Black Fire Pass, personally slaying the Orc warlord. Marbad of the Endals fell in the battle, and was succeeded by his son Aldred. Afterwards, Sigmar was crowned Emperor and the other kings took up the title of Counts.
With the threat of the greenskins smashed for a time Sigmar's empire prospered and developed, but Aldred, the new Count of the Endals, proved to be a distant and even hostile ally, blaming Sigmar for Marbad's death. Convinced by his advisors Alfgeir and Wolfgart to postpone his war against the Jutones, Sigmar led a diplomatic expedition to Marburg, which they discovered was in the grip of a devastating plague. Fallen under the influence of a priest of the land's old and now proscribed religion, Aldred was prepared to sacrifice to his sister to swamp monsters in order to end the sickness, but the plot was foiled and the monsters slain by Sigmar and his men. Afterwards, Aldred had the priest ritually executed and renewed his fealty to Sigmar. Needs Citation
Sigmar's next campaign was against the Jutones, who had refused to join the Empire. Jutonsryk proved well-defended and held off Sigmar's army for two years, but eventually the city fell and Sigmar accepted Marius's sword-oath as a Count of the Empire. The next threat came from the Middle Mountains north of Middenheim, where Sigmar's friend and sword-brother Pendrag was serving as the new Count of the Teutogens. A necromancer named Morath had used the Crown of Nagash to create an echo of dead Mourkain around the Brass Keep, but his undead legions were defeated by Sigmar's forces. Sigmar slew Morath, but used his crown to heal Pendrag who had been prematurely aged by the necromancer's dark magic, and came under its malign influence. When news reached him that Count Wolfila and his family had been slaughtered in their keep by Roppsmenn allied with resurgent Norsii raiders, Sigmar led a punitive campaign that drove the Roppsmenn to the edge of extinction. He then turned on Counts Aloysis and Krugar, who had continued feuding and raiding each other despite his express orders, and imprisoned them both awaiting execution. Only when Wolfgart physically attacked him to prevent him carrying out the dark deed was Sigmar able to throw off Nagash's dark influence, though the spirit of Ravenna warned him that Nagash would come for his crown in time.Needs Citation
In the ninth year of Sigmar's reign the Norsii raids turned into a full-blown invasion, led by Khornate warlord Cormac Bloodaxe and Sigmar's old enemy Gerreon, now the Slaaneshi daemonhost Azazel. Defeated for the first time in a pitched battle, Sigmar's army retreated to Middenheim, which quickly came under siege from a massive army of Norsii and beastmen. Dwarf troops came to Sigmar's aid, and Alaric the Mad the runesmith presented Sigmar with the first Runefang, Blodambana or Bloodbane, which he gifted to Pendrag. Cormac Bloodaxe ascended into a Bloodthirster of Khorne, skaven attacked from tunnels beneath the city and Pendrag was slain by Azazel, but Myrsa and Sigmar were able to slay the Bloodthirster and the forces of order won the day. Following the defeat of the Chaos invasion, Sigmar led a counter-invasion into Norsca which devastated many of the Norsii tribes.
The second major threat to Sigmar's realm was from the necromancer Nagash, who had resurrected himself following his first death over a millennia before only to find Nehekhara controlled by Tomb Kings who had successfully resisted his attempts to retake control of the land. Needing to reclaim the powerful artifacts he had forged in order to regain full power, Nagash led an undead invasion of the Empire with the goal of securing his crown, which was buried in a vault beneath the Temple of Shallya in Reikdorf. The southern portion of the Empire was swiftly overwhelmed, the Brigundians and Menogoths wiped out and their Counts turned into vampires by Nagash's lieutenant Khaled al-Muntasir. An undead fleet invaded and destroyed Jutonsryk, forcing Marius and the surviving Jutones to seek refuge in Marburg, which soon came under attack as well. The Cherusens, Taleutens, Teutogens, Thuringians and Udoses were forced to abandon their lands and take refuge in their capitals, which all came under siege. Queen Freya of the Asoborns led an army to confront the undead led by al-Muntasir and suffered a serious defeat, barely escaping with her life, whilst her people were forced to abandon Three Hills and flee towards Reikdorf along with thousands of other refugees. The Asoborn refugees were joined by a force of Dwarfs who had marched into the Empire to investigate rumours of Nagash's return, but their combined force was unable to outpace the tireless dead and made a last stand. They were saved at the last minute by Sigmar, who brought a large force of Unberogen and Taleuten cavalry to their rescue, and the combined army moved on to Reikdorf.
The final battle of the war against the undead was fought outside Reikdorf itself. Despite making some early gains with cavalry charges the living army was no match for the numberless dead, and Sigmar knew that the only path to victory was to slay Nagash himself. Donning Nagash's crown in order to shield himself from the Great Necromancer's dark magic, Sigmar led a charge through the centre of the undead army and gained the hill from which Nagash was unleashing his black sorcery. Engaging Nagash in a climactic duel, Sigmar quickly discovered that he was outmatched but distracted Nagash by moving to destroy his crown, allowing him to land a mortal blow with Ghal-Maraz whilst Nagash reached for the fallen artifact. Nagash's form was unmade and his spirit banished by the powerful magic bound to the hammer, and with his death the undead army collapsed.
In the fiftieth year of his reign, Sigmar put by his crown and set off into the east. Sources conflict on the details of what precisely motivated Sigmar to do this; some accounts claim he set off to return Ghal Maraz to the Dwarfs, but the famous rune-hammer has traditionally been the weapon of the ruling Emperor and the primary symbol/relic of the Sigmarite cult, founded by Johann Helstrum in IC 73. A number of heresies have sprung up regarding the authenticity of Ghal Maraz, but the official Imperial position is that the weapon wielded by the Emperors is the hammer of Sigmar.Needs Citation
Following his disappearance, Sigmar passed over the World's Edge mountain range and no human ever saw him again. Since he was never known to have died, this may have played a large role in the early successes of the cult established in his honour. It's now the foremost religion in the Empire and is inextricably intertwined with the political, cultural, and national identity of the Empire and its people. Interestingly, Sigmar never claimed to be a deity and his own religious beliefs while alive are subject to conjecture, although tradition dictates that he was crowned Emperor by the High Priest of the cult of Ulric, the northern god of winter, wolves, and war. However, the priests and worshippers of Sigmar often receive measurable and often positive answers to their entreaties and petitions, suggesting that something with some measure of power is answering them. Many take this as a sign that Sigmar indeed is a god, and watches over the Empire.Needs Citation
The cults of Sigmar and Ulric do not get along well. The Ar-Ulric and the two Arch-Lectors of the Sigmarite faith, as well as the Grand Theogonist (the current one being Volkmar the Grim), all maintain a vote in the election of the Emperors. While the cult and its leaders are often corrupt and hip-deep in the Byzantine politics of the Empire, it is a faith that preaches courage, justice, honour, and the protection of the weak and innocent from evil. It is also nationalistic and sees the preservation of Sigmar's original holdings as a sacred duty. The church's iconography primarily centres around images directly connected to Sigmar himself: the comet and the hammer are the foremost of these. Also a popular national and religious symbol is the griffon, the personal heraldry of Emperor Magnus the Pious, who saved the Empire from disaster during the Great War Against Chaos in 2302-2303 IC. It is likely that Magnus will be canonised as a saint within the next century.Needs Citation
Champion of Light?
It is a well-known theory among the theologians of the Old World that a Champion of Light arises to do battle with the forces of Chaos when they unify around their periodic leaders. Some believe that Sigmar may have been one of these, and a number have argued for Magnus the Pious as well. The most recent case came in the year IC 2522, under a young man named Valten of Lachenbad, who became the central figure around which the Empire rallied to fight Archaon in the recent Storm of Chaos event. Valten was especially noted for his incredible strength, instinctive leadership, and strength of will. Furthermore, he strongly resembled the appearance ascribed to Sigmar in Imperial legend, and sported a birthmark on his chest of Sigmar's legendary twin-tailed comet. Hailed as the 'spiritual leader of the Empire' by Emperor Karl Franz and presented with Sigmar's own hammer Ghal Maraz, Valten was believed by many to be an avatar of Sigmar or the returned god under a different name. He was assassinated shortly after the war with Archaon ended, ostensibly by an assassin of Clan Eshin (the warpstone dagger would suggest their involvement, although it was indicated in the text that count Boris Todbringer of Middenheim and the former Grand Theogonist Johann Esmer might have been involved), but this development was covered up by the Emperor and Valten's lieutenant, the Sigmarite warrior-monk and prophet Luthor Huss, who discovered Valten in the days before Archaon's invasion. It should be noted that only Valten's blood was found, not his body, suggesting that he may still be alive.Needs Citation
- 1: Heldenhammer (Novel) Specify Source
- 2: Empire (Novel) Specify Source
- 3: God King (Novel) Specify Source
- The Life of Sigmar (2005), Specify Source
- Heldenhammer (novel) Specify Source
- Empire (novel) Specify Source
- God King (novel) Specify Source