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 30 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 are available to download as of October 17th 2019 as FLC characters (For the Mortal Empires Campaign and Custom/Multiplayer Battles), but they could be received early to those who purchased the White Dwarf issue of September 2019.
- Action Dad: Gotrek was a father once upon a time, but bringing up his now dead son is a major Berserk Button and has reduced him to Manly Tears. Felix likewise has sired a child.
- 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. He also follows the Dwarf stereotype of having a cultural, almost physiological, need for alcoholic drinks. Felix, for his part, 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. 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.
- An Axe to Grind: Also doubling as an Ancestral Weapon, his Rune Axe of Gotrek which is one of the most potent examples of its kind in the entire Warhammer world and throughout history especially since it a weapon made by a Physical God. His axe, more than anything else, seems to be the reason why he just can't get killed: the axe is destined to kill something really, really powerful, and Gotrek absolutely cannot die until the axe serves its purpose. It gives him truly insane stat buffs when activated.
- Anti-Hero: Gotrek drinks, curses, bloodily dispatches his enemies, and 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.
- Amazon Chaser: Felix is primarily attracted to strong women, mainly Action Girl who can kick his ass..
- The Atoner: All Slayers are this, with Gotrek's past and sin being especially grievous and dark.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Both of them have their problems.
- Gotrek hits hard, and having him join you and fight for you is awesome from a lore perspective, but hiring him counts as hiring an army (which meant extra upkeep for the Empire and Dwarfs until a patch changed it), he does not gain levels and skillpoints as he fights, he's available only for a limited number of turns before disappearing and he has no items and no army-boosting skills, which mean that even a halfway-specced generic lord would be a better leader. He's also a Slayer, which means while he hits hard he's deceptively fragile without Felix around.
- Felix has a different problem. Since he never levels up he's always stuck at the lowest possible level, and because he's a hero he can be targeted by enemy hero actions. Hero actions gain success chance based on the level between the hero and his target. This means even a mid-level hero gains a massive bonus to wound Felix, and the AI is perfectly aware of that. It's not unusual for him to spend half the 20 turns you get him for wounded because of enemy hero actions.
- Badass Abnormal: It's implied Gotrek's mystical axe has enhanced his already considerable strength and speed, turning him into the absolute killing machine he is today.
- It's also implied that Gotrek's axe "leaked" some of its power into Felix, which is why he's been able to keep up with Gotrek and is Older Than He Looks.
- Badass Beard: In case you didn't notice, Gotrek is a Dwarf, as well as a Slayer, having a badass beard of crimson is practically a given.
- Badass Normal: In contrast to his companion, Felix is just really lucky, and knows his way around in a scrap, being just a regular human who can keep pace with a venerable One-Man Army, and fight Dragons and Greater Demons.
- The Berserker: Gotrek is a mad whirl on the battlefield, slaughtering anything that comes before him an a blaze of bloodlust and mayhem, even screaming "berserker!" in combat, with little, if any, regard for his safety. Even before he became a Slayer Gotrek had a hard time controlling his raging temper. Felix is more composed and orderly when fighting, however.
- Blood Knight. Both to varying degrees. Felix, after getting other his innate cowardice and disdain for violence, has learned to enjoy a good fight, but he isn't anywhere gun-ho about it. Gotrek on the other hand, revels in violence and mayhem, like any Dwarf, but especially so, considering he's a slayer. The only time he's in a remotely good mood is on the battlefield, or drinking a tankard of alie.
- Brutal Honesty: Gotrek tells absolutely everyone what he thinks of them, friends are fair game, same with other slayer and even kings, much to the chagrin of Felix, and also Ungrim Ironfist.
- Character Level: Notably averted with Gotrek, who is a Lord unable to level up; in fact, you can't even see his talent tree. Instead, any Experience Points earned by his army will be shared across all other active Lords in the campaign map.
- The Chew Toy: A Trauma Conga Line led him to become a Slayer, but when he wants death it keeps eluding him.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shades of this. To seek his death, Gotrek looks for dangerous situations, though he sometimes helps for benevolent reasons. Felix is usually the one who brings out his conscious to help people.
- Combat Pragmatist: Neither have qualms about fighting dirty or using Improvised Weapons to get what they want. The game even encourages the player to send both to fight two on one in duels.
- 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).
- The Cynic: From his loading screen quotes in the first game, it is clear Gotrek thinks the dwarfs glory days are over and not coming back."We know how far we have fallen, manling. Now we hurdle in our Karaks, waiting for the end of the world."
- Death Seeker: Gotrek, like all Slayers, seeks to cleanse himself of his shame by dying a mighty death against a great foe, and routinely throws himself at greater daemons, dragons and armies to achieve this. Unfortunately for him, he's such a deadly combatant that 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. It's often joked in the fandom Gotrek's mastery of arms makes him one of the worst Slayers of all time.
- Determinator: A key part of his character. Gotrek will never give up, no matter the odds. Ever. In-game, he's unbreakable, and becomes even stronger on the verge of death.
- Dirty Old Man: While he's always been a Casanova Wannabe, Felix just became more perverted when he grew older, but was usually a Chivalrous Pervert.
- Dummied Out: They were originally meant to appear in Total War: Warhammer 1, and unused voice clips for them were found in that game's files. They finally were added to the series during the second game.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the first game, Gotrek was the source of several loading screen quotes and Felix was tengentially referenced in one of the Dwarfs random grudges (the grudge was about vampires reanimating dwarf corpses to play in a play written by a Jaeger).
- Eye Scream: Lost his left eye courtesy of a band of goblins raiders. Probably the only time a goblin managed to cause him serious injury in the entire book series.
- 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 archmage 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.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Felix's sword, Karaghul, is meant to be the ultimate dragonslayer's weapon and in the novels excels at bringing down mighty beasts. The game retools Felix as an anti-infantry combatant and thus better suited to fighting regular troops rather than dragons and other large monsters, largely because he and Gotrek would fill too-similar gameplay niches otherwise.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Gotrek and Felix will only stick around for 30 turns after being recruited, justified in-universe as Gotrek getting itchy feet and his deathwish commanding him to seek adventure elsewhere. There's a chance that they may be available for recruiting later on, stronger than before due to having gained experience offscreen.
- Good Is Not Nice: Felix just barely counts, being a womanizing Cowardly Lion, but Gotrek is especially nasty, being a Jerkass to everyone, a Noble Bigot who spews casual racism constantly, someone with a massive temper, and will not hesitate to kill the forces of disorder viciously and without mercy. They are also some of the staunchest champions of Order in the setting.
- Heroic Second Wind: Not only does he hit harder when close to death like most slayers, but Gotrek also has a chance of regenerating a vast amount of health when taking fatal damage.
- Honor Before Reason: He's a Dwarf. Oaths and grudges are Serious Business beyond serious business to him, which puts him and Felix in jeopardy on several occasions.
- 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 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.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He's been fighting the meanest, nastiest monsters he can find for decades and not one of them has been able to kill him. Since his life goal is to get killed awesomely, it's only natural that he's started to get bitter about it. Through this all though, Gotrek at least has kept his moral core, and he wants to help people, as much of an asshole he can be. Felix, whose been gradually hardened by his travels and witnessed the worst of every race in the Warhammer world has also become progressiveness bitter in his quest, but also remains a force of good.
- Lightning Bruiser: Gotrek is not only faster and hardier than most Dwarfs, but he also hits far harder than most units in the game.
- 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.
- Never My Fault: They both tend to shift blame towards others for their misfortunes, Felix especially.
- 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.
- Older Than He Looks: Felix has been adventuring with and chronicling Gotrek's exploits for at least two decades, but barely looks older than when he joined him. Possibly due to Gotrek's Badass Abnormal status "leaking" onto Felix as well.
- 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.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Gotrex's the Manly Man to Felix's Sensitive Guy. Though only relative to the setting.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: As Gotrek is a Slayer, he's always shirtless and ready and willing to receive a deathblow to end his penance.
- Warrior Poet: Felix wanted to be a poet rather then take over the family business, which led to disastrous consequences (including his partnership with his Slayer companion). Even now, he's a frequent writer, even when not chronicling him and his friend's adventures. And of course, he has one hell of a sword arm.
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.
- Cult: Morrslieb's Howlers, consisting of a mix of Skaven plague monks, Empire flagellants, fanatical night goblins, Chaos forsaken and a few related units, are themed around a fanatic cult dedicated to the Chaos moon.
- 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 waging 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, led by Strigoi Ghoul Kings.
- 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. She's apparently behind the resurgence of dark magic coming from Nagash's black pyramid, and, in doing so, for the mobilization of the Tomb King 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, and is 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: She seems to revel in the discomfort she causes Arkhan in their brief meeting.