WARHAMMER® ONLINE: AGE OF RECKONING™
Marshes of Madness
Official Information from EA Mythic
The Mourkain were a culture steeped in death and decay, destined for an unsavory end from the moment that their leader Kadon first discovered the corpse of King Alcadizaar of Khemri along the banks of the Blind River. The fallen king still gripped the sorcerous Crown of Nagash tightly in his hand. Drawn by the power that emanated from the crown, Kadon took it and placed it upon his own head. Almost immediately, the corrupting influence of the crown effected a change in the young Shaman. Kadon became obsessed with death and the magic of Necromancy. He commanded his people to build a magnificent tomb for Alcadizaar and around that tomb, their settlement evolved into a city that came to be called Mourkain. As the years passed, the city grew into an empire which, at its height, stretched from the Marshes of Madness all the way to the Black Gulf.
The rapid expansion of the Mourkain civilization drove many greenskins out of their settlements in the Badlands and into the Worlds Edge Mountains. It was an injury the bellicose Orcs would not forget. In retaliation, the Orc tribes united in a massive Waaagh! and marched upon the city of Mourkain. Despite being well-schooled in the Necromantic arts, Kadon's people were no match for the amassed might of the fearsome greenskins and were slaughtered wholesale, their cities and villages burned to the ground.
Millennia later, war has again come to the Marshes of Madness. The Dwarfs have ventured into the bog to gather Galbaraz, or Oathgold. Oathgold is one of the rarest and most valuable among the numerous types of gold known to the Dwarfs. This brilliant, lustruous gold is one of many ingredients the Forgemasters of Karaz-a-Karak intend to use in the crafting of powerful new weapons that will help the Dwarfs reclaim Karak Eight Peaks. This precious gold must not only be mined, but also transported safely from the perilous marshes to the Dwarfs' capital city. This will be no small feat, for there are many enemies in the swamp.
Under the command of the brutish Orc Warchief Hargruk, the warriors of the greenskin horde seek to exterminate every Dwarf in the marshes. Standing against them is the courageous and charismatic Dwarf leader Burlok Greysteel. It is a desperate struggle, as Burlok's men have scarce resources and few reinforcements. Greysteel knows that as long as he and his fighters can hold their ground, the Orcs' attention will be turned from the road and shipments of Oathgold will continue to travel safely to Everpeak. With grim determination, Burlok and his noble Dwarfs battle night and day to keep the eyes of the Orcs fixed firmly upon them, even if it should cost their lives.
Aiding Greysteel's warriors is the famed treasure hunter Murdogh Kadrikson. Lured by the promise of untold riches, the jovial Dwarf has led his band of mercenaries, Murdogh's Hammers, into the depths of the marsh. When not lending their formidable skills to the defense of Burlok's camp, the Hammers comb the Mourkain ruins in search of valuable artifacts to sell to Imperial scholars in exchange for gold. Murdogh is jovial and well-regarded by Burlok and his men, but he and his Hammers are inclined to take foolish risks when presented with the opportunity to earn wealth. His force slowly dwindles while he holds out for "just a few more" treasures, the irresistible lust for gold overpowering his sense of reason.
The Dwarfs' iron determination to hold the road has paid dividends. Confident the passage would be safe, the famed brewer Grolin Bitterstout assembled a large shipment of Grolin's Reserve – a favorite ale of Emperor Karl Franz himself – and formed the "Grolin's Drinkards" regiment to guard the cargo during its voyage to the port city of Barak Varr, there to be delivered by ship to Altdorf. On their trek through the marsh, the Drinkards were ambushed by a band of Orcs, but defeated them handily. In celebration, Grolin himself opened a prize barrel of ale that the Dwarfs soon emptied. Their confidence buoyed as much by the brew as their victory over the ambushers, the Dwarfs set out to hunt more greenskins.
Unfortunately, in their distracted exuberance, the inebriated Dwarfs left only two of their regiment to guard the wagon. When the hunting party returned, they found the precious barrels smashed, their kinsmen dead and the wagon destroyed. Enraged at this turn of events, the Drinkards swore an oath to kill a thousand greenskins in revenge. They have made camp by their ruined wagon and patrol the area for any sign of Orc or Goblin.
Unbeknownst to Grolin's men, they have made camp near a particularly gruesome monument called the Tree of Swinging Beards. From the boughs of this twisted, ashen-colored tree are hung cages filled with the skeletal remains of captured Dwarfs. The ground below these cages is carpeted with a thick mat of hair - the remnant of hundreds of generations' worth of Dwarf beards, shorn and left to rot.
The conflict between the Dwarfs and greenskins has spread to nearly every corner of the Marshes of Madness, but there is one place that neither side will venture near. Rising from a dense bank of perpetual fog, a tower of pure jet erupts from the sodden earth. It exudes the menace of concentrated evil, and many of the myriad creatures which dwell in the swamp will not go near it. As a result, the black tower occupies a rare pocket of silence amid the cacophony of chirping frogs and buzzing insects. Rumors abound as to what manner of creature would call such an edifice home, but none who have thus far ventured inside have ever returned.
As the Dwarfs and greenskins wage bitter war, they are unaware that a new menace is taking shape in the foul and gloomy marsh. The Age of Reckoning has arrived, and the winds of Chaos strengthen as dark powers plot to overthrow the races of men, Dwarfs and High Elves. Stirred by the rise of evil in the world, a terrible, sinister consciousness has awakened. Craving his ancient crown and the power it will bring, the spirit of Kadon, Emperor of the Mourkain, has returned to menace the world. From the ruins of his ancient city deep in the nearby Badlands, the malevolent specter calls upon his people to rise and take revenge upon the living. If Kadon's undead minions are successful in seizing control of the swamp, any hope for the Dwarfs to repel the greenskin horde will drown in the brackish waters of the Marshes of Madness.
The Ten Ton Thought:
Reminiscent of the Swamp or Sorrows from World of Warcraft, the Marshes of Madness seem to have a bit more hidden in their depths. Filled with the tower of a lich and even more temples dedicated to the Mourkain necromancers, the Marshes are a dangerous place for any faction. Even with all the darker elements at play in the Marshes Order & Disorder continue to find way to kill each other as time goes on.
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