The Old World, the continent of the Warhammer World where most of the human nations are based, is usually defined as the area west of the World’s Edge Mountains, north of the Blood River and the Dwarf sea fortress of Barak Varr and south of the Troll Country. It is roughly equivalent to the historical continent of Europe on Old Earth during the late medieval and early Renaissance periods of human history. The Isle of Albion is also off the coast of the Old World and is similar in its situation to the dreaded land of Norsca, being neither a part of the Old World or entirely separate from it
The Old World is home to the nations of the Empire, Kislev, Bretonnia, Tilea, and Estalia, the independent city state of Marienburg, the forest of Athel Loren, and the lawless Border Princes, as well as a few of the Dwarf holds. In the past, before the rise of humans, the Old World was ruled by Dwarfs and Elves, until the ‘War of the Beard’, and ruins of ancient structures built by these races still scatter the coastlines and high mountains.
The different nations of the Old World are rarely allied, and although relations between the different states generally tend to be cordial, they have been known to go to war against each other. While there are political rivalries over things like trade and resources, which can provide a great source of wealth for Old Worlders, the near-constant threats posed to the nations of the Old World make working together an occasional necessity. The Old World has been invaded many times over the years: Greenskin hordes from the Badlands to the south, Chaos incursions from the north, Skaven attacks from their underground lairs, unrelenting armies of the Undead, and large scale raids by Dark Elf fleets have all threatened to destroy one or all of the nations of man. However, human lives are relatively short, and over the generations the memories of these events fades into myth and legend, and they become nothing more than stories to scare children with at bedtime.
The dangers faced outside the borders of the Old World prevent all but the most adventurous and foolhardy from venturing out into the wider world. There are a few established trade routes to the eastern empire of Cathay and to the inhospitable lands of Araby to the south, and the famous explorer Marco Columbo ‘discovered’ the New World across the Great Ocean to the west. Contact with the High Elves and Dwarfs is maintained by most nations, mostly for reasons of trade. Generally speaking though, the vast majority of the settled population knows little about the world beyond the lands that they call home. old world nations