In the Warhammer Fantasy setting, Kislev is the name of a Slavic/Kievan Rus'-themed fictional country that sits northeast of The Empire, between it and the Realm of Chaos. Between Kislev and Norsca lies Troll Country, while beyond that lie the magic-tainted Chaos Wastes. Because of both the harsh weather and the fact that any Chaos incursions must pass through (and, consequently, attack) the country, the Kislevites are a hardy people who are never willing to back down from a fight. The capital of Kislev is Kislev, with Erengrad and Praag being the next largest and important cities. Kislev is primarily inspired by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia of the 16th and 17th centuries, with its name likely derived from the city of Kiev. They are most famed for their horseback archery skills, and are ruled by Tzarina Katarin who is the most powerful magician queen who has ever lived because of her mastery of Ice magic.
Though Kislev has long held a relatively substantial place in the Warhammer world they have never had a formal army list or any models beyond limited special edition models that supplemented the Empire army. However, a list written by Tuomas Pirinen (who later became a Games Workshop designer) and Tommy Boyd appeared in the Citadel Journal in 1995, and in 2004 Games Workshop released a Kislev army supplement similar to other Warhammer Fantasy Army Books. Although this allowed a player to field a solely Kislev army, it is mainly used by players to supplement other armies with Kislev allies.
In the larger scale conflict game of WarMaster, the Kislev faction does have an army list equal to the other factions of Warhammer Fantasy.
People of Kislev
Kislev is a country forged from varying warring peoples who invaded the land in turn and finally settled alongside each other.
They are usually said to be the Ungols, the Gospodars, the Norse and the Ropsmenn. Huns are mentioned in Tuomas Pirinen's work but do not appear anywhere else. Also, presumably northern tribes such as the Dolgans make home in Kislev's northern areas, and many folk of Imperial stock inhabit the South. The precise nature of these peoples and their relations changes from edition to edition.
In the now obsolete first edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement "Something Rotten in Kislev", they are given as follows:
The Gospodars are the peasant class, with the Ungols having conquered them some centuries ago but since overcome. The ruling class is said to stem from Norse and Imperial clans, while the Ropsmenn are an outlaw people.
By the 1996 5th Edition, the Ungols were the ones conquered by the migrating Gospodars, while the Norse and the Imperials make up part of the general population of larger cities. The Ropsmenn are said to have been defeated and absorbed into the Ungol, Norse and Gospodar peoples soon after Khan-Queen Miska's Gospodar Horde conquered the country. This version was first detailed in the 6th Edition 2003 Army List, that was published as a series of articles in White Dwarf. It was then further fleshed out by the Realm of the Ice Queen source book for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition, printed in 2007.
The Kislevite army
The Kislevite army comprises the following units:
- Winged Lancers (similar to Polish Hussars in 17th century Poland)
- Ungol Horse Archers
- Kislev Kossars (a likely portmanteau of Cossack and Hussar)
- Gryphon Legion: These horsemen are the Tzarina's personal guard when she goes to war. Otherwise they are found serving as mercenaries in the Empire, especially Middenheim
- Boyars: the feudal lords of Kislev
The army's wizards, and the Kislevites in Warhammer fiction, use Ice magic, which is not one of the eight Winds of Magic used by their allies, the Empire.
In Black Library fiction such as the Ambassador Chronicles and the Riders of the Dead, other Army Books, and the 1995 Citadel list, Kislevites are also said to use trained bears, handgunners (Streletzi), black-powder artillery, and armoured war wagons (Although Hussite armies of Bohemia used war wagons, their use in the Kislevite army is inspired by the Ukrainian Cossacks. They also used war wagons as part of their tactics). However no official rules or models exist for these types of units. (Although rules and models for these do exist in the "Warmaster" and "Mordheim" games)
- Thorpe, G., 2003. Warhammer Armies: Kislev. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. No ISBN
- Games Workshop, 1993. Warhammer Armies: Empire. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. No ISBN
- Chart D., Darlington S., Law A., McNeill G., 2007. Realm of the Ice Queen. Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd. ISBN 1-84416-433-0
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