Age of Unification Quickstart for Warhammer 40k
A Brief Introduction to the Unification Wars
No doubt you’ve heard of Warhammer 40K. Known for being both grim and dark, the far-future setting spans the galaxy. The Horus Heresy dials back the clock ten thousand years to 30K. Keep turning that dial a few thousand more years and you reach the Unification Wars.
Competing Techno-Barbarian warlords ruled over mankind’s home world of Terra. Despots, such as Kalagann of Ursh, held their claims through force of arms. Almost no remnants of sophisticated society remained. Terra was a place of savagery and horror.
One such warlord, at the time known only as “The Emperor,” set out to unify Mankind. He foresaw a destiny among the stars, and sought to launch a Great Crusade. The galaxy was mankind’s rightful property, and he would claim it.
Some nations were quick to ally with The Emperor. Among them, the Terrawatt clan. They provided The Emperor with advanced weaponry in exchange for lost secrets. Proto-Mechanicum, they would go on to become the Priests of Mars.
Working in secret The Emperor created genetically-engineered super-soldiers. Calling them his Thunder Warriors, he used them to conquer any who would not submit. One by one the other Techno-Barbarian warlords fell before him.
With Terra secured The Emperor launched his Great Crusade to bring order to the galaxy. Mankind’s manifest destiny writ large upon the stars. The Thunder Warriors became the prototype for many of The Emperor’s later creations. The Thunder Warriors begat the Adeptus Astartes, who begat the Adeptus Custodes. At each step the God-Emperor of Mankind refined his gene-craft.
Precious little information exists in the official Warhammer lore about the Unification Wars. If you’re a narratively-inclined hobbyist, there’s a lot of room to build. The chance of “bumping up” against the limits of the lore is low, and the opportunities are sky-high. That idea is either exciting, terrifying, or some intoxicating mix of both.
If you find yourself struggling and unsure where to start, you’re not alone. We want you to come play in the sandbox. I’m going to do my level best to help you get started converting, modeling, and playing in the Age of Unification. You can borrow my toys. I’ve got spare shovels. Let’s dig in.
What is the Age of Unification?
The Age of Unification is a Warhammer hobbyist exploration of the Unification Wars. Using converted 40K models with the Age of Sigmar rules to represent the gritty feel at the end of the Age of Strife.
Stormcast Eternals as Thunder Warriors. Cities of Sigmar as infantry and proto-Militarum. But also Skaven, with warpstone-flavored technology, as the Terrawatt Clan. Sons of Behemat as monstrous mechanical war-suits. Maggotkin of Nurgle as radiation-soaked dwellers of nuclear wastelands.
The Age of Unification is a playground limited only by your imagination. Have you been too intimidated to convert units for 40K or Age of Sigmar? The Unification Wars are a great chance to get started!
What Factions Can I Play?
The lore provides lots of names, but precious few details. We know that “Jermani” existed, and that it was a small techno-barbarian state. That’s about it. “Merica” did too. It was massive, powerful, and composed of hive cities. Which armies would you use to represent them? Well…
So that’s the thing. There’s so much room in the sandbox that it can be kind of overwhelming. Pretty much any army you might want to exist probably did. My guess is you’d like a little more guidance or you wouldn’t be here reading how to get started! So here’s two ways I’d go about building an Age of Unification faction.
Option 1 – Start with Age of Sigmar and Work Forwards
- Pick your favorite Age of Sigmar faction. This could be one you already play, or one you always wanted to play. Remember, you’re going to be using the ruleset, but may not use the models. So pick something for the book and not the Behemoth.
- Imagine them forward 20,000 years or so. You know. Give or take. Anywhere Age of Sigmar refers to “Wizards” they’re now “Psykers.” Crossbows are now proto-bolters.
- Why are they like that? Let your imagination run wild. The magic of Age of Sigmar becomes early technology from 40K. Here’s your chance to explain how. The Orruk Warclans don’t exist on Terra, but battle-hungry Techno-Barbarians do.
Option 2 – Start with 40K and Work Backwards
- Pick your favorite 40K faction. Again, one you play or one you always wanted to play. Remember, you’re going to be using the models, but probably won’t use the ruleset. Pick them because you think they look cool, or you want to explore their backstory. Not because they have a Faction Rule you’re fond of.
- Imagine them backward 20,000 years or so. What would their technology have looked like in the time before Power Armor. Before bolt-rifles. Before power swords. If they’re a xenos or chaos faction, what Terran technology would they represent?
- Why are they like that? The Tyranid hive fleets haven’t arrived, but their models could represent bio-weapons. The Aeldari could represent early attempts at Power Armor.
Where Do I Get Models?
You make them! The Age of Unification is a by-fans for-fans hobbyist project. There’s no official support from Games Workshop. Bashing the models from Warhammer 40K against the weaponry and ruleset of Age of Sigmar is the way.
The Age of Unification is about creativity. It’s about exploring an interesting corner of the Warhammer lore. Whether you’re new to conversion or have a practiced hand, there’s room for you at the table. Sandbox. Playground? I need to pick a metaphor and stick with it. You know what I’m trying to say. Join us!
How Do I Get Involved with the Community?
The best way to get involved is on Twitter!
- Post your conversions with the # ageofunification hashtag.
- Follow along for inspiration as other hobbyists do the same.
- Read more about the Age of Unification at its dedicated home page.
And if you like what I’m doing here, you can find more of it at my weekly newsletter. Check it out here.
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