Beastmen are humanoid creatures with a variety of animal features, usually including cloven feet, horns, excessive body hair, and bestial faces. They are mutants formed from humans by the corrupting influences of Chaos such as warpstone. There is a lot of variation across Beastmen although the cloven hoofs and goatlike features including horns are common – this type of Beastman was originally known as a Caprigor, but in recent years the term Gor is more often used to describe the common Beastmen form.
To the outsider all Beastmen may look the same, a mass of flesh, fur and teeth – few can discern any distinguishing features that mark one type of Beastmen from another. However there are many types and breeds – easily recognisable to other Beastmen. The Gor are the most variable in appearance, although all will combine some bestial feature with the features of those of a man. The base form of a Beastmen has come to be that of the head and legs of a goat and the upper body of a man, but as creatures of Chaos a Beastman can display any number of infinite variations on this basic breed. Although many in the North have the heads of goats or cattle, others in the North and elsewhere have the head of an insect, horse, snake, bird or boar and come with multiple limbs, and slashing tails of all kinds along with distorted torsos almost beyond imagination. Indeed the line between Beastman and Chaos Spawn is fine.
However it should be noted; one thing all Gor have in common – is horns. Without horns a Beastman cannot be considered a Gor, as above a Beastman who possesses horns and no other distracting mutations is said to be a Truegor, horns are the ultimate sign of rank and power – and it is these Truegor’s who are the strongest and most cunning amongst the Beastmen Warherd. Indeed the Beastmen will often dab their horns with dye or blood to exaggerate their fearsomeness prior to battle.
Beastmen are found throughout the World in their warherds hidden in the forests and mountains. Due to the taint of Chaos they are both feared and hunted by humans and the other races. They are known as the Children of Chaos, and this is true quite literally, for they are unnatural creatures, born from men and beasts when Chaos first brought its scourges upon the world in the cataclysmic Time of Chaos.
Throughout the world, Beastmen thrive upon the edges of civilization, raiding isolated farmsteads, villages, and other settlements. They are numerous towards the north, around the dark forests that cover The Empire and the harsh wildernesses of Kislev. While they are found in the greatest numbers throughout the Chaos Wastes of the northern and southern Polar Regions, sufficient numbers dwell in the forests of the Old World, the Southlands, Khuresh and Grand Cathay to present a significant threat to the other races in those regions.
Societies of the Common Beastmen
Beastmen live in nomadic bands lead by Beastmen Champions of Chaos. Beastmen have a natural empathy toward Chaos which overcomes any hatred they may have towards other races, so that Beastmen bands often ally themselves to other forces of Chaos, small bands even joining the ragtag warbands of mutants and renegades lead by non-Beastmen Champions such as humans and fighting their battles.
Periodically a Beastlord is able to unite many warherds in a common goal a present a threat to their common enemy although this will typically be a temporary force – dissolving quickly at the untimely death of their Beastlord or after a significant defeat. When not united in a common goal (and held together by a dominant figure) warherds will skirmish and battle (sometimes to the complete elimination of the weaker warherd) when their paths cross.
Types of Common Beastmen
Several distinct breeds make up the seemingly unordered hordes of Beastmen.
Gors are the most common type, generally distinguished by the fact they possess horns. Gors are a broad class comprising more specific types. Below the Gors are the lowly breeds which look to them for leadership.
Caprigor are the most common breed of Gor, recognisable by their goat- or sheep-like heads and legs, along with, more importantly, their curling or straight goat horns. A Caprigor with these mutations and no others is called a Truegor, and are stronger, braver and more intelligent than other Caprigor.
Bovigor are bull or ox headed beasts with cattle horns. Bovigor are also bull-headed in their nature, being very competitive and prizing brute power over any form of subtlety. Bovigor free of any mutation besides a bull’s head and legs and are considered Truegor.
Ungor are much more variable in appearance. They possess some form of horns, but the Ungor themselves are not recognisable as either Caprigor or Bovigor. The most favoured Ungor might possess a spectacular array of horns, or a single, fine horn, but most have only small or misshapen versions, which other Beastmen find contemptible.
Brays are the lowliest breed of Beastmen. Their name refers to the braying cacophony they make when they feast or fight together. Brays can appear in any form, and are mainly distinguished by the fact they lack any kind of horns.
Turnskin’s are humans who at a later stage of life began to develop mutations. Ostracised and despised by their former race they had no choice but to retreat from human society. Many of them become renegades and some manage to join a Beastmen warherd who will accept them only as slaves.
Gave’s are the Beastmen born to normal human parents. If not killed at birth The parents may attempt to hide their child’s deformities while others will kill it but many the mutant babies are abandoned near a forest, or set afloat in a river on a raft of reeds, seemingly to die of hunger and exposure. However the Gave babies rarely die however, as the ears of Beastmen are always alert to the cries of their own kind. These foundlings are adopted and raised by Beastmen, who consider such a child a gift of their own fell gods.
Bray-Shamans are the intermediaries between the warherd and the Gods. The majority are not powerful enough to challenge the warherd leader, but some ambitious ones are more than willing and able to fulfil both positions. Shamans can spirit-walk in the Realm of Chaos and commune with the very daemons of the Chaos Gods. From these daemons he can seek advice or receive information of future events, which he can then relay to the Wargor. Spirit-walking is achieved through dreams or by the Shaman drinking themself into a comatose trance. The mark of a Shaman is that each eye is a different colour. One eye might be red and the other blue. The specific colours are believed to signify the favour in which the Shaman is held by a particular Power. A Shaman might repeat the colours of his eyes in his robes, so that he might display the favoured colours of the Chaos Gods.
Beastmen give their leaders titles of honour such as Foe-Renders and Wargors, the most renowned are called Beastlord’s, Banebeast’s or perhaps Banegor’s. They are the ones planning raids on nearby settlements or ambushes on passing caravans – they settle the disputes in the warherd, keeping lesser Gors in line by strength of arm. So a powerful Beastlord is both feared and revered by his own kind and other creatures alike.
Amongst the massed ranks of Beastmen – the toughest and most well armed are known as Bestigors, as well as being stronger than the other Gors they tend to be better disciplined, forming organised ranks and fighting as an effective unit – they are able to restrain themselves from feeding on the fallen at least until the end of the battle. Typically the Bestigor units will be used to slam full force into the front of the enemy attempting to shatter their ranks and create a hole for the greater bulk of the Beastmen warherd to exploit.
The more favoured of the Bestigor will bear the Mark of their patron Chaos God, those marked in this way are amongst the most obscenely disfigured of all creatures of the Warhammer World.
Shamans of the Beastmen Warherd are held in high respect and awe by the other Gors. Even the most powerful Beastlord’s are wary of the abilities of the Bray-Shaman as they alone have magical power. These magical powers are not learnt from books as with other races, instead Bray-Shaman command the winds of magic purely by instinct – shaping the forces of Chaos into a expression of their will in the same way other races might form a sentence or make a gesture.
The Bray-Shaman is essential to the Warherd, not only do they use their magic to fight the enemy in battle, but they are also able to spirit-walk within the realm of Chaos, communing with Daemons and the powers of Chaos themselves. In doing this the Bray-Shaman are able to interpret omens of events yet to unfold.
So revered are the Bray-Shaman that harming of one is forbidden – and to do so will surely bring down the wrath of their patron Chaos God.
Powerful Warherds may deploy chariots which are drawn by creatures known as Tuskgor, which are warped crosses between Wild Boars and Beastmen – twisted by the influence of Chaos into even larger creatures with brutal tusks and horns. In battle they hurl towards the enemy ranks at full pace seeking to drive through the ranks disrupting their rows as they slash out with hooves, horns and blade.
As befits such a primal and warlike race, the only social unit is the warband, known as the warherd. Each warherd is led by the most powerful and intimidating Gor, known as the Wargor. The most powerful Wargors dominate several warbands and are known as Beastlord’s. The spiritual leaders of the warherds are the Bray-Shamans, who speak the will of the Chaos Gods.
Although rivalry between different warherds runs deep – on occasion some or even many warherds are united by a ruthless and powerful warlord into a large savage horde. Although a rather undisciplined force, when led by a proper leader they can be very dangerous indeed.
Warherds are nomadic, living in temporary camps hidden within wildernesses such as forests. Caves near running water and with a good view of the surrounding terrain are considered the ideal camps. Eventually, after raiding nearby settlements, the warherd moves on, establishing a new camp some distance away. Clashes often result between two warherds over a particular territory.
A warherd comprises the many breeds of Beastmen as well as the other allied Creatures of Chaos such as Dragon Ogres, Minotaur’s, Centigor’s, and Chaos Warhounds. Beastmen generally disregard the use of anything but close combat weapons, as their instincts in battle are almost purely on closing with the enemy and fighting in direct combat.
Bestigors, the largest and most ferocious Gors, are supplied with the best armaments of the warherd, and usually wield halberds in battle.
Common Beastmen Religion
Most Beastmen tend to worship Chaos as a whole. However some worship only one of the four major gods. Beastmen warherds who devote themselves to a single Chaos God will acquire mutations which eventually shape them into a likeness of their patron God.
- Khorngor: the Beastmen of Khorne, bearing the favoured colours of the Blood God, have skin and fur which is brazen in colour, in some cases almost metallic, and their eyes are milky white with red pupils. Many are hound headed with fierce jaws and fangs which drip with saliva. The most favoured display horns which take the shape of Khorne’s skull rune.
- Slaangor: the Beastmen of Slaanesh have pastel coloured skin and fur and often have luxurious fur capes and looted jewellery which contrasts strangely with their bestial natures.
- Pestigor: Beastmen of Nurgle are racked with disease and malformations yet retain the morbid vigour of their patron god. They often have only a single horn.
- Tzaangor: Beastmen of Tzeentch often have exotic markings and patterns and fantastic colours – notably tiger stripes or leopard spots.
All such devoted Beastmen will mark themselves with the rune of their patron deities, carving or daubing the symbols into their armour, and painting, branding or tattooing them onto their skin and fur.
Common Beastmen Magic
The Bray-Shamans are able to wield Dark Magic and use the lore of the wild.
Common Beastmen Language
Beastmen speak Beast Tongue, a dialect of the Dark Tongue. Differing somewhat from region to region it will be a mix of bestial sounds, the Dark Tongue, and the local human dialect.
Common Beastmen Entourage
When forks of lightning sunder the night sky and the roar of thunder bellows over the land, the people of the north say that the Dragon Ogres are fighting each other on the peaks of the World’s Edge Mountains. Travellers, having taken shelter in some cave or hollow, might see the battling creatures silhouetted against the raging night by lightning flashes.
On cold winter nights terrible storms assail the mountains of the northern Old World. Like Dragons, Dragon Ogres, or Shartak, as they prefer to be called, spend the majority of their long lives slumbering deep within hidden mountain caves. The sleeping Dragon Ogres stir as their dreaming minds hear echoed in the thunder, the roar of the Chaos gods calling them to battle. For such is the pact that the Dragon Ogres made – they placed themselves in eternal bondage to Chaos in return for long years of life. The louder the thunder, the more Dragon Ogres wake, but only a storm of immense power can stir the oldest and most powerful of these beasts.
Dragon Ogres are energized by electricity. When roused by the mountain storms, the great beasts will compete with their brethren for the highest peak upon which to siphon energy from the storm. Peril to the unwary using lightning or other electricity-based attacks against a Dragon Ogre in battle, for it will only empower the beast more.
Minotaur’s are bull-like humanoids twice the height and girth of a man and renowned for their enormous strength. Their gigantic heads are broad and ugly, their horns especially sharp and dangerous. Many have the cloven-hoofed hindquarters of a beast; they are less intelligent than other Beastmen – more of a presence of power and strength.
Normally slow and ponderous, battle turns the Minotaur into a raging bull and the scent of blood floods their brain with the need for violence and destruction. In the midst of battle they can be seen tearing the enemy apart and swallowing whole chunks of the slain.
Minotaur are the keepers of the dark shrines deep in the forests where even the Beastmen hesitate to go, here is found stockpiles of weapons, armour and skulls of the defeated in praise of their patron Chaos God. The stockpile will often grow to such excess of rusting armour with valuable treasure in amongst as to be a lure for bands of treasure hunters – although to escape with the loot they must first defeat the guarding Minotaur’s, and in doing so hope they don’t alert the main Warherd. The most powerful amongst the Minotaur are the Gorebull’s and Doombull’s which often can act as their leaders.
The Ghorgon are mutated four armed Minotaur’s as tall as giants with swords of bones sprouting from two of the Ghorgon’s mutated arms, overcome and driven only by an overpowering desire to feed on and tear the flesh of the enemy. The Ghorgon is one of the most powerful monsters in the Warhammer Fantasy World.
The Cygor is a one-eyed gigantic Minotaur that can only see the world in the winds of magic, and feeds upon the souls of its victims. The souls of wizards and magic users are a delicacy to these beasts. Cygor are also used by the Beastmen horde to hurl massive boulders into the enemy ranks.
Recently Bray-Shaman have learned to summon the Jabberslythe, even by Warhammer Fantasy standards these creatures are abominations against nature – something like a fusion of toad, slug drake and massive insect. Their huge bodies are borne aloft on ragged wings, and they secrete vile poison, their blood is acidic, their mouths house long chameleon-like tongues to ensnare their prey, their very appearance on the battlefield can be enough to break the enemy’s spirit.
Some Eastern tribes of the Norse talk of a huge, white furred beast they call the Ymir or Jeti – periodically a great warrior will search out the beasts and engage one in battle, seeking to return to his tribe with its head as a trophy, needless to say not all achieve their goal. Men of the East call the beasts ‘Yhetee’, while the Dwarf of the Northern hold Kraka-Drak also speak of large white furred monsters capable of ripping a man (and by extension a Dwarf) in two – effortlessly.
Any Beastmen warherd is likely to contain one or more of a wide variety of animals and monsters, whether previously captured and since trained or recently pressed into service any number of monstrous entourage are likely to be accompanying the warherds into battle.
There may be Tuskgor which are very large boar-like creatures are used to pull Tuskgor Chariots. There may also be the Tuskgors’ larger cousins – Razorgor’s, which are massively oversized boar-like monsters that Beastmen use to either pull larger chariots or group together in packs to charge the enemy battleline.
There can be included flocks of savage Harpies, packs of feral mutated Warhounds, gibbering Chaos Spawn (Beastmen twisted beyond recognition into terrible new forms by the will of the Chaos Gods) and roaming Giants can also be found following the Beastmen horde.
Warhounds of Chaos
In the dark forests of the Warhammer Fantasy World, vicious Warhounds hunt their prey, stalking round encampments they sniff for scraps or unguarded domesticated animals to attack. As the Beastmen warherd musters for a campaign – growing in size by the day, these same Warhounds dash alongside the herd drawn by the prospect of fresh kill.
Some Beastmen are able to use the Warhounds, training them as battle hounds – although they can never be truly tamed. They can be penned up, starved and goaded prior to being released in the general direction of the enemy – making them crazed killing machines.
The larger of the Warhounds are more Wolf than Dog, natural predators made more lethal by the corrupting effect of Chaos – developing horns, tusks and exposed spines.
Other Beastmen Breeds
Beyond the Old World Forests
The majority of recorded encounters with Beastmen seem to focus on the regions of the great forest within the Empire boundaries – particularly the Drakwald and the depths of the Forest of Shadows, these records describe monsters with bovine or goat heads but human bodies. However the truth is that the Beastmen from these regions are just a small cross section of the vast hordes inhabiting the world after the warp gates collapsed and chaos flowed across the continents unabated.
Chaos is anything but uniform in its manifestation and this is reflected in the variety of Beastmen types to be found around the Warhammer World. The Beastmen around the World tend to be a reflection of the local habitat, climate, and most common animal species of the region and prevailing legends and nightmares of the population of that region. Whether the latter is more attributable to the Beastmen influencing folklore or the ability of Chaos to shape the Beastmen into the most suitably terrifying form is unknown – but the effect is convincingly terrifying to the average populace. For example – in the Empire most folklore depicts Daemons as bestial creatures with the heads of goats, hence no coincidence this generality matches the appearance of the Gors of the Drakwald Forest.
The Blackspines Beastmen
A curious type of Beastmen is known to inhabit the Blackspines in the lands of the Naggaroth, this scaled creature typically stays in the shadows of the mountains or caves at least during daylight hours – they are taller than a man, as high as an Elf more like and are covered from head to toe in craggy scales, they are not particularly evolved and still brandish stone axes or clubs as weapons. But they are numerous and from time to time are known to either form raiding parties or latch onto a greater warband of Chaos off towards some greater objective of mutual benefit.
The Cat-Beastmen of Indhya
In the lands of Indhya and Khuresh the Beastmen are different again, these ferocious beasts have the heads of giant hunting cats similar in appearance to the common Tiger, Lion and Panther – the jungles in those lands are dense and humid and the peoples of those lands know not too venture too far into the interior, as few who do ever return to tell of their experience.
Some believe these great Cat-Beastmen to be capable of malevolent actions, and stories have come to light of advancing armies of Goblins or Skaven reaching the gates of the villagers only to be suddenly attacked by hordes of shrieking Cat-Beastmen, ripping through their ranks slashing with their extended talons – leaping high in the air their weapons glinting in the sunlight and then crashing down into the sallied ranks of the enemy, moving almost too quickly for the human eye to track – darting this way and that, surprisingly so for beasts of their size, balanced and agile but capable of delivering devastatingly powerful blows to anything foolish enough to stand still for long enough.
Exactly why the Cat-Beastmen chose to attack on these occasions is probably not as selfless as some would like to believe however, and certainly should not be taken as any indication of a bond between Cat-Beastmen and man, for they surely resent and despise Man as much as any other Chaos mutated Beastman – likely as not the Cat-Beastmen view other races such as Greenskins or Skaven or even Lizardmen as rivals to their territories and without a doubt ambush is all Beastmen’s preferred method of combat.
In several regions in the East some of the lesser evolved tribes of humans (particularly the Malays of Khuresh) worship of the Cat-Beastmen appears to be common practice, so much so that armed units of humans will go into battle alongside the Cat-Beastmen – adorning themselves in furs, and feathers and wearing other garments representative of the great Cat Beast warriors or other Beastmen tribes they live near.
Ape-Beastmen of the Southlands
The men of Araby and explorers from the Old World have long known of the Ape-Beastmen of the jungles of the Southlands, although some are reportedly little more than lumbering bellowing giants wielding massive two handed axes and hammers and others skitter around screeching and clawing at the enemy, it is said that they are lead by upright intelligent Apemen who speak a dialect of language of Men of the Southlands.
The hordes of the Ape-Beastmen of the Southlands differ from other Beastmen warherds in that they are organised in a fashion similar to any other armed units from other civilised nations – there will be units of shock troops, mounted warriors, ranged weapon units and armoured elite warriors.
Their weapons and tools are not just looted from other races but clearly constructed themselves and reports are they live in fortified villages deep within the jungles of the Southlands, frequently fighting massive battles against the Lizardmen or Savage Orcs of the region.