A Storm Upon The Horizon
There are many gods worshiped in the Empire. Each of the following represent the major Imperial Cults sanctioned for worship.
All of the Imperial cults have a general acceptance of the others, but that being said, some of the more extreme adherents of one may view other faiths as misguided at best or heretics at worst.
Of the many Imperial Cults, there are three major cults (Sigmar, Shallya, and Morr) and six minor cults (Manann, Myrmidia, Ranald, Taal and Rhya, Ulric, and Verena)
The predominant faith in The Empire, this cult is founded on the worship of Sigmar Heldenhammer, the founder of The Empire and its patron god, and is bound to the political, cultural, and national identity of the Empire.
Born to the Unberogen tribe in approximately -30 I.C., Sigmar’s birth was heralded by the appearance of a Twin-Tailed Comet (often an omen of good and ill through out Imperial History) in the night sky.
Despite the nomadic and tribal existence of his youth, Sigmar grew strong and intelligent. At approximately age 15, Sigmar led an attack against a marauding tribe of orcs who had, unbeknownst to Sigmar captured the Dwarfen High King Kurgan Ironbeard of Karaz-A-Karak. Slaying the orcs and freeing the High King, Sigmar forged the alliance of Men and Dwarfs that has lasted to this day. To express his gratitude and seal the alliance with Men, The High King presented Sigmar with his warhammer Ghal Maraz (“Skullsplitter”).
Over the next few decades, Sigmar united the various tribes of Men, and in -1 I.C. lead an expedition of Men and Dwarfs to Black Fire Pass to defeat a massive orc Waaagh that threatened all. It was after this battle that Sigmar was crowned Emperor Sigmar Heldenhammer.
As Emperor, Sigmar established the City-States and Provinces of the Empire. Each would be led by the leaders of the various tribes of Men, and each would carry a Runefang, Dwarf-forged swords symbolizing their office.
His reign continued until 50 I.C. when he put aside the crown, and strode west to discover the lands that lay beyond the World’s Edge Mountains.
About 2 decades after his disappearance, a burgeoning cult that began worshiping Sigmar came to prominence due to the efforts of Johann Helsturm. Helsturm claimed that he had received visions to found the Sigmarite Church as an organization that would unite all men, protect the weak and innocent, and defend the Empire against the predations of Chaos and the practitioners of Dark Magic.
The daughter of the goddess Verena and the god Morr, Shallya is the goddess of healing and childbirth. She is often portrayed as a young maiden clad in white gowns and perpetually weeping at the brutal nature of the world. Shallya is often symbolized by a dove as well.
Her temples are some of the most attended by all manner of Imperial citizen, whether they are seeking solace for injury or illness, or seeking redemption and forgiveness. It is said that Shallya’s tears are a balm for the soul.
Shallya’s priests are predominantly women (though some are male) and almost without exception all of Shallya’s followers adhere to a strict belief in pacifism. Occasionally, a priest tasked with providing Shallya’s mercy on the Imperial Army campaigns may carry a small razor-sharp dagger for defense, or to ease the suffering of a wounded soul in pain.
While Shallya’s followers are by and large a peaceful group, they do harbor an enmity for Nurgle, the Chaos God of Pestilence, Sickness, and Decay.
The God of Death and Dreams, Morr isn’t a punitive deity or a vindictive one. Morr and his black-clad priest exist to escort the souls of the recently departed safely to Shadowrealm. Morr doesn’t seek out souls to cull, as all souls come to him eventually, but he and his priests are known for assisting Witch Hunters and other heroes as they fight against Necromancers, the Undead, and any who would prevent or subvert the soul’s natural journey to the Shadowrealm
Usually depicted as a tall, thin, brooding man cloaked in black robes, Morr’s symbols are the raven, the black roses, the scythe, an hourglass, and the lintel of a stone portal.
Morr’s priests can be found throughout the old world, but actual worship of Morr is rare. Usually, bereaved families pray to him for an intercession on behalf of a recently deceased loved one. Morr’s priests usually are the ones to receive the body, wash it, and prepare it for internment in Morr’s Gardens, large cemeteries surrounded by high walls and adorned with large beds of black roses. Lay persons are kept out of the gardens save for one day a year in which they can visit the tombs of their loved ones.
While the devotees of Morr are predominantly priests (and mostly male), there is a knightly order known as The Knights of Morr who protect the various holy sites of the cult, provide protection to traveling priests, and are tasked with the persecution of those who would disturb the resting dead.
Taal and Rhya
Much of this information comes from Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy Battles Product, FFG’s Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, and HammerWiki