Chaos Wars is the fantasy setting created by Ral Partha Enterprises in 1985, relaunched by Iron Wind Metals in 2015, and now produced as the primary product of Ral Partha Legacy Ltd.
The Chaos Wars Fantasy Battles game allows for two or more players to command large (or small) fantasy armies in battle against one another using tabletop miniatures.
Players choose from a wide variety of Fantasy Troop types, Dragons, Giants, Monsters, Artillery, Chariots, Air Ships, Heroes, Wizards, Clerics, and more to build an army.
Designed with intentionally simple game mechanics, this game is ideal for introducing new hobbyists to miniatures gaming. The versatility and ability to customize forces ensures that veteran table top gamers will find new avenues to explore.
Iron Wind Metals produces over 2,000 different metal miniatures to be used in this game, or for other gaming, collecting, or painting purposes.
The Chaos Wars project is driven by our customers and the volunteers who desire to see it thrive. RPL offers opportunities for volunteers to join our demo team, paint miniatures for display, and generate artwork and writing to add to the official canon of the setting.
Generations ago, the known world enjoyed relative stability. Gleaming armies marched off to do battle against one another, vanquishing rivals and conquering enemy lands. The kingdoms of Elves, Dwarves, and Men would squabble amongst one another, but still band together to fend off the assaults of Orcs and Goblins, the Undead, or Chaos Warriors that challenged their borders. There were many threats: the Fae beguiled anyone foolhardy enough to stray into the deeps woods, Beastmen raided caravans, Lizardmen drug captives down into their caves, Demons corrupted the weak-willed, Monsters lurked in the shadows, and Dragons soared amongst the clouds. Life was a struggle, but manageable.
In time, the arrogance of Men unearthed an ancient artifact; a chalice imbued with world-shaking power. Unsealed from its mystic confinement, the Chalice’s energy lured the mightiest of beings out from the Demonic Realms. The Lord of the Fire Demons sought to claim the chalice. In the ensuing battle, the Demon clashed with a powerful Grandmaster. The two beings, both brimming with otherworldly power, came into contact with the Chalice, and reality itself began to buckle. As they grappled, the flaming sword of the great Demon pierced the veil, and tore a hole in the fabric of reality. The Chalice fell deep into the void, and the Demon followed, both instantly transported far away.
With this newfound ability, the Demon rampaged across the lands in an unpredictable pattern, battering away defenses, tearing holes in reality, and then moving on to the next unsuspecting land to wreak havoc and search for the Chalice. He left a trail of destruction through the kingdoms of Men, Dwarves and Elves. Into the heavens where the Wind Lords reigned, the Demon flew up and tore portals in the very clouds. The portals brought the Demon deep below the seas where the Atlanteans and Fishmen were locked in battle. Underground, his hellfire lit the way as portals brought him into the caverns where the Lizardmen gathered, and tunnels where Ratlings scurried. The Demon continued into the forests, cutting a path before him where more Elves, Fae, Gnomes, Tree Creatures, and all forms of Beastmen lurked. Halflings hid in their shelters. Out in the plains, Orcs roared and Goblins hissed at the Demon as he passed overhead. His presence set the jungles ablaze, as he raged past Amazonians and Troglodytes. High in the mountains where the Dwarves secluded themselves and Dark Elves hatched plots, the Demon appeared and brought agony with him. All civilizations and lands were subjected to his brief unyielding presence, and the portals left behind.
The great tears in reality, called different names by different races, proved to be a destabilizing force in every region they appeared. With no discernable pattern between where a portal opens, or even if the destination even remains fixed, they opened routes to the other lands, other realities, and other times. Though most civilizations were unaware of Greater Demon’s existence, or that it was the cause of these tears in reality, they soon learned of the danger of the portals, and the new threats that spilled from them.
Amid the upheaval wrought by the portals left in the Demon’s wake, the Black Prince, a High Lord among the of the forces of Chaos, called his generals to his side and began a reign of terror that shook the known world. In every land, the forces of darkness rose up and struck at the hearts of their enemies. Trade caravans, villages, and monasteries everywhere were attacked. The Forces of Light in turn marshalled their armies and brought low many dark forces. Liches and Vampires were pulled into the sunlight and put to the stake. Witches, Druids, and Heretics were burned. Roving hordes of Goblins were herded into dead-end valleys, and gunned down by Dwarf and Elven missile fire. As the years ran on, the atrocities on both sides escalated. None were left unscathed, as the Chaos Wars raged on.
During this time, most of the known world’s accumulated knowledge was lost to destruction and fire. The great halls of knowledge were abandoned, as resources shifted to defend more tactically-significant positions. This left them open to looting, vandalism, and the scourge of nature. The histories of the great empires has carried on only thru the tradition of storytelling, and in many lands myth and suspicion have replaced fact. Few maps survived the great purge of knowledge. Some regional maps exist, but these cherished items are closely kept heirlooms. This has left many coastal lands cut off from the rest of the world. Their interaction with other civilizations has become limited to raids on other ports, and defending themselves from Pyrates. Many island nations have been forgotten, and some cities deep in the jungles, or atop mountain ranges have fallen into legend. The few remaining maps are highly cherished, but of little use, as many were written in now-dead languages, and disasters such as the hellfire storms have resculpted the topography to the point where former mountain ranges and landmasses are no longer distinguishable.
Now, nearly 600 years after the beginning of the Chaos Wars, the world is broken husk of what it had once been. Vibrant fields of wheat and corn have been churned to mud. Poverty and starvation are a way of life. Massive city-fortresses that had withstood magnificent armies are now abandoned monuments to the dead. Ancient Elven towers still gleam brightly in the sunlight, but now stand alone, surrounded by the crumbled remains of the fallen ramparts and walls that had once protected the villagers below.
All of the most powerful kingdoms have been laid low. The once-great empires have been reduced to nomadic tribes, grappling to hold onto the remnants of their homelands. They live in civilian-armies, constantly on a slow march, fighting for resources and driving off opposing forces. The more powerful Warlords claim the better of the ruins of the great kingdoms, in vain attempt to rebuild the mighty structures. These efforts prove short-lived, and their claim over the castles, fortresses, and citadels of old seldom last more than a generation. The borders between lands have become dynamic and fluid, as the battle lines constantly wax and wane. Scarred veterans and war-maddened peasants fight more to survive the day, than to claim victory.
Over the centuries of hard-fought existence, the once stoic and disciplined armies have abandoning their reliance on traditional fighting styles and equipment. Even the most noble of armies scavenge the battlefield for every weapon, scrap of armor, and war machine that can be used in the next battle. It is therefore not uncommon to see Elves manning cannon batteries, or regiments of wild Dwarves resorting to spear and bow warfare, when they find no other recourse. Necromancy has become commonplace among magic-users of all lands, and even Orcs have been witnessed riding atop ornately caparisoned horses, after battles against the Kingdoms of Men. Forced by circumstance into seemingly absurd situations, engineers and mages of even the most basic races have interwoven science and magic to bring foreign war machines to bear against their enemies. Air Ships, Steam Engines, and Mechanical Giants looted from the Dwarves and Men are a favorite of Goblin and Ratling armies. Some battalions of Elves have reinforced their bowmen with hand guns and simple rockets, found in the conquered armories of men. Every army steals and rebuilds their enemy’s chariots, war wagons, and artillery after a battle. Even the Dwarves and Elves have resorted to capturing monsters and titans, chaining them or mystically bonding them into service.
As territories shift, and resources dwindle, old allies treat one another as bitter enemies, fighting over scraps of food, fertile land, and whatever diminishing resources they can unearth. Faced with new challenges, and dramatic shifts in power, ancient enemies find themselves fighting alongside each other to protect common interests… if only for limited times.
In this new reality of continuous warfare, the old definitions of 'Good' and 'Evil' no longer hold the meanings they once did. The concept of ‘Order’ is a long lost notion. Some scholars and kings do still cling to the concepts of Forces of Light or Forces of Darkness, but those definitions are from a time and place long lost, and it is mostly a matter of perspective. Dwarves and Elves might see the Ratlings and Beastmen as more of a nuisance than actually evil, when compared to legions of the Undead, Chaos Warriors, or Demons. And once the Ratlings and Gnolls came to learn exactly what those Demons and Undead had in mind for the forests, woods, and plains that they called home, those races turned away from their traditional allies, for their very survival. They may still be found pillaging Elven colonies, but when full scale war is waged, most Gnolls and Ratlings will be found opposed to the Forces of Darkness.
There is now a very fluid concept of what makes for enemies and short-term allies, though classic alliances and grudges still shine thru the murky political waters when given a chance.
This is the world of the Chaos Wars, a world where even the most powerful are on the brink of collapse, where certainty and security are the stuff of legends, and instability has become the norm.