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The Skaven are a race of malevolent rat-men that inhabit the underground of the Warhammer world. The tunnels of their vast under-empire reach from the steaming jungles of the South Lands to the snow-covered steppes of Kislev, from the western borders of Estalia and Bretonnia to the lost realms of the Far East. Their capital is the mysterious city of Skavenblight, hidden in the centre of the foul marshes lying on the western borders of Tilea. There the mighty Lords of Decay, ruthless rulers of all Skaven, sit in the Council of Thirteen, scheming and planning in preparation for the time when their armies will emerge from their subterranean realm to raze the entire surface world and rule over its ruins. This is the ultimate ambition of the Skaven race. The only thing that keeps them in check is the constant internal strife between the clans that make up their society, but one day the Grey Seers, who speak for the Horned Rat himself, will unify them and lead them to inevitable victory.

Skaven are a characterful, black parody of mankind and ultimately embody everything that is wrong with humanity, only more so. In addition to being cowardly, Skaven cheat, steal, and endlessly stab each other in the back for their own promotion. They will, quite literally, eat each other alive. Skaven are never culpable, being wholly unable to take the blame for even the most obvious and egregious errors entirely of their own making. But, unlike humans (at least, the better sorts), Skaven embrace this total lack of scruples or honour. In fact, the better at scheming and double-crossing a Skaven is, and the more swaggeringly arrogant he acts about it, the more suitable he is for leadership of a Warlord clan!

A Skaven army is a ragged mass of vicious cut-throats, eager to usurp civilisation and nest in its broken ruins. They are a multitudinous horde with a staggering amount of troops at their disposal, from rank after rank of warriors, such as Clanrats, Stormvermin, or Skavenslaves, to packs of war-beasts like Giant Rats or the hulking Rat Ogres. Specialist troops, such as the Poisoned Wind Globadiers or stealthy death squads of Gutter Runners, march alongside the larger blocks of infantry. Towering over it all are the devilish war machines of a wickedly clever race. Masters of an insane blend of magic and technology, the Skaven can field a number of infernal devices of destruction, such as the infamous Doomwheel or the highly feared war engine of ruination known as the Screaming Bell.

The Skaven are the ultimate scavenger army and they are led to battle by a Warlord or a Grey Seer, the powerful mage-rats that claim to be the prophets of their foul vermin-god, the Great Horned Rat.

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