Just in time for the holidays, EA Mythic has released an overview of Nordland, a zone in their upcoming MMO, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
Zone Overview - Nordland (Starting Zone of the Empire)
More than any other subjects of the Empire, the Nordlanders know what it means to live under the shadow of Chaos. The Barony of Nordland lies but a short sail across the Sea of Claws from the havens of the Northmen. Constant incursions by these savage barbarians are nothing new to the Nordlanders; they have withstood assaults from the hordes of Chaos for centuries. The people of Nordland are as tough and uncompromising as the rugged land in which they live. This might be due to the rumored mixing of their bloodlines with those of the barbaric Northmen. Perhaps because of these rumors, Nordlanders seem to go out of their way to prove their loyalty to the Empire.
That is not to say that the inhabitants of Nordland are considered civilized in the eyes of the Empire. By and large, they embrace traditions and practices that would seem at best quaint and at worst primitive to the gentlefolk in Altdorf. Nordlanders value action over words, and can seem gruff and quick to anger to an outsider. When they do speak, they show little regard for the intricacies of diplomacy and as often as not will say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time in an attempt to "settle accounts."
At the dawn of the Age of Reckoning, the Barony of Nordland finds itself the target of yet another invasion by the Northmen. A massive horde of Marauders has swarmed into Nordland under the banner of Tchar'zanek, a Champion of the Dark Gods. The sheer size of Tchar'zanek's warhost cannot be ignored by the Empire. The Nordland provincial army, its ranks already decimated by the terrible plague that is sweeping through the Empire, cannot hold against so large a force without help. Karl Franz will need to intervene.
Unfortunately, the provincial army is having a difficult time mustering troops in this area effectively. The plague is hampering any hopes of a swift response, leaving too few men to defend the Empire's northern borders. A company of militiamen is camped at the fishing village of Neues Emskrank. Under the leadership of General Breuer, the militiamen are doing their best to protect the shoreline against raiding fleets of black longships from the north.
As his men fight desperately against the overwhelming might of the warhost, the General dispatches riders to muster as many of the local villagers as they can. The plague has taken its toll on the province, however, and too few can find the courage to fight what seems like a hopeless battle. Instead, a steady stream of refugees flees southward hoping to get out of the path of the encroaching horde of Northmen.
The situation is dire and the Emperor knows that without help, Nordland will soon fall and the enemy will have a clear path to the very heart of the Empire. In a council with his chief advisors, Karl Franz devises the Order of the Griffon, an elite military force answerable only to the Emperor himself, with an authority that supersedes that of the Elector Counts and their provincial generals. Freed from these bureaucratic constraints, the Order will take swift action to unify all defensive measures being engineered in the north.
Soon afterward, emissaries from the Order of the Griffon pour into Nordland with a stern mandate: train and arm those willing to defend the Empire, and compel those who would turn tail and flee to join the fight, by any means necessary.
One such emissary is Viktor Riese, who has been tasked with preparing the townsfolk of Grimmenhagen, a small village just a short ride from Neues Emskrank, to join the battle against the Warhost. The farmers and peasants of Grimmenhagen are forced to trade their plowshares for swords, or risk losing their lands, their families and even their lives.
Grimmenhagen is but one front in the first battles the Empire will fight against Tchar'zanek's warhost. It is a struggle that will be fought both without, against an implacable horde of barbarians bent on total conquest, and within, where the people of the Empire must find the courage to face a deadly foe even as they suffer from a terrible plague. For if the people of Nordland should lose heart and give in to their fear, the Empire may be doomed before the war has even begun.
Read more here.