Malign Portents: Fear The Reaper

The line between the Good and Evil blurs a bit more in the latest story for Malign Portents.

Games Workshop is really starting to make me wonder if the Stormcast Eternals are the good guys in the Mortal Realms. The latest story “Reaper’s Revelation” doesn’t just test that stance, it raises more questions: Do the ends justify the means? How far are they (the Stormcasts) willing to go to root out chaos corruption? Have they been so blinded by their fervor that the dead have outsmarted them? It would appear so…

The Stormcast Eternals are supposed to be the Heroes of the Old World and the Mortal Realms that have be reforged into eternal warriors for Sigmar. They liberated the Mortal Realms from the shackles of chaos and helped to re-establish cities and safe-havens for the citizens of the Mortal Realms.

But time has passed since these warriors who rode on thunderbolts saved the Realms. And when you live forever in a constant cycle of war, death, rebirth and more war, that can really start to wear on you. Plus the reforging process strips more and more of their old lives away each time they are reborn. And once that’s gone, well, you start to think of life as pretty cheap.

via Games Workshop, Reaper’s Revelation

Cerrus Sentanus, Lord-Veritant of Excelsis, strode through the shadowed dungeons. He ignored the screams and moans that echoed around him. Pale eyes stared out from between thick, black-iron bars as he passed, but swiftly shrank back when they saw the white lines of his armour, and the blazing lantern-stave he carried. They knew well the tools of the White Reaper. One deviant with a raw, burn-marked face was foolish or deranged enough to meet the Lord-Veritant’s gaze as he passed by, barking insults in some crude tongue. Sentanus’ hand shot out, lightning-fast. The human’s eyes bulged, bloodshot and terrified as he clawed pitifully at the metal gauntlet around his throat. Sentanus twisted hard, and there was a sickening crunch. He let the dead body fall, and walked on.

Let’s just break this down, like Cerrus breaking that person’s neck:

  • The Stormcast Eternals have an dungeon in the depths of Excelsis
  • They keep humans, possible Chaos Cultists there
  • They torture people there (and other things which we learn about later)
  • They can kill these prisoners without repercussion

Cerrus Sentanus, who is a Lord-Veritant which is one of the highest ranks, has a reputation which causes fear in these prisoners. Now, I’m not saying these folks are innocent, but I guess that’s why they call them the Order faction and not the “Law & Order” faction. This doesn’t sound like a very happy society that has sprung up in the wake of the Stormcasts.

We go on to learn in the story that they (the Stormcasts) also over “agents of the Knights Excelsior” who’s job it is to capture and imprison “the very worst heretics and monsters” of the city. But it doesn’t sound like they are tried and then jailed – they are kept alive, tortured for information, and then set ablaze in the “holy pyres” once they’ve given up all their useful info. Sounds lovely.

This isn’t the first story we’ve seen that the Stormcasts aren’t as wholesome as they appear with that Golden Armor on…

In Death at the Door, we see what appears to be a man trying to defend his home against an invasion. It just turns out that the Invaders are Stormcast Eternals.

Then in To Truly Excel, the Knights Excelsior are attempting to liberate a city, only to find out that they are too late. Their solution? Bar the gates and exterminate the corruption (by slaughtering the survivors).

Ouch. We the realms better off with Chaos running things? I’m sure it was probably pretty bad, too. But this turn for the Stormcasts as “the good guys” in the setting into Tyrants who the common folk fear as much as much as their Chaos counter parts is both Grim and Dark. Whatever happens with the Malign Portents and the Global Campaign, I hope GW addresses this turn in some other way besides making Stormcasts the enforcers of the “Evil Order Empire” – we already have Chaos in the setting as the antagonists. And Death and Destruction are BOTH not what I’d call pleasant alternatives. Plus we already have another game setting where the “Good Guys” aren’t really that good. Do we really need another?


Are the Good Guys turning into the Heels? Is this good drama or are we watching a WWE story-line unfold in the Age of Sigmar?

  • Weidekuh

    Yes The more I hear about it, the more I like it. Nothing is more boring than a plain good vs. bad setting. There are always shades of gray.

    It also makes it worth discussing and bantering about who is in the right and why (obviously my army, you are always the evil that has to be purged.

    • euansmith

      From the company that brought you Space Nazis vs Chaos, comes Fantasy Nazis vs Chaos! I too approve of this muddying of the moral waters.

      • ZeeLobby

        Lol. Yup. I’m still wondering how long it is til they realize they could combine the two, cut manufacturing in half, and sell to both sci find and fantasy audiences (hello Warmachine/Hordes), lol.

        • Randy Randalman

          Except each game independently is doing better than WM/H, so there’s no reason to imitate PP.

          • ZeeLobby

            Lol. Oh RandyGWRandalman. With your unsubstantiated claims. I never grow tired of them XD.

        • af

          Bringing us full circle to when 40K was essentially Fantasy… in Space!

          PS: I hope they don’t do this.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think any it either. But that’s where it feels like they’re going at this point imo.

    • Jesse Cavazos

      I especially like the thought that there are Stormcast who are capable of doing things which even their brethren would consider despicable. There is still the overarching theme of hope – hope that a better future can be built for the Mortal Realms – but sometimes bad things have to happen to make that hope a reality. I’m sorry but we won’t be singing stories about your work, Lord-Veritant.

    • AEZ

      I just hope they don’t go the way of 40 K where ALL SM are basicly not very pleasant (I just read wrath of iron) and where the imperium itself isn’t that pleasant. I like having a few dark spots on order, doing what is neccesary what the rest doesn’t want to do… but I’d prefer order to be mostly goodish.

      • ZeeLobby

        I mean they basically are Space Marines. I think concept design at GW is basically one uniform thought process now, so I’d expect the overlap to continue. Honestly Stormcast and Primaris are the two biggest pieces of fluff heartburn I have in both systems right now. Lol. If both got squatted I’d really not care…

        • AEZ

          Ow I like the stormcasts models a lot. And I like SM lore too.. but I do hope there will be no chaos stormcasts and that a large part of the stormcasts will remain the “good” good guys next to these… “dark grey/.grim dark” good guys 😀

          • ZeeLobby

            Hehe. Yeah. I mean I get why people like them. And have several space Marines factions .I’m just disappointed with some of the fluff (mostly in the Primaris case) and the effect having space Marines in both systems has on the frequency of other faction releases. Cause let’s be honest, there’s like a 3:1 ratio of fluff and releases for Stormcast/space marines to other factions.

      • Karru

        It’s going to go that way. Stormcast are just Fantasy Space Marines unfortunately. Their creation is almost exact copy of each other, the orders are chapters and their behaviour is pretty much the exact same.

        Anything we saw here has been done by the Dark Angels but even worse. There is literally nothing here that would indicate that this lore is “new” really.

      • af

        I think both ultimate evil and ultimate good are boring as a trope. I like it when the Empire/Imperium/Kingdom/whatever is mildly corrupt, but there are regions with good people in it. You know, corrupt rulers but the occasional good one, and flawed people/troops who sometimes have a heart of gold.

        The extreme grimdark GW pushes ends up being monotonous. For example, I understand the Imperial Guard is strict and disregards human life, Commissars and all, but I want them to have the occasional straightforward good guy who is not a fascist. I want the Tau “Greater Good” to be actually good, just in opposition to the Imperium, and not for them to be grimdarkened into shady aliens. I suppose the Space Marines are indeed hopeless, since they are essentially Space Nazi übermensch — except for Captain Titus of the Ultramarines… who is a genuine good guy but unfortunately non-canon 🙁

        • AEZ

          Salamanders are kinda OK I think.

  • Aaditya Rangan

    The differences of opinion between the grey knights and the space wolves make for marvelous stories.
    I can imagine that similar themes can be explored between the knights excelsior and the astral templars.

  • That prison definitely plays into the “inhuman Servant of Order, numb to the suffering of mortals” theme that they’ve been pushing with the stormcast. I like it, it means from a normal human’s POV, all the factions are fickle, capricious monsters lead by seemingly uncaring gods.
    Except nurgle

    • euansmith

      Nurgle cares so much it hurts.

      • Xodis

        It is a GOOD pain!

  • Simon Chatterley

    My biggest complaint when the End Times occurred was a really good (though fairly generic) setting had been destroyed and replaced with a very poor setting that the writers didn’t seem to fully get either.

    Starting with the Kharadron Overlords book and now the Malign Portents book I’m very happy to see the Mortal Realms getting some seriously good content.

    The Malign Portents book is a good read and I’m starting to enjoy the Mortal realms as a setting now.

    Ultimately this has been an exercise in trying to make some original (and therefore IP protected) content and moving away from the Tolkien world they had but at least now it’s worth reading.

    So well done and keep it up!

    • Jesse Cavazos

      This is the sort of reaction I want Age of Sigmar to cause in people.

      • Simon Chatterley

        Don’t get me wrong here, it was terrible to begin with. Rubbish world, clueless writers, shocking rules. AoS had nothing and I was pretty vocal in my dislike.

        But a boardroom coup and and some serious effort to turn it into a proper setting and a proper game and it’s been slowly winning me round.

        The first generals handbook started me and the KO introduction had me hooked. It’s nice to see them continue to put resource into it

    • ZeeLobby

      That’s awesome. I’ll probably pick it up today. Don’t really play AoS yet, but have been reading along, and so far I’ve only heard good thing about this book (besides maybe lack of maps?).

      • Hagwert

        It is a great book …but there is so much info about cities, races, geographical features, kings, nations, princes,battles and characters that it is hard to make sense of without maps.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. That’s unfortunate. It’s one of the things that makes AoS difficult for me. As a huge fan of WWII deployment maps and such as a kid, I need maps. Lol.

    • dave long island

      A Tolkien world mixed with the map of our own world. So it had classic generic fantasy races populating a map very similar to our own world. It was different yet familiar. And it worked. Turns out the map of your fantasy setting is important. As others have pointed out, they need to shore up this weak point in AoS.

      • Karru


        AoS is not bad, the lore just doesn’t do it for me, since I just find it some bland or over the top version of MTG lore, but the biggest gripe I still have with it is just the fact that there is no clear map of anything and they make it sound like these places are so huge that it doesn’t even matter that they lose one place.

        One of the major reasons why I loved Fantasy lore so much. Even if it was just some minor village somewhere, you could pinpoint it on the map and know exactly where this thing was happening. Meanwhile in AoS, they just keep pulling these strange names and expect people to care about them even though they have no idea where they are.

        • dave long island

          Right. Well said. I totes agree. GW has to correct this. Can they do it? Heck ya. Can they make the setting as strong as it was in The Old World? We’ll see.

      • Simon Chatterley

        Yeah I agree maps would be useful but I’m reading it and the realms seem huge and maybe they feel a map would create something finite when it seems more a shifting worldscape.

        Cities that exist on each side of a realm gate makes me think of these things as huge 2 way mirrors so clearly they have gone big on the scale side.

        I think they can easily create the maps with all the gates connecting…I just don’t think they want to do this for some reason

        • ZeeLobby

          The problem is, if it’s ever expansive then why fight. Just move. Lol. Boarders and limited space/resources are the source of all conflict.

        • dave long island


        • euansmith

          I guess that they could do a map like the Galaxy Map from 40k, but replace Stars with Realm Gates, and add the proviso that new Realm Gates are being created all the time; weather careful creations of magic and science, or the result of a particularly massive Herd Stone rending a hole in the fabric of space-time.

  • Marco

    Long live Warhammer Fantasy and the Old World!

    • Jesse Cavazos

      You know, it did. It had a long and wonderful life and no matter how it ended nothing will ever take away the special moments Warhammer gave me.

      • Tshiva keln

        Alzheimer’s could. (Obviously hope it doesn’t!)

        • ZeeLobby

          Wow. Super dark XD

        • dave long island

          Haw haw!! 🙂

    • euansmith

      Now is this post by a human Marco or a Marco Macro?

      • Kritarion

        Marco the Human Macro

      • ZeeLobby

        A fusion of both forged by the Dark Mechanicum. Dark times we live in. Dark times indeed…

    • AEZ

      Then you’ll have to play stormcast so you can be close to mallus.

    • Xodis


  • euansmith

    “…“agents of the Knights Excelsior” who’s job it is to capture and imprison “the very worst heretics and monsters” of the city.”

    “I arrest you in the name of Sigmartha!”

    • AEZ


  • Slaanesh Devotee

    All of this morally questionable behaviour from the Stormcasts has only come from a single storm host: The Knight Excelsior.
    It’s all on them, so far.

  • Arthfael

    So essentially AoS is entering its Horus Heresy phase. I don’t play it, but I approve.

  • dave long island

    Sweet! I love Blue Oyster Cult!… lol

  • Hagwert

    “Something wicked this way comes……oh gawd it’s the Knights Excelsior , please not the face , not the face !”

  • Ben Martin

    I’m just interested in what would happen if new stormcast were brought in. Because sigmar is still taking presumably good people, so when they come in they’re gonna see all this madness and have to react somehow. The main diffrence is really that space marines have always been psychopathic monsters whereas Stormcast were at one point genuinely good people

  • PrimoFederalist

    I’ll start caring when they release rebooted Elves and normal humans. Their naked ploy to replicate 40k Space Marine popularity with the SigMarines is a pretty bad misreading of the fantasy landscape.

    • euansmith

      Or there were at least people Sigmar thought he could work with. Maybe Sigmar approves?

  • Legitimancer

    Yes. This is exactly what we need more of.