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Video Game / Warhammer: Mark of Chaos

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An Imperial War Priest of Sigmar and a Chaos Champion, teaching us that warring over religion is cool as hell.

"There is no escape from Chaos, it marks us all."

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos is a Real-Time Tactics computer game by Black Hole Entertainment and co-published by Namco Bandai Games and released in November 14 2006 in the US, with a subsequent 23 November release in PAL territories. It is set in Games Workshop's wonderfully bleak and MANLY Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe. The gameplay is by and large a simplified version of Total Warnote . The base game featured the Empire, the High Elves, the Warriors of Chaos and the Skaven as playable factions, with the Dwarfs and Greenskins also making an appearance as a limited roster of mercenary units, and the Vampire Counts also appearing as AI-only opponents for a few missions. An expansion, Battle March, was released 2nd September of 2008, which upgraded the Greenskins to a fully fledged faction with a full roster and added the Dark Elves as a new one.

The original game featured the very Germanic Empire and the mighty Norse-inspired and daemon worshiping Hordes of Chaos duking it out in a (pretty good) campaign written by Games Workshop's own Gavin Thorpe. The campaigns mainly feature the exploits of the troubled and driven Ostermark captain: Stefan Von Kessel, and the mighty and bloodthirsty Chaos Champion: Thorgar the Blooded One. And the various supporting characters and other races they recruit to aid them in their quests in an Old World set a year since the end of the Great War against Chaos, fought by Emperor Magnus against the Warlord Asavar Kul.

Stefan, the last scion the deposed ruling family of Ostermark, his father and grandfather executed for Chaos Worship and his own face branded with the titular Mark of Chaos leads the armies of Ostermark in a desperate bid to beat back the Northmen Hordes encroaching the Empire at the behest of the Count Otto Von Gruber. But he soon finds not that all is as it seems in the Empire.

Thorgar the Blooded One, a powerful Norse warrior and champion of the mighty Chaos Gods is visited by a herald of the Gods who tells him that his dread deities have set their gaze upon him and have chosen him to take up the mantle of the fallen Asavar Kul. Thorgar must unite the clans and warbands of the North into a mighty host that shall sweep aside his foes and ultimately bring about the End Times.

The expansion pack, Battle March, deals with the aftermath of the invasion of Thorgar (and it's not quite made clear who won) and the encroaching Greenskins who seek to take the scraps of what is left. Led by the brutal Warboss Gorebash and his shaman adviser Wazog; the Orcs and Goblins spill down from the mountains in a mighty WAAAGH! following a set of arcane signs leading them to battle, each leading to one more perilous than the last. Concurrently, the Dark Elves of Naggaroth use the chaos to launch their newest attack against their High Elven cousins of Ulthuan. But both factions are more entwined than they appear at first glance...

Besides the games themselves, Mark of Chaos received a novelization penned by Anthony Renolds. The games themselves received a mixed reception; primarily praise came from the game's impressive visuals and cinematic flair of combat. However criticism came from the lack of complexity in the actual gameplay and the glitch prone nature of multiplayer. Though this was fixed in later patches. Long loading times and a lack of faithfulness to Warhammer's in depth tactical gameplay were also cited. Nevertheless, the game was mostly well received, earning a 70% score on average and from some reviewers an 80. And proved popular enough to spawn an expansion.

Mark of Chaos, being a Warhammer Fantasy Battle game, takes it's own spin on its source material's wondrous background. For more information of these tropes and how they apply to Mark of Chaos, see Warhammer.


"Warhammer: Tropes of Chaos":

  • Ax-Crazy: Would you expect anything else from the Hordes of Chaos? The Orcs and Dark Elves also qualify.
  • The Atoner: Stefan starts out as this for his father's sins. When he realizes they were innocent, however...
  • Artificial Stupidity: A lot of it.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hero units in general; but Stefan Von Kessel is a relatively high ranking Imperial officer and can take out Orc Warbosses on his own. Exaggerated when he becomes a Elector Count of the Empire following Gruber's defeat. He can duel Thorgar the Blooded One, a Chaos Daemon Prince in single combat and win.
  • Bad Boss: Otto Von Gruber is ceaselessly critical and ungrateful of Stefan's efforts to combat the Norse.
  • Badass Army: A lot of 'em.
  • Beard of Barbarism and Beard of Evil: The Northmen of the Hordes of Chaos bear these with pride.
  • Badass Normal: The Empire doesn't have the incredible strength and skill of the Chaos-worshiping Northern barbarians, nor the sheer resilience and numbers of the Greenskins, nor the awesome magic of the Elves or the horrific technology of the Skaven. No, they're just the Holy Roman Empire transplanted into a hellish Low Fantasy mirror of medieval Europe enthralled to unspeakable evil. And they power on through with only their faith in their gods, sheer courage, discipline, and big, big guns.
  • Badass Preacher: Imperial Warrior Priests of Sigmar defend their flock by taking a massive warhammer to anything threatening it and are often found marching with Imperial armies wherever they are needed.
  • Bald of Evil: Warriors of Chaos without their helmets have this and a bit of Horned Humanoid.
  • Barbarian Hero: Thorgar is this to his men. As well as The Chosen One.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Chaos and the Greenskins.
  • Big Bad: Thorgar is the one for Mark of Chaos. Lilaeth the Dark Elf sorceress is arguably the big bad of Battle March, being the one who orchestrated the plot via manipulating Gorbash for her own purposes.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Thorgar has to deal with two as he begins to gather his warband; Kraag Bloodwound — a Khornate champion, and The Flylord of Nurgle. Of the two, Kraag is the tougher opponent. Justified in that the Norse champions are highly individualistic and charismatic; and the death of Asavar Kul presents a power vacuum and the opportunity for any skillful champion to rise to glory.
    • In the expansion the assassin Kaeleth attempts to usurp the leadership of the Dark Elves from the sorceress Lilaeth. He fails.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Shadow Warrior who saves the Warrior Priest in the opening cinematic. Also Stefan's army rescuing Brother Gunther from the Skaven as he holds a church's front door against the swarm that's burned down the rest of the town he is found in.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The Empire is evil in mundane terms, being a repressive hellhole, but ultimately well intentioned and the most powerful force of order in the Old World. And the Hordes of Chaos serve the Chaos Gods.
  • Black Knight: All of the Warriors of Chaos in general, and Thorgar the Blooded One in particular.
    • Reikguard knights too.
    • The expansion also give us Dark Elven Cold One Knights.
  • Blood Knight: The entire Hordes of Chaos faction; given, you know, they're Vikings. But Thorgar stands out yet again, and becomes a paragon par excellence when he pledges himself to the Chaos God Khorne. The Greenskins take this trope up to eleven. War is basically the reason they exist.
  • Beneficial Disease: The servants of the Chaos God Nurgle.
  • BFS: Wielded one handed by Knights of Chaos, and in both hands by Imperial Greatswords and the Swordmasters of Hoeth.
  • Big Red Devil: Bloodletters of Khorne and Thorgar as a Daemon Prince. Though his skin colour is more like dried, blackened blood.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Northmen again.
  • The Cameo: The famed High Elven mage Teclis makes a few brief appearances during the Empire campaign, while Malekith, the Witch King of Naggoroth and lord of the Dark Elves, shows up in cutscenes during the Battle March campaign, threatening to rip out Lilaeth's soul if she fails him.
    • As a whole faction, the Vampire Counts also appear in a handful of missions as AI opponents with a limited roster of units.
  • The Cavalry: Stefan is this in a couple of missions. One of the Imperial missions also has an optional objective that requires you to hold a signal horn for thirty seconds. Once the timer runs out, an Imperial-aligned mercenary army appears on the enemy's flank and rushes in with mounted Knights and riflemen to act as this for Stefan.
  • Church Militant: The Church of Sigmar and it's hammer wielding, knight-templar Warrior Priests.
  • Civil Warcraft: Thorgar deals with his fair share as he unites the Chaos tribes. The Orcs of the sequel as well.
  • Colonel Badass: Empire Captains are typically the toughest hero unit in the army they lead, Stefan Von Kessel being a prime example.
  • Combat by Champion: The Challenge mechanic allows your Hero Unit in proxemity to an enemy's (or vice versa) to issue a challenge (similar to the tabletop game). The heroes square off, their armies spectate, and the losing team is sent packing. There are even sidequest battles that are nothing but duels.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: Stefan Von Kessel starts out the loyal servant of the Count Otto Von Gruber and tirelessly works to redeem his family's name after the treason of his father and his worship of Chaos. After meeting up with Brother Gunther however, Stefan learns that it was Otto Von Gruber and Captain Steimer who were the worshipers of Chaos all along, and not his father and grandfather; Von Gruber having framed him in order to deflect suspicion of himself and to ascend to the office of Count of Ostermark. Stefan is very angry at this.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The Holy Roman Empire with steam-powered tanks and hammer-brandishing bald warrior priests vs. brutal, war-loving, daemon-worshipping Vikings. The expansion adds barbaric British football hooligan Orcs vs. Wicked Cultured Velociraptor-riding Dark Elves.
  • The Chosen One: Thorgar is the Chosen of the Gods in general and Khorne in particular, and anyone who disputes that will not last long against him.
  • The Dreaded: Thorgar the Blooded One, so much so that the Elves have a prophecy about him rising up and uniting the Northmen, "rising up from blood and ashes". And they are scared shitless of that; so much so that they contemplate fleeing to Ulthuan rather than facing him.
  • Dual Wielding: The Warriors of Chaos dual wield giant axes and hammers.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Some sidequests pit a group of hero units and nothing else against a horde of enemies, with the promise of a sackfull of goodies at the end of it.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Lesser Daemons of Chaos. And Daemon Prince Thorgar.
  • The Empire: Why, the Empire of course.
  • Evil All Along: Count Otto Von Gruber and Captain Steimer.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Hordes of Chaos and Skaven cannot say ANYTHING without shearing massive scraps of ham.
    • The Greenskins and The Dark Elves are also extremely hammy.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Chaos Sorcerers, oddly enough. Sudobaal in particular, though.
    • In Battle March there are the Dark Elf sorceresses who actually practice 'Dhar'(Dark Magic)
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Hordes of Chaos again.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The brutal, omnicidal, chaos worshiping Northmen against the fascist, oppressive, corrupt Empire.
    • This is all over the place in the expansion with the two factions added being the barbaric, bloodthirsty orcs, and the sadistic, hate filled Dark Elves.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Chaos worshiping Northerners are derisively called scum by the Empire, (discounting the fact that the Southern clans of the North are relatively civilized and are even on friendly terms with the South in some cases) and the Northmen regard the Imperials as weaklings and effeminate cowards, no better suited to war and manhood than newborn children.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Hordes of Chaos are Vikings, the Empire is the Holy Roman Empire with a bit of the medieval Netherlands, the Skaven elicit a bit of Nazi Germany in their experimentation, the Elves are Greek, and the Greenskins are British football hooligans.
  • A Father to His Men: Stefan and Thorgar are this to varying extents. But Thorgar somewhat moreso, due to the largely un-regimented nature of the Hordes of Chaos allowing him to have a more personal touch with his warriors; a truer sense of brotherhood.
    Thorgar: The elves shall weep in memory of the day Thorgar became their foe. We make for the sea of claws; tell our brave warriors to make ready for war.
  • Four-Star Badass: Reiksmarshall Trenkenhoff. Commanded Emperor Magnus' forces at the apocalyptic Battle of Kislev shortly before the game begins, now commands the entire Imperial Army and periodically appears to give Stefan new marching orders. Stefan is quite impressed with him, and eventually the feeling is mutual; Trenkenhoff personally congratulates Stefan on not only successfully defending Talabheim against Thorgar's army, but being elevated to the position of Elector-Count of Ostermark by the Emperor.
    Trenkenhoff: A finely won victory, Count von Kessel.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Reiksmarshall talks about needing some of your soldiers to defend against a secondary attack during the Empire endgame while you handle the main battle, but none of your army will be lost/given up.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We aren't shown how Sudobaal dies, but the scene starts with Thorgar raising his axe, a cut to black and his last gasps of life.
  • Grim Up North: The Northmen of the Hordes call it home, and they love every second of it.
  • Hellish Horse: The daemonic steeds of the Knights of Chaos. They even have horns growing out of their skulls.
  • Heroic Build: Everyone in the Chaos faction is a massively ripped barbarian warrior who puts Arnie to shame.
  • The Horde: Shockingly, the Hordes of Chaos. And the Greenskins too.
  • Horny Vikings: The Hordes of Chaos again.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Stefan when meeting the Reiksmarshall.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The Warriors of Chaos threaten to snap your fingers if you irritate them.
    • In the same vein, Thorgar threatens to rip your head off and hollow it out into his mead-cup if you get on his nerves.
  • Large Ham: Thorgar is one of the hammiest characters in any Warhammer game ever. One of his select quotes is basically him roaring at you.
    • Everyone is hammy in this game.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The Greenskins to the Dark Elves in the Battle March campaign. The Greenskins are violent, destructive and all around a menace to the forces of order. The Dark Elves are all these things and much worse.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: In the intro to Battle March. First a group of Khornate Warriors of Chaos attempt to slaughter some Empire troops while replacing the Imperial flag atop the archway above them with a banner of Khorne. But before they can do anything more than toss an axe into one's back, a troll busts its way through the wall, crumps the Empire troops and then proceeds to swat the Chaos warriors aside as it marches through. As their leader struggles to his feet, a vast horde of Orcs comes streaming through, some stopping to finish him and his men off before continuing the charge, while two Orcs replace the Khorne banner with their own tribal banner as one of them shouts "WAAAGH!" loudly. The message is a powerful one.
  • Moody Mount: Among the Northmen, riding a daemon steed is proof enough of your badassery, because those things are highly intelligent, and hateful. And it takes a lot of grit to make one listen to you.
  • Multiple Endings: The Battle March campaign, which culminates in a battle between Gorbash and Lilaeth, with the player choosing who to play as. In Gorbash's ending, he goes on to ransack the Empire, but eventually grows bored and takes his armies beyond the World's Edge Mountains in search of stronger enemies. In Lilaeth's ending, she hunts down the remaining high elves within the Empire, driving them to retreat back to Ulthuan, before returning to Naggaroth in triumph.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The cinematic trailer features an appearance by a Bloodthirster of Khorne, no such creature appears in the final game.
  • Power Up Mount: Purchasing a mount for your hero makes him faster and dramatically increases his hit points.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Damn near everyone. But the Northmen of the Hordes are more extreme about it than others. Second and Third go to the Dwarves and Orcs.
  • Real Men Love Khorne/Sigmar: Warhammer is the game that teaches you that fanaticism is not only cool, but completely badass.
  • RPG Elements: Aside from the wargear options unique to Warhammer; your heroes can also go up 40 levels and get the appropriate skill points to be spent in three unique specializations — combat, duel, and command. Your squads also can level up, which increases their number. Fortunate, for much like in Dark Omen, any losses you sustain are permanent and must be recouped with gold; and squads are and can be Killed Off for Real.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Sudobaal's is executed by Thorgar for his betrayal.
    Thorgar: The Gods favour ME and have abandoned you, foul Shaman. I was Their chosen, not you. You could have shared in the greatness that will be mine, but you have thrown it away!
    Sudobaal: Favoured? Chosen?! You will die on these shores with your dreams unfulfilled, the laughter of the thirsting Gods ringing in your ears! You're NOTHING without me! I led you to this place! I raised you up in the Eyes of the Gods!! Now the elves are coming back! They know you are here! Without me, you will be destroyed! I have no regrets! And I expect no mercy...
    Thorgar: And you will receive none. *Gory Discretion Shot*
  • RPG Elements: Hero units level up and get skill points, and there are dungeon crawler maps.
  • Smug Snake: Several of the Chaos champions Thorgar has to deal with before becoming a Daemon Prince. Also Count Gruber and Captain Steimer in the Empire campaign.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Hordes of Chaos of course. And the Orcs too, but they're comparatively much less psychotically violent and evil.
    • The Dark Elves also sport these.
  • The Starscream: Sudobaal, the Herald who sets Thorgar on his quest from the Gods. As he wants to take Asavar Kul's power for himself and escape his incorporeal state. Thorgar does not let that stand.
    • In the Expansion the Dark Elf Assassin Kaeleth is this to the sorceress Lilaeth. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Stripperiffic: The Dark Elf Sorceresses wear extremely revealing robes, while the witch elves wear what amounts to metal lingerie.
  • Villainous Friendship: Between Thorgar and Olaf. Which is especially interesting; because Thorgar is a favoured Champion of Chaos and exalted in the eyes of his patron - Khorne. He has strength and skill beyond both men and daemons and commands a warhost unlike any other. Olaf is a marauder, a mighty warrior, but simple cannon fodder in the eyes of the capricious gods he serves. Despite this, the two clearly have immense respect and admiration for each other; evident in Olaf's considerable relief in how Thorgar has survived his trial in the realm of Chaos and how Thorgar hails him with the honorific 'berserker son of Norsca', and his general interaction with him. Which shows that Olaf is not only an honourable man, but also a supremely badass warrior that he has Thorgar's comradeship. It's also telling in that this continues on despite Thorgar becoming a fucking DAEMON PRINCE.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sudobaal has a MASSIVE one when his attempt to kill Thorgar and steal Asavar Kul's power fails.
  • World of Badass: As per the source material.
  • World of Ham: It's a Warhammer game, what did you expect?
  • You Have Failed Me: When Gruber is defeated by Stefan, Nurgle has no further use for him; the rot inside the former Count's body rapidly turns him into a putrid puddle.