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 nations 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 Empires 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.
With the addition of the Hunter and the Beast the Empire can be played in Total War: Warhammer II through a special subfaction in the Vortex campaign.
- 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.
- Ambadassador: The Grey Order are sought as diplomats for their wisdom and tact, but their usual job is basically being traveling wizard secret Hardboiled Detective or spies, with the grit and cunning that implies.
- 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, generic Runefangs are very rare item drops that give hefty bonuses to combat, and Ghal Maraz is one of Karl Franz's legendary items. In Mortal Empires, the various Runefangs of the Elector Counts are acquired from holding an Elector Vote in the Elector Count system, each having been been made unique, and super powerful.
- 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.
- The Hunter and the Beast brings the addition of State Troopers equipped with bows and arrows. True enough, they do deal less damage than Crossbows, but the irregular nature of their unit structure has them in a loose formation, making them harder to hit, as well as being very cheap and plentiful. Huntsmen, on the other hand, fully Avert this, being amazing shots, and incredibly good at taking down monstrous enemies.
- 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" to light are usually discredited and mocked. Some scholars tend to mysteriously "disappear" after their research notes are destroyed in a totally not rat-related accident. 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.
- Army Scout: They Empire fields several group of these (such as Huntsman, Free Company, and Archers) to act as forward screening units that look for enemy positions, lead the army around, and check for dangers.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: Imperial War Wagons in a nutshell, as they're essentially fortified gun platforms. The regular variant of War Wagons operate almost like a chariot, except in this case, hulking squares of iron and wood with Empire iconography, being pulled by Horses while a gunnest of Imperial Marksmen with Outrider Volley guns dunking under cover and preparing to unleash a hail of bullets, being able to fire whilst moving in any direction. Another variant, this one carrying an Imperial Mortar are more like highly mobile artillery platforms, being able to skirmish lines by lobbing bombardments, whilst retreating. What differentiates them from regular skirmishing cavalry is they can act as a chariot when their gunners run out of ammo, being very hard hitting, and armoured. Unlike Steam Tanks, they are easily mass produced, but it's noted in lore because of said Steam Tanks the War Wagons have been gradually phased out, and are considered obsolete.
- 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 beating 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, personally charging an Orc horde on the back of a warhorse, with a large army at his back.
- Badass Longcoat: A very common choice of Empire fashion. The Witch Hunters of the Empire's Order of the Templars of Sigmar wear greatcoats as part of their standard uniform (along with a capotain) as a Shout-Out to the traditional outfit associated with real life and fictional witch hunters. Wulfhart, his Hunters, and the various Orders of Mages within the colleague also sport these, to wide degrees of practicality versus ornateness.
- 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. In a sense they are even more Badass Normal than the Astra Militarum - fighting a daemon with a laser rifle is nothing next to fighting the same daemon with a steel sword.
- Back from the Brink: The Imperial Provinces of Sylvania (which was folded into Stirland), Westerland (which bought its independence) and Solland (which was destroyed by a horde of Orcs) can be restored in Mortal Empires, and incorporated into the Elector system (rewarding their Runefangs and a special unit).
- 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 a lot of political upheaval, and civil strife, before becoming relatively united. Even today, with Karl Franz at its helm, things are pretty fractured. In-game this holds true, with the whole Empire split into numerous provinces and quick to devolve into civil war.
- Approximately 1400 years ago in-universe, Emperor Mandred, who had seen the Empire through the worst crisis since Sigmarnote , 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.
- 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, with Greatswords being capable of employing these massive blades with great skill, and with strength enough to cleave a knight and his horse in two with a single blow.
- The Stubborn Bulls, an elite Knightly Order of Ostland, also bear heavy claymores, and use them on horseback as devastating heavy cavalry.
- 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.
- An addition in their rework is the introduction of several Imperial Fortresses; massive, heavily fortified settlements that act as chokepoints on the campaign map, usually in mountain passes that lead into the lands of the Empire. On the campaign, they have massive garrisons, and impenetrable terrain whilst on the battlefield, they are multi-layered strongholds that are extremely easy to defend, and almost impossible to attack, unique siege maps, giving the provinces of the Empire an extremely powerful border.
- Black Knight: The infamous Knights of Morr, one of the most feared Templar Orders in the entire Old World. They are grim, silent, and deadly protectors, whose duties consist of defending chapels and graveyards from Necromancer, and are some of the finest Undead Hunters in the setting. They wear black obsidian plate mail invoking the classic imagery of this trope, terrifying skull helmets, and ride dark, barded warhorses into battle. In-game they can only be recruited once the Empire retakes Sylvania and install an Elector Count, inflict terror and fear, and provide an AOE buff to friendly units around them making them immune to psychology.
- 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. In terms of lore, the halberd is the traditional weapon of Empire but some states, especially those lacking in funds, field regiments of Spearmen alongside in their place.
- 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 enemy's numbers or to keep them running once they're fleeing.
- Can't Argue with Elves: Zigzagged. The Empire actually maintains a semi-decent(ish) 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... let's 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 (which is represented by the highly badass Knights 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.
- Cold Sniper: The White Wolves are an elite Regiment of Renown band of Huntsmen from Middenland, revered by their peers, and feared by the foes of the Empire. These elite Huntsmen match their bow-skills with ruthless melee capabilities, granting them a useful hybrid role. Alongside their Hunter attributes, they also Encourage nearby friendlies and are Immune to Psychology.
- Cool Sword: The famous Runefangs, powerful runic swords forged by one of the greatest Runesmiths of history, Alaric the Mad, are both the symbol of an Elector Counts office and a precious weapon enabling mere humans to stand a chance against all the horrors that would destroy the Empire. They can be aquired by holding Electoral office.
- A Commander Is You: A Balanced/Generalist faction, with splashes of Unit Specialization. They have a combination of light and heavy infantry, cavalry and artillery both mundane and arcane. However, their units are usually outmatched by equivalent units of the same tier from other factions, requiring them to pretty much rely on a combined arms approach to win. Their strength lies in their ability to customize their loadout to take on all comers and the ability to counter pretty much any army... provided you've done your research. The Empire still lacks large monstrous creatures and flying units, however.
- Markus's subfaction instead is much more focused on Guerrilla/Gimmick. The former being his heavy focus on Huntsmen and Archer units, alongside several large bonuses towards ambushes, and a bunch of skills from him and his Huntsmen Lords on Vanguard Deployments. In terms of Gimmick he has several unique mechanics around the fact his faction is essentially an Empire colony, he's alone in a very hostile land (with special Lizardmen incursions happening the more he expands the Empire's presence on Lustria), and regularly relies on supplies and support from the mainland, eventually leading to supply drops where he gets instant access to several companies of high tier units with no cost to him, at the expense of his infrastructure being very poor, and reliant on said drops for his armies until very late game.
- 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.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The machinates of the Elector Counts isn't a trifling matter, and periods of peace, alongside devastating, centuries long Civil Wars have been a result of this way of handling the State power. As of the Empire United update, Creative Assembly has crafted a very in depth political system, which accurately represents how the Empire is both united, and fractured at the same time, fully transforming the Empire's The Generic Guy status on the campaign. Each Province now owns an Electoral district, and each Electoral district grants a huge range of powerful perks, including an elite, unique provincial unit (such as Wissenland's Emperor's Wrath Steam Tank), a very powerful Runefang (such as Reikland's Dragontooth), and a special trait that bestows a bunch of very unique buffs onto their holder. Imperial Provinces can be slowly won over for an instant confederation if you raise the Province's fealty (their loyalty to the current Emperor) through a large selection of campaign dilemmas, military pacts, trading, gifting lost settlements, and a bunch more actions. However, the same dilemmas can decrease fealty, and another resource, Authority (which in itself grants powerful bonuses and debuffs depending on how you maintain its meter) can cause it go up or down automatically by random chance. Authority is also used and expanded when confederating. Finally, Prestige can be used just like the High Elf Intrigue At Court mechanic, covertly increasing or decreasing a factions relationship with another faction, and is often used to buy a Take a Third Option when in dilemmas.
- 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. The Knights of Morr, a millitant order of the Cult, wear pitch black armor alongside skull helms, but are noble defenders of the Empire, and protect allied troops from terror.
- 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 shots... as long as it hits that is. Fielding one of these Luminarks is considered a Godzilla Threshold as they are mainly used to contain evil artifacts at the College of Light; taking one Luminark to the field weakens the protection around said artifacts and could spell doom for Altdorf.
- Death from Above: Due to the nature of the Warhammer world humans are forced to rely on heavy artillery to soften up enemies before engaging them in melee. Artillery pieces do the most damage, and the Mortar plays this up the most. They fire barrages of heavy cannons balls into the sky, devastating clumps of tightly packed infantry, doing less overall damage than great cannons, but as a tradeoff their cheaper, and do not require directly line of sight.
- 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. Because of the hammer's significance to the Empire, warhammers have become one of the state's symbols.
- 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. And even among them,the Carronburg Greatswords, a provincial regiment, stand out, being one of the most famous regiments in the entire Empire. They are eternally loyal to the Province of Reikland, and can only be recruited by the Elector Count of said territory. They wear their infamous blood red uniforms, are unbreakable, have extremely high stats, and give a special AOE buff to nearby allies.
- 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. Furthermore, it doesn't get many chances to expand its territory as it is surrounded by mountains in all directions but North where there is Kislev, an allied state, and the Sea of Claw just above.
- 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 Bretonnian 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.
- Fiery Redhead: Any Bright Wizard of seniority will have coppery or red hair, and will be well ready to set any problems alight.
- 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.
- Forest Ranger: The eponymous Huntsmen and Huntsmen Generals. Militia groups of experienced Hunters are formed when an Elector Count needs men able to fight and die in the forests. Clad in furs and longcoats, they are expert guerrilla fighters, and amazing shots, being elite archers, very adapt at killing anything from a range, especially monsters (having a large anti large bonus), possessing Vanguard Deployment, Stalk, fire while moving, a greater range than standard Archers, and high accuracy.
- 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 them 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: The eccentric Master Engineer Volker von Meinkopt invented a number of rotary firearms that were later used by the Empires military forces including:
- 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, as well as War Wagon riders.
- The Black Lions, a Regiment of Renown variant of War Wagons, carry Helblasters as armaments, acting as a devastating mobile artillery platform, being able to skirt in front of enemy lines, unleash a volley of rounds, before quickly repositioning, and firing another blast.
- 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. Their faction rework in The Empire Undivided update which came along with the Hunter and the Beast aims to Avert this.
- 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.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: In the new Electoral system, Warbands of inhuman enemies, such as Skaven, Greenskins, and Norscan Marauders can launch surprise assaults at allied Elector city, leading to a dilemma in which the Elector Count begs the player for assistance. The player can ignore it (costing fealty), send in a scouting party (once more, costing fealty), buy Hired Guns to defend the settlement (which costs prestige), or send in a reinforcing army that the player directly controls in the siege to help defend the settlement. Regardless if you win or lose, you get a heavy increase in fealty from that faction.
- 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, howeverthey'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. The Moot itself has become a full province in the Mortal Empires campaign.
- 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-organized 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. Guerilla tactics? They have some potential in that front as well with their Huntsmen and Free Company, 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 every day, 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. While it's always been possible to reconquer it, with their rework in Mortal Empires, it is possible to officially restore Westerland.
- 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 enemys 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 Helblaster Volley Guns very philosophy. It isnt meant for precision firing but for sheer volume of fire to obliterate whole units, and its 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.
- Muggle Power: People's opinions on wizards tends to vary. At the very least, it is logical to fear the undeniable power of any wizard, the Logical Extreme more or less being the Witch Hunters' existence.
- Light Wizards are, unusually, generally trusted for their lives of healing and banishment of evil, even to Witch Hunters.
- Celestial Wizards' prophetic abilities are valued among nobles and military and are usually wealthy for their service, though their predilection for potentially giving disturbing, truthful portents or turning up the moment someone needs help tends to mean people will tend to be nervous around them.
- Gold Wizards are known as aloof, ostentatious, self-absorbed egotists and this is pretty much entirely true. At least they do excellent research for the Empire's gunnery and artillery and can magically improve their allies' armor and weapons while weakening the enemies.
- Jade Wizards' are distinct with their druidic garb and fairly-isolated hereditary caste, but their powers of health and literally Talking to Plants are highly valued to the Empire's armies.
- Amber Wizards normally shaman hermits that keep utterly away from society's trappings, are Not Good with People (indeed, they commonly enjoying unsettling any city folk that come across them), and even Imperial armies may be confounded by their refusal to consider anything resembling tactics for battle plans, but their magic's sheer power is highly effective in battle and they are totally committed to fighting Chaos and magical enemies such as Beastmen even for their normal, solitary lives.
- Bright Wizards are Magic Knights that do not shy away from the frontlines of battle - indeed, much of a Bright Wizard's training once they've been declared sufficiently disciplined is practical combat drill - and all know of their use as mighty forces in times of war. However, their magic's unsubtle power of Stuff Blowing Up and its wizards being as tempestuous and aggressive as the flames they wield lead most to understandably fear them.
- Grey Wizards are distrusted as a rule (though their Order's dedication to anti-corruption frankly means any who have a reason to distrust them is untrustworthy themselves, and their illusion magic means it's simplistic for them to not be known to you as a Grey Wizard anyway...).
- Amethyst Wizards are probably the most disliked of all, even by other wizards, with their morbid fixations leading them to eerily speaking very little (they even prefer to speak telepathically among each other) and looking barely any less lean and pale as the skeletons of the dead, but Dark Is Not Evil and Shyish's Magisters regard it their duty to undo the effects of Dark Magic and necromancy, making them one of the few that the people of the grim province Stirland can count on being interested in.
- 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 a common sight in the Empires 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 of 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: Humanity may not enjoy the raw magical prowess of the Elves or the Lizardmen Slann, but ever since the High Elf Loremaster Teclis and his colleagues helped found the Eight Colleges of Magic at Altdorf during the reign of Magnus the Pious, the Empire has had a working understanding of arcane magic that allows them to break the Winds of Magic down into its composite winds, then harness one of those winds' power. The Colleges of Magic teach Imperials with magical gifts to do so, involving them joining one of eight Magical Orders devoted to in-depth study and understanding of one of the eight winds each. These Orders are divided by colour scheme, philosophies and the various ways their chosen winds can be used on the battlefield. Commoners look at College Mages with both awe and fear, but they're generally respected, unlike renegade Hedge Mages, who more often than not get burned alive at the stake. As of Total War: Warhammer II, each Order is represented in the Empire's roster through Battle Wizard units, who cast spells to aid their allies in battle, but usually not very good at it themselves. They are, in alphabetical order:
- The Amber Order is dedicated to Ghur, the brown wind of Beasts. The Lore of Beasts involves channelling the power and fury of the animal kingdom. Amber Wizards dress in animal pelts and antlers, giving them a very barbarian-looking affect, and carry staffs with bird claws on them, and are the only Hero-level generic characters capable of riding Gryphons.
- The Amethyst Order is dedicated to Shyish, the purple wind of Death. The Lore of Death involves channelling the spirits of the dead to terrify or sap the lifeforce of the caster's foes. Amethyst Wizards dress in darkly-coloured robes with glowing runes and often have oddly villainous visages, including pale skin, sunken cheekbones, goatee beards and glowing eyes, and carry staffs modelled after scythes.
- The Bright Order is dedicated to Aqshy, the red wind of Fire. The Lore of Fire is concerned primarily with burning the caster's enemies to cinders. Bright Wizards wear bright red, orange and yelllow robes, have hair and beards styled after fire and carry staffs shaped like medieval torches.
- The Celestial Order is dedicated to Azyr, the blue wind of the Heavens. The Lore of the Heavens uses studies the power of the stars to channel the power of the sky into lightning spells and magical comets. Celestial Wizards are comparatively restrained in their uniforms, which are predominantly blue in colour, and have globe-shaped spheres on the end of their staffs.
- The Gold Order is dedicated to Chamon, the yellow wind of Metal. The Lore of Metal alters the chemical composition and matter states of metal objects, allowing the caster to strengthen or weaken metal objects or even transform one metal into another. Gold Wizards wear metal masks and incorporate metal objects and bright yellow colours into their design, with metal statuettes on the ends of their staffs. Balthasar Gelt is the Gold Order's sole representative in the game.
- The Grey Order is dedicated to Ulgu, the gray wind of Shadow. The Lore of Shadow is concerned with illusion and obfuscation, blinding enemies or obscuring an ally's approach from them. Grey Wizards wear classic wizard robes complete with round pointy hats, and have model crows on the end of their staffs.
- The Jade Order is dedicated to Ghyran, the green wind of Life. The Lore of Life channels rejuvenative energy to heal wounds and renew the vigour of its recipients, but can also unleash the fury of the world's plant life. Jade Wizards have a druid-like appearance with long unkempt hair, bright and dark green robes and staffs that resemble long, gnarled tree branches.
- The Light Order is dedicated to Hysh, the white wind of Light. The Lore of Light is primarily used to buff the caster's allies, strengthening their sword arms and their fighting spirits alike. Light Wizards dress themselves like bishops, with long tall hats, primarily white robes and blue and gold staffs.
- 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. Because of the sheer prestige many knights and highborns try to apply to the Reiksguard but the Reiksmarshal only selects the most accomplished and loyal applicants
- 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.
- Steampunk: Steam Tanks, heavily-armored war machines that are powered by steam.
- Stealth Expert: The infamous Death Jacks an elite Regiment of renown group of Archers. They are originally from Stirland (wearing Stirland provincial colors), and have been fighting for the Empire since the Civil War of Three Emperors. They have Stalk, Sniper (meaning they remain invisible while firing) and Vanguard Deployment, making them exper ambushers and a skirmishing nightmare.
- 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 Miraglianos 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.
- Überwald: Sylvania is technically a part of the Empire, but is ruled by frickin' Vampires though only in a de facto fashion. The vampires still had to keep their heads down or the warrior priests, witch hunters and knights of Morr will come crashing down on them until Mannfred revealed himself openly, reuniting the Vampire Counts into a strong force. As of Mortal Empires it's possible to reclaim Sylvania, and officially set it up as an Elector Province.
- 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 Volkmar 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 Volkmar against a representative of the Ar-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 Colleges of Magic in Altdorf. Though, rather than the schools that you might find in other fantasy universes, the Colleges of magic are more or less Weird Trade Unions that offer advanced training. In essence, Warhammer basically treats its mages like professional adults rather than high school students. They were founded by Magnus the Pious with the High Elf Archmange Teclis after the Great War against Chaos to first reign in the until then unsupervised and often shunned wizards living in the Empire, giving them a degree of protection by officially sanctioning them. Moreover, as Teclis saw that humans couldn't control magic that well, the Colleges of Magic were created to help wizards understand and control their power by focusing on one domain, hence each College specializing in the study and wielding of one of the Winds of Magic. In-game, it's a unique building chain available in Altdorf that grants significant bonuses to battle wizard heroes.
Emperor Karl Franz, Prince of Altdorf and Elector Count of Reikland
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 Empires greatest hope for survival in a brutal, war-torn world.
Karl leads what was initially known as the main Empire faction, simply named The Empire, but was renamed Reikland as of The Potion of Speed update.
- 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 outdated once Karl unlocks Ghal Maraz, which serves as a direct upgrade of all the Reikland Runefang's buffs and abilities. As of Mortal Empires, the Reikland Runefang is now in Karl's possession right at the start of the campaign, as he's the Elector Count of Reikland within the Elector's system. He is now awarded with:
- Beast Slayer, the Runefang of fallen Drakewald. Kept in the vaults of the Imperial Capitol, Beast Slayer is normally taken up by prestigious adventurers in times of great peril, but now with the Empire in peril, Karl decides to wield it himself. This means that the young Emperor owns two Runefangs.
- 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: In-game, he always wields a two-handed, glowing warhammer. 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. It not only gives insane provincial buff increases (as the symbolic power of the Emperor taking up the sacred weapon proves to be awe-inspiring) it also turns Karl into a monster in combat, with a number of stat boosts, and a special ability that drives him into overdrive mode.
- 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 is led back into its 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: In the first game, 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.
- By an update in Total War: Warhammer 2, Karl starts with the Reikland Runefang in his possession, giving him a very powerful weapon at the start of the game. His first quest now instead unlocks the Beast Slayer from the late Drakwald province, which is usually given out to notable adventurers going on noble quests, signifying their goals to be backed by Empire.
- 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.
- Reluctant Ruler: The book Prince of Altdorf reveals that Karl was initially very hesitant in participating in the Royal election at all, and actually wanted to abstain from voting, believing Boris to be a better fit for Emperor, with many in the royal court considering it was a huge waste of Karl's talents, as the young man simply wanted to practice statecraft in the governance of Reikland only due to his own insecurities. It took Louen Leoncoeur offering encouragement to reconsider, stating that the fact Karl doesn't want the throne to be a reason that makes him suited for the position.
- 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, Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic and Elector Count of Solland
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 Patriarchs true nature.
Though having spent the first game and much of the second game as a Legendary Lord available for the main Empire faction, The Empire Undivided update granted him a sub-faction to lead in the rebuilt province of Solland (with Gelt becoming an Elector Count), The Golden Order for Mortal Empires.
- Adaptational Badass: Whilst the Supreme Patriarch of the College of Magic wields tremendous political power, Gelt in the original tabletop never ascended to be an outright Elector Count, the head of essentially his own state and province.
- Affably Evil: Well, more like Affably Ambiguous because Gelt isn't evil, just simply extremely ruthless, self-conceited, and highly selfish. He is still impeccably polite, and generally friendly, to his allies in a strict sort of way.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Amulet of Sea Gold is an ancient elven talisman picked up in Estalia and glowing with protective energy. It grant Gelt magical resistance and melee defence.
- 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. Not to mention he's now in fact also the Elector Count of Solland, and one of the most powerful mages in the Old World.
- The Archmage: As the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, Gelt is one of the most powerful mages in the Old World, and certainly the most powerful human one.
- Ascended Extra: He was always playable, but was subservient to Karl Franz in-game, being part of his faction, and always played second fiddle to him. As of Mortal Empire he's finally received his own faction, the Golden Order, with the intention to rebuild the fallen Province of Solland, alongside his own special faction bonuses and buffs. Not to mention becoming one of the Empire's Elector Counts, and one of the most powerful men within it.
- 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 unique skills emphasizes his status as a scholar, giving him a faction-wide bonus to research rate.
- Badass Bureaucrat: As the Elector Count of Solland, Gelt is privy in the immense bureaucratic work involving the province's restoration, and as the Supreme Patriarch of the Empire, he essentially runs a magic trading bloc. All this while being one of the most powerful mages alive.
- Badass Cape: His Cloak of Molten Metal is a mystic cape shimmering with images matching Balthasar's appearance.
- Body Horror: An example that isn't outright displayed. 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 and body concealing robes since.
- Challenging the Chief: 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.
- Cool Mask: Wears an ornate mask of solid gold over his head covered in large spikes that appear like an iron sun, 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.
- Cool Sword: His symbol of electoral office is Grudge Settler, one of the original twelve Runefangs given to The Empire by the Dwarfs, as a symbol of their alliance with Sigmar. In the lore, Grudge Settler had been wielded by the various Reikmarshals after Solland fell to Greenskin hordes, but the Runefang has seemingly been restored to whoever holds the office now that Solland has risen from the ashes. It gives decent melee buffs, but its true power is the sword's special ability, which lowers enemy leadership in a large AOE effect around Gelt.
- 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 by improving their armor, with his skill "Stronger Than 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: Welcome to Estalia, gentlemen. 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.
- The Lancer: Where Franz is a mighty warrior and staunch idealist, Gelt is a cynical, rather self-serving but very powerful wizard.
- The Magocracy: His Golden Order faction, ruled by him and a council of Gold wizards, which is currently overseeing the rebuilding of Solland.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: In the first game. 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.
- In The Old World Edition Gelt's faction bonus 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. He was also given his own faction and bonuses at last, making him truly an alternate choice to choose for the campaign on Mortal Empires.
- Pegasus: Rides Quicksilver, his personal pegasus.
- Staff of Authority: Carries the Staff of Volans, which is the Supreme Patriarch's symbol of office, and a personal item that belonged to Volans, the first Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic.
- 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, he expresses disdain for the other Orders of Imperial magic: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, for instance, 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 von Hindenstern, Grand Theogonist of the Church of Sigmar
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 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.
- Berserk Button: The normally stern, but friendly Volkmar becomes murderously enraged when Karl mentions the Lady of the Lake's prophecy towards him during Prince of Altdorf, calling the young Prince a Bretonnian puppet, and immediately declares him a traitor, as well as withdrawing his support to the Reikland crown. His anger is somewhat understandable, considering the fact Karl is trying to invoke the word of a foreign deity, and Volkmar is literally the Pope of the Sigmarite Faith, and he brought it up in the Grand Cathderal, one of the most sacred places within the Empire. He later apologizes to Karl about it, and believing it was Sigmar consulting with the Lady of Lake, as both are ultimately guardians of mankind.
- 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.
- 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 you're 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.
- 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 (somehow 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.
- 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.
- 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, and 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), where he can use his prayers to support his army, alongside providing 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, Graf of Middenheim and Elector Count of Middenland
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 sub-faction of Middenland in Custom games and multiplayer.
- Adaptational Villainy: Zig-Zagged. 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 wearer's 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 socket in the Grand Campaign, due to Khazrak gouging that eye 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.
- Jerkass: He's extremely condescending towards a young Karl during their electoral rivalry, and even has Ulric nationalists harass him and the other Electors on their way to the vote itself. In his mind, Karl is a young pup that isn't worthy of his respect.
- 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: 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 and Middenland haven'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: Boris was given the ability to mount a Pegasus or a Griffon in the Aye Aye! patch, drastically increasing his usefulness.
Huntsmarshal Markus Wulfhart, The Emperor's Captain of the Scouts
Markus Wulfhart is the Huntsmarshal of The Empire and one of the most well known monster hunters in the land of Sigmar's people. Markus used to be a simple hunter from Drakenburg, a small community situated in Drakwald Forest in Middenheim. However his life was completely shattered when he returned from one of his hunts as the place was obliterated by a giant known as the Drakwald Cyclops. While normal people would be traumatized by this, in Markus's case it lasted only a few moments before he swore vengeance on the monster. And he did tracked the giant into its lair, blinded it with a precise bow shot, cut the hamstring of the giant's legs and repeatedly assaulted the now pitiful creature until he finished it with repeated sword blows to the neck and chopped its head off so hard that Markus's sword-arm was numb. From that day onward the hunter swore to never again allow for similar tragedies to happen like with his home village, he would seek out the various monsters that preyed on the people of The Empire since its early days and would not rest until every monster in the land is dead by his hands.
Over time his deeds and fame reached Karl Franz and was rewarded with Knighthood and a luxurious lifestyle, only for Markus to kindly refuse the reward, wanting instead to continue his grim quest of monster extermination. Impressed with it, Karl gave him a different reward. From the Imperial Vault of Altdorf, Markus was given the Amber Bow, a magical bow made of Darkwald oak and enchanted by an amber wizard to have the arrows shot from it be guided to the heart of the beast the user shoots at. With this, Markus was also given the title of Huntsmarshal, the Emperor's Captain of the Scouts, and commands his own band of Empire Huntsmen that track down and eliminate monsters wherever they are found.
Markus Wulfhart is a Legendary Lord available in the first cross-DLC of the series for Total War: Warhammer II opposite of Nakai the Wanderer in The Hunter and The Beast, leading the sub-faction of The Huntsmarshal's Expedition. In both campaigns he is based in Lustria amongst the Lizardmen.
- Adaptational Badass: He was a hero in the tabletop - here he is a lord.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Markus has received subtle but noticeable characterization changes that land him squarely in this trope. His expedition into Lustria is stated to be purely economic, as the Empire wishes to plunder the continent alongside the Estalians, and spread its borders across the New World to increase its prestige and power. His tabletop counterpart has a history of refusing orders like this in favor of hunting monsters that are a real threat to the Empire, but this version is going along with them, for whatever reason. Also, he's antagonizing the Lizardmen, who despite their grim countenance and low tolerance for deviations from the Great Plan are de facto on the side of humanity, and supporting Imperial settlers on the continent to the point of almost becoming a Conquistador. Despite this, his commitment to protecting the Empire and kindness towards his fellow hunters remains unchanged, preventing him from becoming a full-on villain.
- Arch-Enemy: Monsters in general. Markus will not rest until every monster that preys upon the people of the Empire is dead. He has special animosity towards the Beastmen.
- Army Scout: As the Empire's Huntsmarshal, Markus is the Army Scout, and he leads the Emperor's Own Scouting Units in times of war.
- Ascended Extra: On tabletop, Markus was only a Hero Character. In Total War Warhammer 2 he's been promoted to Legendary Lord status, meaning he can lead an army on his own.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Markus Wulfhart sounds very much like a germanized Markus Wolf-heart.
- Badass Crew: Wulfhart's Hunters. Count also as a Band of Brothers. The huntsmen take in everyone from all paths of life from peasants to nobles, with the differences between all those groups evaporating and true camaraderie and friendship is born as they slay beasts all over the world. There are even people and races outside of The Empire among them. In the game itself the Hunters consist of four individual heroes that Markus can unlock via quests. These heroes have their own unique backstories and skills. Not to mention that only two of them are human (with one of the humans being a disgraced Bretonnian Paladin) and the others are a Dwarf and a Wood Elf. When playing as Nakai and fighting Markus, the former's objective is to eliminate these four individuals in order to force the Huntsmarshal to face the Kroxigor.
- Badass Family: His younger brother, Jacob Wulfhart, was a famous and very badass monster hunter in his own right, albeit one whose prey was mainly nautical horrors that prowl the ocean, using a magical harpoon to hunt great leviathans. He was felled by the Great Merwyrm Amanar, but is still important to the current events of the Vampire Coast plot as a Posthumous Character.
- Badass Longcoat: An impossibly cool fur duster.
- Badass Normal: While the Empire is this in general, Markus takes it to another extreme. He isn't an all powerful mage, a divinely-blessed Emperor who rides on a massive griffon, or a wielder of Holy Magics, he's just a normal commoner who just happens to be really good at killing giant monsters, using nothing but his cunning, his skill, and his mundane bow (all that before getting an upgrade). Likewise for his Hunters, who are all just normal humans, who regularly fight against monsters.
- Cold Sniper: He frequently switches between this and the Friendly Sniper archetype, depending on the situation. Off the battlefield, he's a kind and caring officer who looks out for the interests of his men, and goes out of his way to help the people of the Empire. On a hunt? He's ruthless, especially cold, and utterly emotionless, lest anything distract him from his prey. In-game, he's an excellent shot, with extremely high accuracy and damage from a range.
- Custom Uniform: Wears a leather duster, alongside a set of leather armor, and a state trooper uniform underneath it all.
- Doomed Home Town: A Cygor nicknamed the Drakwald Cyclop razed his hometown of Drakenburg. He personally hunted the monster down and killed it.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He's been making sporadic cameo appearances in letters (and one loading screen quote) in the first game, with the Beastmen teaser letter and Skaven teasers being letters addressed to him, before he was finally made playable.
- A Father to His Men: Whatever else he may be, nothing changes the fact Markus cares deeply about the young men put under his charge, as unlike many noble Imperial Generals, they're commoners just like him, and he goes out of his way to offer them words of encouragement and care. Furthermore, during the quests of his elite hunters, Markus goes the extra mile to assist them in their personnel quests, while also offering them all emotional support in regards to their dark pasts.
- Final Boss: Of Nakai the Wanderer's Eye of the Vortex campaign. Nakai must defeat him and his allies in a major quest battle in order to permanently drive the warmbloods out of Lustria.
- Greatbow: His legendary Amber Bow. An ancient weapon taken from the vaults of the Imperial Palace and gifted to Markus by Karl Franz himself, it was carved from a Drakwald Oak and enchantments were placed upon it by a powerful Amber Wizard. It is said its shots are guided by this inherent magic to strike the hearts of the fiercest monsters. Activating it lets Markus fire off a powerful missile of arcane energy.
- Homing Projectile: The Amber Bow allows to shoot homing missiles at monsters.
- Humble Hero: Karl Franz offered Markus the chance to live a life of luxury and wealth as a reward for his many hunts against monsters, but Markus declined the opportunity for the sake of hunting more monsters instead. For this dedication to his quest, Karl instead offered him a magical bow to make his job even easier.
- Hunter of Monsters: By far the most famous example in the franchise. Markus earned his fame by hunting the dangerous monsters of the Old World (of which there are many) with extreme prejudice, and serves as the Emperor's personal Huntsmarshal, some of his notable kills being giants, minotaurs, chimeras, dragons, and during the End Times he slew the Brass Bull itself! Now he's travelled to the New World to hunt its great reptilian beasts. His entire kit is geared towards killing large units, having a innate massive bonus against any unit classified as large, an immunity to psychology, and many skills that further enhance his killing power. His Huntsmen and Huntsmen Generals fulfill the same role as him.
- Hypocritical Humor: One of his "friendly" diplomacy lines toward Dark Elves is him inquiring if their clothing doesn't make them hot in Lustria's climate. This, coming from the guy covered from head to toe in heavy furs.
- Injured Vulnerability: Markus' "Focused Shot" ability is a limited-use ranged attack that will scale in damage based on how much health the target has already lost, making it tremendously powerful against wounded lords, heroes and monsters that possess large pools of HP.
- Mechanically Unusual Class: Wulfhart's faction, the Huntsmarshals Expedition, has two bars that fill up depending on your actions; the Emperor's Mandate and the Hostility Bar. The former increases if he manages to successfully enact military incursions and other campaign activities that will increase his Acclaim. This impacts the quality of units Markus gets, as the higher the Acclaim in the Mandate Bar, the better units are unlocked for the Huntsmarshal. However, this is balanced out by the Hostility Bar. The more you increase that bar (via successful military incursions, raiding and such) on Lizardmen settlements, the higher it becomes and the faction will be affected with various negative traits along with the Lizardmen computer factions becoming increasingly aggressive. When the Hostility Bar's filled up, a powerful task force is send out to exterminate the Huntsmarshal's Expedition (being more passive in the campaign will lower the Hostility Bar). In the Vortex Campaign, if the player fills up the Mandate Bar, Nakai will issue a challenge to Markus for a final duel.
- Nerves of Steel: The years of Markus facing down countless horrors have given him this. It's represented in-game by Markus being Immune to Psychology to show his courage against horrible monsters. Indeed, a man who prepares to hunt Dragons or Giants should naturally keep his calm in their presence. During his trailer he's shown calmly walking towards a Lizardmen army preparing to fire off his Amber Bow with his army being in full retreat.
- Nice Hat: He wears a pretty smashing fur hat, made from what seems to be beaver, in a Kislevian style.
- Stealth Expert: The decades of constant forest combat against the Beastmen, as well as his roots as a woodsman hunter, have turned him into an expert at guerrilla warfare, as well as ambushes. He has a huge variety of buffs to reflect this, including vanguard deployment for him and army, huge increases to ambush chances, as well as Stalk and Snipe for himself.
- The Slow Walk: Done in the trailer, as he begins to walk slowly towards the encroaching Lizardmen army, with a shot aimed at the rapidly closing in Dread Saurian.
- Support Party Member: His special rule Sure and True gives every friendly unit around him a large buff to missile damage, reload speed, and armor piercing, making him especially useful in large units of missile units.
- Undying Loyalty: He is eternally grateful to Emperor Franz for elevating him to a position in which he can protect the people of the Empire from the things that lurk in the forest.
- Working-Class Hero: In contrast to the Empire's other Legendary Lords, who are either arch-wizards (Balthazar), religious leaders (Volkmar), or noblemen (Karl Franz and Todbringer), Markus is a simple commoner, and isn't any less badass because of it. His Huntsmen generals are also implied to be this.
Wulfhart's Legendary Hunters
Wulfhart's Hunters are a four exceptional hunters that can be found and recruited in Markus Wulfhart's campaign. Nakai the Wanderer is tasked with hunting them down in his campaign.
- Badass Crew: Each one of them was already badass for surviving in Lustria long enough to meet Markus, and all of them were doing it alone.
- Fan Nickname: The Wulfhart Four. Not unlike the The Ubersreik Five.
- Five-Man Band
- The Leader: Markus Wulfhart.
- The Lancer: Hertwig van Hal. Where Markus is a commoner who took his duty out of passion, Hertwig dislike the duty that his noble family has required him to undertake.
- The Big Guy: Rodrik L'Anguille, as he's the only hunter without a ranged weapon.
- The Smart Guy: Jorek Grimm, engineer and inventor. He shares this role with Herr Doctor Hertwig.
- The Chick: Kalara.
- Multinational Team: Multiracial too; members include a Bretonnian, a Wood Elf, and a Dwarf.
Doctor Hertwig van Hal
Hertwig van Hal is a physician and Witch Hunter. He is in Lustria seeking a vampire named Alistair the Red.
- Battle Trophy: He wears a necklace of vampire fangs.
- Combat Medic: Hertwig was a doctor before became a Witch Hunter. Before Markus recruits him, he would shadow Imperial armies in Lustria and heal the wounded.
- Herr Doctor: Insists on being called this.
- Heroic Lineage: The Van Hal family is famous for being vampire hunters, so it was only inevitable Hertwig would follow in their footsteps despite his wish to be a healer. At the end of his questline having gained his revenge, you can choose whether he will stay a Witch Hunter or return to medicine.
- Idiot Ball: Especially for a member of the Van Hal family, Hertwig should known better then remove a stake from a seemingly dead body inside your home.
- Palette Swap: Of a Witch Hunter, with a white coat to emphasize his former medical profession.
Sir Rodrik L'Anguille
Rodrik L'Anguille is a Bretonnian knight on a quest for vengeance.
- Blue Blood: The son of the duke of Anguille. He's actually a commoner on his mother's side.
- Heroic Bastard: The real reason for his exile; his mother was a peasant instead of the duke's wife.
- Palette Swap: Of a Paladin.
- Sole Survivor: Rodrik arrived in Lustria with a whole company of knights and he is the only one left.
- The Unfavorite: His father tried to kill him because he wanted Rodrik's younger (but legitimate) brother to be his heir. The chapter where this is revealed is even called "The Unfavoured Heir".
Master Engineer Jorek Grimm
Jorek Grimm is a Dwarf from Barak Varr and a Master Engineer. He is in Lustria with the Spine of Sotek Dwarfs working on an invention.
- Badass Beard: Jorek may be an eccentric Dwarf, but he's still a Dwarf.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Like any Master Engineer. Completing his quests requires you to expand the trade resources available to your faction so he can use them to craft magic items or create new technologies.
- Palette Swap: He's a Dwarf Master Engineer with a few colours changed around and some unique skills.
- Mad Scientist: How he was viewed by the Engineers' Guild for eschewing traditions.
- Red-Headed Hero: Probably his natural color too, since he doesn't seem to be a Slayer.
- Shout-Out: The third chapter of his story is titled Jorek of the Jungle.
Kalara is a Waystalker from Athel Loren who is hunting a specific quarry in Lustria.
- Heartbroken Badass: She is driven by the death of her lover, Atherin.
- Only One Name: Just "Kalara". Her family name would give away her heritage.
- Palette Swap: She's a Wood Elf Waystalker in function, although her model is taken from a female Glade Lord.
- Really Royalty Reveal: At the end of her story, she reveals she was a princess of Wydrioth.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female member of Wulfhart's Hunters.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Her lover, Atherin, was a Wild Rider and was supposed to forsake all worldly ties. His god, Kurnous, punished him for violating this oath by falling in love.