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Kharadron vs Skaven 01.png
Failed skaven invasion of the underbelly of Barak-Nar.
Grand alliance Chaos
Associated factions Eshin
Main grouping Skaven Clan
Major characters Thanquol
Skreech Verminking
Core resources Warpstone
Races Rat Ogor
Mounts Brood Horror
Vehicles Doomwheel
Plague Furnace
Screaming Bell
Warp Lightning Cannon
Creatures Giant Rat
Hellpit Abomination
Wolf Rat
Spell lores Lore of Ruin
Lore of Warpvolt Galvinism
Endless spells Bell of Doom
Warp Lighting Vortex
Scenery Skaven Gnawhole
Warbands Spiteclaw's Swarm

The Skaven are an insidious, malevolent race of humanoid rat-men and one of the most prolific races in the Mortal Realms. They follow an irregular cycle: they fight amongst themselves, expand their Under-Empire, multiply their population and surge to the surface to unleash sudden havoc. Eventually the Skaven weaken, often due to the violent treachery of the clans and skulk back to their lair. They are decay and entropy made manifest.[1a][1b]


Age of Myth

Legends claim that the Horned Rat brought the first Skaven into the realms in his jaws, and scattered them into the darkest corners where they quickly multiply to become the first Great Clans. As many as thirteen clans made up this initial invasion, as well as the Grey Seers of the Masterclan. [2d]

Since the End Times, the Skaven's capital Blight City was merged into the Realm of Chaos, when their god, the Great Horned Rat, ascended into the pantheon of the Dark Gods. However their use of arcane machinery went wayward and Blight City sank to the edges of the realm, straddling reality. From this position they could gnaw tunnels into the Mortal Realms and beyond.[1b]

The Verminlords teach the skaven how to create Gnawholes, each Great Clan ‘’improving’’ them in their own twisted fashion. In the Age of Myth, one of the original Great Clans, Clans Tichritt attack Thandroa with their full strength and although the Endless Kingdom is destroyed, Sigmar and his pantheon take vengeance and annihilate them completely. [2d]

Age of Chaos

By the end of the Age of Myth, only nine Great Clans remain, and as the Age of Chaos progresses, the first great civil war rages between two Great Clans, Clans Verminus and Clans Ikk for dominance. Although Ikk is destroyed by the frothjaw plague, their animal ferocity twisted them into devolving abominations, the war rages on as Verminus tries to establish control over skavendom. [2d]

Clans Pestilens having aided Verminus, turn their attention to the Realm of Ghyran, joining with the followers of Nurgle to devastate the lands of Alarielle. Clans Skryre, ever their rival, attempt to counter their victory by a vast invasion of the Scabrous Sprawl led by Arch-Warlock Warpskreech. Skreech Verminking ends the civil war and orders the remaining Lords of Decay to focus their attention on the other worshippers of the Dark gods of Chaos and the remaining forces of Order. The entire Clans Shyryt disappear into a vast gnawhole in the Realm of Aqshy and are never seen again. [2d]

The Skaven were important to Chaos victories during the Age of Chaos, especially during the Allpoints War and the Red Century. Because of the sudden increase of lands and slaves the internal rivalries and the unexpected rise of Clans Pestilens sparked an all-consuming civil war for decades, one made far more brutal by the agents of Tzeentch.[1b] Skaven agents in the Realm of Azyr discover Sigmar’s plans to return with a new army, Clans Eshin plot to make the best use of this information, which even the gods of Chaos are not privy to. [2d]

Age of Sigmar

Many Skaven clans are devastated by the arrival of the Stormcast Eternals, but others are warned by Eshin agents. Those that are shattered by the onslaught provide plenty of new slaves and resources for the Clans Eshin. [2d]

The entire Grey Seer Order are summoned to the Chasm of Shattered Questions and spend thirteen nights and thirteen days in a hidden ritual, guarded by an array of Verminlords. [2d] Eshin agents are present during the final stages of the great ritual being enacted by Nagash at the heart of Nagashizzar. Their presence, although fatal to them disrupts slightly the intricate ritual and produces the Necroquake. The Lords of Decay had sensed the dread power being unleashed and like the other factions of Order and Chaos had sent multiple armies to stop it, but merely added to the grand melee outside the city. [2d]

As part of this effort, a huge gnawhole launched into the Realm of Shyish to allow passage for the millions strong swarm of Things-master Snitterskritch emerges into the depths of the Khaphtar Sea, not only killing him and all his minions but unleashing a vast tide of undead into the heart of Blight City. The ensuing conflict is only ended by the infamous Grey Seer Thanquol. [2d]

Clans Skryre and Clans Pestilens continue to build their forces as skavendom heads towards another civil war.[2d]


All skaven serve the Horned Rat, like its children a devious, paranoid abomination who seeks to ruin all others and wipe out all other gods and their worshippers. Mortal skaven rule rests with the Council of Thirteen - twelve Lords of Decay, themselves rulers from the most mighty clans who meet in the Masterburrow in Blight City, the thirteenth place is reserved for the Horned Rat himself, on occasion represented by the Verminlord Skreech Verminking. However beyond this is the Shadow Council, a shifting grouping of thirteen Verminlords whose only constant is the same representative of the Horned Rat, Skreech Verminking. [2b]

The Order of Grey Seers, also known as the Masterclan crouches below and to one side of the Council, advising the Great Clans themselves and plotting against their rivals. Below this, skavendom is divided into Clans, Great and otherwise with the five Great Clans in the Age of Sigmar being Clans Eshin, Clans Moulder, Clans Pestilens, Clans Skryre and Clans Verminus [2c]

Across Blight City, the Mortal Realms and beyond are billions of clans, ranging in size from a few dozen to millions of teeming ratmen, each of which owes fealty to one of the five Great Clans. [2c]

When they die, the souls of Skaven run to their own twisted afterlife, Ruin although Nagash makes war upon this demi-realm to claim the souls of the dead. [3a]


The Skaven race is ingenious, creating a vast variety of weird and invariably extremely dangerous machines, poisons, diseases and mutated monsters. [2a]

Great Clans



Grand Alliances and factions
Beasts of Chaos (BrayherdsMonsters of ChaosThunderscornWarherds) • Legion of Chaos AscendantBlades of Khorne (Daemons of KhorneKhorne Bloodbound) • Disciples of Tzeentch (Daemons of TzeentchTzeentch Arcanites) • Hedonites of Slaanesh (Daemons of SlaaneshSlaanesh Sybarites) • Maggotkin of Nurgle (Daemons of NurgleNurgle RotbringersTamurkhan's Horde) • Skaventide (EshinMasterclanMoulderPestilensSkryreVerminus) • Slaves to Darkness (Daemons of ChaosEverchosen) • Legion of Azgorh