Getting Started in Age of Sigmar Lore
Without question, one of the hardest parts about breaking into the game of Age of Sigmar is getting a grasp around it's lore. Who are these factions? Why are they fighting? What about all these named characters that novels seem based around? In this article I plan on getting you setup to learn all about the incredible background and story of Games Workshop's awesome title so you can start creating narratives of your own on the tabletop!
I first want to add that I have a YouTube channel with lore and background for every single faction and major story arch in the game, which you can see here!
The first place I always suggest new players start is the Core Book. For those who are just jumping into tabletop miniature games, the core book provides a myriad of resources for you! In it you will find a broad overview of the setting, a brief introduction to all the major players (in this case, the Gods of the Mortal Realms), some history, an explanation of the different armies and maps. All of this is in addition to the basic game rules, so if you have any interest in playing the game it's a great place to start!
The other suggestions here are all novels, but what makes the Core Book so valuable is that it lays all the basic information out in front of you at once. There are so many gods, factions and historical events that it can be too much to cover for a single novel. So the core book acts more like a history textbook, read through it and find something that sounds interesting; then find novels that go into more detail on it.
Kicking off my favorite novels for new folks is Soul Wars by Josh Reynolds. Certainly the longest novel on this list, it depicts a titanic battle between the God of lightning (Sigmar) and god of death (Nagash). I always point people towards this book for a few reasons; first of which is that Josh Reynolds is an fantastic author, especially when it comes to dialogue. Next, it features the two armies that come in the starter set (Stormcast Eternals and Nighthaunt). Lastly, the author does a fantastic job of articulating character motivation, internal struggles and drama.
There is not a whole lot more I can say without spoilers, so I'll leave the reading to you!
Next up is City of Secrets by Nick Horth. If you are a fan of more traditional fantasy settings (bustling towns, taverns, adventure etc) than this is the book for you. Whenever a new player joins that loves books like Lord of the Rings or the old Warhammer Fantasy Battles novels, I point them here. This quick read is a great way to jump into the daily lives of the humans in the Mortal Realms, and centers around a mystery eating at the heart of the city.
It has fantastic characters, fun action scenes and a couple follow up novels in case you love to follow along a series. The basic of the plot is that a chaos worshipping cult has infiltrated a city, and framed one of it's guards for murder. This character than goes on a wild ride to clear his name and purge the evil from his home. Really, its a great read!
Lastly is Blacktalon: First Mark by Andy Clark. This is a really fun adventure book that centers around one of the setting's coolest characters; Neave Blacktalon. A scout, hunter and Stormcast Eternal. This book is wonderful as it makes the demi-god Stormcasts and makes them extremely relatable. We get some insight into their minds, fears and dreams. All of these things go a long way to adding character to the various factions and people in these kinds of novels. Also, this book features my favorite villain of all time, and there's even a twist regarding the origins of Black Talon that will leave you smiling. All in all, a great book. Not a "must buy" if you do not care for Stormcast, but I enjoyed in nonetheless.
Just to add some closing thoughts here: I stand by my suggestion that you read the Core Book and Soul Wars. If, after those, you know what factions really interest you, then I'd suggest finding a book that features them. New books are being released all the time so it's hard to point people in a specific direction for every faction.