I’ve struggled to get into the Age of Sigmar lore for a while now. I enjoyed Soul Wars but wasn’t sure where to go next and bounced off the Realm Gate Wars series entirely. I’ve also tried a few short stories along the way but none of it has grabbed me and gotten me excited to paint models, have battles and explore the Mortal Realms further. That is until I listened to the Realmslayer audio drama. It turns out all I needed to get into Age of Sigmar was Brian Blessed playing an angry dwarf.
Realmslayer follows Gotrek Gurnisson as he returns from the realm of chaos after the events that lead to the end of the Old World. I should say that this is my first foray with Gotrek so the context of his departure and previous adventures were lost on me, but I’m roughly aware that he beat up a lot of things in his time. And now he’s back to whack yet more stuff. Anyway, Gotrek sets out on a journey to find his old companion Felix and discover what has happened since his last book. And while the journey and story aren’t amazing, Gotrek is a fun character to follow and Brian Blessed portrays him excellently.
And that’s the main reason to listen to this story. Blessed pulls off an angry dwarf who wants to hit everything and anyone perfectly. Gotrek is a relic and is not happy about that. He feels betrayed by the events that led him to battle through the realms of chaos before finally emerging into the Mortal Realms. And because he is a stranger to these lands it helps the listener engage with the world. He finds it ridiculous that there are lots of different names for dwarf now, something the reader can relate to and he is often confused by how the Mortal Realms function. All of his works as an entry to the setting and by the end of the story got me excited for Gotrek’s next outing and to explore more of the Age of Sigmar.
The supporting cast also helps to fully realise this story. Gotrek’s Fyreslayer companion bounced off him nicely creating an almost buddy comedy vibe. He is convinced that Gotrek is a dwarven god returned to the world and Gotrek is having none of it. The two argue about this throughout the story and this faith is challenged throughout. The pair are a lot of fun and to counterbalance this we also have a Khainite aelf who is more interested in killing Gotrek than anything else, but they are forced to work together by circumstance. And so you have a trio where one worships Gotrek, one would sooner kill him than help him and Gotrek himself hates both of them. This dynamic is the core of the story and while the plot isn’t amazing, these three are.
As an audio drama, Realmslayer is a treat. Everyone is excellently acted, especially Gotrek, and the sound effects help to enhance the action. While I do wish that the was another female character, as the only one is a duplicitous murder that is barely shown in a positive light, this is Warhammer and everyone’s a psychopath. I also think that some of the parts felt a little rushed and could have benefitted from a bit more explanation about what was happening and why, but the pace favours the audio drama as we move seamlessly between action pieces and world-building. All in all, I’m looking forward to the next part of the Realmslayer story and more Gotrek in the Mortal Realms.
Thanks for reading. If you want more audio dramas they check out either True Name, which is a Grey Knights story. Alternatively, for more of the Old World take a look at my review of Total War: Warhammer.
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