Bretonnia is a feudal kingdom situated to the west of The Empire and separated from the latter by the Grey Mountains. The country was founded nearly a thousand years after the Empire when Gilles le Breton united the people of the land and drove the orcs away; since then the Bretonnians have never abandoned their chivalric ways and the worship of their goddess, the Lady of the Lake. note However, it is implied that Bretonnia may have been created by the Wood Elves to create a buffer state against their enemies and it was eventually revealed that the Lady is the Elven goddess Lileath. Their current leader is Louen Leoncoeur of Couronne.
The pride of Bretonnia are its knights, noblemen donning armor and lance and riding their steeds to battle. All knights from the young and eager Knights Errant to the blessed Grail Knights who found the Grail and drank from it, form fast and hard-hitting cavalry units with devastating charge. Those knights riding in battle are moreover supported by Damsels, the only magic-wielders of the realm, and poor units of low-born serving as Men-at-Arms, bowmen, or manning the trebuchet. Indeed the honor-bound knights of Bretonnia look down on shooting weapons of any kind and hate all magic that doesn't come from the Lady.
The country's populace is split in two. First, the powerful high-born knights and ladies rule the lands and fight to protect their territories, sometimes going on quests to prove themselves or find the famed Grail to honor their goddess. In contrast to the knights, the peasantry of Bretonnia are downtrodden and mistreated, with heavy taxes levied upon them.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Zigzagged across editions. In the earliest editions of the setting, the Bretonnians were based around France during the reign of Louis XVI to the point that Slaanesh's cult was practically universal amongst the aristocrats (whilst Nurgle's cult was spreading with equal fervor amongst the benighted peasants). From around 6th edition onwards, the nobles were depicted in much more the Chivalric Romance model and that bit about Slaanesh's cults was quietly wiped from canon.
- Army Scout: Yeomen are peasant scouts doing the very dishonorable work of simply trying to watch for the enemy army and gather information. Despite their important work, they cannot ride on a proper Bretonnian warhorse and must make do with the peasantrys horses, and it takes years of unappreciated service plus an exceptional feat to be elected to this relatively privileged position in the first place. In game, they form a unit of fast cavalry made for harassing.
- Badass Creed: Among the different knightly vows, the Grail vow is particularly badass."... That which is sacrosanct I shall preserve.That which is sublime, I will protect.That which threatens, I will destroy.For my holy wrath will know no bound..."
- BFS: It is Bretonnian tradition that, when a Knight of the Realm gives up his position and takes the vow of a Questing Knight, they discard their lance in favour of the time-honoured weapon of the Quest, a large two-handed greatsword that the knight wields with expert proficiency.
- Blue Blood: The knights of Bretonnia all belong to the nobility of the country. Going back to the companions of Gilles Le Breton, the ruling class is the only one allowed to become real warriors defending their kingdom and are expected to be very good at it. Of course, being nobles, they benefit from all the luxury they can grab though.
- Cool Helmet: Bretonnian knights will typically adorn their helms with colourful and ornate crests, often referencing a part of their personal heraldry.
- Cool Horse: Bretonnian Warhorses are specially bred to bear knights and full armour, possessing higher than average endurance. The Bretonnian Warhorses receive no penalty for being barded and thus combine armor with swiftness on the battlefield.
- Decade Dissonance: Despite living right next to the Renaissance/Holy Roman Empire with added Steam Punk themed Empire, Bretonnia is perpetually stuck in a medieval Arthurian setting, a state of affairs that is perpetuated by the Bretonnian nobility and, it is implied, the manipulation of their Wood Elf neighbours. While the Empire is considered the more powerful nation of the two, the technological and cultural dissonance isnt too much of a disadvantage for the Bretonnian due to their magic and their close relation with their deity.
- Deconstructive Parody: With its theme park knights of the Chivalric Romance alongside exaggerated flaws of actual feudalism, many fans of Bretonnia find the crapsack lot in life of the peasants to be absurdly grim to the point of hilarity. To wit, a noble takes 90% of his peasants' harvest (which was later clarified that they redistribute enough of that later at least so the peasants do not starve to death), and peasants are generally portrayed as genuinely being so pathetic and stupid that the knights' complete lack of concern for them is understandable to a degree.
- Doesn't Like Guns: The knights of Bretonnian all have a cultural hatred of bows, guns and such. Their founder and greatest hero Gilles Le Breton was killed by an anonymous arrow and the undignified death of such a man made his surviving companions hate all shooting weapons. As a result, guns are nonexistent to the Bretonnian armies and bows are restricted to units of poor-quality bowmen, as knights do know the utility of the weapon without wanting to approach the damned bows.
- The Dung Ages: Most definitely, at least for the commoners.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Grail Knights are Questing Knights who were blessed by the Lady and granted a sip of her Grail. As a result, they are fully blessed by her, possessing a better mystical protection, and the water of the Grail multiplies their lifespan.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Largely medieval France with a bit of medieval Britain to it, what with the faction name coming from Britannia along with many King Arthur references and Expies in their fluff.
- Fantasy Gun Control:
- From the 5th Edition of the game onwards, gunpowder weapons are said to be illegal with the Bretonnian knights themselves being banned from using other ranged weapons by their rules of honour.
- Some older background material and Gaiden Games ZigZag the ban on ranged weapons. In these sources, Bretonnia outlaws crossbows on Bretonnian soil and while firearms aren't mentioned, extending the ban to also include black-powder weapons is generally considered to be within the spirit of the law. There are, however, some powerful mercantile groups who want the law either interpreted more literally or amended outright so the major ports can use cannon in their defense works. The Bretonnian Navy use cannons with impunity, since their cannon are never brought onto Bretonnian soil but stay on the ships.
- Fleur de Lis: A very common symbol in Bretonnia.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: The knights of Bretonnia have access to one special cavalry formation named the Lance, a three-models-wide formation representing a column of knights charging at high speed and their tipped formation allowing greater penetration into the enemy ranks. If a Lance of Bretonnian Knights charges someone, all the units at the front and sides of the Lance can attack.
- French Jerk: The Bretonnians are legendary for their arrogance and self-righteousness, especially amongst the nobility. Taken Up to Eleven in that they manage to be so arrogant and unshakably convinced of their own importance despite being one of the least important nations on what passes for the world stage.
- The Good Kingdom: Being an actual Kingdom, Bretonnia technically DOES count as this trope though it subverts many aspects of the trope. Peasants are treated poorly and the ruling class refuses to evolve technologically.
- Heroic Vow: Knights usually mark their entry to knighthood with vows of virtue and duty and the vows only become more restrictive as a knight advances in the ranks. The Bretonnian army represents this with the Special Vow rules, granting knights different bonus depending on the Vow in question. For instance the Knights Vow allows Knights of the Realm to ignore Panic caused by peasants while the Grail Vow makes Grail Knights Immune to Psychology and automatically grants them the Blessing of the Lady.
- Hero-Worshipper: Grail Pilgrims, who worship the Grail Knights and follow them around so as to share in the Lady of the Lake's blessing. It's also deconstructed as the pilgrims loot the corpses of Grail Knights for any idols of the Lady but sometimes they even end up accidentally killing the wounded, but still alive, Grail Knights by running them over. Sometimes they even loot an entire Grail Knight's body and load him up on a Grail Reliquae.
- Honor Before Reason: An enforced trope. Bretonnian nobility has a huge emphasis on honor and so its knights tend to do the most honorable thing to them according to the rules of chivalry and honor at the detriment of the sensible things. The Lady also enforces this mindset. In game, this way of life is representing in knights being practically obliged to issue and accept challenges or otherwise lose the Blessing of the Lady.
- Immune to Bullets: Bretonnia may be stuck in the Middle Ages but due to the blessings of the Lady of the Lake, many of their units have magical protection against guns, allowing them to hold their own against the Empire, Dwarves, and Skaven, all of whom use guns.
- Inertial Impalement: The Bowmen of Bretonnia, being Combat Pragmatist, have taken to defend themselves against incoming enemies by raising Defensive Stakes cut out of nearby trees and planted in sharp fences to dissuade charges. In game, any model charging the Bowmen and going through the Defensive Stakes basically counts as not having charged although they can fight at close range with Bowmen. Any bonus or rule associated with charging are rendered moot.
- Jousting Lance: While lances are the Weapon of Choice for the heavy cavalry of many factions, the Knights of Bretonnia take their use to even greater lengths, having developed a special formation to enhance the effectiveness of the weapon. Jousting tournaments are also one of the favourite pastimes of the Bretonnian nobility, and is the primary method used to settle disputes between Knights. In-game, the special Lance Formation allows a far greater number of Knights to attack in close combat to maximise the Strength bonus lance armed cavalry gain when they charge.
- Knight Errant: There are the actual Knights Errant, who are just young knights eager to prove themselves in battle, but the Questing Knights fit the trope better, who discard everything they own in search of the Grail. However, should they successfully drink from the Grail, take back the lands and titles they gave up before, but most choose not to.
- Knight In Shining Armour:
- The knights of Bretonnia live and breathe for the ideal, with quite a few exceptions. Their disregard and treatment of the peasantry tarnishes it however. As the Grail Knights are supposed to be all paragons of virtue (which is presumed to include the Virtue of Empathy that the vast majority of knights fail to exhibit) to become one, but Bretonnian nobles' sense of morals is a bit different from the usual person's so it tends to come down to a player's own interpretation whether the Grail Knights are genuine examples of this trope.
- The Bretonnian army has a Virtues system, Virtues representing a particular noble character trait that are available for purchase when building the army. Lords and Heroes can purchase different Virtues to represent their strength of character and granting them different bonuses. For instance, the Virtue of Stoicism allows the corresponding knight to reroll failed to break tests.
- Leeroy Jenkins: The Knights Errant, young knights who are so eager to prove themselves in battle that they will often charge their foes without care and without orders.
- Loony Laws: Since nobles have effectively unlimited authority in their dominions, the power can go straight to their heads, and result in some... interesting laws on the books unless directly countermanded by order of the king. As an example of one of these laws - one book relates the tale of how due to a previous ruling, legally speaking, every male of a certain age must shout "griffon fingers!" to the sky while saluting it on the evening of a full moon, though the nobility is sane enough to pretend the law doesn't exist.
- Medieval Stasis: Although perhaps justified because it's suggested that the Wood Elves are deliberately keeping them there to act as an easily manipulated human shield.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: Hypogriffs are huge monsters with the body of a lion, wings, and a bird-like head. They are a favored mount for Lords and the difficulty of raising them actually attracts the attention of many knights.
- Out of Focus: The Bretonnian faction has gone through the latest two editions without a new army book and they were among the least important factions depicted in the End Times, with all of Bretonnia being ruined offscreen with next to no named characters whose story is known.
- The Paladin: The Grail Knights, knights who have finished their quest and drunk from the Grail. The Paladin is also a hero choice unit, but is used more in the meaning of a particularly mighty knight, than this trope.
- Pegasus: In the city of Parravon near the Grey Mountains, Bretonnia raises a large number of pegasi: winged horses whose strength but also intelligence and loyalty to their masters is very high. Bretonnias Pegasus Knights act as a rare flying cavalry that can bypass unimportant enemy units to charge vulnerable key units.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: The nobles of Bretonnia revel in battle.
- The Quest: Questing Knights are knight who vow to seek the Lady and the Grail, abandoning all possessions save their weapons and horse to start Walking the Earth (a Questing Knight cannot, among other requirements, sleep two nights in the same place) to perform heroic deeds and attract the attention of the Lady. A model with the Questing Vow may ignore Panic caused by other units, reroll failed psychology tests and cannot be joined by characters with the Knights Vow. In addition, they cannot wield lances. Those who manage to complete that quest are blessed forever by the Lady.
- Unwitting Pawn: For years, fans have theorized from hints in the fluff that Bretonnia's entire culture is the result of manipulation by the Wood Elves to control themnote and to exploit them as Cannon Fodder for any threats coming from the west. It turns out that this is exactly right, and the Lady was an Elven goddess' disguise all along.
- Redshirt Army: Alongside, or rather under the knights of Bretonnia, fight the Men-at-arms, peasants selected by the local nobles to act as a much needed if expendable infantry unit. These men having the barest of training and equipment are quite mediocre, and only their cheapness may make them attractive.
- Religious Bruiser: Bretonnia worships its gods a lot and none as fervously as the Lady and to a lesser degree Shallya. In game, the entire army can pray at the very beginning of the game, to gain the Blessing of the Lady, they thus relinquish initiative for a ward save for all knights.
- Siege Engines: Bretonnian knights look down on siege engines but arent foolish enough to disdain such weapons entirely. Bretonnia exclusively use the Field Trebuchet to launch rocks at the enemy. In game, the Field Trebuchet is the only war machine available to Bretonnia. It has, thanks to its design made to lay siege to castles, a shooting attack of Strength 10 to 5 and a range going up to 60. However, its size also means that the trebuchet cannot be displaced at all.
- Upper-Class Twit: A depressing number of knights are distinctly out of touch with reality, though they're officially a minority. Given that the process of inheriting a domain typically requires battling horrible monsters, which exposes the would-be heir to all manner of sanity-rending horrors and traumas (and head wounds), to say nothing of any aristocratic proclivities towards incestnote , it's quite believable that a lot of the people running the show in Bretonnia don't have all their marbles.
- Vestigial Empire: While Bretonnia isn't actually Vestigial, it's one of the most primitive cultures in the Warhammer world, barring the "savage" races like Orcs, Goblins and Beastmen. As a result, Bretonnia's presence in the global stage is pretty much non-existent. They have very little considered worth trading by the Empire, barring winenote , spices and chefs, their social structure is considered absurdly backwards and archaicnote , and about the only reason they haven't been conquered by more technologically advanced forces is because they literally have a goddess protecting Bretonnian forces by interfering with incoming gunfire and arrows. In typical Black Comedy fashion, the Bretonnians are completely oblivious to their reputation as a joke beyond their own lands and tell themselves that every other nation in the world envies them for their clearly superior culture. The only thing that CAN be said for Bretonnia is that they have the best Knights and Calvary in the world, even surpassing the Empire's Calvary.
- We Have Reserves: Knights don't really care about commoners fleeing though unusually for this trope this is more a case of Proud Warrior Race Guy disdain than simple evilness: the arrogant and elitist nobles expect peasantry to break in the face of a real fight, considering them to be on the same level as sheep.
- White Magician Girl: Prophetesses and Damsels are women born with magical talents who, after being taken by the Lady and taught magic with her, return to Bretonnia and act as counselors and support in the battlefield. The Damsels exclusively wield lores related to nature such as the Lore of Life or the Lore of Beast or the Lore of Heavens. Their Aura of the Lady rule also grants them the Magic Resistance rule.
The Righteous Champions of The Lady
Gilles le Breton
Also called the Uniter, Gilles was the first king of Bretonnia, having united the country and pushed out the rampaging greenskins.
- Animal Motifs: Gilles carried the red dragon of Bastonne as his heraldry, having earned it from slaying a dragon.
- The Dragonslayer: Among his many deeds, he was also renowned for slaying a mighty dragon named Smearghus.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: To the Bretonnians, his death at the hands of an ordinary ranged weapon came as such a shock that they forever came to despise them.
- Expy: Of King Arthur himself. Louen Leoncouer handled the bastard siring, though.
- Founder of the Kingdom: United the tribes of Bretonnia into one under his leadership.
- King in the Mountain: Mortally wounded, he was taken away by the Lady of the Lake on a ghost ship, but is said to return in Bretonnia's darkest hour. Meanwhile, the mysterious Green Knight is popularly speculated to be him.
- Posthumous Character: Died many years before the present timeline of the setting.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He earned his crown battling hordes of greenskins and remained an active fighter after being crowned.
King Louen Leoncoeur
The ruling king of Bretonnia.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Louen Leoncoeur is the greatest king since Gilles Le Breton, and all of Bretonnia admires and loves him for his prowess and honor. His rule Beloved Son of Bretonnia makes it so if he is slain, the entire army must pass a Panic test, but also becomes Stubborn as they now want to reclaim his body.
- Animal Motifs: His heraldry features a golden lion on a field of red and blue. This references the first duke of Couronne, who hailed from Lyonesse and at a young age, alongside his brother, slew the last lion in Bretonnia. Also one may not need to look further than his name, Leoncoeur, which means "lion heart".
- Anti-Magic: His shield has been enchanted to protect him from magic.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As the king of Bretonnia, he's also the most powerful fighter among them.
- Badass Army: Downplayed. However, when the King of Bretonnia goes to war, he does so accompanied with the finest knights of the country. In game, if he is present in an army, in order to represent how it is mostly composed of the crème de la crème of Bretonnia, doesn't have the restriction on Grail Knights and Men-at-arms and Bowmen become a special choice.
- The Champion: Louen is The Lady of the Lake's appointed champion in the world. To represent it, he possesses the The Lady's Champion rule giving him an automatic Blessing of the Lady and Regeneration to indicate just how much She protects him. However, if he flees or refuses a challenge, then he takes an immediate wound that cannot be saved.
- Cool Crown: Adorned with fleurs-de-lys and blessed with a kiss from the Lady of the Lake, Louen's crown has passed from king to king since the coronation of Gilles' son. In game, the Crown of Bretonnia gives him a range of 18" for his Inspiring Presence bubble and makes units in range immune to Panic.
- Cool Sword: The Sword of Couronne shines so brightly it'll blind his foes and increases the strength behind his blows as well. In game it confers Leoncoeur +1 Strength and forces any enemy model in base contact with him to pass a Leadership test, or be unable to attack and be automatically hit.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Like every Grail Knight, he was a uniquely formidable and driven man before drinking water provided by the Lady of the Lake made him akin to a demigod.
- Healing Factor: Having drunk from the Grail, Louen's wounds are capable of healing themselves.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Regarded by his subjects as the pinnacle of knightly perfection and honor. Not that it seems to have prevented him from fathering a bastard son, like some other king you might have heard about. Additionally, despite reports of wisdom, compassion and justice from his listening to pleas from peasants that were brought to him from some sort of noble, he still keeps the rigid confinements of Bretonnia's feudalism and shows no interest in reworking it.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: His shield has been carried for many years since he first became a knight and has been reworked to protect him from magic. In game, the Lion's Shield grants him Magic Resistance as strong as the number of dice used to cast said spell.
- The Magnificent: Called the Lion-Hearted for his heraldry and bravery in battle.
- Older Than They Look: Looks to be in his prime, but is whispered by scholars to be about 90 years old, presumably due to drinking from the Grail.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: Rides the Hippogryph Beaquis into battle. It is very loyal to Louen, so if he is slain, Beaquis automatically becomes Frenzy to represent its Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- The Paragon: As King of Bretonnia, Louen Leoncoeur has become the gold standard by which knights judge themselves. In game, his Puissant Virtue allows him to reroll failed hits and wounds rolls during a challenge and he also counts as having the Virtue of Purity (making his Blessing of the Lady a permanent 5+ ward save).
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The kings of Bretonnia are required to be great knights before they can take the throne. Louen's earning of Grail Knight powers came from trying to fight off a necromancer with a large undead army along with sixteen other knights, and the reason that he had to fight this army was that his father didn't like that he had initially returned from his Questing Vow empty-handed.
- Throwing Your Shield Always Works: He threw his kite shield by the pointed end at the necromancer Myldeon, through various ranks of undead standing between them, decapitating Myldeon at the neck.
The Green Knight
A mysterious knight that appears to challenge Questing Knights on their quest.
- Big Damn Heroes: His specialty is arriving on the nick of time to assist beleaguered Bretonnian forces.
- Cool Horse: Rides the Shadow Steed, which is as ethereal as its rider.
- Cool Sword: Wields the Dolorous Blade, which burns with a strange light and effortlessly cuts through his foes. In game, the Green Knight can choose thanks to the blade to add D6 attacks or have a +2 Strength bonus.
- Dramatic Unmask: Takes off his helmet to reveal himself as Gilles le Breton, before killing Mallobaude.
- The Dreaded: Inspires Terror in his foes, though the Beastmen in particular speak of him with dread, the Green Knight having slain untold thousands of their kind over the centuries.
- Eternal Hero: He's been around for centuries and never truly dies in battle.
- Expy: Of another Green Knight.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Questing Knights who encounter him speak of how his eyes are ablaze with a fey light.
- Foil: To Grombrindal. They were both kings that took on new identities after death and became powerful, supernatural warriors whose primary motivation is the defense of their people.
- Intangible Man: Due to his Ethereal nature, he can pass through physical obstacles, while most physical attacks pass right through him. He can, however, be wounded if bested in combat, but will always reappear if slain. Of all these effects are transposed in game, making him a quite hard model to remove for normal infantry.
- Losing Your Head: Several accounts speak of the Green Knight being decapitated and picking up his head once again.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Wields a regular shield, emblazoned with a grinning face surrounded by leaves.
- Our Spirits Are Different: This one is the spirit of a knight, whose true nature is unknown. He is attached to the Lady of the Lake and protects sacred places and tests Questing Knights. As a spirits, the Green Knight doesn't fear anything, can pass through terrain as well as attacks that aren't magical too, and cannot really be slain but instead returns shortly.
- Red Baron: While the Bretonnians know him as the Green Knight, the Beastmen fear him as Shaabhekh, which means the Soul-Killer.
- Shrouded in Myth: Who or what he actually is is never revealed. It is popularly speculated that he is Gilles le Breton, the original uniter of Bretonnia.
- You Shall Not Pass!: "None may pass!" is one of his famous phrases used in plays, typically directed at Questing Knights.
Morgiana, the Fay Enchantress
Earthly representative of the Lady of the Lake and the cult's highest authority in Bretonnia.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: She has the Girdle of Gold, woven with powerful magic and protection spells. It thus grants her a 4+ ward save.
- The Archmage: The Fay Enchantress is a very powerful wizard, the best in Bretonnia by a large margin. In game, she is a Level 4 wizard who can use any of the eight basic lores of magic, but with a bonus to cast for the Lore of Life.
- Baleful Polymorph: Said to turn wizards she dislikes into toads. She even carries a toad familiar around which she draws additional power from.
- Battle Aura: The Fey Enchantress exudes a powerful supernatural aura. In game, she causes Fear, and to the Forces of Destruction (excluding daemons and undead) she causes Terror.
- Court Mage: Serves Bretonnia in this capacity, along with being their highest religious authority.
- Deadly Gaze: The Fay's stare is imbued with such power they will actually hurt. Her Spiteful Glance rule forces all enemy models in base contact to pass an Initiative test or take a wound that cannot be saved.
- Familiar: She possesses a toad that is said to be a wizard that displeased her was turned into this creature. It helps her by adding a dice to her power and dispel pool.
- High Priest: Or priestess in this case, being the immortal, living representative of the Lady, and one of the highest authorities in the land. Her mere presence is so holy the army she is in counts as automatically having the Blessing of the Lady.
- The Lady's Favour: Sometimes gives out a token of her favor to a Bretonnian knight before a battle. However, should he dishonor himself in battle, both take a wound. The rule Favour of the Lady allows the Fay Enchantress to choose a specific model who gets a bonus to hit until he flees or refuses a challenge, in which case both the model and the Fay enchantress take a wound as punishment for failure and lack of insight.
- Legacy Character: Possibly. There has been a Fay Enchantress since the earliest history of Bretonnia, however it is unknown whether the position is an inherited one, or if it is filled by a single, immortal being.
- Praetorian Guard: If she is fielded, then several Grail Knights must be bought to specifically bodyguard her.
- Rapunzel Hair: Her hair is shown to be quite long.
- Stripperific: Some of the artwork for Morgiananote depict her wearing an incredibly skimpy outfit that would be more appropriate for a Dark Elf Sorceress than a noble Bretonnian lady.
- Unicorn: Rides the unicorn Silvaron into battle.