This is the least epic thing you will see from this franchise.
"Prepare thyself to enter a world of daemons and vile sorcery, of battle and death, of violence and of madness."
"The fate of the world, be it damnation or salvation will soon be decided. This is a world of eternal war and fleeting glory. This is the world of Warhammer."
"The gods of strife shall feast upon this day, and every day hence, until the end of time."
— Excerpts from the introduction to the 8th edition rulebook
If you were looking for a character who uses a warhammer, here it is.Warhammer is the generic name of a number of tabletop battle and roleplaying games marketed by UK firm Games Workshop. "Warhammer" is a tabletop battle game that began in 1983, it is currently in its eighth edition and was previously known as Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB).The Warhammer world is closely based on our own, with continents laid out in a similar pattern, and the action is mostly located within "The Old World", roughly analogous to 16th century Europe. Other locations of note are Ulthuan, the island home of the High Elves, and "The New World", which has two continents, Naggaroth in the North, home to the Dark Elves, and southern Lustria, home to the Lizardmen. At the very North pole of the world is the Chaos Wastes, a nightmare realm from which the greatest evils of the world originate. In addition, the map of the Warhammer world includes several locations not covered by the game, with such original names as Nippon and Cathay (Cathay is even protected by a "Great Bastion").Standard fantasy elements are also present - Elves used to dominate but are a shadow of their former selves; Dwarfs occupy the few mountain strongholds that have not yet fallen to Skaven, Orcs and Goblins. Chaos is present, both in the form of great warbands of mutated and corrupted warriors and as cult activity in the heart of society.The uninitiated might think that Warhammer isn't all that bad and it's a heroic fantasy land on its way to getting better - that's right.There's just a few small problems like delusional (or worse) madmen empowered by the Dark Gods to increasingly frequently lead crusades reducing the world further into hellish misery and incorporate it into the REAL hell. Then there are the rampaging hordes of Greenskins, scarily psychopathic aliens infesting everywhere existing only to joyously, brutally and (with known exceptions) mercilessly fight, destroy, enslave, kill and in the case of goblins malevolently torture every innocent creature they can find - and the Greenskins are the comic relief in this setting. If you thought it'd get better now that's just two of the usuallygrayforces inhabiting the world, which only survives because of the eternal sacrifice of some Elven mages imprisoned in their own spell, maintaining it forever to keep the forces of Chaos from overwhelming the world like they almost did in ancient times and nigh-inevitably will. But it really could be saved if only those tasty... uh... good-willeddenizens of it wouldheedwisdom!The darkly humorous and bleak feel of the setting and game is what sets it apart. If you were to combine equal parts J. R. R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock's Elric stories, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you would find something not unlike Warhammer.There is also a science fiction tabletop miniatures wargame set in a universe having much in common with WHFB: Warhammer 40,000, generally known simply as "40K". Think of it as WarhammerIN SPACE, though it has grown over the years into a distinct and very different game, and has become much more popular than Warhammer, at least in the United States. One fan theory holds that the Old World is actually a planet in the WH40K galaxy, but cut off by warp storms or otherwise isolated. Some official GW merchandise has supported this theory, though it remains non-canon.Warhammer is a tabletop wargame where two or more players compete against each other with "armies" of 20 mm to 50 mm heroic scale miniatures. The rules of the game have been published in a series of rulebooks, currently on their 8th edition, which describe how to move miniatures around the game surface and simulate combat in a balanced and fair manner. Games may be played on any appropriate surface, although the standard is a 6 ft. by 4 ft. tabletop decorated with model scenery in scale with the miniatures. Any individual or group of miniatures in the game is called a "unit", whether represented by a single model or group of similar troops.The current core game rules are supplied in a single book, with supplemental Warhammer Army Books giving guidelines and background for army-specific rules. Movement about the playing surface is generally measured in inches and combat between troops or units given a random element with the use of 6-sided dice. Army supplements also assign points values to each unit and option in the game, giving players the ability to play on even terms. An average game will have armies of 750 to 3,000 points, although smaller and larger values are quite possible. There are also different rules for games called a skirmish that consist of 500 point armies.Game play follows a turn structure in which one player completes all movement for troops, then simulates casting spells (when spell-using units are available) and uses all ranged or missile weapons in the army such as bows and handguns, then any units touching fight in melee or close-combat. After finishing, the second player does the same. This repeats for a number of equal turns, generally six, although occasionally to a time limit or until no units are left on the playing surface. The winner is often determined by victory points; earning a number equal to the value of enemy units killed. Special factors, or "objectives" can add or subtract from this total based on predefined goals, usually holding parts of the battlefield or killing powerful units (such as the enemy general).Dice rolls generally use traditional six-sided dice (d6), with a high result being desirable (in most cases). For example, an archer unit may be given a statistic that allows it to hit on the roll of a four or more. Various factors can change this number, reducing or raising the number needed. Mitigation of random results is a large part of the game, as well as traditional battlefield tactics. In some cases, other types of dice are needed; this can be a d3 (simulated with a normal die, 1 and 2 counting as a result of 1 and so on), or it can be a 6-sided "scatter" die used to generate random directions, often used alongside an "artillery" die (also 6-sided), used mainly for cannons, stone-throwers, and unusual variant artillery.The wargame has also spawned a role-playing game tie-in, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which is not unlike a grimdark version of Dungeons & Dragons. Like its Sci-Fi "brother", it also has some Gaiden Games: Blood Bowl, a "fantasy football" wargame set in a parallel dimension where ultra-violent rugby has replaced war, and Mordheim, a semi-postapocalyptic wargame set in the eponymous city after it got levelled by a meteor of solid Green Rocks and the shards of which, incidentally, are the key ingredient in a working recipe for the Philosopher's Stone. Hero Quest, a Dungeon Crawler style board game, is also set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Man-O-War a naval combat game.There's also Warmaster, another miniature wargame within the same setting that uses smaller figures and a zoomed-out scale, thus allowing much larger battles. Warmaster became popular with historical wargamers and a specially-modified version called Warmaster Ancients is one of the major rule sets used for ancient and medieval historical wargames. There's also Battle Masters, a Milton Bradley board game that uses models the same scale as Warhammer.By the way, if you're reading this page and thinking you might add a few references to that other Warhammer game and how it's darker/bloodier/larger scale, don't.The setting has had a few computer games, among them Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Warhammer: Dark Omen, Warhammer Online and Warhammer Mark Of Chaos with varying reception, and a large number of novels, such as Drachenfels and the Gotrek & Felix series. Recently, the makers of the Total War series have announced that they have entered a partnership with Games Workshop to create more computer games based off this setting. Those sacrifices you made to Khorne seem to have paid off.It has also given inspiration to non-RPG table games, such as Chaos Invasion and Chaos Marauders.
The setting provides examples of the following tropes :
Vlad von Carstein. He was less cruel towards his peasants than the former Count of Sylvania, von Drakhoff, who would have peasants's heads put on stakes for lulz. Vlad even went one-on-one with a bandit king terrorizing the province. Honestly, trying to take over the empire is actually a pretty common pastime for Elector Counts.
Also, considering that he kicked out the Priests of Morr, who are required to pass on in that part of the world, he's allowing of his subjects to stick around after being killed, instead of risking being consumed by the gods of Chaos.
All Trolls Are Different: In-universe example, with Stone Trolls, Chaos Trolls, and River Trolls having distinct abilities and backgrounds. Most of them have fast healing abilities and super acidic vomit that can melt armor.
But subverted by the people who you'd think would be this trope by default; the Warriors of Chaos. The Norse, Hung and Kurgan are seen as this by the Empire and other southern nations (especially the Norse, as they're the most common Chaos marauders that the Empire fights), and there is a lot of truth to this idea; these guys are ardent worshipers of the Chaos Gods, after all, but outside of battle, the Northmen trade with their enemies and amongst each other; with the Norse and Kurgan doing it in Marienburg and the Hung do so in Weijin. They have emotional attachments outside the Chaos Gods; they have their own families for God's sake, they love their children in their ways which seem... odd to outsiders, but the Northmen are still regarded as humans in spite of being the footsoldiers of Chaos, and most fluff concerning them takes pain to emphasize that their cultures are as well developed and nuanced as anyone else's.
Ancestral Weapon: Several examples, too many to list here. The biggest one, however, is Ghal Maraz, the weapon that gives the series its name.
Actually, Ghal Maraz is a subversion in that the people wielding it now are not related to the person who wielded it originally. Sigmar intentionally left behind no children in order to ensure that the Empire would not be in the grip of a single dynasty, but would rather belong equally to all those who lived within it. In essence, all the men of the Empire are Sigmar's heirs. Which in a way, plays this trope straight even while subverting it.
And I Must Scream: There are several rather unpleasant ways that one can end up like this in the Warhammer universe. A notable example is a Dark Elf Sorceress who was thrown into a Lizardman God's offering pool, to spend the rest of eternity being fed upon by the God.
An Ice Monster: Thundertusks and Yhetees in the Ogre Kingdoms can generate magically-charged ice and shape it into weapons or magic missiles, in addition to continually radiating a crippling aura of cold.
Animorphism: Numerous examples; for example, some Norse turn into bears, some vampires turn into bats or wolves. Wizards with access to the Lore of Beasts can turn into various monsters, up to and including dragons!
Annoying Arrows: A standard bow or longbow has a strength of 3, which is as effective as sword blow from a standard human soldier. Tougher creatures such as orcs, as well as high-ranking leaders of any army, can shrug this off fairly easily.
The Wood elves avert this with a selection of magical arrows that can cause anything from stupidity to instant and extremely painful death. Also the Waywatcher's Lethal Shot Rule, which is, well, lethal.
The Tomb Kings also have this in a way, the Blessing of the Asp stops modifiers from affecting the rolls. A better example would to deploy High queen Khalida and have the arrows of your archers become poisoned arrows.
Antlion Monster: The Great Maw is a vast mouth in the ground, apparently sentient and capable of giving the ogres that worship it (by throwing food down its gullet) the ability to use Gut Magic.
Arrows on Fire: The Bretonnian peasant archers may be equipped with brazieres to provide Flaming Arrows.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Most academics in the Empire believe the Skaven to be a myth, even though the Dwarfs have been at war with them for thousands of years and they actually conquered most of the Empire at one point. Justified in that admitting to the existence of Skaven would be panicking the population. Chaos invasions every decade? Sure we can handle that. Beastmen in the woods? Not a problem. Cultists in our midst? All the more reason to stay vigilant and obey the witch hunters! Empire dwarfing our own just below the surface? Uh-oh.
Artifact of Death: Many items are cursed in ways that make them temporarily beneficial and then impressively fatal. The Sword of Khaine inflicts misery and madness on its wielders, the Sword of Last Resort is a roving character killer that fuels itself on the wielder's life energy, the Black Book of Ibn Naggazar will kill you if you don't feed it regularly (and at up to 3d6 models a turn, it is a hungry one), and the list goes on.
Axe Crazy: Khorne worshippers (BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!) and greenskins who live to fight. Skaven are interesting example. Usually they are cowardly, but when they come in large numbers (which is every single battle) they are whipped up in to a frenzy, convinced that the other poor sod will get a hell blaster rocket to their skull. That doesn't stop their Grey Seer's and Warlock Engineers magically getting them into said frenzy, said Skaven dying painful deaths hardly being a drawback.
Authority Equals Asskicking: The leaders of an army will invariably be stronger and better equipped than other units. If they're a named character, such as the actual leaders of a race or faction, they will be very strong indeed.
The Emperor of the Empire needs to mentioned here. He goes into battle on an enormous griffon, wielding a Runefang... except when he rides a dragon... and wields the Warhammer for which the game is named.
In previous editions this game was nicknamed HeroHammer as the trope was encouraged and/or enforced by poorly balanced rules regarding special characters and magic items.
Beneficial Disease: Since Nurgle is a Plague Master god, his servants become ravaged with all sorts of plagues but the effects don't kill them. They look utterly disgusting but not a bit weaker for it; they are actually harder to kill because they don't need to worry about things like infected wounds. Also they Feel No Pain, and the diseases they spread can still be lethal to non-believers.
Berserk Button: An actual rule for Vlad if Isabella is fielded in the same army as him and killed, he will gain frenzy and hatred against whatever he's fighting against.
Never ever pay a Dwarf short even a if its just a few penny's, and also never try to mess with their beards. Less you want an army of them to burn down your kingdom.
BFG: The Skaven, Dwarfs, and Empire factions have a few examples.
BFS: Too many to list, but the Slayer of Kings, the sword of the Everchosen of Chaos, is probably the most notable example. It also has the essence of U'zuhl, a massively powerful daemon, bound within it. Counts as Ancestral Weapon as well, as it was the sword of the second Everchosen of Chaos and is now used by the latest; Archaon.
Big Bad: Averted, really, in that the forces of evil are pretty decentralized. The Witch King? Nagash the necromancer? The Vampire Counts? The Chaos Gods? Take your pick.
Black and Grey Morality: Not quite as bad as Warhammer 40,000 on this, but it does run a close second. It's really more of a case of "They would if they could". More than once everyone has gotten their shit together to save the world from the Hordes of Chaos, but it takes a LOT before they get to that point.
Blood Bath: The Hag Queens of the Dark Elves practice this, bathing in a magical cauldron filled with blood to maintain their youth.
Blood Knight: This is more or less the horned hat of the Northmen.
Blow Gun: There's a Wargear option for Skinks, and a huge version for mounting on their stegadons.
Body Horror: Just try to make it all the way through the list of lovingly-detailed Chaos mutations in the Tome of Corruption without wincing at least once.
Morghur is able to induce this in anything that comes near him.
Boisterous Bruiser: If there's one thing that warriors of Khorne like almost as much as spilling blood, it's boasting about how much blood they've spilled. Here's a particular fine story from Hrolf Wyrdulf of the Vargs;
"I am Hrolf Wyrdulf, Prince of the Vargs. I am the promised son of the Witch Moon and I slew the sea-worm Ship-Crusher after a battle of thirty days and thirty nights. I can lie on ice and not freeze and drink an ocean of blood and not burst. I stalked Hrunting Iron-Axe from pole to pole and placed his smoking heart on Khorne's board. I took the star-skulls of the Woman-With-Skull-Faces and flung them into the Sea of Chaos!"
Burn the Witch!: Played with; witchcraft is a viable and dangerous practice in the Warhammer universe, thus, the church is usually right to weed them out and destroy them.
Call That A Formation?: Averted. While skirmishing units have a serious mobility advantage, the ranked soldiers gain a "rank bonus" when calculating the winner of a fight, making large, ranked units very difficult to shift. Skirmishers or lonely heroes engaging a ranked unit in a frontal assault are likely to be pushed back even if they deal more damage.
Campbell Country: Ostland in the Empire is a big example. But there's plenty of little villages all over the place with mysterious practices that don't abide strangers.
Mousillon's is a giant poison swamp whose main industry is frog and snail catching, the dead refuse to stay in their graves, the Lord of Mousillon was nuts, giant frog monsters (as well as regular monsters) roam the streets after dark, and the populace look just that little bit extra odd. No one knows why, how, or what's going on.
Cannibal Larder: Taken to its logical extreme with the ogre "butchers" who are both the tribal cooks and shamans, and often carry a stock of body parts (of various edibility) with them as snacks and spell components. One butcher special character drags along an enormous cauldron, which radiates an increasingly powerful buff as it is filled with enemy bodies.
Orcs and Goblins. Dem 'umies, stunties, and skinnies jes cawn't rilly kill us all, can dey?
Also Skaven, who really don't seem to care how many of them die in battle. In fact they are the only army who can fire on enemy units while one of their units (Skavenslaves to precise) in in combat with an enemy unit.
To a lesser extent, lizardmen.
Canon Discontinuity: the Fimir, a loathsome race of one-eyed, swamp dwelling reptilian humanoid rapists who were a failed (and half-hearted) attempt at a unique mascot race and the sea elves (now demoted to the maritime subculture of the outer rim of Ulthuan) are still canon, but so far out of focus that they've virtually disappeared from the setting. They have seen a semi-revival recently, with new models and rules. The rape angle has been dropped, and their new background is that they were once the Chosen race of the Dark Gods, but are no longer.
Currently the "timeline" is that the events of Storm of Chaos haven't happened yet and most of the characters and units introduced during it (like Valten) are no longer playable. The Nemesis Crown events and lore were declared non-canon almost immediately after it ended.
Can't Argue with Elves: While mostly operating on Screw You, Elves!, it is played straight with Magnus the Pious, who allowed the Elf wizard Teclis to teach humans to use magic relatively safely. Really, Teclis is the only Elf who doesn't treat humans like a pack of apes, and one of if not the most powerful magic-user in the entire setting. Only a colossal moron wouldn't take his advice, even if he's being condescending.
Chef of Iron: The Fighting Cocks, mercenary halflings that kick butt and boost other troops with good meals. They also fire a catapult full of soup.
Ogre Butchers are another significant example, the Lore of the Great Maw they use being channeled through some distinctly unwholesome ingredients. The spell Trollguts uses... well...
The Chessmaster: Tzeentch. Emperor Karl Franz on a good day. Mannfred von Carstein probably belongs here too.
The Skaven Lords of Decay are a group of this. The best example is the Arabyan Crusades. The Lords of Decay sent Skaven to support Sultan Jaffar, spying on his enemies and assassinating them in exchange for the warpstone deposits across his land that's toxic to humans, but the backbone of Skaven society along with backstabbing and self-interest. They eventually convince him, by lying, that Estalia is planning to invade Araby and that he should strike first, which he does. Two-hundred years of warfare follow in which Bretonnia and the Empire get involved sending thousands of Knights to fight the Arabyans. The Skaven disappear once the tide turns against Jaffar, tens of thousands of humans are dead without one Skaven casualty, and they got all the warpstone and nobody ever found out they were involved. Stupid man-things.
The Chosen One: The Everchosen are this as far as the Dark Gods of Chaos are concerned; and are almost always the greatest heroes of the Northern tribes; the sole exception being Archaon, who is neither Norse or Kurgan, but a former citizen of the Empire.
The Everchosen also has an equal and opposite, who leads the realms of men against Chaos incursions. Magnus and Valten are the most recent.
It's not that the Khornates wanted to turn on you, it's more to do with how he already curb-stomped everyone else and needs to kill some more. Or that you were between him and someone he wanted to kill.
Outdoing even the Skaven are the Hobgoblins, larger and meaner versions of the Goblins who live on the Eastern Steppes. They are so prone to this that they have evolved a hard bony plate on their backs where a stab is most likely. In fact, they are considered so distrust worthy that even the cowardly, mean, spiteful goblins think that they back stab too much.
Malekith's armor too, although that was because he ordered the rogue priest to weld it to his body.
Colour-Coded Emotions: The four Chaos gods are the embodiments of a specific emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is red, Tzeentch (hope) is blue, Slaanesh (desire) is either pink/purple, and Nurgle (despair) is green.
Bretonnia, despite being in a state of crushing poverty is still able to maintain a considerable military force. To give you an idea on the level of poverty; on a good day a whole Bretonnian village could trade their entire collected wealth for half of the smallest unit of currency in the Empire. Fluff would later justify this by noting that, while Bretonnian peasants are in perpetual poverty, they're that way because the landed nobility that owns them is filthy rich. Bretonnian nobles pay for the upkeep of temporary conscript levies from the peasantry and (by way of the feudal system) fund the nation's famed knights. Bretonnia also benefits from an alliance with the elves of Athel Loren and the patronage of the Goddess of Chivalry.
Conscription: All Bretonnian infantry with the notable exception of Grail Pilgrims.
Northern peasants of the Empire are constantly conscripted to counteract the consistent threat of Norse warbands attacking the those regions.
Continuity Nod: The Warhammer world does not canonically take place in the same universe as Warhammer 40,000 (anymore), but it does make a few nods to the sci-fi mythos, such as the Old Ones' starships and warp gates and Greenskin spores coming down from space, and the Ogres' Great Maw is reminiscent of Tyranid biotech. It's easy to believe that Sigmar, founder of the Empire, is one of the two missing Primarchs. In fact, in the earliest editions, it was all but stated that the Warhammer world is part of the Warhammer 40,000 universe- or at least that the Chaos Wastes connected to the Warp. Characters of all species could run around with, among other things, bolters (machine gun rocket launchers) and lascannons, while Chaos Space Marines were an actual troop/leadership choice for mortal Chaos armies.
The Albion Dark Shadows campaign included a number of magical weapons. They are identical or almost identical in function or description, and most have the exact same stats or effects as their 40k counterparts:
Blade of Shining Death = Power Weapon.
Claw of Devastation = Lightning Claw.
Gauntlet of Power = Power Fist.
Armor of the Gods = Power Armour.
Divine Eye = Auspex.
Fusil of Conflagration = Flamer.
Mystic Shield of Light = Rosarius.
Hexstaff = Psy-staff.
The Liber Chaotica (pub 2003) had, as example of Daemon weapons, a chainsword.
The 7th Edition High Elves army book makes reference to the fact that occasionally their armies are put under the control of a less capable general, due to politics, but then comments that the Phoenix King keeps this from happening. This is a reference to the rule Intrigue at Court from the previous High Elf army book.
Corpse Land: The island holding the Sword of Khaine is covered in the bodies and battle gear of the elves who've fought over it, and bodies thousands of years old can be seen fresh.
The semi-mythical mountain atop which Abhorash and those vampires who have drunk the blood of dragons (the only substance capable of sustaining a Vampite forever) wait to return to the land of the living is said to be surrounded by the bodies of those who have tried and failed to climb it.
Creepy Souvenir: Many warriors keep parts of their enemies as trophies, including Gorthor, who wears a cloak make of the skins of shamans.
Crown of Horns: Orcs often wear the very large horns of various creatures, usually to show that they've killed something bigger and meaner than themselves.
Counterspell: Dispel dice are an example of this, being used solely to counter enemy spells. There are also various abilities and pieces of wargear that allow instant dispels (the ubiquitous Dispel Scroll), or increase the power of your dispel attempts, either through modifying the result or granting extra dispel dice.
Cursed with Awesome: Aenarion's Curse makes Tyrion a strong fighter and Teclis a powerful wizard.
And Tyrion utterly fixated with battle (literal and metaphorical) 24/7 and Teclis so sickly he needed magic potions from birth just to stay alive.
Some vampires view their condition as this. If you get turned into a Blood Dragon Vampire and are lucky/crazy/awesome enough to kill a dragon and drink its blood, you become permanently sated and super-powered.
Cycle of Revenge: The Dwarfs will go to war over any perceived slights. And then they will go to war to avenge the deaths of everyone who died in the previous war. And then they will go to war to avenge the deaths of those who died in that war, and so on. They can keep an endless cycle of revenge going all by themselves without any intentional participation from the other party.
Grey and Amethyst Wizards, who use the magics of Shadows and Death (respectively), have some difficulty convincing fellow Imperial citizens that they aren't necromancers.
The Lizardmen, despite being lizard people and feeding people to giant snakes for their Aztec-inspired religion, aren't all that bad. They're essentially the guardians of the world and will often oppose the machinations of Chaos. Provided that they don't intrude on territory that is considered sacred to the Lizardmen, other races will be generally be left alone. The problem is that while they're not overtly hostile to other lifeforms, they don't seem to particularly care about them either. Their dedication to carrying out the enigmatic plans of the Old Ones often results in them doing things like re-arranging entire mountains because they're not in the right place. Said rearrangement resulted in a catastrophe that nearly destroyed the Dwarf race and shattered their empire into a handful of isolated kingdoms and strongholds.
Many, or at least some Vampires in the Warhammer world aren't evil at all. However, they tend not to be at the head of an army, and so don't play a prominent role outside of the novels. There is even a set of stories featuring a female vampire named Geneviève Dieudonné who is practically a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire... admittedly, the stories featuring her were created during the earlier editions of the setting and she is a "transcontinental cousin" of the same character from the other Kim Newman series, Anno Dracula and The Diogenes Club.
In the later Von Carstein trilogy, the concept is revived with the Grand Master of the Order of the White Wolf, who is bitten by Vlad von Carstein yet manages to resist the temptations of vampirism. He ends up as the eternal guardian of Vlad's immortality-granting ring. It seems to be that, whilst being turned into a vampire does not alter one's perspective, the horrific hunger and starvation an unsated vampire experience eventually corrupts most vampires.
The Tomb Kings of Khemri are the mummified rulers of an empire that was slain and reanimated in an act of magical genocide. They just want to be left alone, and are canonically considered a "Neutral" army that can ally with anyone. However, they do launch massive invasions in order to get back their stuff that had been stolen over the years.
Morr may or may not be this, given that he takes care of souls in the afterlife, as opposed to eating them regardless of the host being dead or alive, like most active gods in the setting do on a routine basis.
Decade Dissonance: Bretonnia is Medieval France, rife with knights and peasant longbow men and run by a feudal system. It sits right next door to The Empire, which has Renaissance era level technology going into the early Industrial Period level with elements of Steam Punk thrown in for good measure as well, including steam powered tanks! Bretonnia manages to resist being forcibly assimilated into the Empire, most likely due to the mountain range that makes travel between the two difficult, and the magic granted by a local god, the "Lady of the Lake" making their elite upper class Immune to Bullets. However, it's a little more complicated than that, with the local baby-eating wood elves being the most favourable candidate to be both granting them this power, and keeping the nation in its Medieval Stasis, simply to shield themselves from the outside world...
Another possible reason that Bretonnia has maintained its independence is their great success in domesticating the flocks of pegasi that live in their mountains resulting in the rise of the Pegasus Knight. Pegasi exist in the Empire too, but mostly as very rare possessions of aristocrats, giving Bretonnia effective dominance of the air. The Royal Air Force - Bretonnian Pegasus Knights - are easily the most effective aerial troops in the game.
Another reason could be the fact that even after conquering Bretonnia it still has THE worst economy of any nation state/tribe/species in the setting. The Empire would probably spend a century or two trying to wring the cost of the initial invasion force's horse food bill from the captured Bretonnian lands.
Don't Go in the Woods: The forests of the Old World cover vast amounts of land, including most of the Empire. Virtually everything that lives in them is very, very bad. The outermost kilometre or two of any given forest is relatively safe, and people often hunt in them. However, venturing further in is stupid in the extreme. Athel Loren, the home of the Wood Elves, is a Genius Loci that may simply steer you out of it, or let the Wood Elves or tree spirits kill you. The Great Forests of the empire are home to Night Goblins and Beastmen. Anyone brave - or stupid - enough to reach the deepest reaches of it will find themselves facing creatures like the Preyton, the Jabberslythe, and the Arachnarok Spider.
Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: A rare example of a heroic Cthulhu being taunted appeared in the Storm of Chaos campaign, where Teclis turned up and One-Hit Kill-ed the entire daemonic army. The Imperial Grand Theogonist then called him a Dirty Cowardfor using magic, so Teclis demostrated why one Can't Argue with Elves by pissing off and letting the Empire fight on alonenote He knew they would win, but decided to let them do all the dying to teach them a lesson in manners.
Averted in earlier editions of Bretonnia: Peasants who proved themselves had the chance of being upgraded to nobility. Now they just get a fat hog and some jewels (which likely won't last long anyhow). It's still possible for a Bretonnian peasant to be knighted for acts of great nobility, such as saving a Damsel in Distress. Not that it happens often. Three times so far since the founding of Bretonnia - over 1500 years ago. Bretonnian laws of nobility defines a noble as anyone whose ancestors on both sides were nobles for the last two generations. Anyone else is a peasant. A peasant may be knighted, but his line will die out immediately since his children will, by definition, be peasants.
Elective Monarchy: The Empire has their emperors elected by the courts of the chieftains of the provinces. Though their first emperor is now a god. The High Elves also elect their Phoenix Kings in a similar fashion, and it's been a long time since they elected the son of the previous Phoenix King. (Incidentally, their first Phoenix King was essentially an avatar of their primary god.)
The Empire: Yeah, the good guys. Usually. Based on the Holy Roman Empire; as a result, it's surprisingly democratic, with nobles known as Elector Counts voting for their emperor, again, a practice swiped from the Holy Roman Empire. The upper classes are largely corrupt, the church is an extremist military force, though the latter is justified, given the sheer evil of everywhere else. Suprisingly, the actual monarch (see below) is both decent and competent. They could arguably qualify as more of The Federation.
The Emperor: The Emperor is an elected official (though elected by the nobility, and not the populace), the current one a guy named Karl Franz (who is also the reigning prince of one of the constituents of the Empire). He's what you could call an Emperor Action. Although it's possible he had the incarnation of his own god killed to preserve his position and maintain order. But then, nobody's perfect.
Emotion Eater: Choas mainly; the lore of Slaanesh focuses on this and messing with leadership
Even Evil Has Standards: After the Nehekharan Empire was completely destroyed and transformed into The Land of the Dead by Nagash, the very first Necromancer, the Skaven Council of Thirteen got very uncomfortable at the prospect of being among the first victims of Nagash's upcoming plans for world domination. They made a unanimous vote in favor of assassinating Nagash which was done by freeing Alcadizaar, the last King of Nehehara, and giving him a blade made out of pure warpstone. During the battle, the Council joined their power into protecting Alcadizaar until he finally defeated Nagash, after which they disposed of the latter's remains in warp fires and set about extracting the warpstone in cripple peak for the next 1111 years.
Honestly, this is true for everywhere, not just Lustria. Take the lands of the Empire, for example. You might get killed by a Beast Man raiding party, torn apart by Orcs, have your village and family destroyed by a Chaos incursion, or you may be killed by wildlife on any given day. That, and your owned damned country might be trying to kill you because they have the slightest feeling that you are a follower of Chaos. And it is like this anywhere on the globe, even for the "evil" factions. The only reason they haven't all been killed is because their just so damned good at killing as well, meaning you get stuck in an endless cycle. See Adventure-Friendly World above.
Exact Words: In the novel Nagash the Sorcerer, the eponymous sorcerer promises his bride, Neferem, that no harm will come to her son, Sukhet, from this moment forward if she drinks an elixir recently made from the now-deceased Sukhet's blood.
Exploited Immunity: An early edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle had the spell "Wind of Death", which hit every living thing on the table and (statistically speaking) could kill an average human unit 50% of the time. A player who had tougher troops (or better yet; undead troops, who would be immune) could easily find themselves better off than their opponent after using it.
Extreme Omnivore: Virtually the only things Ogres don't think make for good eating are Gnoblars — and they'll eat them too, they just don't like it as much as better fare. Although the ears and nose are quite tasty. Coincidentally, ear and nose size are badges of status among Gnoblars. One Ogre mentioned in the army book was killed because it ate a loaded rifle, which went off in its stomach firing directly into its brain. There was also a whole horse skeleton in his stomach.
The Fair Folk: The Fay Enchantress (a servant of the Lady of the Lake) takes all Bretonnian children with magical talent away to be trained. This is considered a great honor. The girls? They tend to turn up about ten years later, acting very different but well trained in using this power. The boys? Oh, they tend to not ever be seen again.
The Wood Elves of Athel Loren (who may be the power behind the Lady) are known to flat-out abduct children. According to the army book, "Boy children taken from the lands around the forest, destined never to grow old, joyfully serve their Elven masters." What actually goes on is left to the imagination.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: All right, let's get started. Though the races draw from many, many different real world cultures and its hard to summarize them with pin-point accuracy and keep this page from doubling in length. So the following is the short version.
The Empire is.. well.. the Holy Roman Empire, and a bit of other medieval German periods also influencing it.
Bretonnia is a combination of Age of Enlightenment ideas about Medieval England and Europe; with Arthurian myths in there to a very large extent, the whole thing set in France.
The Lizardmen culture is a sort of Mayincatec, complete with Ancient Astronauts. Culturally closer to the Mayans, their jewelry is more Aztec inspired and their pantheon is based on the Aztec one.
Ogres are Silk Road peoples, mainly those who guarded the Road as it passed through the mountains of Central Asia. There are some Mongol influences, as well as some Byzantine flavors in the way the Ogres simply sit on the main trade routes and grow rich.
The Hobgoblins, ruled over by their Great Khan, are wolf-riding Mongols.
Orcs and Goblins are Football Hooligans crossed with iron age Scottish Highlanders. But mostly Football Hooligans. The Savage Orcs of the southlands are based on Stone Age Africa.
Nehekhara is Ancient Egypt. But ever since most of its population was killed off, its actually been undead Ancient Egypt.
Sylvania is medieval Hungary with a big helping of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The name is actually a play on Transylvania, hence it is the homeland of the Vampire Counts army.
According to Gavin Thorpe; the High Elves and Dark Elves correspond to the Athens/Sparta rivalry, respectively. Byzantine influences are also present in the High Elves, as is a Varangian Guard in the White Lions of Chrace further increasing the similarity. Imperial Japan is also present in them, to some extent. The High Elves have also founded the Old World's only overseas colonial empire.
Araby is based on medieval ideas about Muslims, as well as the Barbary pirates.
Tilea, which is ruled over by city-states and has a unified culture but not a unified government, is pre-Garibaldi Italy.
Estalia is Iberia.
Albion, where it always rains and is covered in mist, and where druids perform rituals with standing stones, is pre-Roman Britain.
Wood Elves are Tolkien's Mirkwood elves crossed with British, pre-Roman Celtic Tribes.
Kislev is a combination of Muscovy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ukraine, as well as medieval Russia in general. Its name, as well as that of its principle city, is derived from the Jewish calendar, however.
The Chaos Dwarfs are evil Babylonians and Assyrians who live in Mordor who trade with equally evil and daemonic Vikings and Slavic barbarians.
The Warriors of Chaos are a fun one:
Norsca is daemonic Mythic Scandinavia with vicious, daemonic Viking warriors in spiky, skull-studded Conan gear and imposing heavy plate armour wielding arms and armour not intended for lesser breeds of men and who worship and are fanatically devoted to the Gods of Chaos.
the Kurgans of the Eastern Steppes are the same thing as the Norscans, but they're evil Mongolic, Turkic, Slavic Russian barbarians.
The Hung are the same thing as the above, but are evil Hunnic warriors as opposed to being evil Viking warriors or evil Turkic-Mongolic warriors.
Skaven are.. well they're a lot of things.
Cathay, with its innumerable armies and Dragon Emperor, is very transparently Ancient China.
Fauns and Satyrs: Beastmen, though the emphasis is much more on the beast than the man, they are still this.
Fearless Undead: On the tabletop, otherwise the whole army would flee at the sight of itself.
Fertile Feet: A rare evil example; the one character with this trait is a Champion of Tzeentch named Aekold Hellbrass. It's a side effect of a mutation called "Breath of Life", which renders the Champion a walking repository of life energy.
Fireballs: The signiture spell of the lore of fire, which means any user of the law can take it without rolling or swap it for one of their rolled spells. Storm of magic takes this Up to Eleven with the spell fireball barrage
Fish People: None playable in the game yet, but a number of books have steadily indicated that there is some manner of underwater civilization that controls sea monsters and has had several run-ins with both the Dark Elves and the Lizardmen. Naturally, these guys would be hard to make work in the predominantly land-bound format of the battles.
There are swamp-dwelling fish people in the form of the Fimir, The Remnant of a Chaos-worshipping civilization that once spanned much of the Western Old World before losing the favor of the Dark Gods to Man.
Flamethrower Backfire: A skaven warpfire thrower has a good chance to explode violently on any malfunction.
Forged by the Gods: The Chaos Gods sometimes grant their mortal or daemonic servants powerful weapons (although usually their forging is done by daemons, not the gods themselves). Vaul, the forge god of Warhammer's High Elves, forged at least one magic sword.
Frontline General: An actual game mechanic, as the minimum to play is a general / character and 25% Core units.
Full Boar Action: Deployed by the Orcs was heavy cavalry, compared to the light wolf cavalry used by the goblins.
Gallows Humor: Ubiquitous throughout the setting, but especially with regards to the greenskins.
Gambit Roulette: Tzeentch is the schemer of the gods. He exists to do nothing but scheme and change; in fact, victory for him would be the end as there would be nothing left to scheme about. Furthermore, all of his schemes are mutually exclusive, and every minor victory for him is also a one minor defeat.
The Daemons' army book suggests Tzeentch is just messing with everyone, and most of his huge elaborate plots aren't meant to achieve anything but to just be there, the same as Khorne's murders and Nurgle's plagues. It may well be that 99.99% of Tzeentch's plans are smokescreens for the 0.01% he cares about.
Giant Flyer: Dragons, wyverns, hippogriffs, griffons, manticores, Terrorgheists (dragon-sized zombie bats), phoenixes and about a third of your Scroll of Binding options in Storm of Magic.
Giant Spiders: Orcs and goblins use these as steeds. The trope reaches its awesome apex with the Arachnarok Spider, which is the biggest model in the game.
Glass Cannon: High Elf heavy cavalry (Silver Helms and Dragon Princes). Lightning quick and can deliver tremendous blows - almost as efficient as the Bretonnian knights. Not as durable, though, but have better initiative in combat. Most war machines can also cause outright havoc, especially among enemy monsters, but will crumble if anyone even looks at them in close combat.
Also, possibly Sigmar, judging by when you meet his avatar in the chaos wastes in the MMO, is an extreme Knight Templar and kind of an asshole. Though in fairness a god's avatar does not always represent the whole of his personality. Valten was another avatar of Sigmar and was a well-meaning moron who got by on sheer concentrated Badass and a Healing Factor.Figures.
A pre-deity Sigmar is the hero of the Graham McNeill novel Empire he commits what's genocide on the Roppsmenn tribe for their treacherous actions (they were blackmailed by the Norse who came back in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Imperials and kidnapped the Roppsmenn tribal leaders and women to get them to do their bidding) and his captains are a little... unsettled at his ruthlessness(though he was possessed by an evil crown at the time).
While not generally malevolent, the gods of the Old World are generally too apathetic to be considered benevolent by any definition of the word. Solkan is the Knight Templar exception. They are also implied to be somewhat weaker then the Chaos Gods, as they rely on more complicated concepts for their worship and power, whereas the Chaos Gods have VERY broad, very universal, and very negative concepts empowering them.
The Gods Must Be Lazy: Averted in that several times gods have intervened to save their people, generally by creating an avatar, usually to fight the forces of Chaos. The only reason the world still exists is the first chaos invasion was stopped when Aenarion was granted divine power. The Lizardman god Sotek appeared out of nowhere to protect them from the Skaven. What was probably the god Sigmar reborn fought the Chaos champion Archaon, the result of which was... disputable. The Greenskins' god Gork can STOMP HIS FOOT DOWN ON THE TABLE.
Good Is Not Nice: The nicest description you could give to High Elves. They're still assholes. This probably comes from being heavily inspired by the The Bright Empire of Melnibone, who while mighty and powerful were very alien and amoral compared to everyone else. Thankfully the High Elves have less of the causal nuttiness the Melnibonean's had, mostly because the Dark Elves have it covered.
The Lizardmen were the first to fight Chaos; they are the true reason that Chaos can hardly leave the wastes. Pretty good, right? Well. Their leaders the Slann are actively trying to shift the world back to its pure untainted state, and no cost is too high for them to pay if it thwarts the ruinous powers. The Lizardmen will eat sentient bipeds, lobotomize them and use them as slaves, and their opinion on almost every sentient race is that of a pest exterminator finding cockroaches in their own house. When they made the first and so far only step to fixing the world, it reduced the dwarfen people to a shadow of a fraction of themselves; the Slann don't know this happened, but if they did they would be apathetically apologetic at how dumb the dwarfs were being for living where an inland sea should be.
Good Feels Good: By a wandering Chaos Champion who challenged an Elector Count to a duel. When he killed the Count, every woman watching started cheering. The Champion felt strangely pleased, and left the town standing.
Grim Up North: The Chaos Wastes. Pretty dark, too, since there's a hole to the equivalent of Hell at the north pole.
Norsca and the Kurgan realms are similarly just as bad, because they're the closest to this place. Together, the Chaos Wastes, Norsca, and the Kurgan form the Northern Wastes. The most over-the-top example of this trope ever. Filled with Chaos Vikings, Chaos Mongols and Chaos Vikings and Mongols in cool armour.
Hamster Wheel Power: Skaven doomwheels are war machines that are propelled by Rat Ogres running in wheels.
Harping On About Harpies: Harpies appear as a flying unit for Dark Elves and Hordes of Chaos. They are a One-Gender Race of winged female humanoids living as scavengers and snatchers. The issue of beautiful vs ugly Harpies comes to a head since they are depicted as attractive but only from the belly up to the neck as a "parody of a woman's body". Past versions of the models have presented them as only vaguely humanoid and not in the least attractive.
Hat of Power: The crown of Nagash, which gained magic powers and its own personality from sitting on the necromancer Nagash's head for centuries. Anyone who wears the crown is granted magic power and increased intelligence, at the cost of hearing the voice of the crown.
Healing Factor: Hydrae, Giants, War Mammoths, and everything with the Regeneration special rule.
Heroic Sacrifice: During the Great Catastrophe, Lord Kroak's Temple Guard stood on the bridge outside his temple for 2 and a half days while the hordes of Chaos slowly beat them into the ground and took them down, but they survived long enough for Kroak to unleash a spell reserved for the gods.
The propaganda covering up Valten's death paints it as one of these.
Also the Elven wizards who created the barrier to keep most of the Chaos magic out of the world - they're dead and still attack anyone who tries to undo their spells.
Similarly, the most powerful Lizardman hero is a tens of thousands year old mummy, with friggin' laser eyes and who also happens to release the magic equivalent to a nuke around himself that fries anything not a lizardmen.
Chaos Champions have their own, evil version of this determining whether they become deadlier with more and more Chaos Gifts and may eventually ascend to daemonhood, or whether their minds snap and they become Chaos Spawn.
Also Lord Settra of the Tomb Kings, who maintained an undead horde through his own willpower rather than the use of liches.
Hero's Muse: The Bretonnian knights, being Arthurian knights in France, follow the cult of the Lady, a mystical figure who gives visions and quests, leading to drinking from the Grail. Warhammer being the cheerful and happy place it is, the Lady may or may not be an elaborate hoax pulled off by the Wood Elves to protect their lands.
He Who Fights Monsters: Aenarion, the first Phoenix King of the High Elves. He grew ever more violent and hateful as he warred against the Daemons of Chaos, and though he died a hero, his actions set the stage for the Sundering in which the Dark Elves split from their kin.
Also the Shadow Warriors of Nagarythe, the first High Elves to become victimized by the Dark Elves, are obsessed with eradicating the Dark Elves to the point of murderous fury. They're shunned even by other High Elves.
Archaon had something like this as a backstory.
Hidden Elf Village: The Wood Elves. The other Elves have kingdoms and empires. (Although Ulthuan is hidden just as well as Athel Loren is.)
Hobbits: The Empire has a few Halflings living within their borders. They take all of the negative traits from Tolkien's Hobbits (being gluttonous, larcenous and lazy) and do away with all of the positive ones. As a result of some deft political maneuvering and excellent culinary skills during the reign of Emperor Ludwig the Fat, the Elder of the Moot holds a vote in the election of the Emperor, and the halfling lands are not subject to any of the Elector Counts.
Horny Vikings: The Norse. Good Sigmar, the Norse. They are a race of bloodthirsty warriors enthralled to evil daemonic gods (Khorne, the God of War, especially, whose name they also chant in battle and from whom they receive a battle rage, similar to Berserkers from actual Norse history) who compel them to constantly wage war and raid EVERYTHING. EVER. And are described as being uniformly gargantuan in height and proportion and are described as being 'ogre-like' in their height by characters. They also cultivate massive beards and ply the seas in ships with sails that drip blood and have wolf-headed prows. In other words, they are every cliche about the Vikings exaggerated to such an extent that the only possible result is unmatched awesomeness.
To a much lesser extent, Middenheimers have something like this going for them.
Horse Archer: Kislevite Horse Archers, Hobgoblin Wolf Riders, Wood Elf Glade Riders, and Empire Pistoliers (who, as the name suggests, aren't quite horse archers, but definitely ride horses).
Horse of a Different Color: Between dinosaurs, pegasi, wolves, huge spiders, and dragons, there is no shortage of fantastic mounts in the Warhammer universe.
Though not technically puns, there is a number of occasions where the design team is horribly uncreative. Take the Bretonnian province of Bordeleaux (which doubles as a pun on 'bordello'), for example, which is known for its good wine. Also, there's a Chaos character called Valkia (no surprises as to which creature from viking mythology she's based on) who wields a magical spear named "Slaupnir". Considering that the Warriors are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Vikings, though, Valkia's example at least has serious reason behind it.
I Did What I Had to Do: Way too common justification for several people's, and nations', actions in this world. Its gotten to the point where it may have once been possible to fight Chaos in the past more effectively as an alliance if certain groups (Lizardmen and High Elves, in particular) didn't treat this trope as a standard operating procedure or even a stated goal of success.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Several Lizardman names, including Kroak (croak), Xilicuncani (chili con carne), Xhilipepa (chili pepper), Manquoxutni (mango chutney), and Tiktaq'to. There's also the Gwakamol Crater in Lustria.
They have been getting slightly better though: the aforementioned Xhilipepa was introduced in an article about some staffer's personal army, along with Itzibitzi, Tini-huini and Pol'kadotte. Tini-huini has since become an official special character, although his name has been changed to Tehenhauin. Admittedly, this is still a bad pun (Two-in-One), but it's better than "teeny-weeny."
There are some more subtle ones, such as the intricately carved Sentinels of Xeti, erected under the orders of Lord Arexibo to listen for signals from the space-borne Old Ones, of which none have yet been heard. This may remind one of the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, which has (on occasion) been used by SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) to listen for possible signals from aliens, of which none have yet been heard.
The Reman general who first discovered the island of Albion was called Curius Gesar - Curious Geezer.
Just as Planned: This is supposed to be the Lizardmen's hat, as they obsessively follow any kind of signal that may hold a clue to their mysterious Gods' "Great Plan". Unfortunately, they know the Old Ones had a plan, just not what it was, as they never bothered to tell anyone.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: The targets of Lizardmen genocides were/are very nasty creatures (especially Chaos and Skaven) themselves, except for the dumb colonists on their coasts.
The Kingdom: Bretonnia, although they aren't defenseless by any means, and whilst possessing knights in shining armour and damsels in distress there's a lot of oppressed peasants taxed almost to (or sometimes past) starvation (ridiculous 90% taxes!) to pay for armour polish and gowns.
Kill It with Fire: The Empire Bright Wizards. Hint: The "Bright" doesn't refer to their intelligence... Also, Dwarf Flame Cannons, the Tomb Kings Screaming Skull Catapult which fires burning, wailing skulls, the entire college of Fire Magic, and so on and so forth. Tomb Kings and Treemen are also "Flammable", due to being wrapped in tar-soaked bandages and made out of wood, respectively.
Knight Templar: The character type most common in the Empire and Bretonnia.
Lizardmen have this, its just not very obvious from an outside point of view; just remember those elderly comatose toad guys will shift continents regardless of the bodycount if they think it's right, especially if the victims weren't part of The Great Plan of the Ancients.
Knight In Shining Armour: Bretonnia was this for a while, until the next edition made them Knight Templars again. They certainly still look the part, though. The High Elves also have their own knights that fit the bill.
Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid: any of the various races and characters in this game can be seen as one of these alignments. Except Stupid Good, for obvious reasons. You've got Empire Witch Hunters and Lord Mazdamundi (Lawful Stupid), the Skaven (Stupid Evil) and the Orcs & Goblins (Chaotic Stupid or Stupid Evil, depending on your point of view and the time of day).
Lore of Light, in the main rulebook, is actually more destructive then its twin Lore of Shadow, which is primarily defensive/movement magic.
Lightning Bruiser: The Bretonnian Knights, and, indeed, all heavy cavalry. Ogres are almost as fast as cavalry units, and have at least three wounds each. Lizardmen Kroxigors may also qualify, since they too are a little slower than cavalry (even across water thanks to being aquatic) - but then again they always attack last due to wielding what are trees with blades on the end. This also applies to the majority of flying monsters.
Made of Iron: Ogres. The Ogre Kingdoms army book contains a mock scholarly report of an ogre corpse that sustained years worth of wounds, from a massive lance to the shoulder to dozens of crossbow bolts and gunshots to its head, surviving it all until he swallowed a loaded gun (arm and all) that went off in its throat and fired a bullet into its brain (!).
To a much lesser extent the Saurus and Kroxigor follow this trope.
Archaon, while he has same wounds and toughness as regular Chaos lord, he has a 1+ armor save, a 3+ word save, and rolls to hit against him suffer from minus 1 penalty.
Great Unclean Ones are very hard to take down. How hard? Stand in front of a gunpowder cannon and take ten cannonballs in a row in the chest. If you're still standing, you're still not as tough as one. Fortunately, 8th edition's army structure rules make this guy a rarely used piece.
Magic Misfire: Troubling, though fairly uncommon, for most magic users. Amusingly prevalent and spectacular for Greenskins - it can become completely impossible to stop but the caster suffers a Super Power Meltdown. In a past edition, it was possible for a botched spell to cause the caster's head to asplode. Probably one of the funniest things that can go wrong in a non-Skaven army.
Magitek: This is the specialty of Skaven Clan Skryre.
Master Poisoner: The entire Skaven race. The Skinks of Lustria are a distant second, its implied in fluff that they can do many things, but they'd rather just kill with their "jungle poisons."
Medieval Stasis: Averted, this world is constantly changing and technology is continuing to advance, with steam rather than real-world stuff. The list of things that were invented differently with the alternate power source include tanks, helicopters, sniper rifles, and mechanical horses to replace the modern day car. However, the trope is played perfectly straight with Bretonnia, although perhaps justified, because it's suggested that the Wood Elves are deliberately keeping them there to act as an easily manipulated human shield.
Mighty Glacier: Lizardmen are known for two things: incredibly powerful basic rulebook casters, and slow but tough as nails units. Warriors of Chaos, to a much better extent have this also. Unless you dedicate them to Slaanesh. In which case, they're Lightning Bruiser instead.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Monsters created by Chaos, such as Griffons, Manticores, and the various Beastmen, combine the traits of multiple animals. The Skaven Clan Moulder also specializes in mixing rats with other creatures to create vile mutants. Additionally, several lizardmen monsters fit as well - the stegadon and salamander both have stegasaur-esque thagomizer tails, despite primarily resembling triceratops and dimetrodon, respectively.
Monowheel Mayhem: You do not want to get in the way of the Skaven Doomwheel, which is best described as a hamster wheel designed by Nikola Tesla after a particularly bad day.
Mystical Plague: Nurgle mages get these kinds of spells, as do the Skaven. Also, this is how Nagash wiped out Nehekara and paved the way for the rise of the Tomb Kings.
Nepharious Pharaoh: The Tomb Kings are this, as the priests who were supposed to grant them entry to the afterlife instead brought them back as undead corpses. In an interesting variation, they all still think themselves the rightful rulers of Khemri, which doesn't go well with the previous and following rightful rulers of Khemri.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: According to the recent novel in his name ("Van Horstmann"), the infamously powerful Tzeentchian Champion, Egrimm van Horstmann, began as an ordinary (if naturally smart) child in the Empire, with little concerns besides caring for his beloved little sister, Lizbet. Then the ambitious and quite mad wife of a Light College wizard took the two children and hurled them into a pit filled with snakes, to prove her hypothesis that the snakes would only harm the impure. When he lived but his sister died, he vowed revenge, scheming and manipulating his way into the College of Light Magic to destroy numerous arcane texts and items, unleash a horrific plague upon Altdorf, and release the most terrible Chaos Dragon ever known, all for the sake of having revenge upon the man and woman who slew his sister and didn't even care enough to remember the two of them.
Ninja: Clan Eshin, who are Ninja Rats. Also Shadow Warriors of Nagarythe are based on Ninjas. And one model is an Ogre ninja.
No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The man who invented the Steam Tank made about twelve of them, and then threw the plans away — as an expy of Leonardo da Vinci, he got bored with them and moved on to another project. However, lore says that one of the 12 tanks produced, the most successful prototype, dubbed "Conqueror" - fitted with a cannon and steam gun - was reverse engineered and went into mass production, while the other 11 unique originals are still lying around somewhere, except the ones that have been destroyed.
Orcus on His Throne: Nagash has been back from the dead and gathering his forces for centuries, but hasn't really done anything beyond manipulating a few relatively minor forces behind the scenes.
Original Position Fallacy: Many people who join Chaos cults do so in the hopes of attracting their chosen god's favor. Unfortunately for them, said gods are just as likely to ignore them, give them what they want or subject them to horrible (or benign) mutations.
Our Elves Are Better: Three main groups—the High Elves, the Wood Elves, and the Dark Elves. They're arrogant bastards, isolationist bastards, and sadistic bastards in that order. Not really 'better', though.
Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants. Always drunk and not the brightest bulbs of the chandelier. And Storm of Magic introduces a super sized giant called a bonegrinder that is so big that it can use its thunderstomp against anything without the "largest monster" rule, and the only other thing with that rule is a giant killer mammoth.
Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They're identical to Dungeons & Dragons gnomes—small burrowing humanoids with a knack for technology and illusion magic—but extremely rude and short-tempered. They disappeared some time after the '90s.
Our Goblins Are Different: Small, green, devious, and shamanistic; most get pushed around by Orcs. Forest Goblins ride spiders, Night Goblins live underground and enter a berserker rage by drinking mushroom brew. Related to Mongol-esque Hobgoblins, Ogre-abetting Gnoblars, and tiny expendable Snotlings who are so pathetic most players appear to have sympathy to these guys.
Passion Is Evil: The Chaos Gods are the sum of every sentient being's rage, hope, lust and love. Worshipped via mass slaughter and warfare, mutation and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, rape and torture, and spreading disease and pestilence like a demented Santa Claus. The only workable alternative is to cut off the emotions, either by turning the entire world undead (which was one vampire's plan in Warhammer) or by killing everything down to the last bacterium (the Necrons in 40K).
The Pig Pen: Followers of Nurgle take great pride in being filthy and disease ridden.
Plaguemaster: Nurgle in a nutshell. And the Skaven clan Pestilens give his followers a run for their money.
Precursors: The Old Ones who created the Lizardmen, made the world prosper, left open a backdoor for a Chaos to sneak through, died out and left a bunch of plaques and prophecy that the Lizardmen spend most of their time interpreting or committing genocide over.
Proud Warrior Race Guy: Everyone. Well, except for the people of Tilea and Estalia, who avoid danger by hiding in the Empire's shadow. The Warriors of Chaos are the most intense about it, though. Because they are Vik-, because it's in the name.
Raised by Wolves: The legendary Ogre Hunter Jhared the Red was cast out by his clan for being a hairy runt, only to be found and raised to maturity by a female sabertusk cat. He eventually killed the pack leader, then lead the sabretusks to hunt down and eat his former tribe.
Religion of Evil: Chaos, need we say more? Also the Dark Elves and their veneration of Khaine (Elven God of War and Murder), the Skaven worship of the Horned Rat, and the Chaos Dwarfs' Hashut.
Religion is Magic: Cultists of Sigmar, and most of the other gods, have magic religion powers of ass-kickery.
The Greenskins and Ogres consider their magic relgious, as well.
Lizardmen magic is their religion, although its more shamanistic with the skinks, and sort of Zen Buddhist (minus the "prevent suffering" clause) with the Slann.
The Remnant: As revealed in the Storm of Magic book, the Fimir were once the primary servants of Chaos, only for the Dark Gods to switch their attention to the humans and leave the Fimir hanging. As a result, the most Fimir you are ever likely to see in an army is two, and that's only in Storm of Magic games.
Retcon: All mention of Malal was written out of the backstory due to no one being quite sure who owned his copyright. He remains semi-popular amongst old school Chaos players and gets a Shout-Out every so often by GW proper.
The Storm Of Chaos event has been retconned out by the 8th edition rulebooks, which reset the timeline to before those events. As such, Valten no longer existed (although he may be a blacksmith in a small village), Archaon is still the Everchosen and was not defeated and broken from his dark faith, and Manfred is still thought "dead". The Nemesis Crown event was also retconned almost immediately after completion, and then everyone tried really hard to forget it.
Rule of Funny: the Ork Doom Diver catapult, which fires a goblin in a hang-glider, and the Skaven Doomwheel, which is a giant hampster wheel with ray guns. Also, look at the names of the Lizardmen gods and special characters. Also, the Snotling Pump-Wagon. And, indeed, the word 'snotling'.
Savage Wolves: Ridden by goblins. Dire (zombie) wolves are favorite vampire pets. And there are also the fiendish Chaos Hounds.
Salt the Earth: Man those Elves can be nasty. Anything non-elven that trepasses against an elven protection, like say a poorly positioned village, will be irradicated to the point of never knowing it existed and during The Sundering the point of no return when the two different elven races would form came when a king Tethlis whose family had been killed by the enemy moved to scorched earth tactics and would salt the fields of their lands on the continent, driving them onto a completely different continent.
Schizo Tech: The Empire's up to rifled firearms supplemented by gigantic cannons and steam-powered tanks. The Dwarfs have gyrocopters, submarines, and ironclad ships. Thanks to Magitek, the Skaven have jezails, ratling guns, giant hamster wheels that shoot lightning, or really huge death rays, portable nuclear reactors, and what seems to be three different types of nukes. Meanwhile, the High Elves still use chariots and bolt-throwers, while the orcs have just enough know-wotz to slap together a "rock lobber," except for Snotlings, whose steam-powered Pump Wagon is remarkably good engineering from a species that might, with training, eventually rise to be considered dumb as posts. Though elves focus more on magic than technology and a well-trained elf archer tends to be as useful as any fellow with a musket.
Screw You, Elves!: Humans often grab elves by their pointy ears and swing them around. However, this can be a bad thing in the case of the High Elves. They're the main defenders from chaos, a the reason why the Empire has wizards and screwing with them is what's making the world worst, oops.
Serrated Blade of Pain: The lizardmen use blades with obsidian teeth, based on the Aztec weapons. Also, many champions of chaos use similar weapons, including possessed ones that grow actual teeth.
Shape Shifter: Kislev has them in a sizable minority, then there is Beorg Bearstruck, leader of a mercenary army, who is a werebear.
The Skaven themselves are probably a shout-out to Stephen King's '"Graveyard Shift, with a dash of a story from the Grey Mouser series called Swords of Lankhmar'', although in that story the creatures are the size of normal brown rats. They have an evil council and everything!
Almost everything about Chaos, from the it's strange mutating effects and reality-altering abilities to it's eight-pointed star symbol comes directly from Michael Moorcock's stories, most specifically The Elric Saga. The High Elves have strong influences from the Bright Empire of Melnibone (a faded empire thousands of years old rule by human-ish but still alien beings on an island fortress kingdom with sleeping dragons they rarely use). The character Malus Darkblade is a Captain Ersatz of Elric himself.
Mannfred von Carstein. Fluff suggests that he knew about/helped/planned the stealing of Vlad von Carstein's Ring, leading to his downfall. He then disappeared to continue his studies of Necromancy and let the other potential heirs of Vlad kill each other, be killed in battle against the Empire, or hunted down by vampire hunters (and there are rumours that the one who killed Peter von Carstein was helped along by none other than Mannfred) before claiming Sylvania for himself.
Status Quo Is God: Last write up of Storm of Chaos. The Hero of the Empire is on his knees, about to be killed by the Champion of Chaos...only for the Champion of Chaos to get knocked out from behind by someone unrelated. And then both of the villains take their armies and go home. And then the Vampire who was invading in their wake changes his mind too. Why? Cause otherwise the game writers have to alter how the world is set up.
Averted in the actual rules. 8th edition shook up the rules of the game, altering the way magic, combat resolution and combat itself works. fan reaction is...divided.
Steam Punk: The Empire, Dwarf, and Skaven are rife with it.
Super Power Meltdown: A risk inherent with all daemon weapons, but particularly with the Slayer of Kings, a massive broadsword in which contains the enraged essence of U'Zuhl, one of the most powerful daemons ever to have existed. It belongs to Archaon, who stole it from the Father of Dragon Ogres. It is already a horriby powerful magic blade, but unleashing the power of U'Zuhl will make it even more so. Unfortunately, U'Zuhl cannot be restrained without a detailed ritual, meaning Archaon has to deal with him unbound until the end of the battle. This is not an easy experience, and has the potential to be fatal.
Swarm of Rats: The Skaven, an army based on the Rat Horde concept.
Take That: Nigel Stillman is a football (soccer for American tropers) enthusiast, and according to him, the Orcs are parody of English football hooligans. "The Orcs are the same in dumbness for bricks as bricks are to the football hooligans".
Taking You with Me: Caradryan, Captain of the Phoenix Guard. Whoever kills him will be consumed by an angry ball of fire lobbed by the Elven Creator God.
Same with killing a Tomb King, only you'll be eaten by zombie bugs.
The Heart of Woe is a magic item designed to do this - if the wearer dies it explodes.
There's an Orc and Goblin item that also has this function - although the Goblin in question just thinks it's cool and shiny, and can't understand why da Boss keeps sending him off to take on large groups of Chaos knights by himself.
Vlad von Carstein was famously killed in this manner as the Grand Theogonist (the Pope) tackled him off of a tower and onto a row of spikes surrounding the fort. This was probably the third or fourth time Vlad was killed. Only this time he stayed dead, probably because his magic ring had been stolen.
The World Is Always Doomed: The Empire gets huge Chaos warhosts knocking on the doorstep every couple years. It's suprising they still make a big deal out of it.
Besides that they also have to deal with undead hordes from Sylvania and Orc warbands in the South.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Skaven worship the number thirteen. They're also ruled by a body called the Council of Thirteen, although there are twelve Skaven on it. The empty chair is for their Horned God. They also have exactly 169 Grey Seers (that's 13 x 13) and exactly 13 spells (guess which one is the strongest and most terrifying?). Even their bells chime 13 times. In the last edition of the Skaven army book, they only got Irresistible Force on a casting roll of a 13, rather than the usual 2 or more 6's. That's right, one of the basic rules of the game bent for how much they worshiped 13.
Tome of Eldritch Lore: Almost everyone has these, and then there's the alternatives, like "A Series of Stone Slabs Tied Together With Human Tendons in the Form of a Bound Book of Eldritch Lore".
Too Important to Walk: Dwarf Kings can be borne aloft by shield bearers; Slann used to have palanquins before they upgraded to hover-thrones; and Ogre tyrant Greasus Goldtooth rides in a gnoblar-borne litter. Grom the Paunch doesn't usually walk for practical reasons but rides in a chariot. On one occasion he was borne on a palanquin by goblins. According to the story, more than one of them died from the experience. And mimicking (or possibly as a mockery of) the dwarfen habit, some Skaven warlords have shield bearers carrying them into battle. The fluff suggests that they think of themselves as too important to walk.
Trivial Title: Named after Sigmar's hammer Ghal Maraz (Skull-splitter), but it sees relatively little use in the fluff, being one weapon among hundreds used by one faction among a dozen.
Troperiffic: Not unlike 40k, Warhammer Fantasy exults in its clichés and makes of them something awesome.
Tunnel King: The Skaven have a tunneling unit. Whether it appears where it should (directly underneath the enemy's artillery units, usually) or the tunnelers screw up horribly and either collapse their tunnel, arrive somewhere on another continent or at least at a different spot on the battlefield than they should (whereupon they spend the rest of the turn bickering who held the map the wrong side up) is dependent on the roll of a die...
Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: The climax of the Storm of Chaos campaign involved the Empire and their Bretonnian, Kislevite and High Elf allies standing against Chaos, Orcs, Skaven and Undead, all of which were also fighting each other. Incidentally, the Orc leader beat the Chaos leader in single combat and the Undead waited until everyone else was worn down, raised the dead of both armies to destroy the chaos horde, then went home. The Empire and allies comprehensively got their asses kicked and couldn't claim any success greater than "survived".
An old White Dwarf magazine contained an Ultimate Showdown tournament between the best special characters from every army at the time. Because there were, at the time, 15 playable armies, a Bloodthirster was added to make up the numbers, so no-one got a bye in the first round. The Bloodthirster won handily. Dice for the Dice Throne!
Unreliable Narrator: Nearly all of the history fluff has a lot of bias towards the main faction, since it's being told by one of them, but the Dark Elves take the cake in that their entire history according to Malekith is a load of Blatant Lies to try and make Malekith look heroic.
Utopia Justifies the Means: The less insane Undead leaders who want to save the world from chaos by turning everyone Undead. The Chosen of Chaos Archaon apparently also believes he is saving the world from corruption.
The Slann believe this as part of their goal to enact the Old Ones' plan.
War God: Khaine for the Elves and Khorne for Chaos. There's a sneaking suspicion that they're one and the same.
In the non ax-crazy end of the spectrum, the dwarfs have Grimnir and the Empire have Sigmar, Ulric and Myrmidia. Yep, the world is so horrible that humans need three gods associated with warfare to deal with it. Gork and Mork, being orc deities, would also qualify.
The Skaven. They're actually faced with mass starvation if they're not engaging in their part-time civil war, or invading the surface with countless numbers. It was stated in one of the army books that this is just as much a driving force for the Council's plans as conquering the Old World. The Skaven are the only faction that can shoot into close combat involving their own troops. With flamethrowers. They have so many that when Grey Seer Thanquol takes a Kislevite manse, he considers the odds to be against his favor. His troops outnumber the occupants at a rate of 10 to 1.
Orcs and Goblins see battle mostly as a numbers game, and are are the only ones that shoot their troops as ammunition. Good old Doom Diver...
Vampires, ironically, do not feel this way about their mortal subjects. Why send a loyal peasant to his death when you can send a dead enemy back to kill his living friends? But the Vampires do tend to treat themselves as expendable. Mostly because even if you do manage to kill them in a way that would kill a vampire and they've already lost their additional magic ring that would resurrect them even then, they still have the capacity to come back from the dust that they were reduced to via absorbing the life-force that departs when a mortal is killed in battle.
The forces of Chaos, the Empire, and the Bretonnians also practice this as well, to varying extents.
Frederick Van Hal is an example of the trope. Once a priest of Morr he turned to necromancy and resurrected a large horde of zombies... to defend his country Sylvania from the Skaven invasion. It worked, but went downhill from there. He was murdered by his apprentice and never sent the zombies away, his country was despised by The Empire for his actions and eventually vampires took over and made Sylvania their own.
Your Soul Is Mine: The Necromancy spell Wind of Undeath kills any enemy unit and lets you replace them with a unit of Spirit Hosts- ghosts. The Tomb Blade steals an enemies' soul and adds their skeleton to your army (represented by adding a single skeleton to the unit the blade's weilder is attached to). The Casket of Souls for the Tomb Kings, which is esentially the Ark of the Covenant weaponized.