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The Gnarlwood in western Thondia

The Gnarlwood is a great swathe of thick, impenetrable forest that stretches for hundreds of miles in western Thondia, near the border of Gallet. It is an ancient and merciless place, crowned by clouds of mist and echoing the howls of hunting beasts. Its canopy is fashioned not from verdant leaves of green, but from wiry feather-like growths of of predatory trees that hunger for fresh blod. Within this hellish place lirk some of Ghur's most fearsome predators - hulking fanged monstrosities that could tear off a man's head with a single wrench of their swollen forelimbs. Amongst the roving hunter-tribes of western Thondia, it is an accepted truth that only death seekers or glory hounds dare step beyond the palisade of thorns that marks the border of the Gnarlwood; indeed, amongst the some of these peoples, it is the custom for disgraced warriors to mee their final fate within the dreaded forest, thus satiating the appetite of Ghur's wild spirit.[1c]

However, for all its horrors, the Gnarlwood conceals treasures of such value that many mortals would risk madness and death to obtain them. These artefacts were not forged in Thondia, nor any realm known to mortals. If one were to soar high enough above the forest, they would catch glimpses of gold and obsidian protruding between the swaying treetops. These are the uppermost levels of Talaxis, the infamous Ravening Ruin.[1c]



When the Seraphon void-ship known as the Talaxis plummeted into the Realm of Beasts, its geomantic engines were gravely damaged. These gigantic devices were intended to manipulate the environments surrounding the temple-ship, rending the lands more hospitable to the Seraphon's physiology and providing them with a bulwark to keep their enemies at bay. The force of the crash caused the temple-ship's geomantic devices to malfunction, sending out waves of realm-shaping energies and leading to a surge of uncontrolled growth. Over the years, these energies have moulded the already perilous environment of the Gnarlwood into a massive tract of almost impenetrable forest in which carnivorous creatures grow with rapacious swiftness. PRedaroty tress are the most prolific form of life in this palce, the most infamous of their kind being the gnarloaks after which it is named.[1c]

Initial Exploration

The ruins of Talaxis was first discovered by famed explorer Anorio ven Talax, which the ruins are named after. He spoke of entire, cavernous chambers fashioned from polished gold, and stairways lined with glittering jewels as big as an orruk's fist. And these mundane pickings are said to be nothing compared to the techno-arcane marvels housed at the very heart of the ship. This includes tales of artefacts that can forge objects from light, crystal-lined pools that can restore the dead to life, and vaults that can transport those who enter them to distant sections of the ruin in the blink of an eye. Legends of the Ravening Ruin are told from the Cindefall District of Hammerhal Aqsha to the war-ravaged glimmer-halls of Excelsis and beyond, filling the minds of adventurers and sellswords with visions of riches and glory. So too do they reach the ears of more unscrupulous types: raiders, killers, and worshippers of the Dark Gods.[1c] Ven Talax later accompanied a second expedition ordered by the lords of Excelsis, but this expedition was lost, as was Ven Talax whose remains were never found.[1e]

Era of the Beast

Since the epoch of the Era of the Beast, numerous factions have vied to conquer the Gnarlwood and extract the power held within the vaults of Talaxis.[1c]



The variable weather conditions of the Gnarlwood breed infection and disease, causing even minor wounds to fester and begin to seep, but worse perhaps is the psychological effect of navigating the seemingly endless, gloomy tangle of the Gnarlwood - a bulding hopelessness and paranoia, only exacerbated by the impression that the shifting surroundings actively mock any hope of progress. Only those experienced in transversing the deadliest wilds of the Mortal Realms stand any chance of survival. Such hardened explorers know that it would be foolish to linger in one location overlong as static camps merely draw down the wrath of the forest upon those misguided enough to sleep in their tents. All temporary dwellings must be surrounded by palisades of sharpened wood and bone to deter hungry predators, and doubly reinforced with denfences both arcane and physical. Sleeping on the ground is particularly foolish, so instead it is common for travelers in the forest to erect rope bridges and treetop hides, which offer limited protection from the beasts that routinely rampage across the forest floor. Even then, one must be wary of throttling lianas and wriggling parasites, not to mention the many sharp-eyed predators that dwell amidst the thick canpopy overhead.[1d]


The Gnarlwood lacks any sort of supply posts, and no wagons or steam-crawlers can force their way through the thick brush. The only mortal-made resources to be found within the Gnarlwood are those looted from the remains of dead adventurers - barrels and backpacks slumped alongside the remains of their former owners. Such grisly discoveries are common, offering perhaps a much-needed kegful of blackpowder, a collection of scrawled notes revealing the nearby hazards, or a few untainted vials of Aqua Ghyranis. All other supplies must be harvested from the surrounding forest, and nothing can be wasted.[1d]


A slain beast provides not only meat, but bone from which to craft arrowheads or spears, and sinew for bonestrings and guy-ropes. The acidic secretions of mancatcher plants can be bottled and hurled as a weapon, or else used to burn through particularly tough obstructions.[1d]


Only the foolish would attempt to establish permanent camps in the Gnarlwood. However, the titanic skulls of primordial behemoths that stumbled unwarily into the Gnarlwood's depths make for excellent defensive positions. Only the ruins of the crashed Seraphon void-ship itself may provide temporary sanctuary from the Gnarlwood's many dangers, for many of its shattered ziggurats are still protected by immolating traps and impenetrable fields of celestial energy. Yet no adventurer seeking shelter within their golden walls should think themselves safe, as the protective devices of the Seraphon are indiscriminate in their lethality. Anybody attempting to breach the sacred vaults of the Eye of Chotec risks a swift, painful death - blasted into smoking fragments by dancing beams of starlight, crushed to a gory paste by suddenly shifting walls and ceilings, or swallowed up and spirited away by a seemingly innocuous alcove.[1d]


Various sites in an around the the Gnarlwood

Camp Fortune

The Azyrite explorer Anorio ven Talax was the first of Free Peoples to discover the Ravening Ruin and the riches that lay at its centre. Ven Talax and his company forged a path through the thickest reaches of the living forest whilst fending off relentless attacks by predatory horrors. Despite suffering severe losses, they reached the gleaming ruins at the centre of the forest before being driven off by half-feral Seraphon. Undettered, Ven Talax returned to Excelsis clutching a sack full of priceless treasure and a crudely scrawled map charting his course. Thanks to his writings and drunken ramblings, the 'Legend of Talaxis' was popularised. He swore that the wonders he witnessed in the Gnarlwood's heart was only a fraction of the ruin's true value, and insisted that the God-King's faithful must recover the treasures before the enemies could lay their hands on them. Thus, the great lords of Excelsis eventually decreed than another expedition be launched into the depths of Talaxis. Ven Talax would return alongside this expedition as a guide and adviser. The second expedition plunged into the Gnarlwood, following the routes Ven Talax had charted during his first expedition. However, it was soon discovered that the maps were useless, for the gnarloaks that populated the forest had uprooted themselves and moved in search of fresh meat, greatly altering the landscape.[1e]

The second venture ended in disaster, and neither Ven Talax nor his companions have been seen again. Evidence of their passing can be found scattered throughout Talaxis: mouldering skeletons clad in gilded breastplates, abandoned chests filled to the brim with Seraphon artefacts, and the overgrown remnants of makeshift camps. The largest example of these camps is known as Camp Fortune. Here, the God-King's agents discovered Ven Talax's lost journals, whose final entries depict a mind descending into madness as a fruitlessly attempts to a way out of his predicament. The exploerers corpse has not yet been found, leading some to believe that he and his remaining followers still dwell within the ruins of Talaxis.[1e]

Tainted Wound

A corruption of bark and blood has infected great swathes of the Gnarlwood, giving rise to mutated gnarloaks that appear more like throbbing, lumpen masses of rotting flesh with profusions of whipping tentacles, rather than any plant. Indeed, several explorers in the free cities who once ventured into the forest and returned claim to have witnessed heathen warriors sacrificing prisoners to these monstrously corrupted trees in gruesome rituals. One can tell immediately when they are entering the so-called Tainted Wound, for its borders are marked by monstrous, half-living totems and shrines of sinew-lashed bone that radiate the warping energies of Chaos.[1e]

Eater Pits

The ogors of the mawtribes are perhaps the creatures to have most thrived within the Gnarlwoods. These immense, swollen brutes possess an unquenchable appetite, and their guts are strong enough to digest even the notoriously tough gnarloak bark. The Ogor Butchers have dug great pits in select glades to honour the Gulping God. These pits have sprouted grasping tongues and rows of teeth, seemingly given animus by the ogors' bizarre faith. The Butchers regard their creations as something akin to pets, and take great delight in hurling prisoners into the fang-lined maws of the Eater-Pits.[1e]

The Canopy of Starlight

Near the centre of the Gnarlwood lies the ruined remains of the Eye of Chotec]. There, broken segements of ziggurats and massive, fractured crystals that protrude the canopy are somehow still unconquered by the rapidly growing plant life. There is enough latent magic in the outer runs to provide a measure of protection from the elements, and clever explorers have made good use of them. Stone pillars and chunks of shattered obsidian have been strung together by vine-plaits and rope ladders, forming a treetop settlement known as the Canopy of Starlight - so called because this is the one spot for leagues around where Azyr can be clearly seen through the thick canopy of the Gnarlwood.[1e]

Great Stinkhorn

The Great Stinkhorn is a mountain mushroom that befouls the forest for miles around with its appalling reek. Within its chambered cap dwell hosts of Gloomspite Gitz. Surrounding it is a creeping swathe of fungal overgrowth and damp, stinking moss.[1i]

The ruins of Talaxis


Main article: Talaxis

Talaxis is the central remains of the Seraphon void-ship once know as the Eye of Chotec, that harbours a large cache of relics left behind by the Old Ones and collected from across the realms by the Seraphon. While the precise nature of the event that caused it to hurtle down from the Aetheric Void to Ghur is unknown, the iridescent flames surrounding some of its ruins leave some hint. Talaxis is uninhabited, save the sparse Seraphon remnants that have gone feral and guard the ruins.[1c]


Flora and Fauna

The Gnarlwood acquired it named from its dominant flora: the carnivorous gnarloak. This ravenous plant is capable of stalking forth upon creeping roots in search of the flesh and blood it crave. Slow and ponderous these horrors might be, but they strike when their prey is forced by exhaustion to rest, stretching out their muscular boughs to ensnare the living them and drag them into their barbed 'maws'. It is not merely the local fauna, such as the carnivorous gnarloak, that has a taste for meat. Prowling the shadowy undergrowth of the forest are all manner of deadly beasts, which are all viciously single-minded in their pursuit of food.[1c]


In the Gnarlwood, the weather itself seems to take spiteful joy in tormenting travellers. It alternates between sweltering heatwaves that forces even the hardiest of warriors to struggle for breath, and sudden, drenching downpours that swiftly turn the ground into a sucking mire. The rainfall is so blisteringly intense that it can pummel those caught in the open unconscious.[1d]


Agents of Chaos

  • Hedonites of Slaanesh: seek any oppurtunity to prove their perfection in the eyes of their master's offspring: Dexcessa and Synessa, and the ruins of Talaxis offer a tempting opportunity. Should the vaults containing the relics of the Old Ones be breached, and its treasures delivered to the Talon and Voice of Slaanesh, then surely they would be showered with adulation.[1f]
  • Blades of Khorne: Some of the Blood God's faithful insist that it was the smashing first of their deity that punched the Eye of Chotec out of the void and sent it crashing down upon Ghur, and therefore see it as a holy duty to finish Khorne's work and shatter every remnant of the temple-ship.[1f]
  • Maggotkin of Nurgle: Grandfather Nurgle has his rheumy eyes upon anywhere in the realms where the land is ripe for disease and putrefaction and in the deep, dark holes of the Gnarlwood he spies such an oppurtunity to spread his gifts. So it is that Maggotkin flock to the Gnarlwood, eager to plase their master through vile acts of devotion. Some have set their sights upon the Seraphon's Realmrealm-shaping engines, hoping to transform them into spreaders of plague and pestilence.[1f]
  • Disciples of Tzeentch: The structural damage caused to the the Eye of Chotec bears the mark of Tzeentchian sorcery; unnatural fires still limn portions of the shattered super-structure, and the god's daemons can be seen writhing and cavorting amidst the flames. Regardless, the primary concern of the Disciples of Tzeentch is the acquisition of the relics stored within the Ravening Ruin, for there in the vaults lies potent magic.[1f]
  • Skaventide: Smoke-belching war skaven war machines hack and saw their way through the forest, followed by chittering bands of rat-thralls so numerous that a hundred or more can be devoured each day by the Gnarlwood's hungry denizens without making a dent in their numbers. The skaven clans of Blight City have sensed easy pickings in Talaxis, however even the warp-engines of Clans Skryre struggles to penetrate the thick tangles of gnarloak, and so their commanders sent patrol after patrol to find a way through.[1f]
  • Beasts of Chaos:The Gnarlwood's forests are home to all manner of mutated monstrosities touched by the corrupting power of Chaos: insanity-inducing Jabberslythes, towering Cygors, and corrupted gnarloaks. The Beasts of Chaos gather at a great, festering abscess known as the Tainted Wound, erecting herdstones and partaking in degenerate festivals of violence. The beastmen believe that the Gnarlwood is sacred ground and the burial place of an ancient, mutant entity known as the Soulshrieker.[1f]

Sentinels of Order

  • Cities of Sigmar: It is the faithful of Sigmar who have launched the most concerted efforts to lay claim to the Ravaging Ruin. The great Free Cities of Ghur - most notably Excelsis - have all dispatched their own expeditions to the region, the vast majority of which ended in great suffering and eath. However, enough sellswords and explorers have returned with chests filled with looted trasure that a motley assembly of ex-Dawnbringers, mercenaries and assorted fortune-seekers continue to volunteer for each new venture.[1g]
  • Stormcast Eternals: Rumours have reach the ears of the Stormcast Sacrosanct Chambers that the ruins contain star-forged machines that can bring the dead back to life. The champions of the God-King seek any knowledge that may ease the process of Reforging and so have dispatched small brotherhoods to the Gnarlwood, most notably the Astral Templars.[1g]
  • Idoneth Deepkin: Only the Idoneth are know to truly thrive in Ghur, embarking upon raids alongside the Thondian coast. These aelves have located a vast repository of soul-stuff somewhere within Talaxis itself; an unbreached Seraphon spawning chamber perhaps, filled with energies ready to be harvested for the need of the enclaves.[1g]
  • Lumineth Realm-lords: The latent power of Talaxis has drawn the attention of the Lumineth, who believe such powers must be contained and safeguarded from those too ignorant to weld them.[1g]
  • Sylvaneth: The Gnarlwood is a sacred place to the Sylvaneth, who dwell in the Springs of Anathguinar to the north of the forest. They regard the very presence of Talaxis as a stain upon their hallowed territory, for when the void-ship crashed into the earth centuries ago, the resulting explosion wiped out many of the region's ancient clans. The vengeful Spite-Revenants and Dryads take any opportunity to slay intruders, even as they seek a way to bury the Ravening Ruin completely beneath root, leaf, and bough.[1g]
  • Kharadron Overlords: Above the canopies of the Gnarlwood are swirling clouds with traces of aether-gold, a resource prized by the Kharadron Overlords. Intrepid Arkanaut officers have flocked to the Gnarlwood hoping to lay claim to this bounty, though the ferocious storms that circle the area have downside several sky-ships. Survivors of these stranded Kharadron crews are forced to rely upon their devastating firearms whilst searching for a means to repair and refit their vessels.[1g]
  • Fyreslayers: The Fyreslayers, untroubled by the sweltering temperatures and more common ailments of the Gnarlwood view Talaxis as a lucrative source of mercenary contracts, wherein they readily sell their axes to any explorers hoping to reach the Ravening Ruin.[1g]
  • Seraphon: Even if one manages to somehow evade or fight off these predators of the Gnarlwood, they will doubtless run afoul of Talaxis' roaming Seraphon guardians, who defend their sacred sites with cold-blooded zeal, brutally sacrificing any trespassers who fall into their clutches and display their gory remains as a warning to others. These reptilians warriors have lost the guidance of their now perished slann masters and have reverted to their most primal instincts - they only know they must defend their sacred territory, for they believe such is the will of the Old Ones.[1c] Beyond the borders of the Gnarlwood, the Seraphon of Mekitopsar are beseiged by the forces of Kragnos and the forces of Chaos pick away at the bindings of the Astromatrix. Being already overwhelmed, the Starborne has dispatched several smaller starhosts with their most favoured champions in hopes of recovering the lost artefacts of Talaxis.[1g]

Bringers of Death

  • Soulblight Gravelords: Nagash desires the geomantic powers found within the ruins of Talaxis for his own purposes and to keep it from his foes. There are many members of the vampire aristocracy that see the fullfillment of his wish as a way to ingratiate themselves to the Great Necromancer.[1h]
  • Flesh-eater Courts: There have been sightings of questing packs of mordants abroad in the Gnarlwood. None can say what their reason or purpose is, only that amongst their insane babble one can hear talk of a 'font of power' and a 'sacred chamber'.[1h]
  • Ossiarch Bonereapers: The Ossiarchs are immune to many of the harsh conditions of the Gnarlwood, and have had some success in breaching its tangled depths. They have established ivory watchtowers around the bone-pits of Yhaaxul, where undead labourers haul skeletal remains of long-dead behemoths out of the earth to be used as construction material. Yet the Ossiarch armies - masters of the open field - find their fixed phalanxes of nadirite spears and sweeping cavalry formations of little use in the gnarlwood, and have likewise taken significant losses. However, with brute force and grotesque ingenuity, the Ossiarch war machine has begun to break the Gnarlwood to its will.[1h]
  • Nighthaunt: Like any where else in the Mortal Realms where lives have been cut brutally and tragically short, the Nighthaunt processions can be found drifting through the swaying trees, and hear their mournful howls and bitter cries of anguish even over the ceaseless cacophony of nature.[1h]

Harbingers of Destruction

  • Gloomspite Gitz: Within the chambered of the Great Stinkhorn dwell various tribes of Gloomspite Gitz: the Tonguerippas, the Nosebiterz, the Bag Eggz and the Slasha Mob. They seek precious loonstone, which rained down across the ruins of Talaxis, a sure sign that the Bad Moon's leering eye is fixed upon the Ravening Ruin. To the Gloomspite Gitz, it is clear that their insane god is urging them to sieze control of Talaxis and transform it into a squelchy, twilit haven for grotkind.[1i]
  • Ogor Mawtribes: The ogors of the mawtribes have thrived in the Gnarlwood, originally drawn to it for one simple reason: they were hungry. Gnarloaks are considered a delicacy amongst Ghurish ogors. If one can avoid being lashed or impaled by the deadly trees long enough, they can tear away the tree's bark and tear out a fistful of the fleshy, meaty pulp beneath. Moreover, there is an endless variety of beasts - and wandering mortals - to hunt amidst the gloomy boughs of the great forest. The ogors also chase runmours of spawning pools packed with half-formed Seraphon creatures preserved in a rich soup of protean matter. Indeed, such are the culinary treats on offer that the region has drawn forth many ogor Butchers, whose gastromantic rituals have opened grinding maws in the earth itself, chomping manifestations of their deity, the ever-ravenous Gulping God.[1i]
  • Kruleboyz: The Kruleboyz' strange shamans have shown an interest in the Ravening Ruin, for they have heard tell of the reality-morphing wonders within. They believe they can turn these devices to their purpose and transform the land for leagues around into a great expanse of gloopy, foul-smelling sludge - just like the sucking bogs and marshes that the Kruleboyz call home.[1i]
  • Bonesplitterz: The primal orruks of the Bonesplitterz tribes do not seek the arcane treasures within the Ravening Ruin. They view Seraphon cosmic technology is an affront to the world spirit of the Amber Realm and therefore the Wurrgog Prophets seek to smash and pound the ancient ruins to rubble.[1i]
  • Ironjawz: Far from having an ulterior motive, the metal-clad brutes of the Ironjawz have arrived in the Gnarlwood for the sole purpose of fighting the endless stream of opponents pouring into the Gnarlwood seeking the Ravening Ruin.[1i]


  • 1: Warcry: Core Book (2nd edition)
    • 1a: The Age of Sigmar, pg. 12-13
    • 1b: The Era of the Beast, pg. 14-15
    • 1c: Fabled Talaxis, pg. 16-17
    • 1d: The Hungry Forst, pg. 18-19
    • 1e: Secrets of the Gnarlwood, pg. 20-21
    • 1f: Agents of Chaos, pg. 26-27
    • 1g: Sentinels of Order, pg. 34-35
    • 1h: Bringers of Death, pg. 42-43
    • 1i: Harbingers of Destruction, pg. 48-49