Unlike the average Total War game, which features conventional, distinctive-but-similar human armies, the playable armies of the Total War: Warhammer trilogy are vastly different from each-other in appearance, mechanics and even species, necessitating individual pages to describe each of them in detail.
Human NationsHumans are a relatively young race in the Warhammer world. They do not remember the departure of the Old Ones or the first coming of Chaos, nor do they have the depth of knowledge and wisdom of the Elder Races. However, they have grown to be a dominant species in the world, dwarfing the Elder Races by their numbers if not their sophistication. Unlike other races, Humans are a diverse species, having as many corrupted and cowardly individuals as they have brave and wise heroes. For better or worse, they have taken a central role in balancing the fate of the world.
Elder RacesOld, declining, yet proud beyond measure, the Elder Races were present in the Dawn Times, when the first of their kind were sculpted by the hand of the Old Ones themselves. Thus, they tend to be far more resistant to Chaos than humans. In times past all of them built magnificent civilizations, grander than anything Man has achieved so far. However, millenia of strife and tragedy have inevitably led to their decline, and they are now a shadow of their former selves. Despite all this, they still represent some of the most formidable forces of the world.
Forces of ChaosBeyond the veil of reality lies the Realm of Chaos, home to four gods so powerful one of them alone could snuff out the world and its gods along with it, and would do so gladly. Having first invaded the world millenia ago only to be barely repelled by the combined might of the Elder Races, the Chaos Gods and their Daemon armies cannot easily walk through the world and are barely contained to the poles. Now the Forces of Chaos, mortal minions of the four gods corrupted by their influence or lured to their side by promises of power, lie in wait for the right time to destroy the world and watch it burn. And that time is approaching...
GreenskinsThe Greenskins are considered by many to be the scourge of all civilization. Big and mean or small and mean, these green-skinned monstrosities can be broadly categorized into two species: The large and brutish Orcs and the small and cunning Goblins. Supremely violent, they exist in a permanent state of war against anything and anyone they can see. Time and again, Greenskin hordes arise without warning and lay a great swath of destruction that has no direction or purpose other than simple violence, an ever-increasing mass of warfare that has the potential to dominate and cover the entire world in a seething green tide.
UndeadThe Wind of Death blows strong in the Warhammer World, and the dead have long and bitter memories. The Undead are the logical result of the short-lived humans' efforts to achieve immortality, no matter the cost. Nagash, first of the Necromancers, was responsible for developing the malign art of raising the dead to serve a master, which indirectly contributed to the rise of the Vampires and their diverse bloodlines, who control armies of cadavers of all sorts and are megalomaniacal in their pursuit of eternal un-life.
SkavenA malevolent and diabolical race of ratmen whose warrens span a global inter-continental underground empire known in their tongue as the Under-Empire. The Skaven are a cruel and vicious species whose military power and incomprehensible numbers have the potential to smother all the kingdoms of the Old World, a destiny the ratmen believe is inevitable. Scheming and treacherous, the Skaven consider themselves the supreme master race, undeniably superior to all other civilizations in the Warhammer World. They are constant enemies of the Dwarfs, the Night Goblins, and all non-Skaven races. And of each other, if we're honest.
An elderly human who serves as an advisor to the player's selected faction. Is the narrator of all faction intros and certain trailers.
- The Artifact/Demoted to Extra: In the second game, where he is merely a narrator for non-faction specific events and isn't implied to exist in-game at all. His role as Mission Control is instead taken over by a faction-specific character instead. He'll even tell you that you shouldn't be alarmed at his particular appearance, and that he's really just there to help you through the tutorials and generic events.
- Evil Chancellor: When playing as an evil faction, but especially when playing as the Warriors of Chaos, as he is a cultist of Tzeentch manipulating you at the behest of his patron, Sarthorael, to bring about the reign of Chaos.
- The Good Chancellor: He advises you on managing your empire, teaches you to command your forces and encourages you to grow your empire and become a force to be reckoned with.
- Inexplicably Awesome: No matter which leader you take, he somehow talked his way into becoming their chief adviser and setting their objectives, with barely a Hand Wave given. Being a sorcerer of Tzeentch with a Lord of Change perched on his shoulder might have something to do with it.
- No Name Given: His name is never revealed, and the game merely refers to him by his role.
- Oh, Crap!: He realizes pretty quickly that Sarthorael intends to kill him, and spends his final moments pleading to be spared.
- Playing Both Sides: Since the Advisor is obviously just a source of tutorials and exposition there's no reason to be suspicious that every faction is advised by the same person.
- Prophet Eyes: He has milk white eyes, but it appears he isn't visually challenged.
- Ravens and Crows: He is accompanied by an albino crow/raven. In certain campaigns, it's actually Sarthorael in disguise.
- Schrödinger's Gun: He'll only be revealed to work for the Chaos gods in the Beastmen/Chaos campaign. If you play as any of the other factions, he's simply the advisor he looks like. You may even get more of his advice after you banish Sarthorael and return the world to an age of peace.
- Simple Staff: Carries a wooden staff.
- The Unfought: The moment he reveals his true nature in the Warriors of Chaos campaign, Sarthorael kills him.
- Wham Line:The Adviser: Your empire dominates all. Could you rival the gods themselves? I think not, fool! (Evil Laugh)
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the same cutscene where the Adviser reveals his treachery, Sarthorael kills him, outright declaring that the old man was nothing more than a pawn of Tzeentch.
Gotrek Gurnisson, a Dwarf Slayer, and Felix Jaeger, his Human chronicler, are a duo of warriors travelling throughout the length and breath of the Old World, battling Dark Forces and stopping plots in Gotrek's quest for a heroic death against a terrible foe. The adventures of these warriors have been written down in the series of books: "My Travels with Gotrek" by Master Felix Jaeger, which outlines Felix's many adventures with his maniacal comrade throughout many of their endeavours, recording everything till the day Gotrek has finally met his doom, and will finally be allowed to enter the halls of his ancestors.
The skills of these two heroes is near unequal in the known world, their deeds becoming near legendary in the eyes of many of their own people. Their exploits have led these two warriors to places only heard of in whispers and legend. Such extraordinary lands includes them taking an expedition to the far north, towards the ancient Lost Hold of Karag Dum, being teleported to the mysterious foggy swamp-lands of Albion, travelling to the scorching sand-encrusted palaces of Araby, and even going as far east as the great cities and spires of legendary Cathay itself. In these distant lands, Gotrek has cleaved a mighty toll of beast, monsters, and warriors alike, as he tries his greatest to find the glorious deaths that seems to elude him on every battlefield. Alongside this fearsome warrior travels a young poet and swordsmen by the name of Felix Jaeger. A black sheep of a rich mercantile family, this poet and writer had been with Gotrek for nearly 20 years, fighting alongside his maniacal companion as he writes down all of his mighty deeds within one of his many published and popular books.
Though sometimes considered vigilantes of the law, and sometimes having themselves locked up by the very people they tried to protect, such is the deeds these two have achieved in their twenty long years of battles after battle that the Old World gives them a silent prayer of deliverance and thanks, for these two have done things no mortal has ever been able to accomplish in many generations, having defended many mighty cities like Nuln and Praag from utter destruction, saved entire Kingdoms from the claws of ruination, and felling mighty warlords of the northern wastes, who seek to bring the end of the world as we know it. The forces of evil they encounter during their journeys will always be stopped, for these two are almost unrivalled in combat, and are considered among the world's most powerful heroes of this age, and many ages since.
The Duo are the main characters of the long running series Gotrek & Felix.
Gotrek & Felix appear in the second game as a Legendary Lord and Hero (both Heroes in multiplayer) respectively, recruitable only to Empire, Bretonnian and Dwarf factions. Rather than being recruited conventionally, they can be hired for 20 turns before they depart to parts unknown once again, though they may always return later. Both the player and the AI can gain control of them.
They'll be available to download on October 17th 2019 as FLC characters (For the Mortal Empires Campaign and Custom/Multiplayer Battles), but they can be available early to those who purchase a White Dwarf issue on September 2019.
- The Alcoholic: Both have problems with holding their liquor. Gotrek loves his alcohol, but being a Dwarf he's more resistant to it than a human would be. Also he follows the Dwarf stereotype of having a cultural, almost physiological, need for alcoholic drinks. While Felix was roped into being Gotrek's chronicler in the first place, because he was piss drunk when he agreed to it.
- The Atoner: Gotrek is one, as are all Slayers, But in his case, the details are very sketchy, but it's implied in the books he killed his lord, his bodyguards and a good chunk of his court while grief-stricken over the death of his wife.
- Anti-Hero: Gotrek drinks, curses, bloodily dispatches his enemies, causes wide scale property damage, but many times his heart is in the right place and he's trying to help. He even goes out of his way to help a friend. Felix can also be a womanizing sleazeball, but he too generally wants to do the right thing, and is a very loyal friend to Gotrek.
- Badass Beard: In case you didn't notice, Gotrek is a Dwarf.
- Cool Sword: Felix's Weapon of Choice is Karaghul, a sword enchanted to kill dragons, which never breaks and never needs sharpening. Unfortunately, it's also semi-sentient and has a mental link with Felix, and when a dragon showed up in the novels, Karaghul turns him into a Leeroy Jenkins. Despite this, however, Felix is actually an anti-infantry unit in-game, and so is not actually that great at dragonslaying, especially when compared to Gotrek (who is anti-large like all other Slayers).
- Death Seeker: There are two ways to look on how proper of a slayer Gotrek is. He is possibly the best one to have ever lived considering how he has defeated countless beasts, monsters and foes of near impossible scale and odds. This includes greater daemons, dragons, trolls, skaven, giants, minotaurs, vampires, an entire black ark and much much more. However, he could also possibly be the worst slayer to have ever lived considering how he has failed to get himself killed despite all of these attempts at a glorious death. It took The End Times for him to finally kick the bucket like everyone else, but even that failed to stick!
- Eyepatch of Power: Gotrek has a black eyepatch embroided with gold.
- Fantastic Racism: Gotrek generally looks down on non-dwarfs, with a few exceptions, though he outright and unreservedly despises elves, even compared to the average Dwarf. The first elf he encounters in the novels, the arch mage Teclis, he threatens to kill after he's finished with a daemon and regularly mocks and ridicules him despite the fact that Teclis saved him and Felix from their world's equivalent of Hell and ravenous daemons. He even says the one positive of Teclis failing to prevent a magic ritual that would enable the followers of Chaos to rampage across the world is that there'd be one less elf alive. In-game, the duo refuses to sell their services to Elven factions despite them being forces of order.
- Hired Guns: Gotrek and Felix act as mercenaries on the campaign, loaning their services to a select number of factions for gold, to finance their further adventures. This is actually a Mythology Gag, and a decade long Call-Back to the fact the duo were part of the Dogs of War armylist a long time ago.
- Hunter of Monsters: The one reason most of the most legendary monsters are still alive in the Warhammer world is simply because Gotrek has yet to reach them all. In game, however, that can be changed.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Felix is a stunning blonde Warrior, with unmatched golden locks, if a little rugged. He's depiction has been compared to a "good guy" Sigvald.
- Odd Couple: One is a depressive, suicidal dwarfen warrior with a mysterious past. The other is a young human nobleman who fancies himself a poet and never came anywhere close to combat until they met. Together, they hunt the biggest monsters in the world.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Felix is badass by the standards of the setting, but Gotrek is an unstoppable killing machine, and their stats very much reflect this.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: As Gotrek is a Slayer, he's always shirtless, and ready and willing to receive a deathblow to end his penance.
A new type of faction introduced in the second game, Rogue Armies are independent horde forces that plague the New World, consisting of mercenaries from different races underneath one banner and unified by a similar theme and flavor — as such, their armies can consist of units from different races' rosters. They primarily loot temples and wander the campaign map sacking and pillaging cities, but if they become strong enough, they can settle down and become full-on factions in their own right. They can be either powerful enemies or strong allies depending on how the player interacts with them.
- The Beastmaster:
- The Beastcatchas are led by a Night Goblin Beastmaster whose skill in taming monsters has gathered a nightmarish horde of Squigs, Warhounds, War Hydras and feral Dinosaurs. To a lesser degree, the Black Spider tribe fields Bastiladons alongside Arachnarok Spiders.
- A dwarf warband, the Deathseekers, field captured squigs, which are usually only used by Greenskins, as warbeasts.
- The Brute: You have to deal with a whole army of them when the Boneclubba Tribe shows up. Black Orcs are, by a wide margin, their most intelligent representatives.
- The Engineer: The College of Pyrotechnics is a whole army of them fielding a variety of artillery and war machines.
- Gaia's Vengeance: The Worldroot Rangers and Wrath of Nature are led by Elder Treemen who travel the world with an army of elven warriors in the former's case and forest spirits in the latter's.
- The Horde: What Rogue Armies often come across from the point of view of settled factions, being motley collections of barbarians, pirates, monsters and roving warmongers wandering their way through the world and waging war on whoever they encounter. Special mention goes to the Abominations, a mixed horde of monstrous Beastman units with Chaos Forsaken, Skaven monsters and ghouls thrown in for good measure, and Vashnaar's Conquest, a mixed warband of Chaos Warriors and Dark Elves seeking to wage war in the name of Chaos.
- Knight in Shining Armor:
- Subverted with the Scourge of Aquitaine, a rather sinister knightly order. The warband is composed of several units of Bretonnian Grail Knights, Royal Pegasi, and Knights of the Realm fighting alongside vampiric Blood Knights and Black Knights and led by a Vampire Lord, implying they're from Mousillon.
- Played straight by Jerrod's Errantry Army, a group of Empire and Bretonnian Knights purging the land of evildoers.
- Our Ghouls Are Different: The Heirs of Mourkain consist mainly of Crypt Ghouls and Crypt Horrors.
- Private Military Contractors: Several Rogue Armies, such as Gerhardt's Mercenaries and Mengil's Manflayers, are themed as mercenary companies.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: The various rogue pirate factions are poorly armed raiders that deploy mortars, free company militias, and peasant mobs.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The College of Pyrotechnics consists almost entirely of Steam Tanks and Helstorm Rocket Batteries.
- Token Heroic Orc: The Celestial Storm is a group of lightning worshipers whose ranks are taken from Lizardmen Warriors and Dragon Ogres, who are normally Chaos-aligned.
- The Wild Hunt: The Hunters of Kurnous are Wood Elves in service of the god of the hunt.
- Zombie Apocalypse: What happens if the Wandering Dead gain a foothold, since they can only recruit low tier undead infantry and a few black knights.
N'kari, Chosen of Slaanesh
N'Kari is an infamous Keeper of Secrets, a powerful Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, that can trace her origins to the Great Chaos Incursion that occurred during the time of the Old Ones long ago. During that great struggle, the first Phoenix King Aenarion destroyed Nkaris mortal form, banishing her back to the Realm of Chaos. However, she has continuously reappeared throughout the millenniums, wreaking havoc in the name of the Prince of Pleasure wherever she goes.
While she has not made a physical appearance in the trilogy (yet), according to the second game she has played a heavy role behind the scenes...
- The Dreaded: Oh yeah, even compared to most Greater Daemons, just mentioning N'kari's name is considered taboo. At the end of the Lizardmen campaign everyone has an Oh, Crap! moment when Yukcannadoozat master reveals N'kari's on her way.
- Evil Smells Bad: Her presence is marked by a sickeningly sweet smell emanating in the air.
- Faux Affably Evil: Like any Demon of Slaanesh, she is quite cordial, and mockingly polite to Arkhan (even referring to him by his proper title of Mortarch) when speaking to him, but it's clear to anyone who's familiar with the lore the implications behind her saying "it's time for me to play"...
- Greater-Scope Villain: Her only actions on the world so far has been in the shadows. Is apparently behind the resurgence of dark magic coming from Nagash's black pyramid, and in doing so, responsible for the mobilisation of the Tomb King's in question. She also seems to have been involved with the Vortex race, though it's unknown what hand she had in it.
- The Ghost: Mentioned frequently, she never makes an appearance in person. Until the epilogue of Arkhan's campaign, where she manifests herself briefly to mock the Liche.
- Manipulative Bastard: Though an enemy of Tzeentch and his minions, N'kari is still very adapt at this, heavily implied to have manipulated Arkhan into activating the Black Pyramid for some unknown reason. And it goes without saying her intentions are really bad.
- Troll: Seems to revel in the discomfort she causes Arkhan in their brief meeting.