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"Faith. Steel. Gunpowder."
"The softest part of a castle is the belly of the man inside."

Tempered in battle from the moment of its birth, the Empire represents the greatest bastion of Mankind. Since Sigmar first united the primitive tribes of men, the nation has had to fight for its very survival with constant vigilance. Though his reign has long since ended, the Empire is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with. Ever on a war footing, ranks upon ranks of highly trained professional soldiers make up the nation’s backbone. It is the variety of these troop types that is the chief strength of an Empire army. These brave men are more than prepared to lay down their lives to protect the lands and people they hold dear. The Empire is a beacon for all human learning and culture in a dangerous world, its light surrounded on all sides by dark forces that constantly threaten to extinguish it.


A huge realm of ancient and dangerous forests and prosperous farms contrasted with sprawling metropolises, the diversity of the Empire’s landscapes matched only by that of its people. Scholars, wizards, nobles and knights brush shoulders with common folk in the bustling streets of Gothic citadels. Magnificent palaces and gardens give way to crowded courtyards where the cries of religious fanatics permeate the market smoke and assassins walk amongst the throng unseen. Joy and misery, life and death; the entire spectrum of human existence can be seen amongst these streets.

Now, a new man has been elected Emperor. Though his reign is young, tales of his deeds, his martial prowess and his statecraft have already spread throughout the Empire and beyond. His name is Karl Franz. To his followers, he is heralded as heir of Sigmar. In him they see a man worthy of wielding both the Warhammer and the title of Emperor that the mighty warrior-god once held. Someone who can unify the Empire and once and for all vanquish its enemies both within and without.


The Empire plays most like a traditional Total War faction and features a variety of different units from the poor bloody rank-and-file through various kinds of elite cavalry, all the way up to advanced war machines and powerful artillery and magical support. Victory for the Empire comes not from numbers or might or subterfuge, but from a carefully considered combined arms approach, exploiting and adapting to ever-changing battlefield conditions and striking the enemy with the right unit when a vulnerability reveals itself. The Empire's main weakness is a lack of air units beyond high-level heroes, leaving the skies vacant for the enemy.

Introduced in Total War: Warhammer, the Empire is playable in custom games, the Grand Campaign, and Mortal Empires.

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    General Tropes 
  • A Commander Is You: A Balanced/Generalist faction, with splashes of Unit Specialization. They have a combination of light and heavy infantry, fearsome cavalry and powerful artillery both mundane and arcane, and their wizards have access to the largest selection of magical lores in the game. The Empire's strength lies in their ability to customize their individual armies to take on all comers and the ability to effectively counter pretty much any race's strengths... provided you've done your research.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Mostly Averted. Despite some lingering traces of Xenophobia, as well as some Knightly Orders being Ax-Crazy in regards to blood purity, the heavily German-inspired Empire is very egalitarian, and quite accepting of other races (which, of course, varies from province to province)note . It's much more similar to the First Reich, the Holy Roman Empire, than the Third.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The twelve Imperial Runefangs, passed down from Elector Count to their successor, are enchanted swords forged by the Dwarfs as gifts and symbols of the Human-Dwarf alliance. Ghal Maraz, the warhammer of Sigmar Heldenhammer, is always held by the current Emperor. Unlike most examples of this trope, the Runefangs and Ghal Maraz are not passed down by blood; anyone who has the current claim of the title (Elector Count for a Runefang, and Emperor for Ghal Maraz) inherits the weapons, regardless of blood affiliation with the previous owner. In-game, Runefangs are very rare item drops that give hefty bonuses to combat, and Ghal Maraz is one of Karl Franz's legendary items.
  • Annoying Arrows: The crossbow has largely phased out the hand-drawn bow in the Imperial State Army, and despite the increasing prevalence of blackpowder firearms, the army still recognises a need for a relatively low-cost and quick-firing weapon to whittle down lightly-armoured enemies from a safe distance. However crossbows just do not have the same punch against giant monsters and heavily-armoured troops. Crossbows also have the advantage of indirect fire.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Rather infamously, most common people within the Empire believe the Skaven to be a myth, even though the Dwarfs, their closest allies, have been at war with them for thousands of years and they actually conquered most of the Empire at one point. Any scholar who tries to raise the possible existence of these "mythical ratmen" are usually discredited, and mocked. The leaders of the Empire do know that Skaven exist, but refuse to acknowledge them out of fear that the masses will break down in hysteria if they ever found out millions of evil ratmen dwell underneath their cities.
  • Badass Army: The Imperial State Army is one of the most professional and disciplined armies in the setting (with only the armies of the Dwarfs and Elves contesting them in this department). The armies of the Empire employ professional soldiers, brave Knightly Orders, knights riding small gryphons, artillery pieces of various kinds (but all massive), steam-powered tanks, bald hammer-wielding warrior priests, and ordinary men who take on superhumans with only halberds and primitive blackpowder firearms.
  • Badass Beard: Pretty common facial hair among their units. Their Captain heroes particularly exemplify it.
  • Badass Bookworm: Any Imperial Battle Mage worth his staff is equal parts scholar and equal parts battlefield commodity, quite capable of raining down hell on enemy formations.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: The high offices of the Empire are inevitably held by great generals, warrior priests, and powerful wizards, meaning it's not that strange to find the Treasurer of the Empire clad in full plate, charging an Orc horde on the back of a warhorse, with a large army at his back.
  • Badass Normal: Aside from its wizards and warrior priests, the vast majority of the Imperial military is composed of completely normal humans with no special powers. With only their faith and their discipline the men of the Empire are expected to go up against daemon-worshiping vikings and barbarian warriors in plate armour several inches thick and forged in the pits of Hell itself, vengeance-obsessed Steampunk Dwarfs, green-skinned psychopaths who make the aforementioned vikings look like complete pansies, hordes of merciless brayin animal-headed savages, and the horrors of the walking dead, and win.
  • Bald of Awesome: Warrior Priests of Sigmar typically shave their heads as acts of devotion, and considering their vestments are armor and the Cult of Sigmar demands that they express their faith through battle, the awesome fully applies here. Captains are also portrayed as such within the game (though they are also heavily-bearded)
  • Balkanize Me: In the background, The Empire was Balkanized for 1000 years, which saw alot of political upheaval, and civil strife, before becoming relatively united. Even today, with Karl Franz at its helm, things are pretty fractured.
    • Approximately 1400 years ago in-universe, Emperor Mandred, who had seen the Empire through the worst crisis since Sigmar, was assassinated. For 200 years, the Empire was without an Emperor. Then the Electors finally made their decision, electing the Sigmarite Elector-Count of Stirland. The Elector-Countess of Talabecland, Ottilia, declared herself Empress, claiming that the election was a sham (there were also religious issues relating to Sigmar's divinity), with the support of the cults of Ulric and Taal. The two sides went to war, and Ottilia won a decisive victory, defeating the electoral Emperor in a huge battle.
    • For another 200 years, the two sides were locked in what amounted to cold war. Then, the Elector-Count of Middenheim managed to secure the support of the cult of Ulric and declared himself the Wolf Emperor. The three sides fought for another 400 years, when the Grand Theogonist refused to accept the newest elected Empress (an infant), at which point the Elector-Counts of Reikland advanced their own claim.
    • And then it got even worse: the Vampire Counts of Sylvania (led by Vlad von Carstein) laid siege to the Empire, beginning the century-long Vampire Wars.
    • It finally came to a head around the year 2300 of the Imperial Calendar (200 years before the in-universe present), when a massive Chaos invasion threatened to end the Empire once and for all. A minor noble from Nuln managed to reunite the Empire and defeat the forces of Chaos, was unanimously elected Emperor, and became the greatest Emperor since Sigmar. His name? Magnus the Pious.
  • The Beastmaster:
    • Amber Wizards, who study the Lore of Beasts, cross this with Summon Magic, being able to summon and control various animals and monsters in combat, in addition to an array of more general animal-based and animal-themed spells.
    • A minor example, but Demigryph Knights need to tame and break their beasts of war before gaining their loyalty.
  • BFG: Any Imperial artillery piece qualifies, but the Great Cannons really take the cake, being able to smash down walls and inflict heavy damage on even a Giant. There's also the Nuln Repeater Rifles which are Gatling Good applied to a rifle, and wielded by Outriders.
  • BFS: Jagged Zweihanders almost as tall as the soldier themselves, are wielded by the aptly-named Greatswords, an elite infantry unit. Notably, the Greatswords are taken from the best of the best in the Imperial army, and often act as bodyguards to Elector Counts.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The Imperial Palace, the center of all Imperial power, and Castle Reiksguard, the home of the famous Knightly Order, are featured in Mortal Empires as landmarks, buildable at extreme cost, but with massive bonuses.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spearmen and Halberdiers form the backbone of any Imperial fighting force - the former can wield shields and so are less vulnerable to arrows while the latter are more effective against heavily-armoured troops, and both are great against cavalry and large units.
  • Blow You Away: Celestial Wizards get a number of air-based spells, such as Roiling Skies and Windblast.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Empire as a whole throws away lavishness for practicality. For example, all State Trooper variants will remain useful up till the late game, and will form the main backbone of your army for the entire campaign. In every other faction the fancy elite units prop up your bread-and-butter troops, whereas in the Empire the reverse is true: bread-and-butter troops prop up the elites.
    • The Empire is the faction that, apart from the more fantastical units like the Steam Tanks, plays most like a traditional Total War faction, specifically one from Medieval II: you have your lines of spearmen and swordsmen to hold the line, gunners and crossbowmen to pepper the enemy before closing or to shoot into the flank once melee has joined, heavy shock cavalry to hammer down from the flank or rear and pursue fleeing units, and artillery to thin the enemies numbers or to keep them running once they're fleeing.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Zigzagged. The Empire actually maintains a semi-decentish relationship with the High Elves across the sea, and will generally listen to their advice. Archmage Teclis, a famous High Elven Loremaster, actually founded the Empire's Colleges of Magic, and is still considered a member of it. That being said, they have no problem telling them to stuff it, if they feel the need to. Their relationship with the other two Elven nations is decidedly less cordial however. On rare occasions the Wood Elves will treat them as allies of convenience, but for the most part the two races barely interact at all. As for the Dark Elves well...lets just say that the Empire has some very compelling reasons to hate them.
  • Casting a Shadow: The Lore of Shadows that Grey Wizards study mostly takes the form of powerful offensive spells, such as vortexes and winds of shadow energy. One powerful wind spell takes the form of a massive, shadowy pendulum swinging across the battlefield.
  • Church Militant: Warrior Priests and Witch Hunters, who both belong to the Cult of Sigmar, a highly militarized cross between the Catholic Church and Norse Pagans. The Grim & the Grave added Flagellants as a new infantry unit, Arch Lectors as a new Lord unit and Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim as a new Legendary Lord. Usually, the Warrior Priests are portrayed as someone to emulate, the Witch Hunters...not so much. Several other cults exist within the Empire's border, such as the Cult of Morr and the Cult of Ulric, most of which are almost as militarized as the Cult of Sigmar.
  • Colony Drop: Celestial Wizards have access to an extremely powerful spell called the Comet of Cassandora, which does exactly what it sounds like: it drops a comet onto the battlefield, doing terrible damage to any unit caught in the general collision area.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: You can usually tell which school a battlemage belongs too by the colour and style of their robes. (Or in Bright Wizards cases, flaming hair.) This is because the Winds of Magic themselves are associated with particular colors, which the wizard collages naturally adopted as their own.
  • Conscription: The Empire Free Company Militia unit is made up of conscripted Imperial citizens that are usually forced into war to provide additional padding to an Elector Count's army, serving alongside the more disciplined and elite State Troopers. Unlike many other examples though, a Free Company detachment usually has several retired but hardened State Troop veterans among their ranks in leadership positions, making them surprisingly decent combatants and excellent guerilla fighters.
  • Crapsack World: It varies from province to province, but generally life in the Empire is pretty hard for Imperial citizens, who are surrounded on all sides by monstrous foes. For example, Reikland is comparatively peaceful and very well-developed, as it has been the center of Imperial culture for centuries, while Nordland is a frozen hellhole that's constantly being raided by Norscan warbands, and Middenland is plagued by large numbers of Beastmen roaming the many forests. It's a feat in itself that the Empire simply doesn't collapse. It's mostly held together by Karl Franz's sheer force of will.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Luminarch is the hardest hitting unit in the game, able to kill giant monsters and lords in three shots or less. However, it only has about ten shots and they are easy to dodge due to how visible the massive beam of approaching light is, especially in PVP.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Crossed with Light Is Good. The Empire uses both these motifs quite a bit, utilizing a rather dark Gothic theme in its art and buildings as well as some units (such as the Witch Hunters), while also possessing light-based themes in other units (Such as the Warrior Priests). And unlike its counterpart in 40K, in the fluff the Empire is generally portrayed as being noble, if very brutal towards its admittedly horrid enemies.
    • One of the their major cults, the cult of Morr is another example. Because he's the god of death, he's probably the least popular of the Old World pantheon (though he is apparently the eldest god), and any depiction of him is bound to look exceptionally sinister indeed. However, he and his cult (including its militant wing) are the primary force guarding the Old World against The Undead, as well as running funeral homes. If you're going up against necromancers or vampires, there's no one better to have watching your back than a Templar of Morr, even if he's more than a little gloomy and misanthropic.
    • Amethyst wizards harness the wind of Shyish, death, but are no more evil than any other wizard. Same applies to the Grey Wizards, that actually use the Lore of Shadows; distrust ensues.
  • Death Seeker: The rather insane Flagellants. Highly zealous followers of Sigmar, these disheveled extremists inflict pain upon themselves to get closer to their God, their bodies covered in self inflicted scars. They accept the End Times have come, and follow Imperial armies to die a Martyr's death, duel-wielding rusty maces and charging into the fray with reckless abandonment. They tend to die in droves, but they are unbreakable, have Frenzy, and come in large hordes, meaning they're able to deal a surprising amount of damage, and can act like powerful meatshields. They even gain mild combat buffs when actively losing combat.
  • Death Ray: A Magitek and more positive version of the device. The College of Light has created the Luminarks of Hysh, giant contraptions made of an array of lenses focusing the power of a Light Orb of Sorcery and mounted on a chariot. It's so powerful it can kill a giant in two or three long as it hits that is.
  • Drop the Hammer: Several of their units wield large warhammers, mostly members of the Cult of Sigmar. There's also Ghal Maraz, the titular Warhammer of the setting.
  • Elective Monarchy: The Empire elects its leader, the Emperor, which is done by the Elector Counts, who vote on which one of them should lead the nation. The Cult of Sigmar also gets three votes (one for the Grand Theogenist and one each for his two Arch-Lectors; the Grand Theogenist casts all three), the Ar-Ulric gets a vote, and the Elder of the Moot gets a vote. The Cult of Sigmar usually vote for whoever the Elector Count of Reikland is, which causes some tensions, especially with the Ar-Ulric of Middenheim.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous:
    • Imperial Greatswords, the cream of the crop in the Imperial Army, wear full-plate armor in comparison to the much more moderately equipped State Troopers. They're also a lot more expensive to maintain.
    • The two elite knightly Regiments of Renown, the Royal Altdorf Gryphites and Zintler's Reiksguard, wear far more ornate armor than their regular counterparts.
  • Elite Mooks: The Empire have their BFS-wielding Greatsword Infantry: sturdy heavy infantry cable of going on the offensive and doing great damage with their armor-piercing weapons. Alongside them, the Empire can field Demigryph Knights: brave knights who ride terrifying Demigryphs, which can shred infantry and monsters alike, a borderline Game-Breaker in multiplayer. And if you thought the regular Demigryph Knights were bad, wait until you face the Royal Altdorf Gryphites, who not only hit harder than the regular ones but also causes Terror.
  • The Emperor: Ruled by one, of course. The title is not hereditary, but rather elective. Upon the death of a reigning emperor, the highest lords of the Empire are assembled to select a new one. Each of the ten Elector Counts have a vote (though they almost always vote for themselves), the Church of Sigmar has three votes (one for the Grand Theogonist, and one for each Arch-Lector, though the Theogonist casts all three votes), the Cult of Ulric has one vote (cast by the Ar-Ulric of Middenheim), and the Elder of the Moot has one vote. The Theogonist almost always casts his votes in favor of the Elector-Count of Reikland, meaning that he always wins, which has caused no great deal of tension with the Ulric-worshippers among the Empire. The current Emperor is Karl Franz, the Elector of Reikland and the son of the previous Emperor.
  • The Empire: In Name Only. See The Federation below.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Several variants of Empire Infantrymen wear black eyepatches.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the Holy Roman Empire, both in its political structure and military. Also, their religion is basically Norse Paganism crossed with the Catholic Church.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted like hell. Unlike their neighbours, the Empire makes heavy use of firearms and cannons, black powder weaponry being a staple in in the Imperial State Army, with units of elite Handgunners (State Troops who wield muskets) being the primary Imperial source of Armour-Piercing and extreme ranged damage in general. Most of these weapons are forged in the trade city of Nuln, which has a massive industrial complex focused on spitting out new weapons of destruction; with a unit building chain being available, the Nuln Cannon Foundries, which give heavy bonuses to black powder weapons faction-wide.
  • The Federation: Yeah we know what it's called, but the Empire is more this trope in practice, as the so-called "Empire" is actually a collection of autonomous provinces that enjoy, to a large degree, self-governance. Each Province is governed by an Elector Count, and while they all owe loyalty to the current Emperor or Empress, they are largely left to their own devices, able to even field and maintain their own professional armies. The Empire as a whole is also far less xenophobic than most other entities in the setting, with a large population of Dwarfs, Halflings, and even Elves living within its borders. Also, unlike their more backwater neighbors, Imperial citizens enjoy far more social freedom, as there is a growing middle class. Really, given its setting, the Empire is one of the few places regular people can live somewhat decent lives.
  • Four-Star Badass: Imperial Generals are one of the generic lord options available, and are fairly tanky units who are at the frontlines of the battlefield. They can be mounted on Griffons to do even more damage.
  • Fragile Speedster: Their missile cavalry, Outriders and Pistoliers, are really fast, and great for light harassment. However, they'll drop in seconds to concentrated arrow fire, and to any kind of infantry.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the Warhammer lore, the Empire currently has 8 working Steam Tanks and can't build more since the inventor of the Steam Tank died and took the secrets of building it to his grave. Yet in the game, the Empire can not only build Steam Tanks (suggesting they were able to get the building plans of the Steam Tank or figured out to make their own) but they can also build more tanks than the current number from the lore. As well, all the Steam Tanks in game have the same armament, whereas a good chunk of the ones in the lore have significantly different weaponry from each other, with at least two that are completely unarmednote .
  • Gatling Good:
    • Imperial Helblasters are gatling cannons that fire 'Armor-Piercing bullets en masse, which wreck both lightly-armored and heavily-armored troops.
    • On a smaller scale, the Repeater Handguns (or, to give them their full name, Von Meinkopt's Whirling Cavalcade of Death) are a halfway point between a rifle and a gatling gun - the size of a rifle but with the rotating, multi-barrel arrangement of a gatling gun. The standard armament for Outrider light cavalry units.
  • The Generic Guy: Zigzagged. The Empire, while more simplistic than most, has a very distinctive, and flavorful army list, with both mundane and mystical options in abundance. However, when it comes to the campaign map, the Empire is totally lacking in unique features, as they share their "office" feature with the Wood Elves, and don't have much else. Many fans have attributed this to the fact the Empire is intended as a starting army for new players.
  • The Good Captain: Imperial Captains are a viable hero to recruit, being grizzled yet highly competent State Officer veterans. They can specialize as powerful combat heroes, or as Drill Officers that buff the entire army, being both a stern drill sergeant and a caring officer.
  • Green Thumb: Jade Wizards study the Lore of Life, which gives them access to plant-based nature magic. Mostly it's buffs and healing, but they can also do things like call up clutching hands of tangled roots to entangle and attack enemies.
  • Grenade Launcher: A variant of Outrider cavalry comes equipped with primitive grenade launchers that are excellent at tearing up hordes of weak infantry, though they lose the ability to attack airborne targets.
  • The Gunslinger: The Pistoliers and Outriders of the Pistolkorps ride horses and use guns, acting as a fast harassing cavalry. The Pistoliers, being young nobles eager to test their mettle, are usually the Agent Peacock, wearing lavishly decorated armor in contrast to the more experienced Outriders in charge of keeping the former in line.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: State Troops wear highly vibrant colors underneath their steel cuirasses, alongside bright feathers adorning their helmets and hats. An example of Truth in Television, as the period soldiers they're trying to emulate had similarly bright colors. As specific examples, the Reikland/Altdorf (Playable faction) uniform is bright red alongside pure white, while the armies of Marienburg trot around in an eye-watering combination of pure blue and citrus yellow.
  • Hobbits: The Halflings of the Moot, a client state of the Empire, are very strongly based on Tolkien's hobbits. Their traits are taken to an extreme, however—they're gluttonous and chronically lazy, with a penchant for burglary and other vices (though they're ultimately noted to be good, decent folk). However, they're important enough that their leader, the Elder, holds an electoral vote that can be cast when selecting a new Emperor. They don't show up on the battlefield, but they appear in many Campaign Events.
  • Humans Are Average: Humans aren't especially strong or fast, especially when compared to their stalwart allies, the Dwarfs and the High Elves. It goes well with their good at everything, great at nothing army. The Empire has the most balanced roster, but don't really excel at anything.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Humans are especially vulnerable to Chaos Corruption and moral decadence. The Imperial nobility is infested with idiotic Chaos cults, mostly pleasure cults of Slannesh.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Damn right they are. The Empire has one of the most disciplined and well-organised forces in the setting, and has had many powerful warriors throughout its history. The average Imperial soldier will fight to protect his homeland no matter the cost to themselves. They may be surrounded on all sides by horrors, but humanity will fight them all or go down kicking and screaming.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Magic? Battle Wizards do the job, just don't get into magic duels with High Elves or Lizardmen. Archers? Not as good as the Wood Elves or Dark Elves but serviceable. Artillery and big guns? Plenty, but Dwarfs and The Vampire Coast have more. Cavalry? Yep, but Bretonnians do it better. Melee? Greenskins and Warriors of Chaos outshine them but still palatable. Numbers? The Empire has plenty, but it's the Skaven and Vampire Counts who are the kings of We Have Reserves. Monsters? Well, they have the Steam Tank and Demigryphs, just don't send them up against the constructs of the Tomb Kings or the beasts of Norsca. Guerrila tactics? They have some potential in that front as well, just don't expect to best the Beastmen while doing so. Almost everyone is better than the Empire at something, but nobody is better than the Empire at everything, making them highly dangerous despite being Master of None as a faction. The Empire only truly lacks in large monsters and flying units, but they fortunately have a solution to that.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Empire Knights, Knights of the Blazing Sun, Imperial Reiksguard, and Demigryph Knights, though they lack the chivalrous trappings of the knights over in Bretonnia and in practice behave more like professional soldiers, taking the appearance of Early Renaissance knights, in comparison to the Mid-Medieval feel the knights of Bretonnia have. They wear heavy plate armor, wield lances, and ride on top of heavily-armored war steeds. They also come in two flavors; Secular and Templar (religious) Knightly Orders.
  • Knight Templar: The Cult of Sigmar and the Witch Hunters are... definitely a little overzealous in their pursuit of protecting the Empire. Both won't hesitate to burn a witch on the stake, but considering witches are very dangerous in the Warhammer world, and letting them live is practically an open invitation for a minor daemonic incursion, their actions are more than justified.
    • A literal example for religious Knights, who are officially known as Templar Knightly Orders, such as the Knights of the Blazing Sun.
  • Light 'em Up: One of the Empire's units are Light Wizards who study the Lore of Light. There is also the Luminarch of Hysh, a war machine mounted with an array of focusing lenses and manned by two Light Wizards who fire a light spell known as Solheim's Bolt of Illumination into the lenses to create a devastatingly powerful magical laser beam.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In contrast to the rest of their knights, which are shock cavalry, Demigryph Knights are horribly tanky and able to fight high-tier infantry without any support, as both the mount and rider are highly efficient killers. All this, while being frightfully fast and able to close gaps in seconds.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Justified as the ordinary human soldiers of the Imperial State Army are woefully outmatched against most of their opponents in a straight melee, and most generals know it. Missile troops and artillery are vital to whittling down the enemy from a distance as they close, to give the men of the Empire a fighting chance in the ensuing clash, and then the cavalry can wheel around to the flank or rear and finish the enemy off.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Helstorm Rocket Battery is a medieval version of the trope: it retains the main idea of firing several rockets at the same time to balance the rockets’ poor accuracy, and deliver a volley exploding rockets at the enemies line in an explosive fashion.
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted, as the Empire, unlike its Bretonnian neighbors, freely uses gunpowder and advanced technology learned from their dwarfen allies. New inventions are discovered everyday, including repeating-barrel handguns and steam-powered tanks. Nuln's engineers boast that the Empire has even surpassed the dwarfs themselves - once they've made sure no dwarf engineers are within earshot, that is. A lot of young dwarf engineers with ambitious ideas are drawn to the Empire where they find ready acceptance after the conservatives and grumblers among their kin have already shunned them.
  • Merchant City: The city-state of Marienburg (Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Low Countries), which in the lore is de facto independent from the rest of the Empire after having bribed a prior Emperor with an obscene amount of money. In-game Marienburg's port is a unique building chain that has more income than regular ports and boosts goods production factionwide.
  • Military Mage: Battle Wizards are wizards from the Eight Colleges of Magic who go to battle and use offensive spells of all sorts to destroy the enemy or counter the enemy’s sorcerers’ own spells, and usually act as officers in the army. After the Great War Against Chaos, Magnus the Pious recognized the need to really train specialized spellcasters for war, leading to the foundation of the Colleges.
  • More Dakka: The Hellblaster Volley Gun’s very philosophy. It isn’t meant for precision firing but for sheer volume of fire to obliterate whole units, and it's bullets are armor piercing, making them a perfect counter for heavy infantry and knights.
    • Really, this is the Empire's military doctrine in a nutshell. They have no bruiser infantry or large monsters to compete with everyone else's, so making them eat lead before the lines clash is how they win the day.
  • The Penance: Because the Empire is beset by threats both from without and from within, many citizens have begun to think that they have entered the end times. Large groups of Flagellants, self-whipping Crazy Homeless People screaming The End Is Nigh are common sight in the Empire’s towns. In game they are a close quarters infantry unit meant to throw themselves in the thick of battle, having the Frenzy and Unbreakable special rule, best used as meat shields that will hold the line no matter the cost.
  • Multiple Government Polity: The Empire is made up up multiple territories belonging to various nobles, who theoretically owe fealty to the Emperor. In-game these Elector States are entirely separate factions. There's also the city of Marienburg, which purchased its freedom centuries earlier and which the Empire would very much like to get back, as it's just about the only port where elves will trade.
  • Nice Hat: A major draw of the faction, looks-wise. The Witch Hunters wear black Pilgrim-styled hats, and many members of the Imperial Army, from Free Company Militias to State Trooper Captains, wear Landsknecht hats, otherwise known as the "floppy German hats".
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: There's a frightening amount of bureaucratic incompetence throughout the Empire, especially in the minor nobility, though thankfully the Elector Counts and Generals tend to fairly reasonable. Karl Franz lampshades this in his trailer with, lamenting the fact that the Empire is being frequently compromised from within by bad politicians obsessed with their own agendas. In the Beastmen campaign, certain events can spring up about Khazrak discovering Chaos Cults in the nobility, with the Beastlord wondering how someone could be so stupid.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Aside from the regular Gryphons that Lords can ride, one of the Empire's cavalry units are the Demigryph Knights, who ride Demigryphs, essentially wingless Griffons with cat-like front limbs. They prowl the darkest forests of the Old World, and are noted to be incredibly ferocious and wild. There are also more standard Griffons, which are much larger than Demigryphs and can have the back halves of any kind of large cat, which are exclusively used as mounts by Empire lords. Griffons are actually creatures born of Chaos, but are of a particularly stable mutation and, despite their ferocious nature, are very proud and honorable creatures. Both kinds have to be individually tamed by prospective riders. This is easier said than done, but the reward is the Undying Loyalty of one of the fiercest creatures in the Empire. The Griffon is also considered the most sacred creature in the Empire.
  • Our Mages Are Different: The Empire has access to Wizards, but their magics are limited to the college they have studied in. Commoners look at College Mages with both awe and fear, but they're generally respected, unlike the various Hedge Mages, who more often then not get burned alive at the stake. Multiple such lores are present in the original setting, but each faction is limited to a few Lores for balance reasons. The ones available so far for the Empire in the base game are the Lores of Fire, Light, Heavens and, through Balthasar Gelt, Metal. Through patches and DLCs, the Empire gains access to the Lores of Beasts, Life, Shadows and Death.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: The Transformation of Kadon, a spell of the Lore of Beasts, summons a manticore to the battlefield, which you then control as any other unit.
  • The Order: As mentioned above, the knights of the Empire may belong to different knightly orders. Some of these orders are religious and are dedicated to a particular god (Sigmar, Ulric, Myrmidia). These knights are also referred to as Templars of the order they belong to or the god to which the order is dedicated. Most orders, however, are secular and not dedicated to any particular god; such as the Imperial Reiksguard, who are the personal bodyguards of the Emperor.
  • Pegasus: An available mount for sundry Lords and Heroes.
  • Playing with Fire: The Empire has access to Bright Wizards who study the Lore of Fire, wielding powerful fire spells in combat.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Imperial Reiksguard, a secular order of Imperial Knights sworn to the House of Franz, are this for Karl Franz himself while the Greatswords are this for the Elector Counts.
  • Red Shirt Army: The role of the Imperial State Army and its State Troopers: just regular human soldiers who go against the horrors of the Old World. Unlike many examples of this trope, they're portrayed rather competently, as they're both well trained and decently equipped. Doesn't help much though...
  • Religion Is Magic: Arch Lectors and Warrior Priests can use their faith in Sigmar to channel Battle Prayers that buff themselves and their allies, including protection and extra Anti-Armor damage. Witch Hunters may also use this in their Accusation ability.
  • Shock and Awe: A number of spells from the Lore of Heavens work like this, scouring the enemy with lightning.
  • Star Power: The Celestial Wizards who study the Lore of Heavens. This is mostly the Classical version of the trope, where most of the Lore's spells concern future sight and divination, but Celestial Wizards also get useful combat spells, mostly centering around lightning and meteors.
  • Steam Punk: Steam Tanks, heavily-armored war machines that are powered by steam.
  • Straight for the Commander: What's probably the most esoteric unit in the Empire's roster is the Luminark of Hysh, which is pretty liable to kill an army's lord all by itself.
  • Sword and Gun:
    • The Free Company Militia and their Regiment of Renown counterpart, Stirland's Revenge (both from The Grim and the Grave DLC).
    • Witch Hunters practice this as well, though they're far more proficient in combat than the Militias.
  • Tank Goodness: Steam Tanks. They're a bit more primitive and steam-powered than usual for this trope, but their thick armor, long-ranged, powerful cannons, and ability to spray the enemy with clouds of scalding steam make them extremely effective weapons in a Renaissance-level setting. In the lore, of the genius Leonardo di Miragliano’s twelve original tanks, eight have survived to the present day and the lost plans has made their maintenance increasingly unreliable, though in the game proper you can have as many as you want.
  • Vestigial Empire: Downplayed. The Empire of Man, though still large and quite powerful, has been torn apart by infighting and incursions from the many hostile races of the Warhammer universe, to the point it's lost three provinces over the course of its history (Drakwald collapsed and became infested with beastmen, Solland was destroyed by a greenskin horde led by Gorbad Ironclaw, and Sylvania came under the dominion of the Vampire Counts). The Elector Counts barely acknowledge the current Emperor as their leader, and the Empire itself is more of a loose collection of city states than an actual unified nation. Of course, Karl Franz aims to change that: reuniting the Empire under a single banner, re-annexing Marienburg and driving the Vampires out of Sylvania as per the Empire's victory conditions put the Empire in the best shape it has been since Sigmar himself sat on the throne.
  • Warrior Monk: The Empire's Church of Sigmar is dedicated to this. Unit-wise, Grand Theogenist Volkmar the Grim (the equivalent of the pope) is a Legendary Lord, Arch Lectors (cardinal analogues) serve as Lords and Warrior Priests (the rank and file) serve as Heroes. They go bald and wield mighty warhammers in the image of Sigmar's mighty Ghal Maraz, as well as special powers granted by their faith in Sigmar.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Luminark of Hysh, essentially a death-ray in a Fantasy setting, though quite a well-explained one. Essentially, it's a series of amplifying lenses mounted onto an armoured wagon and administered by two Imperial Wizards of the Light Order, whose power is drawn from Hysh, the Wind of Light. The Wizard casts a particular spell using an apparatus known as Solheim's Bolt of Illumination, which is amplified by the mirrors into a powerful ray, as the spell is basically a concentrated ray of light so powerful it burns. In-game it's capable of taking down a Giant in one shot.
  • Weapon of Choice: Sigmar's sons are also Gun Nuts. Infantry have handguns, cavalry have pistols and clockwork gatling rifles, and they have gatling cannons alongside truly colossal classic field guns too. For close combat, Drop the Hammer is one that keeps cropping up, fittingly as the warhammer is the symbol of their god - a lot of examples they use are also forged by the Dwarfs, reflecting the partnership between the two races.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Empire starts the campaign divided and in many places against Franz's rule, and uniting the various Elector Counts to fight off the Empire's various enemies by any means necessary will be Karl Franz's initial primary goal. Multiple quest battles in the Empire campaign will revolve around Franz, Gelt, and Volkmarr fighting against Imperial nobles who are their rivals in some way or another (Franz fighting Middenheim soldiers that Boris Toddbringer has sent to support the rebellion against him, Gelt against a rival for the position of Supreme Patriarch, and Volkmarr against a representative of the Arl-Ulric, the head of the Cult of Ulric, the Cult of Sigmar's main rival), to say nothing of possible inter-provincial warfare as you try and bring the Elector Counts to heel.
  • We Have Reserves: The greatest resource the Empire has is manpower. While they aren't nearly as bad in this as the Greenskins or Skaven, victory matters more to the Empire than lives, and State Trooper Units come in rather large numbers.
  • The Witch Hunter: One of the most iconic examples in fiction. To pursue all occult threats to the Empire such as unsanctioned Wizards, necromancers and Chaos Worshippers, the Empire has under Magnus the Pious began to openly recognize the Order of the Silver Hammer and its Witch Hunters, granting them power and authority to fight these threats. Witch Hunters are officially allowed to seek the evildoers in whatever way they see fit. With such an open goal and with ruthless methods, Witch Hunters are as feared as they are necessary to the Empire, being the Mage Killer, the Vampire Hunter and the Demon Slayer all in one. Empire Witch Hunters form part of a cult technically part of the Church of Sigmar. In-game they are a Hero Unit, and are skilled at both ranged and melee combat and have the ability to Accuse enemy units, giving allied units damage bonus against them.
  • Wizarding School: The Altdorf Colleges of Magic, which is where promising mages go to be trained and tutored in the arcane arts. Founded by the High Elf Archmage Teclis, it's looked at in awe more than fear by the commoners. In-game, it's a unique building chain available in Altdorf that grants significant bonuses to battle wizard heroes.

Legendary Lords

    Karl Franz 

Emperor Karl Franz, Elector Count of Reikland
"The Empire — led by the craven; torn apart by the greedy. Weakened and exposed. Forever on the defense, but no longer."

Voiced by: Peter De Jersey

The Emperor is Karl Franz, Prince of Altdorf and Elector Count of Reikland. Karl Franz is said to be the greatest statesman the Old World has ever seen. He is also a military genius and a valiant general. The Emperor frequently takes personal command of his soldiers, wielding Ghal Maraz, the fabled hammer of Sigmar, like the Warrior God of old, smiting enemies of the Empire with every blow. Karl Franz often rides to battle on the back of Deathclaw, reputed to be the mightiest Imperial griffon that ever lived. A powerful bond exists between the beast and its master, one forged in countless battles and many adventures. During the Battle of Blood Keep, Deathclaw stood over the prone form of the wounded Emperor for three hours, slaying any who came near until the Reiksguard could hack a path to their fallen Lord.

Threatened from without by races bent on evildoing, and from within by political infighting and petty ambitions, the Empire has held together throughout the ages in a fragile alliance, often teetering on the brink of disaster. But now there is a measure of stability and hope for mankind. For one man is fated to negotiate the treacherous webs of Imperial politics and overcome countless entrenched rivalries to bind the warring provinces under his banner.

A man of astounding military prowess, as gifted a warrior and commander as he is a statesman. That man is Karl Franz; Prince of Altdorf, Elector Count of Reikland and Emperor. Soaring aloft on Deathclaw, most ferocious of the Imperial Griffons, and wielding Ghal Maraz, the fabled hammer once held by Sigmar himself, Karl Franz inspires the men he leads to feats of courage and heroism. A military genius and the greatest statesmen the Old World has ever seen, he is the Empire’s greatest hope for survival in a brutal, war-torn world.

  • The Ace: Karl Franz is a great warrior, a tireless and competent statesman, and a fine amateur of art. It is no wonder many people claim that the Empire remains whole thanks to him first.
  • Ambadassador: Once visited the forests Athel Loren alone, an extremely hostile place to even its own inhabitants, and convinced the isolationist xenophobic Wood Elves to join the Empire into an alliance against the Beastmen, impressing them enough that afterwards he was gifted the Gryphon egg from which Deathclaw would hatch. To reflect his skill in the art of statecraft, one of his traits is a large bonus to diplomacy with other Imperial Provinces.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Silver Seal is a talisman crafted under Magnus the Pious to protect its wearer from Daemons. In game it gives Karl Franz a bunch of nifty bonuses that ward against magic and corruption.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The leader of the Empire and one of its finest warriors.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Is a highly skilled politician, a very competent leader, and one hell of a fighter. It's emphasized several times in-game how good of a statesman Karl is, and he has several skills related to his keen ways of ruling.
  • Badass Cape: He wears a spotted cape with imperial symbols and the words "Sigmar" and "Rex Karl Franz" threaded onto it.
  • Big Good: From the Empire's perspective at least, being a benevolent and competent leader both in times of peace and war. Really, he's one of the very few people whose on good terms with all the other Order factions. (Being close friends with Thorgrim, and Leoun, highly respected by the Wood Elves, and a close ally of the Phoenix King), so he counts as this to Order as a whole.
  • Bling of War: He wears a highly ornate set of full platemail, composed of silver adorned with gold accents, made by the Dwarfs. His armour is so masterfully crafted and designed, it would probably make Sigvald jealous.
  • Cool Pet: Deathclaw is a gryphon gifted to Franz by the Wood Elves. Reputed to be the mightiest gryphon to have ever lived, Deathclaw dwarfs a bull elephant in size and has claws the length of greatswords, but is also utterly devoted to his master - at the Battle of Blood Keep, Deathclaw stood over the wounded Emperor for three hours, slaying any who dared approach until the Reiksguard were able to hack a path through and get Franz to safety.
  • Cool Sword: One of his Quest Battle rewards is the Reikland Runefang, Dragon Tooth; one of twelve enchanted swords forged by the famous Dwarfen Runesmith Alaric the Mad, and given to the twelve tribal leaders who followed Sigmar during the founding of the Empire. Dragon Tooth has been in the possession of the Reikland Elector Counts ever since. Sadly, it quickly becomes outmoded once Karl unlocks Ghal Maraz, which serves as a direct upgrade of all the Reikland Runefang's buffs and abilities.
  • Cultured Badass: Karl, as one of the greatest orators in the old world, is well versed in poetry, politics, and philosophy. He's also unafraid of fighting in the front lines, standing right beside his soldiers.
  • Drop the Hammer: After completing his final quest battle, Franz will wield the legendary warhammer Ghal Maraz (Skull Splitter in Khazalid), the titular artefact of the setting and the hammer once held by Sigmar himself. The hammer in question originally belonged to the dwarf High King, Kurgan Ironbeard, who gifted it to Sigmar after the young unberogen saved his life from a roaming hoard of greenskins.
  • Elite Army: His special skills, "Imperial Special Forces", "The Emperor's Men" and innate starting trait encourages the player to make heavy use of Reiksguard and Greatswords, both elite tier units that usually serve the Emperor in the role as Praetorian Guard.
  • The Emperor: The ruler of the Empire of Man, and a mighty statesman.
  • A Father to His Men: Greatly cares for the soldiers under him, as shown by his kind words of encouragement in his debut trailer. His unique skill tree further emphasizes his closeness with the soldiers around him, giving the men in his army substantial bonuses.
  • Final Boss: Is battled in the Fall of Man quest battle alongside King Louen Leoncour of Bretonnia at the climax of the Beastmen campaign.
  • Generation Xerox: Invokes this with the battle at Black Fire Pass — Karl initially refrains from wielding Ghal Maraz to avoid further upsetting those hostile to his election as Emperor, but decides to make a stand against a greenskin horde at the Pass (just like Sigmar famously did) in order to legitimize himself in the eyes of the people, so he can take up the warhammer without open opposition.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Downplayed. Karl does wear a helmet in battle, but he's also never seen with the visor pulled down.
  • Heroic Willpower: Karl Franz's faith in his Empire and his fellow men is absolute, and unmovable. His final unique skill, "An Emperor's Journey", reflects that the entire campaign has been his Coming of Age, resulting in him losing any semblance of fear, becoming unbreakable, and even heavier hitting as a result.
  • Humble Hero: For the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the Old World, Karl is very humble and down to earth, usually comparing himself negatively towards his father.
    Karl Franz: "I am Karl Franz, and I was born into this world, just like you."
  • Large Ham: Manages to stand out in a game where the baseline level of hamminess was pretty high to begin with.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Deathclaw, an Imperial Gryphon with a tiger-like lower body that Franz notably raised himself since his childhood. The beast, despite being very savage as any Gryphon, is just as noble as the Emperor himself, and possesses Undying Loyalty to its friend and master. In the background, it's even noted that Deathclaw is allowed to soar above Altdorf till the evening, until it's let back into it's cage in the Imperial Zoo by Karl himself. He is the last mount that Karl Franz can unlock, and it turns him into a flying whirlwind of death.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Reikland Runefang is unlocked in Karl's first Quest Battle, but Ghal Maraz is unlocked in the second, and provides similar buffs that are superior to the Runefang's in every way. Combined with how time-consuming and luck-based the related quest is (you need to forge a Defensive Alliance with the aloof province of Nordland), most players simply ignore the Runefang and skip straight to getting Ghal Maraz once it becomes available.
  • Pegasus: The third of four mounts that he can unlock.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike many Imperial nobles, Franz is a competent ruler and genuinely has the Empire's best interests in mind.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Karl Franz may be both the Prince of Altdorf and the Emperor, but to him, it's his duty to lead his people from the thick of the action, clad in master-crafted platemail and Ghal Maraz in hand.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Karl Franz I von Holswig-Schliestein, Emperor Himself and Son of Emperors, Elector Count and Grand Prince of Reikland, Prince of Altdorf, and Count of the West March.
  • Warrior Prince: Or Warrior Emperor in his case (though he technically still plays this straight, as one of his titles is Prince of Altdorf). His father, Luitpold, was both the previous Emperor and the previous Elector Count of Reikland.

    Balthasar Gelt 

Balthasar Gelt, Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic
"Now is the time for the Gold Order, and I will brook no interference!"

Voiced by:

Since an early age, Balthasar Gelt has long been fascinated with the category of magic known as the Lore of Metal. Those who subscribe to this school of learning, amongst other things, seek to transmute base substances into precious metal. From his first arrival in Altdorf, Gelt proved himself to be a prodigy with a fierce appetite for knowledge. His passage from his homeland of Marienburg was paid for with Gold that later returned to the lead ingots it was created from, earning him a bounty that, while large, none would dare attempt to collect. Balthasar quickly rose to prominence in the city, even earning the admiration of the Imperial Engineers’ School for his research into new formulations of black powder. It was here that an accident, a magical explosion, nearly ended him altogether. Though none know how badly hurt he was, or even the manner of the injuries he sustained, the sorcerer survived. Though he did not die, he was certainly transformed. Some say his skin was turned to pure gold, others say he was merely disfigured. Whatever the truth he is now only seen wearing his resplendent gold face mask, shimmering head-to-toe in metallic robes. Rather than dissuade him, this accident only added to his hunger to master the Lore of Metal.

His newfound determination helped him attain the rank of Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, after defeating Thyrus Gormann of the Bright Order in a ritual magic duel, replacing the long-standing prominence of Fire with that of Metal. The way of fire is nothing compared to the fluid power of metal!

In battle he needs do nothing more than wave his hand, and ranks of enemy soldiers are frozen forever, nothing more than lifeless golden statues. With powers such as these, Balthasar Gelt has won the Empire a great many victories. That being said, he is not wholly trusted. There are those who view his patriotism and valour as mere extensions of his shimmering robes, intricate distractions designed to obscure the Patriarch’s true nature.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Enforced by the College of Magic's policy. To become the Supreme Patriarch you must best the previous one in a nonlethal Wizard Duel. Doubles as a Klingon Promotion.
  • The Archmage: As the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, Gelt is one of the most powerful mages in the Old World.
  • Badass Baritone: Gelt has a deep, metallic voice.
  • Badass Bookworm: As a member of the College of Magic, Gelt is very well read, and can tear apart enemy lines with his magic.
    • One of his unqiue skills emphasizes his status as a scholar, giving him a bonus to research rate.
  • Body Horror: When he was younger, an explosion caused by an accident during his experiments either turned his body into gold or horrifically burnt off his flesh. Whatever the case, Balthasar hasn't been seen without his Cool Mask since.
  • Cool Mask: Wears an ornate mask of solid gold over his head, which is speculated to conceal rather grisly deformities. One of his unique skills turns it into a protective face helmet, giving him a heavy increase in armor.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: As a Gold Wizard, Balthasar studies the Lore of Metal, and is the only non-Chaos-aligned caster in the game that uses it. Gelt uses his skill in transmutation to give the soldiers under him better protection, with his skill "Stronger Then Steel", effectively turning them into Heavily Armored Mook, and "Metal to Gold" to further the coffers of the Empire by transmuting things into gold.
  • Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: His speech for the battle at the Estalian Tomb:
    Balthasar Gelt: I will not lie; the chances of your survival are small. Some may even turn against your friends as living corpses, but you have my word that I will use my arcane gifts to ensure that your bodies are given unto Morr's Garden. This is the greatest reward, more than even gold, for the fate of your soul is an eternal concern!
  • It's All About Me: All of his quest battle speeches are centered around how he's expecting a reward or thanks for his actions, and how his men should be honored to lay down their lives for the Supreme Patriarch's ambitions.
  • Klingon Promotion: A non-lethal example. Gelt became Supreme Patriarch after defeating the previous one, Thyrus Gormann of the College of the Bright Order, in a ceremonial Wizard Duel.
  • The Lancer: Where Franz is a mighty warrior and staunch idealist, Gelt is a cynical, rather self-serving but very powerful wizard.
  • Pegasus: Rides Quicksilver, his personal pegasus.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Barring his status as the only Empire caster able to use the Lore of Metal (which is otherwise restricted to Warriors of Chaos), Balthasar's spellcasting isn't much better than hero-rank wizards and he has to spend valuable skill points to buy all his spells much like they do. Add to the fact that his starting troops and faction bonuses are worse than Karl Franz's and that he can't get so much as a horse until he's at level 9 (at which point Karl Franz gets an Imperial Pegasus) and there's very little reason to take him as a starting lord when the first quest battle for Karl Franz gives you a free wizard.
    • As of The Old World Edition Gelt's faction bonus now increases the armour of all your units by +10 permanently (compared to Franz, who increases your armies' movement by 10%), making him slightly less hobbled in comparison to Franz as a starting lord. His lore was also significantly buffed, and made much more useful.
    • Finally, his unique skill tree added in the Foundation Update significantly increased his usefulness on the campaign.
  • Staff of Authority: Carries the Staff of Volans, which is the Supreme Patriarch's symbol of office.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: At the battle of High Pass, Gelt informs his men that securing the Staff of Volans from the Chaos cult in the mountains isn't just a bid to secure his position in the Colleges of Magic. By the same token, in the battle at the Estalian Tomb, the Patriarch is quick to point out that finding the Amulet of Sea Gold is for the benefit of the Empire, not just his own research.
  • Unequal Rites: When battling against two other Battle Wizards during the search for the Staff of Volans:
    Balthasar Gelt: The Emperor needs me, not some pathetic pyromancer or insipid White Wizard!
  • Unscrupulous Hero: While he's loyal to the Empire, Balthasar's primary concern is always himself and his research. His quests involve stepping on the toes of several factions that are ostensibly the Empire's allies for his own benefit.
    • When the Amulet of Sea Gold is discovered to be missing from the undead-infested Tomb of Marbad, Gelt's first instinct is to simply depart and let the armies of Middenland deal with the awakened undead horde. However, he chooses to fight anyway, reasoning that Franz probably wouldn't appreciate such blatant pragmatism.

    Volkmar the Grim 

Volkmar von Hindenstern, Grand Theogonist of the Church of Sigmar
"Sigmar speaks through me!"

Voiced by:

Volkmar von Hindenstern is the Grand Theogonist, the head of the Cult of Sigmar and the most powerful religious leader in the Empire. Often known as "the Grim", he is a pious and foreboding man who is utterly devoted to the destruction of Chaos in all its forms. When he accompanies an army into battle, he typically rides atop the resplendent War Altar of Sigmar, inspiring the soldiers around him to great acts of heroism as he strikes the followers of evil down with powerful blows and words of divine force. Volkmar is a holy terror on the battlefield, a man who fights with the fury of Sigmar himself. It is said that his soul is forged of steel, and he fights the malign influence of Chaos with every fibre of his being.

However, what Volkmar has learnt speaks of a great prophecy, a final battle between good and evil that will either see the threat of Chaos crushed forever, or the Empire, and that of the entire world, shall be destroyed in a tide of flame and bloodshed

Volkmar is a Legendary Lord available to those who purchase The Grim and the Grave DLC.

  • Arch-Enemy: While he despises Chaos, Volkar has a special hatred for Mannfred Von Carstein, and his Vampire Broods in Sylvania, so much he's dedicated much of his career into purging the Vampiric taint from the wayward province, and impaling Mannfred on a stake.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Grand Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar, and more than capable of kicking ass in the name of his deity.
  • Badass Grandpa: Clearly no spring chicken but, if anything, Volkmar's just gotten tougher as he's aged.
  • Badass Preacher: As is any member of the Cult of Sigmar worth their prayer beads, the Grand Theongonist role is equal parts being the leader of the Sigmarite faith, as well as being the ultimate warrior in the entire faith. For only a warrior can properly lead Sigmar's people. Fittingly, he wears a set of platemail over his priest robes.
  • Badass Moustache: Just look at it.
  • Bald of Awesome: As with all Sigmarite priests, Volkmar shaves his head.
  • Determinator: Volkmar's faith in Sigmar is pure and complete. Nothing can move him from it, and he otherwise has an iron will of steel. He survived, alone in the Chaos Wastes, and basically had to march through it on his lonesome to hook up with friendly forces, in any case Volkmar has a rare single minded determination to get things done, no matter the cost to himself and his followers. As one loading screen quote beautifully puts it:
    "Volkmar. Just look at him. He never wavers and never yields. Some say he never even sleeps. Everything about him is bent to that one great task of holding back the darkness. He can't do it alone, but then again, he doesn't need to, for his sheer resolve inspires men like us to greatness."
  • Discard and Draw: Putting Volkmar on his War Altar actually nerfs his fairly decent attack capabilities (as it's understandably hard to attack something when your on a moving podium), but on the other hand, it gives him a host of very useful support abilities, such as an increased aura of command, more leadership for friendly troops around him, two special abilities that buff units, and more prayers.
  • Drop the Hammer: Wields a golden, flaming warhammer that resembles the Comet of Sigmar, which he wields onehanded.
  • Heroic Lineage: The End Times reveal he is related to Sigmar himself, the last person in fact to carry the demigod's blood, and is technically his legal heir and, thus, the rightful ruler of the Empire.
  • Good Shepherd: To his flock, the Grand Theogonist is a calm, friendly man who cares about every person in the Empire's spiritual health. To his enemies who draw his wrath, however...
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a vertical slash scar running down his face across his (intact) right eye. This only adds to his impression of intimidating resolve.
  • Healing Factor: The Jade Griffon gives one to Volkmar, granting him powerful regeneration.
  • Religion Is Magic: Like all Warrior Priests, Volkmar can unlock supped up Battle Prayers that can be used in combat to buff himself and his troops, alongside a handful of damage spells.
  • Religious Bruiser: Volkmar is an incredibly pious person, as well as a very skilled fighter and he's their equivalent of the Pope, to boot. He also has several unique skills that buff Warrior Priests, as well as Flagellants.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Jade Griffon emblem attached to his chestplate glows bright green, and is implied to be made from warpstone, the fact it doesn't corrupt Volkmar says much about the willpower of anyone who holds the rank of Grand Theongonist. According to the Imperial Faith, however, the talisman is carved from enchanted "jade" and is said to have been blessed by Magnus the Pious himself.
  • Staff of Authority: The Staff of Command; the symbol of Volkmar's office, which increases Volkmar's attack stats, slightly increases the cash reward from successful battles, and boosts Public Order in his current province. It is said to be the main reason why he's still such a strong fighter despite his age, due to the fact the staff fills his old bones with renewed vigour and power through magic.
  • Support Party Member: Once given his ultimate mount, the War Altar, Volkmar's best spot is right behind the main line (as the Altar is very vulnerable), we're he can use his prayers to support his army, alongside provide all his useful passive buffs.
  • Too Important to Walk: Can ride the War Altar of Sigmar, an ornate platform pulled by horses which bears a huge, golden, warhammer-wielding griffon statue.
  • Warrior Monk: Naturally, as Sigmar is a war god.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Karl Franz, who considers Volkmar his most trusted adviser and a valued friend. Fittingly, the Reikland Elector Counts have always harboured very close ties to the Office of the Grand Theongonist, and the Cult of Sigmar as a whole.

    Boris Todbringer 

Boris Todbringer II, Elector Count of Middenland
"I'll ignore that."

Voiced by:

Graf Boris Todbringer II is the Elector Count of Middenland. Graf Boris was a great warrior and a brilliant statesman, and had been the head of the Todbringer family for decades. The last years of Graf Boris were full of whispered rumours that personal and political problems weighed heavily on his mind. His battles with the Beastmen in the Drakwald Forest, in particular with the banebeast Khazrak whose eye he took and in turn lost his own right eye to the year after, were a ceaseless struggle.

Boris is the main antagonist of the "An Eye For An Eye" special campaign in the Call of the Beastmen DLC, and is playable as a Legendary Lord in Custom games and multiplayer after beating it. He also leads the minor faction of Middenland in Custom games and multiplayer.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Todbringer was indeed a political rival to Karl Franz in the main universe, but he never sent military troops to assist rebels in deposing him after the election.note  In fact, after several years of bitterness, Todbringer became one of Karl's most loyal and staunch supporters among the Elector Counts (which can also be recreated in this game, if you are inclined to build and maintain good relations with Middenland).
  • Arch-Enemy: To Khazrak the One-Eye, and vice-versa.
  • Ascended Extra: In the vanilla game, he was only a generic Empire General. Call of the Beastmen, meanwhile, gives him a completely unique model and a much larger story role in the "An Eye For An Eye" campaign, and even (after beating the DLC campaign) makes him playable as a Legendary Lord for the Empire in custom games. This was once again taken further in the Wood Elf update, although not to the same extent, as he was given a unique ability, and his own faction, Middenland to lead in multiplayer.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Tod is German for death, so his last name means "Deathbringer".
  • Badass Cape: Total War: Warhammer II gives him the White Cloak of Ulric. It's made from the pelt of a Middenland wolf and blessed by the High Priest of Ulric, which causes a deadly hoarfrost to emit from the cloak that freezes the wearers foes, decreasing their speed and melee attack.
  • Badass in Charge: The Elector Count of Middenland, and an accomplished commander who has led several battles against the Beastmen.
  • Bling of War: You thought Karl's equipment was over the top? Wait till you see Boris', which features a golden castle on the top of his helmet and a massive feather plume.
  • Cool Sword: Wields the Middenland Runefang, Legbiter, which allows Boris to replenish health.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Wears one over his right eye in the Grand Campaign, due to Khazrak gouging it out at the climax of An Eye For An Eye.
  • Eye Scream: After defeating him in An Eye For An Eye, Khazrak pins Boris down and slowly gouges out his right eye using one of his horns. The player (as Khazrak) can then decide to either keep Todbinger's eye as a trophy, or simply eat it in front of him. He made sure to repay the favor during The End Times, killing Khazrak by forcing the entire Middenland Runefang through the remaining eye of the beastman.
  • Hero Antagonist: For the An Eye For An Eye campaign, in which you play as his nemesis Khazrak.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Todbringer's passive ability, "Crush the Weak", lowers the melee defense, leadership and melee attack of enemies with lower than 50% leadership, making him an ideal choice for taking out unit groups.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: As stated under "Awesome McCool" Name above, his surname means "Deathbringer" in German.
  • Non-Player Character: When playing the Empire, Todbringer cannot be chosen as your starting lord in the Grand Campaign — instead, he exists as the ruler of the AI-controlled Middenland (which can be annexed by Confederation as easily as any other Imperial province, and doing so will avert this trope if Boris hasn't already been defeated).
  • Palette Swap: Despite his unique character model, Todbringer is essentially just an Empire General with slightly better stats. The only major differences are that Todbringer has some unique abilities and has access to two unique items (one of which wasn't added until the second game.)
  • The Rival: To Karl Franz, as they were opponents during the election that saw Franz crowned emperor. Karl's first Quest Battle involves thwarting Todbringer's alleged attempts to send supplies and men to assist the Empire Secessionists.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As of the Aye! Aye! Patch, Boris can finally mount a Pegasus or a Griffon, drastically increasing his usefulness.

Example of: