Fimir Balefiend sighted

Posted by  | Sunday, July 10, 2011  at 4:29 PM  

Another lavish tome made its way into my library of lore this weekend. Storm of Magic is the latest Warhammer release, an expansion treating heretics to a mind-bending choice of extraordinarily powerful new magic spells, artefacts, fulcrums, and scrolls permitting the binding of monsters, beasts and magical characters.

Nestled away in the back of this luxurious publication on page 134 is an amphibious sorcerer called a Fimir Balefiend. Until one of the Games Workshop studio developers named Mat Ward co-wrote the latest Warhammer rulebook and the Storm of Magic expansion, the Fimir had managed to keep a low profile for two decades!


Fimir sorcerers, known as Dirach or sometimes as Balefiends, are detailed as spending prolonged periods in the lands beyond the mists. The Fimir are described in Storm of Magic as amphibious humanoid monsters that haunt bogs, fens, and desolate moorlands in the northern and western Old World. The reason that I am recounting these texts is because that area being described is none other than the Wasteland. Marienburg is sited in the Wasteland territory. The city-port is surrounded by treacherous swamplands known as the Cursed Marsh and it is here that the infamous one-eyed daemon-worshipping Fimir lay in hiding. Their strongholds wreathed in thick mist produced through magic means by their sorcerers to shield their craggy fortresses from prying eyes.


The quality of the Storm of Magic hardback publication easily justifies the price tag. It has been masterfully produced with a magnetic front cover and spinning dial representing the Eight Winds of Magic, reminding me of the party game 'Twister!'


One of the players in my campaign set in Marienburg is using a Cult of the Possessed gang. We don't have the original Mordheim miniatures available but I do have a selection of suitable Citadel miniatures we can use; Fimir warriors from the Heroquest game plus a couple of the metal miniatures released during the late 80's.


The reasons for Fimir being the perfect choice to represent a Possessed warband is not obvious. Anyone who us unfamiliar with the Warhammer background concerning Fimir will mistake them for Beasts of Chaos. This the 'Common View'. Fimir are not beastmen, beastmen are not amphibious! Fimir are described as a dwindling and reclusive race. Beastmen are widespread, plaguing the Old World and beyond. Comparing the two is worse than comparing Elves to Men. They are like chalk and cheese.

Common views concerning Fimir are judged by their appearance rather than their lore. Fimir appear bestial and primal, who occasionally raid to take captives and steal food. Some or all of these behaviours are demonstrated by men, orcs, ogres, gors, chaos dwarfs and werecreatures to mention a few.

Fimir society and their gruesome habits are historically described in a couple of the 1st edition Warhammer Roleply sourcebooks in addition to classic Warhammer rulebooks and the original Warhammer Armies publication. It's gripping stuff! The less detail concerning some of their less than salubrious activities the better. In this day and age it is sufficient to say that such creatures grim objective is to destabilise the barrier between the mortal world and the Realm of Chaos, to regain favour with the Chaos Gods.


There is a matriarchal aspect to the bog dwellers social structure to mention. Amongst the Balefiends, the Dirach sorcerers are historically subservient to the Meargh females. The lore is indicative that powerful spellcasters amongst Fimir are their leaders.

Campaign material concerning 'possessed' Fimir warriors is included in the RPG book 'Dying of the Light'. An excellent sourcebook set mostly around the Wasteland, with parts being set within Marienburg itself! These characters with a daemon bound to their physical form by a magister either wind up behaving (and appearing physically) like Possessed, Dark Souls or Mutants. Warriors too weak to survive daemonic possession typically end up dead or worse. The scenario 'Burn Them!' was scribed by none other than Black Library author Sandy Mitchell as pictured on this blog!


Like the druchii, beastmen and human followers of Chaos, the Fimir entreat with daemons, carrying out morbid practices of dark magic and human sacrifice. They would use Chaos rituals and more than a little of daemon lore. The weapons list of both CotP and Beastmen warbands are similar. Theres are no centauroid mutants mentioned specifically relating to the one-eyed marsh phantoms. The characteristics for 'Beastmen' in CotP warbands as opposed to traditional Gors are very different (much to Christian Templin's dismay). Warriors with '2 Wounds' compare favourably with the elite Fimm described in the lore.

After scratching around for enough proof through research, in my scholar's view, I find the evidence all very compelling. While I wouldn't dare loremasters of renown to argue against my reasoning, I don't see much rationale that indicates a dedicated warband list is necessary for Fimir. Especially when you consider the low profile that their mysterious kind has maintained for hundreds of years, their covert behaviour bears comparison to the actions of a Chaos cult.

The next time the Balefiend's cyclopean eye turns its attention on the ebb and flow of the Winds of Magic it might realise that magical power is available just beyond the city wall of Marienburg.