Total War

Enormous Amount of New Cathay Lore

I’m aware that the recent interview Andy Hall did with Loremaster of Sotek/Greatbook of Grudges has already been posted, but for those who don’t have time to watch an almost 2hr long video, or for my deaf mates, I decided to take notes while watching it.

Andy Hall, lead writer for Total War Warhammer 3, was reading from and referring to the unreleased Warhammer Fantasy Cathay Army Book, just dumping tons and tons of new lore. I’ve tried to categorise the new lore thematically, but the interview was pretty broad. Feel free to fill in any gaps for stuff I missed.

The Dragons:

The Moon Empress: She leads the agents of Cathay and commands the clandestine spy networks of the empire, “Mistress of the Ancestral Realms, Commander of the Imperial Agents, and Master of the Moon Winds.” She and her agents have a big role in snuffing out clandestine cults. Mention of the “many eyed crow-men” of the Empress. Sound a bit like secret police, terrifying for people who see them.

– She often goes about the empire in disguise talking to common people. Honestly she sounds kinda spooky. The spymaster who could be anyone.

– She’s named, Kuei Yin (Quei? I’m not great at Chinese spelling, apologies).

The Children: – There were 9(!!!) dragon children, but 4 have been "lost to time". Not confirmed dead, but no one knows what happened to them. Seems like that gives Games Workshop an open-ended way of introducing rogue dragon kids down the line. The remaining 5 children rule Cathay. They are:

Miao Ying – Black/Storm Dragon of the North

Zhao Ming – White/Iron Dragon of the West

(name not given) – Male Jade/Wood Dragon – ruler of the central provinces. Described as "reliable" but stodgy and obsessed with protocol. Keeps the other children in order. Sounds like a great candidate for a FLC who focuses on building tall.

Li Dao – Vermillion/Fire Dragon (master of the burning winds and lord of the phoenix) – Male Ruler of the South, described as bitter that Miao Ying gets all the attention for defending the north, when he has the challenging and thankless task of protecting the empire from Ind and Kuresh (also both Ind and Kuresh name drop strongly hints they're getting expanded down the line.) Also has a fiery temper, har har.

Yin Ying – Azure/Sea Dragon, Female Ruler of the East, admiral of the Grand Dragon Fleet (nippon hints?). Apparently she’s more impulsive than the others and has an oddly expansionist outlook. In the past she led a failed naval invasion of the Southlands. Apparently she’s Andy Hall’s favourite dragon child.

– Dragon Children confirmed thousands of years old, but don’t pre-date formation of Cathay.

– Definite species divide between Cathayan and ‘Western’ dragons, different origins. Cathayan Dragons look down on western dragons, see them as inferior for allowing themselves to be ridden. Cathayan culture looks down on high elves for riding them, which seems mad to them.

– No other Cathayan Dragons, other than the Emperor, Moon Empress, and the kiddies.

– Hint about the four other dragon children who are “unaccounted for” with reference to the one Archaeon fought in lore. Cathayan dragons are apparently corruptible by chaos. He stressed that four missing dragons could be in a bad way.

Cathayan Culture:

– Cathayan Dragons also look down on most gods for wanting to be worshipped instead of simply wanting to guide the world. They refuse to be recognised as gods and it seems to be implied that Cathayan culture does not permit theistic religion. Ancestor worship is huge in Cathay, however.

– Ancestor Worship is not centralised. It is conducted on a household level. No grand temples.

– Dragon Emperor and Moon Empress confirmed to have a specific goal they are working towards, not just maintaining Cathay. Also implied it may or may not be in the best interests of the Cathayan humans.

– Hinted that Cathayan Dragons (or at least some of them) dislike humans because of their links to the old ones. Some look at them as animals or pets, which is part of the reason other dragons see Zhao Ming as mad and undignified. However it’s also hinted at that part of the reason he is so friendly with humans is because he knows it pisses off the other dragons, which is hilarious. Apparently he goes out of his way to irritate them because they exclude him.

– Confirmed lots of different tribal subcultures within Cathay that they will “get to” with dlc. Monkey warriors and dragon monks examples.

– Discussion of the hierarchal layers of Dragon Blooded, with dragon blood becoming more dilute over generations. The closer they are to pure dragon, the higher their rank in society. Only those with high amount of dragon blood can use Ying and Yang magic. Implied that lower magic users (alchemist/astromancers) are also dragon blooded, but more dilute.

– Celestial Dragon Monks: Confirmed in Cathay. Not a lot of new info, just that this is something that is real and may be elaborated on in the future (i.e. DLC). Name may be different when they are released, also.

Locations:

Fu Chao – Cosmopolitan sea trade city. Palace of the Sea Dragon is there. This city is full of ghettos for different races, “may even be most cosmopolitan city in the world.”

Bei Chai – Another eastern city, dark reputation for harbouring the cults of Tzeentch. Mention of a Cult of the Painted Skin growing here. Confirmed that other chaos gods struggle to get a foothold in Cathay.

Celestial City in the clouds above Wei Jin – Home of the Jade Court. Location of the Wu Zing Compass, through which the Emperor directs the winds of magic to strengthen different areas of the empire in need, however only “when the winds are in harmony”.

Great Dragon River – Carries on where the Great Bastion Ends. Rumoured that one of the missing children lies underneath that river. Also seen as the gateway to the underworld, you lose your soul by trying to cross it. No invading army has been able to survive the crossing.

Imperial Cathay (just south of Northern Provinces) – Small region ruled by Emperor and Empress directly.

Central Cathay – Breadbasket of empire. Ruled by Jade Dragon. Reasonably safe. If you want to life in Warhammer world, this is a pretty good choice. Even here though, forests are risky. Ruled by city of Shang Wu, big trade and farming area, point where many great rivers meet. Rivers are important highways in Cathay, much like real china.

Eastern Cathay -Wealthiest region, numerous major cities, lots of trade, large high elf population, as well as other races from across the world. Home of Dragon Fleets which guard against dark elf raiders and Nippon.

Western Cathay – Other than city of Shan Yang and the Iron Dragon, there is a place called the Tower of Ashir, as well as the warpstone desert. In this desert caravans have to use mirrored shields to protect from “warhammer radiation”.

Southern Cathay – lots of foothills rolling into mountains of heaven, lots of tribes, unruly region due to monkey king presence. Also mention of “the occasional tiger man village”.

The Great Bastion – Great Bastion built minus 1800. In history there is a mythic telling of how it was built by the dragons: Every brick fashioned by the Iron Dragon, breathed upon by the Fire Dragon, Blessed by the Emperor. Reality though, thousands of people used to build wall.

– Celestial Dragon Emperor is apparently linked (magically?) to the great bastion, bolstering its strength. Apparently if it falls, so too will he. Almost like they’ve become one entity.

– Confirmed that Mazdamundi’s moving of mountains messed up the bastion for a while and Cathay was flooded with chaos.

– The bastion does occasionally get breached, but he stressed that it’s rare and that Cathay has never been conquered.

– Terracotta Sentinels built into the walls, and they apparently do activate. Don’t know if this translates to in game, though.

– Apparently many peasants don’t even know Terracotta Sentinels are anything more than statues, due to how rarely they’re activated within Cathay’s borders.

Magic:

– All magic is divided first into Yin and Yang, then from there into their elements/individual winds. This suggests that Yin and Yang magic is created by pulling from multiple winds at once to create spells.

– Lore of Yang – High Celestial magic, associated with Dragon Emperor.

– Lore of Yin – Dark Celestial Magic, associated with Moon Empress. Close to lore of Dark, but not evil like dark elves.

– Magical Art of Fen Shi – Practiced by the. Dragons, basically hybrid lores.

– Only officially sanctioned magic other than Yin and Yang is astromancy. All others are not sanctioned due to the fact that Tzeentch can easily infiltrate through magical cults. Therefore anything other than Astromancy is considered risky and unsafe.

– Only reason Alchemists are permitted is because the Iron Dragon supports them, and he has the trust of his mother, the Moon Empress. Given that she’s responsible for dealing with chaos cults, it seems like this is a point of weakness for her.

Enemies of Cathay

– Monkey King located in the mountains of heaven, which border Cathay and Ind.

– Exact date for lengthy disappearance of Dragon Emperor and Moon Empress: 1999 (Warhammer Y2K confirmed) During this time the monkey king seizes power WITH THE HELP OF CLAN ESHIN, and installs the Eshin Warlord Kasheek(?) as his advisor. The Emperor and Empress return in 2380 and cast down the Monkey King.

– Monkey Warriors confirmed. “second most populous creature other than humans in Cathay.” Known to sometimes fight in the armies of Cathay.

– Nagas of Kuresh mentioned! Apparently the Fire Dragon is often required to broker a truce with the Monkey king in order to get his help defending from Ind and the Nagas of Kuresh, which the Monkey King thinks is hilarious. In fact, this is part of the reason why the dragons haven’t attempted to purge the area of the Monkey King and his warriors.

– The Sea Dragon confirmed to protect the eastern coast from pirates, Dark Elves, and “another human nation that I’m not going to name” Nippon.

– Jade Vampires Confirmed! A lord fled from Nefarata and went to Cathay, seeding a new Jade bloodline. Didn’t want to say any more than that.

– Clan Eshin’s main nest is somewhere under the warpstone desert. No new lore (yet) on their origins.

– Constant issues with Dark Elves, who raid and take slaves constantly on the eastern coast.

– Chaos from the north and the cults of tzeentch inside their borders.

– Ogres in the west, they’ve been at war with them multiple times. Also suggested theory that Tzeentch may have had a hand in the Great Maw going so wrong for Cathay.

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