Founded by warrior-turned-god Emperor Sigmar Heldenhammer who united the tribes of men in the region that would become the greatest human nation in the world, The Empire towers in size and military power over its neighbors. Extending from the World's Edge Mountains kingdoms of the Dwarfs to most of the eastern Old World, it is comprised of ten grand provinces, each ruled by an elector count who vote on who takes the throne of Emperor after the death of the last one. As such, the Empire is mostly comprised of humans but has welcomed a few Dwarfs, Halflings (who control the province of the Moot), and Gnomes within its borders. Its current leader is the Emperor Karl Franz.
In battle, the Empire can field a diverse array of fighting units. The backbone of the Empire's armies are their average but disciplined state troops holding tight ranks against the enemy. In addition, the Empire can call upon its Knightly Orders to form a deadly cavalry, the Sorcerers of the Eight Colleges with their magic and their esoteric constructs, the war machines of the Imperial Engineers Schools, or the fanatical worshippers of Sigmar. While not any of these units may be the best in their category, the Empire can play on the weaknesses of any foe.
The Empire is expansionist (when it can be) but also open to trading and diplomatic relations with other nations, which resulted in it gaining both the semi-renaissance steampunk technology of the Dwarfs, and being taught magic from the Elves, both of whom consider the human nation beneath them but still a necessary ally against the threats to the world.
Though better than the wilderness, it is still a pretty terrible place to live. Peasants from the northern regions are forced into conscription to beat back the never-ending tide of Norse warbands, Orc tribes, and Beastmen. Templars of Sigmar, better known as Witch Hunters, prowl the villages and cities, eradicating even the smallest taints of heresy with extreme prejudice. And amongst the nobility, it seems only the Emperor himself, Karl Franz, cares for the fate of the nation as a whole and not just his own well-being.
As for cultural themes, it's mainly Germanic, with a dash of the British Empire thrown in for good measure. In essence, it resembles the Holy Roman Empire, only larger and more zealous.
- Ancestral Weapon:
- The mighty warhammer Ghal Maraz was the personal weapon of the Empire's founder and has been wielded by almost every Emperor since. Gifted to Sigmar by High King Kurgan Ironbeard, Ghal Maraz is also a symbol of the alliance between the Empire and the Dwarfs.
- The Runefangs are a set of twelve Absurdly Sharp Blades forged by the famous Dwarf Runesmith Alaric the Mad and presented to the chiefs of the Human tribes who joined with Sigmar to create the Empire. These weapons have since been passed down through the families of these original chiefs and are now a simple of the power and authority of the Elector Counts who rule the provinces of the Empire.
- Badass Longcoat: 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.
- Badass Normal: The Imperial Army holds the line against daemon-worshipping vikings, insane braying Beastmen, sadistic Dark Elves, the Vampires and their undead minions, brutal fight-happy Orcs and all kinds of other monsters through righteous fury, More Dakka and continually averting Call That a Formation?. 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.
- BFS: Imperial Greatswords, the elite soldiers and bodyguards of the Imperial state troops, fight with masterfully forged zweihander swords that are as long as their wielder is tall. Greatswords are 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. In-game, zweihanders are great weapons, boosting the wielder's strength at the cost of speed in combat.
- Blade on a Stick: The halberd is the traditional weapon of Empire and regiments of State Troop Halberdiers form the backbone of many armies. Some states, especially those lacking in funds, field regiments of Spearmen alongside, or in place of Halberdiers. Both weapons have their own strengths and weaknesses with the in-game rules for halberds boosting the strength of its wielder but preventing them from using a shield in combat, while the length of the spear allows extra ranks of troops to attack.
- Bald of Awesome: Warrior Priests of Sigmar typically shave their heads as an act of devotion, and considering their vestments are armor and the Cult of Sigmar demands that they express their faith through battle, the "awesome" part fully applies here.
- Balkanize Me: The Empire was Balkanized for 1000 years.
- Approximately 1400 years ago in-universe, Emperor Mandred Skavenslayer who had seen the Empire through the worst crisis since Sigmar was assassinated. For 200 years, the Empire was without an Emperor. Then the electors finally made their decision, electing the Sigmarite Elector-Count of Stirland. The Elector-Countess of Talabecland, Ottilia, declared herself Empress, claiming that the election was a sham (there were also religious issues relating to Sigmar's divinity), with the support of the cults of Ulric and Taal. The two sides went to war and Ottilia won a decisive victory, defeating the electoral Emperor in a huge battle.
- For another 200 years, the two sides were locked in what amounted to cold war. Then the Elector-Count of Middenheim managed to secure the support of the cult of Ulric and declared himself the Wolf Emperor. The three sides fought for another 400 years, when the Grand Theogonist refused to accept the newest elected Empress (an infant) at which point the Elector-Counts of Reikland advanced their own claim.
- And then it got even worse: the Vampire Counts of Sylvania laid siege to the Empire, beginning another century-long war.
- 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.
- Boring, but Practical: The main gimmick of the Empire armies is not some lore-related rule buffing their units or a signature weapon. It is the Regimental Unit system, meaning one can attach small specialized units of common infantry to larger units of common infantry. These small support units called Detachments wont immediately impress anyone, but their ability to Support Fire and Counter Charge greatly advantages the Empire Core.
- Cool Car: The War Altar of Sigmar is a unique giant chariot commissioned by Magnus the Pious and which Arch Lectors of the Cult of Sigmar occasionally use as personal vehicle and speech stand on the battlefield. It was created by the most skilled artisans of the Empire, lavishly decorated with holy symbols and items, and most notably bears a giant Golden Griffon statue wielding a hammer. As an altar imbued with the power of Sigmar, it can launch the Banishment spell, with the Holy Fervour rule it grants Hatred to units nearby and The Power of Sigmar rule buffs the range of Holy Prayers. Finally, it can be upgraded with the Horn of Sigismund, giving it the Terror rule.
- Crapsack World: Though by far the most powerful and enlightened human nation, the Empire is riddled with so many frailties (corruption, Chaos cultists, mutants, rebellious lords, plutocrats, ignorant populaces, the list goes on) that it's amazing that the nation doesn't simply implode (actually, it has in the past, but that's another story). It's mostly held together by Karl Franz's sheer force of will.
- Church Militant: The Empire have several cults but none as prominent as the Cult of Sigmar, the Founder made a god by his Empire. Apparently, Sigmar only accepts prayers for battle and defending the homeland so Warrior Priests and Witch Hunters go to openly fight in the battlefield where they rouse devout soldiers to bravery. These devotees fight with the power of Sigmar supporting them or by hunting heretics that need to be slain. The former are generally positively portrayed, the latter negatively.
- Color-Coded Wizardry: Imperial wizards are trained to perceive the Winds of Magic as various colors and most of them are trained to tap into one specific Wind and color.
- 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. The Drakwald Runefang, the only one without an official owner since Drakwald was destroyed, can be fielded and the Runefang is worth its price. In game any hit with the Runefang wounds automatically and it ignores armour.
- Dark Is Not Evil: 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.
- The god 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.
- Death from Above: The Empire has several ways to rain down death from above. The Master Engineers Pigeon Bomber comes to mind, although it is quite unreliable as it is a pigeon carrying a bomb that is supposedly trained to bombard anyone near the carrier, but with a chance to return to its master with said bomb still ticking and ready to blow. Also, the Empires Mortars with their Strength 6 to 2 template blast with the Armour Piercing and Multiple Wounds rules is a more trustworthy instrument.
- 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. A Luminark's main draw is the Solheims Bolt of Illumination, a magic ray of light with Strength 8 and which penetrates ranks, also rerolling wounds against Daemons and Undeads because Holy Burns Evil. The field of light magic escaping from the Luminark also gives an Aura of Protection (a 6+ ward save for units near it) and the Locus of Hysh rule which adds one dice to the Empires dispel pool. 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.
- Drop the Hammer: Ghal Maraz is the Emperor's Weapon of Choice, which is also the warhammer that the title of the franchise refers to. Because of the hammer's significance to the Empire, warhammers have become one of the state's symbols and is commonly wielded by the Cult of Sigmar's Battle Priests. Finally, the Knights of the White Wolf also use warhammers.
- The Emperor: It is an Empire after all, so above the Elector Counts who manage their own provinces stands an Emperor who governs the Empire in its entirety as well as the province of Reikland. The title is not hereditary but 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 wins.
- The Empire: It bears the name, although 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. Indeed it generally seems more like The Federation due to the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the Elector-Counts.
- The Engineer: Master Engineers are regularly brought to the battlefield either to oversee the war machines of the Empire, or to test some new technological innovation. They possess the Master of Ballistics rule allowing a war machine unit nearby to use the Master Engineers Ballistic Skill and reroll artillery dice. Despite their ability to use different guns, the Master Engineer are mostly NonActionGuys so are subject to the Stand Back, Sir! rule which allows them to be protected by the crewmen like a character.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the Holy Roman Empire. Their religion is basically Norse Paganism crossed with the Catholic Church.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Hellhammer Wargalley from the Gaiden Game Man O War mounts the truly immense Emperor Cannon that runs almost the entire length of the ship, taking up the majority of the its main deck. The cannon is held in a forward facing position by massive iron bars so that it doesnt shift when fired, and is so large that the Hellhammer can only carry enough ammunition for three shots.
- Four-Star Badass: The Generals and the Captains of the Empire are no Chaos Lords but being mere unpowered humans does not stop them from being FrontlineGenerals who will meet the foe head-on and remain some of the toughest men of the Empire, both in body and spirit. With Weapon Skill 5, Strength and Toughness 4, and Leadership 9 to 8, Generals and Captains are cheap and reliable Lords, if poorly suited to duels against tougher models.
- 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 the repeater pistol, the repeater handgun and the dreaded Helblaster Volley Gun. All of these weapons consist of a number of single-shot barrels that rotate to bring them into line with the firing hammer in order to increase the weapons rate of fire.
- Gladiator Games: While illegal, underground pit fights and gladiatorial combats are mentioned in some background material and pit fighter characters have made appearances in Gaiden Games such as the original version of the Dungeon Crawling Warhammer Quest and the skirmish-scale Mordheim.
- Grenade Launcher: The Master Engineers can wield a Grenade Launcher Blunderbluss, a Strength 6 Armour Piercing but More or Fire and Slow to Fire weapon. Its short range for such a crucial and fragile character makes it Awesome, but Impractical.
- 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 older and more experienced Outriders in charge of keeping the former in line.
- Hobbits: The Halflings of the Moot, a client state of the Empire, are very strongly based on Tolkien's hobbits. Their traits are taken to an extreme, however they're gluttonous and chronically lazy, with a penchant for burglary and other vices. However, they're important enough that their leader, the Elder, holds an electoral vote that can be cast when selecting a new emperor.
- Hold the Line: The Commanders of the Empire know that discipline and keeping ranks is the only way to defeat enemies that would overpower several men on their own. Their Hold the Line! rule grants them the possibility of rolling 3D6 to test their units Leadership if it breaks and choose the two best dice, giving the unit a better chance to stand its ground together as the Commanders watch for discipline.
- Home Guard: Free Company Militia are composed of local men enrolled into the army by force or because they were promised payment. In any case, their only claim to fame is that in game they are Dual Wielding and they are exclusively used as Detachments which flank and deliver a good number of weak attacks for dirt cheap.
- Horny Vikings: Not nearly to the extent of the Warriors of Chaos, but the Ulrican order has a very Nordic flavor about it. The ancestors of the modern Empire, the various tribes that were united by Sigmar, are pretty much Vikings crossed with ancient Germans.
- Humans Are Warriors: The Empire is the most powerful state in the Old World, mainly because of the third variation of the trope. The Empire have professional soldiers drilled to avert Call That a Formation? and be highly disciplined. Despite Orcs WAAAGH!s, Beastmen raids, Vampire Invasions, and Chaos, the Empire has held for centuries of constant warfare.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: As an army, one of the Empire's strength is its ability to field a wide array of different units for different purposes. Magic? Battle Wizards do the job, just don't get into magic duels with High Elves. Archers? Not as good as the Wood Elves but we have archers. The big guns? Plenty, but Dwarfs have more and are more precise. Cavalry? Yep, but Bretonnians do it better. Melee? Greenskins and Chaos Warriors outshine them but it can be done. Numbers? The Empire has plenty, but it's the Skaven and Undead who are the kings of We Have Reserves. Almost everyone is better than the Empire at something, but the Empire is always better than its enemies at something else too.
- Knight In Shining Armour: The nobles of the Empire still ride into battle as knights though they aren't nearly as slavishly obsessed with "chivalry" as Bretonnians. Empire Knights are more similar to real soldiers (as opposed to just mounted fighters) in that they value victory in battle more than any other virtue. In game they form units of heavy cavalry who typically charge key dangerous foes, and their Grandmasters are fighting-oriented Lords thanks to their high Weapon Skill.
- Knight Templar: The Church of Sigmar for the most part, especially the Witch Hunters. Appropriately the Witch Hunters are also called Templars of Sigmar though there are also Knightly Orders dedicated to Sigmar, who are also sometimes referred to as Templars of Sigmar.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Helstorm Rocket Battery is a downplayed version of the trope, although it retains the main idea of firing several rockets at the same time to balance the rockets poor accuracy. Thus, it fires D3 Rockets in salvos, said rockets exploding on a small template with Strength 3 but Armour Piercing.
- Master Swordsman: The famed Greatswords are an elite heavy infantry unit with full plate armour and of course their eponymous swords which in game count as great weapons. Some of these companies such as the Carroburg Greatswords have managed to attain nationwide fame. Having Weapon Skill 4 and Stubborn, they are a somewhat elite unit meant to stand in the thickest of the battle.
- Mechanical Horse: Masters Engineers have invented the Mechanical Steed, a quite sophisticated machine that runs as fast as a Warhorse. However, it is Awesome, but Impractical since its clockwork mechanism must regularly be wound, an impossible maintenance task on the battlefield. It is thus Unreliable, having a risk of losing points in Movement every turn.
- Medieval Stasis: Totally averted. The plot Warhammer Fantasy may be stagnant but the Empire's technology improves every day. However, it is very uneven due to the size of the nation and general instability, leading to tech levels varying throughout the Empire between the 15th and 20th centuries (though usually hovering around the 1650-1700 range), the latter especially in the great industrial city of Nuln.
- 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. After the Great War Against Chaos, Magnus the Pious recognized the need to really train specialized spellcasters for war, leading to the foundation of the Colleges.
- More Dakka: The Hellblaster Volley Guns very philosophy. It isnt meant for precision firing but for sheer volume of fire to obliterate whole units. Thus, with lucky rolls on Artillery Dice, a Hellblaster may shoot up to 30 Strength 5 Armour Piercing shots.
- Multiple Government Polity: The Empire is made up up multiple territories belonging to various nobles who theoretically owe fealty to the Emperor. 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.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: It is stated in lore that there isnt a strict rule for uniforms for State Troops, leading to a lot of variations between units. One common denominator is that soldier will usually and proudly display the colours of their province.
- The Penance: Because the Empire is beset by threats both from without and from within constantly, 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 Frenzy and Unbreakable. Flagellants possess the The End Is Nigh! rule which triggers when they charge someone: on the charge, a random number of Flagellant are killed, creating martyrs which send the rest into a religious fury. Thus, on a dice roll the Flagellant may become either Ax-Crazy and reroll all failed to hit rolls or Feel No Pain and gain +1 Toughness.
- Praetorian Guard: The knights of the Reiksguard form the Emperors personal army and bodyguards. 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. The Reiksguard forms a heavy cavalry unit on the battlefield with the Stubborn rule to represent their determination as the Emperors best soldiers.
- The Order: 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 and so these knights are not referred to as templars.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Empire is a highly sophisticated state but has accumulated quite a few pointless bureaucracies as have the individual electorate-counties due to its mass. An especially large number have cropped up in the Imperial Palace in Altdorf, all directed at controlling access to the Emperor.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: The Empire breeds 'Imperial Griffons' which are bigger and stronger (though slightly slower) than the regular wild Griffons. With a high Weapon Skill, Strength and Toughness, Griffons are a powerful mount that give Empire Lords a chance at fighting enemies that are typically impossible to defeat. A subtype seemingly popular as a mount for wizards has two heads. Then there are the Demigryphs, a small (compared with other Griffons - they are still bigger than a horse) wingless variety used as elite cavalry mounts. With Weapon Skill 4 and Strength 5, Demigryphs make for powerful mounts.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Battle of Altdorf. Though the Empire ultimately prevailed against Nurgle's hordes, the capital was ruined, half of the population had died and Bretonnia had expended much strength in the Empire's defense. And Archaon was still coming with his own hordes.
- Redshirt Army: The State Troops, with stats 3 all around and an average 7, do not particularly shine by their prowess on the battlefield and die in droves in the lore. Nonetheless one could consider them Badass Normal who through teamwork, discipline and numbers, can hold against anyone.
- Religion Is Magic: The Battle Priests and Arch Lectors of the Cult of Sigmar can channel the power of their god through Battle Prayers, performing holy miracles in Sigmars name. Said prayers are in game treated as bound spells. Hammer of Sigmar allows the priests unit to reroll failed to wound rolls in close quarters, Shield of Faith grants him and his unit a 5+ ward save and Soulfire grants the unit the Flaming Attacks rule with automatic hits against Daemons and Undead.
- The Sacred Darkness: The magic of the Amethyst and Grey Wizards are different from those used by necromancers and Chaos worshipers. The ignorance prevalent in the setting means most people are unaware of this however, just seeing a magic user with a scythe in both cases.
- Skull for a Head: The famous Deaths Heads regiment of Halberdiers from Ostermark were ornate masks fashioned into the image of a grinning skull. This dates back to the time of the Vampire Wars where the members rebellious regiment wished to protect their identity from the Vlad von Carsteins informers.
- Sniper Rifle: Master Engineers can fancy playing the sniper with their Hochland Long Gun which has a range of 36 inches for a Strength 4 shot with the Armour Piercing, Move or Fire, Slow to Fire and Sniper rules.
- Steampunk: The Empire has recently entered the era of steam power and sophisticated machinery. Its engineers, ever inventive, have created a number of more or less reliable machines such as mechanical horses or steam-powered tanks.
- Tank Goodness: The Empire possesses eight Steam Tanks, metal behemoths of a self-moving vehicle armed with powerful weapons which are notably on wheels despite being called tanks. 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. Relying on its boiler to power its every system, the Steam Tank is a peculiar unit to use in game. The Boiler can generate a number of Steam Points which are spent to power either the Steam Engine to move around, powerful Steam Cannon or its Steam Gun which shoots a jet of scalding steam.
- 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.
- Warrior Monk: The Warrior Priests and Arch Lectors of the Cult of Sigmar fight evil with miracles but also their hammers as the Cult of Sigmar only really performs offices when openly fighting the Empire's enemies. With Weapon Skill Strength and Toughness 4, these Priests are not to be trifled with. They possess the Righteous Fury granting them and the unit they are in the Hatred rule.
- Weather-Control Machine: The Celestial order will occasionally field the battle altars named Celestial Hurricanums. Being giant orreries on wheels powered by one of Teclis' Orbs of Sorcery, the Celestial Hurricanums are usually used to study the sky and stars, but also double as weapons. Their main draw is the Storm of Shemtek rule, a direct damage spell using the small template, the unit targeted is assaulted by a random weather phenomenon decided on a dice roll: sometimes it may only douse the enemy in light rain, but it can also use the Iceshard Tempest which is a Strength 2 spell forcing a -1 penalty to hit, the Raging Tornados spell that forcefully rotates the unit, the Lightning Strike inflicting Strength 6 to 3 hits, and finally the. Meteor Strike inflicting Strength 8 to 3 Multiple Wounds hits. Moreover the Hurricanum has the Locus of Azyr rule adding 1 dice to the Empires power pool and its Portent of Battle rule grants nearby units a +1 bonus to Hit.
- We Have Reserves: The Empire has advanced technology, advanced economies, a nascent industrial sector, pioneering universities and a burgeoning knowledge economy, wizarding schools and powerful allies in every cardinal direction. Yet, the bedrock of its strength will always be its vast armies.
- The Witch Hunter: To pursue all occult threats to the Empire such as unsanctioned Wizards, necromancers and Chaos Worshipers, the Empire has under Magnus the Pious began to openly recognize the Order of the Silver Hammer and its Witch Hunters. Witch Hunters are officially sanctioned to seek the evildoers in whatever way they see fit. With such an open-ended goal and with ruthless methods available to them, Witch Hunters are as feared as they are necessary to the Empire, being the Mage Killer, the Vampire Hunter and Demon Slaying all in one. In game, Witch Hunters are characters meant to hunt down other Characters, their Accusation rule granting them the Killing Blow and Sniper rules against a particular character declared to be a detestable heretic. To be a Witch Hunter, one will need Nerves of Steel to face off with such dreadful threats and this represented by the Grim Resolve rule making the Witch hunters and the units they are immune to Fear with Terror downgraded to Fear. Because of the diversity of the threats they face, Witch Hunters are also Crazy-Prepared so their Tools of Judgement allow them to reroll failed to Wound rolls against Wizards, Daemons, and all Undead.
- 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.
The Distinguished Leaders of the Empire
Emperor Karl Franz
The Prince of Altdorf and the Elector Count of Reikland, Karl Franz is the current holder of the title "Emperor of the Old World", a military genius and valiant general said to be the greatest statesman the Old World has ever seen. Riding atop either Deathclaw, his mighty griffon, or the Imperial Dragon, Karl Franz marches into battle alongside his men and leads from the front, wielding either the Runefang of Reikland or Ghal-Maraz, legendary weapon of the Emperor Sigmar.
- 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.
- 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 4+ ward save and Magic Resistance.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: This guy is the leader of the Empire. He's also a major league ass-kicker.
- Big Good: For the Empire at least. He is a benevolent and competent leader both in times of peace and war.
- Bling of War: Karl Franz wears an ornate full-plate armour, with notably the highest feather panache known to man. It also applies to Deathclaw wearing an ornate breastplate bearing his master's blazon.
- Cool Sword: Also has the Reikland Runefang in his possession, should he choose not to use Ghal Maraz. If he uses the Reikland Runefang then all hits by Karl Franz will automatically wound with no armour saves allowed.
- Cultured Badass: Is a great patron to the arts and drinks fine wine.
- Dragon Rider: Although it has never had an official model, one of the optional mounts available to Karl Franz is the Imperial Dragon, a mighty beast that only the Emperor has ever had the strength of will to ride. In many editions Karl Franz is the only human, not touched by Chaos, to be able to ride such a powerful monster.
- Drop the Hammer: Wielding Ghal Maraz, deadliest hammer in the setting, is the privilege of the Emperor. In game, Ghal Maraz's simple but quite powerful rules demonstrate how deadly it is: every hit automatically wounds with a Multiple Wounds (D3) bonus and no armour save allowed for the target.
- The Emperor: The current ruler of the Empire.
- A Father to His Men: One of the reasons Karl Franz is so respected. In game, this gives his General bonus half again the usual range (twice the usual range if he's mounted).
- Nerves of Steel: In game, Karl Franz is Immune to Psychology, meaning the prospect of fighting zombies, dragons, giant and daemons doesn't faze him at all.
- Our Griffons Are Different: Karl Franz's favoured mount is his Imperial Griffon, Deathclaw. On top of all the usual rules and stats of a Griffon such as Terror, Fly and its high stats, Deathclaw is considered a Loyal Beast and will automatically become Frenzy if Karl Franz is slain, representing the Roaring Rampage of Revenge of Deathclaw.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike many Imperial nobles, Franz is a competent and unselfish ruler, holding the interests of his realm and his people genuinely at heart.
- Take a Third Option: In the now non-canon Storm of Chaos campaign, faced with the threat of having the Church of Sigmar split down the middle or a civil war and uprising caused by Valten's proponents who wanted him to become Emperor, Karl Franz instead handed Ghal Maraz over to Valten. This signified that he accepted the boy as a successor to Sigmar and granted him full authority to go kick ass while still maintaining his own legitimacy and status as Emperor.
- Warrior Prince: Or warrior Emperor in this case.
Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg
Reiksmarshal of the Empire and leader of the Reiksguard. During the End Times, he becomes the de facto leader of the Empire after Karl Franz is lost and presumed dead, finally moved by desperation to accept the terms of Vlad von Carstein and make him a legitimate Elector Count of Sylvania in exchange for his armies of the undead defending Altdorf against the Glottkin's armies. He is eventually slain by Otto Glot during the final battle for Altdorf.
- Badass Mustache: It looks to be a meter across.
- Combat Pragmatist: A Bretonnian Grail Knight going by Viscount d'Alembençon attacked the Empire in a border dispute. It became a stalemate, and the Viscount proposed that the generals duel so that the loser's army was to leave the area (Helborg was initially unaware that d'Alembençon was a Grail Knight). The Viscount beat and injured Helborg quite handily, expressed his respect for him for fighting valiantly and regret that he had to slay him to prevent further bloodshed. Then Helborg's army attacked the Bretonnians while they were distracted, starting by blasting them with their cannons, and Helborg disarmed and decapitated Viscount d'Alembençon while he was shocked and outraged by the deception killing his men.
- Cool Helmet: Decorated with magnificently huge wings.
- Cool Crown: Not a real crown, but a laurel crown. The Laurels of Victory have been enchanted to magnify their bearer's stature to the enemy. In game, all wounds made by Kurt Helborg are "doubled" for calculating the result of a fight round.
- Cool Sword: Kurt Helborg wields the Solland Runefang, entrusted to him as one of the Empire's best champions. In game the Solland Runefang wound automatically with no armour save allowed.
- Nerves of Steel: Kurt Helborg is Immune to Psychology, representing his outstanding bravery against all the enemies of the Empire, however intimidating and monstrous they may be. The captain of the Reiksguard shouldn't be any less brave.
- Old Soldier: Despite his grey hair and advancing years, Kurt is still considered to be one of the two greatest swordsmen in the empire and has killed Grail Knights, Chaos Warlords and Vampire Counts in close combat without being strained. In the 8th Edition of the game, this is represented by his high Weapon Skill characteristic that, when combined with the Solland Runefang, he can stand up to all but the most melee-oriented of enemy champions.
- Praetorian Guard: Leads the Emperor's Reiksguard. His rule The Emperor's Chosen makes it so his prestige and courage becomes contagious and any unit he joins becomes Immune to Psychology like him.
- Really Gets Around: Is noted to have a lot of affairs with Imperial noblewomen. Or women in general.
- The Rival: To Ludwig, the only man to ever beat him in a duel. Usually, it's subdued, but once it was manipulated to the brink of ruin.
The Emperor's Champion.
- Badass Beard: A magnificent one that's of waist length.
- Celibate Hero: He was taunted by a Nurgle demon at the van Rauken to live a little by food or women, like Helborg's womanizing. Probably meant to contrast him from his rival.
- The Champion: To the Emperor, he is perhaps his best warrior and the bearer of his battle standard. In game his rule The Emperor's Bodyguard can be used if he is in the same unit as Karl Franz, take a wound meant for Karl Franz onto himself on a 2+ dice roll, representing his zealousness. However, none of this works if Karl Franz is in a proper duel.
- Combat by Champion: A common task for him to determine whether various nobles have broken the Emperor's laws. Most are liable to cut to the chase and confess rather than get, well, cut up by him.
- Cool Sword: The Sword of Justice is also an Ancestral Weapon passed down from champion to champion, being a runic sword of magnificent quality although its fame is way less than that of the Runefangs. In game, it grants the Killing Blow rule and allows failed to wound rolls to be rerolled.
- Evil Mentor: The General who trained Schwarzhelm successfully manipulated Ludwig into attacking Helborg out of paranoia during a riot in Averland, when Schwarzhelm was choosing a new elector count for the province. Helborg barely survived and the man Schwarzhelm chose turned out to be a Slaaneshi warlock.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Was just a simple villager until he was recruited into the army. From there he managed to fight his way up to being the Emperor's personal standard bearer, champion and judge.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Gives off this image, and is utterly committed to doing what he can to cut out corruption and power abuses within the Empire.
- Old Soldier: Ludwig is at least in his late forties or early fifties, and is still able to go up against Doombulls or Orc mobs with little trouble.
- Perpetual Frowner: Schwarzhelm is reputed to have never smiled in his life.
- Renowned Selective Mentor: Ludwig is concerned with upholding justice within the Empire not only through his own means, but looks for like-minded men to bring in his retinue that he may mold to also carry on his purpose and lead others themselves.
- The Rival: To Kurt Helborg, the only man able to ever beat him in a duel. Kurt killed the only fellow that's beaten himself in a duel in a rather underhanded way.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He's generally uncaring of the letter of the law, but as the Sword of Justice is very good at keeping up its spirit.
- Self-Made Man: He was born virtually penniless as the son of a common blacksmith. He joined the Imperial army and his might was quickly proven him until he reached a lofty position by the Emperor's side.
- Shoot the Dog: Had to put down his squire at van Rauken mansion after he was infected by eating Nurgle-afflicted food.
Marius Leitdorf, Elector Count of Averland
Elector Count of Averland and total, absolute nutter. Legendary for his many eccentricities, his bouts of screaming rage, his periods of melancholy, his mercurial conduct at court, and his constant improprieties with the wives and daughters of the nobility. Hated by many, particularly Kurt Helborg after Marius described him as having "a poor moustache, worse dental hygiene and a sense of humour to rival a Troll". Nevertheless, he was an accomplished poet, an inventor of some standing, an exceptional swordsman, and a military tactician who led his armies with considerable flair and skill, meaning his insane courage and uncanny insights resulted in a number of great victories. Karl Franz counted Leitdorf as one of his most trusted allies, and genuinely regretted his fall in battle against a massive Orc invasion.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In spite of his madness, he was proven to be one of the competent Elector Counts and the most intelligent one in The Empire. Somewhat deconstructed in that Leitdorf's madness is such a liability that the only way his ability could express itself despite his madness is the Emperor personally stepping in to have Leitdorf appoint counselors that would rein in his worst bouts. In any case, a man with Weapon Skill 6 and a Runefang is not someone to scoff at.
- The Caligula: A more benevolent example than many. There is even a special rule dedicated to this trope: The Mad Count. Every turn in game, Leitdorf's model takes a Leadership test with 3D6, discarding the lowest result. If he fails the test, another dice is rolled and a number of things can happen. On a 1 Lunatic Ravings and Marius cannot act as he decides to recite a poem or do funny impressions of the Reiksmarshal. On a 2 Berserk Rage applies and he gains Frenzy because his favorite shirt of the day is torn off. On a 3 Paranoid Delusions applies and Leitdorf performs a single attack against an allied model he thinks conspires against him. On a 4 Tactical Brilliance applies and every friendly unit around Markus can reform as his tactical genius actually speaks. On a 5 Outrageous Insult applies as Leitdorf mocks an enemy in his way so the closest enemy character gains Hatred specifically for the Count. On a 6 Insane Bravado applies so Marius gets Frenzy, Stubborn and must accept all challenges as his courage multiplies.
- Caligula's Horse: He even frequently took advice from Daisy Kurt von Helboring II, his warhorse.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Marius Leitdorf is regularly subject to bouts of uncontrollable madness.
- Crazy-Prepared: As mad as Marius was, he was wise enough to store a huge amount of gunpowder inside the Averburg in Averheim which helped immensely against the Chaos invaders. Ultimately though, it wasn't able to save the city or the Empire against the numberless armies of Archaon.
- Dual Wielding: Carried both the Averland Runefang (which like all Runefangs wounds automatically on a hit and ignores armour) and a dagger and was capable of wielding them simultaneously. They both count as paired weapons, giving Leitdorf an attack bonus.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: He's a man of many talents and undeniably intelligent, but everyone either hates or just barely tolerates him. Therefore, it's saying something when only the Emperor regards someone like Marius as an ally he can trust.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Died in battle against an Black Orc chieftain at the third Battle of Black Fire Pass, but wounded the Orc enough for Karl Franz to finish the job, and his soldiers held the line long enough for the Reiksguard to take the Orcs in the flank.
- Jerkass: Well, at his worst anyway. He insulted a lady from Bretonnia, causing a short war between the local lord and the Empire.
- Mood-Swinger: See his The Mad Count rule, he will pretty much have a different mood every turn.
- Posthumous Character: Marius Leitdorf actually died in the battle of Black Fire Pass several years before the period the game is set in.
- Renaissance Man: He's a fierce warrior, a cultured man and a competent statesman. At least whenever he's not acting mad.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He has this with the Reiksmarshal, enough so that he partially named his horse Kurt von Hellboring II and will make unflattering impersonations of him on the battlefield.
Markus Wulfhart, Huntsmarshal of the Empire
The Huntsmarshal of the Empire, Markus Wulfhart was once a humble huntsman from Middenland until the day that a one-eyed Bonegrinder Giant known as the Drakwald Cyclops destroyed his hometown of Drakenburg. Burning with revenge, the lone huntsman chased after the beast, blinding it with a single shot from his bow before hamstringing it with his sword and hacking through its neck once it lay crippled on the ground. From then on, he swore to never rest until the Empire was free of monsters, turning down a knighthood and a lavish nobleman's estate that the Emperor offered him in recognition of his heroic deeds. Impressed, Karl Franz bestowed upon him a magical bow, known as the Amber Bow, and made him the Huntsmarshal of the Empire. Now the Emperor's Captain of Scouts, Markus gathers other like-minded individuals to form the most elite monster-slaying unit in the Empire, responsible for the death of the Talonbeast of Stirland, the Ostermark Ice Dragon, the Chimera of Flamespire Peak and many others.
- Army Scout: As the Empire's Huntsmarshal, he commands the Emperor's Scouts units.
- Ass Kicking Equals Authority: He was made chief monster hunter of the empire after singlehandedly chasing down and killing a Cygor. Wulfhart's Hunters, the squad of Huntsmen he personally leads, is Immune to Psychology.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Markus Wulfhart sounds very much like a germanized Markus "Wolf-heart".
- Doomed Home Town: A Cygor nicknamed the Drakwald Cyclop razed his hometown of Drakenburg. He personally hunted the monster down and killed it.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He began as a simple huntsman and went on to become chief monster hunter of the Empire.
- Great Bow: Markus wield the Amber Bow, a bow as big as he is, made from a Drakwald Oak and enchanted by Amber wizards. Despite its strength 3, it is quite powerful thanks to its 30" range and its ability to always wound a monster on a 4+ roll. It also has the Volley Fire rule.
- Hunter of Monsters: Its in his title, and it is his goal in life to hunt all the monsters of the Drakwald after he saw his hometown destroyed by one of the monsters lurking in the forests of the Empire. In his tally are a giant and his kin, a Chimera, and a Dragon, so his skill is clearly something. His rule Monster Hunter allows him to reroll failed to hit rolls against monsters, and when shooting against a mounted character on a monster of a unit of handlers and monsters, he automatically shoots the monster model. He also has the Hatred rule against monsters to represent his will to get revenge.
- Nerves of Steel: Markus Wulfhart is Immune to Psychology to represent his courage against horrible monsters. Indeed, a man who prepares to hunt Dragons or Giants should naturally keep his calm in their presence.
Volkmar the Grim, Grand Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar
The grand theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar and by extension the highest religious authority in the Empire.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Jade Griffon is a necklace-cum-talisman shaped in the form of a griffon with deployed wings. It glows with green light, infusing Volkmar with life energy and grants him the Regeneration rule.
- Badass Mustache: Has a magnificently huge mustache that extends all the way below his chin.
- Badass Preacher: Like any member of the Cult of Sigmar worth their prayer beads. Volkmar prays by smashing heretic jaws on the battlefield. With Strength 4 and Weapon Skill 5, Volkmar clearly isn't a pansy priest locked in his cloister all day.
- Bald of Awesome: As with all Sigmarite priests, Volkmar shaves his head.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a warhammer that resembles the Comet of Sigmar. Disappointingly, it doesn't do anything special.
- 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...
- Heroic Lineage: Volkmar's bloodline goes back to Sigmar actually.
- Magic Staff: The Staff of Command is a magic staff decorated with a statue of a griffon holding a hammer on the tip and allowing him to draw upon the power of the War Altar of Sigmar if he is mounted on it, giving him strength and a +2 bonus to said stat.
- Religious Bruiser: He's the arch-priest of a war-god's cult; this comes with the territory. A the Grand Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar, his prowess is only matched by his faith, and his Grand Theogonist rule gives him a bonus to cast Battle Prayers.
- Warrior Monk: Naturally; Sigmar is a war-god after all.
A wandering preacher known as the Prophet of Sigmar, who devotes himself to both the destruction of Chaos and to opposing papal corruption and greed amongst the church.
- Bald of Awesome: As is typical for Warrior Priests.
- The Chooser of The One: Huss was the first one to see Valten as Sigmar reborn and supported him from the beginning of their travels. His rule Chosen of Sigmar grants him a 4+ ward save and once per game, grants him a great D3 bonus in Weapon Skill, Strength, Toughness and Attack stats.
- Defector from Decadence: Downplayed. He didn't quit the Cult of Sigmar but publicly denounced the higher priests who were wasting time squabbling for political clout instead of purging Chaos from the lands and exiled himself with only Volkmar as his supporter.
- Drop the Hammer: Goes through magical warhammers like nothing since he hits so hard and wears them down at a fast rate.
- Evil Mentor: The priest that trained him turned to Chaos and was Huss' second kill.
- Heroic Willpower: He has a special battle prayer, Unbending Righteousness, that makes him and his unit Stubborn for a turn.
- Meaningful Name: His full name is derived from both Martin Luther and Jan Hus, dissident theologians who opposed the decadence of the Church.
- My Greatest Failure: Valten dying hit him bad, in the now non-canon Storm of Chaos storyline.
- Mysterious Past: The earliest thing people know about Huss is that he appeared near a monastery as a boy and only revealed that he wanted to fight Chaos.
- Religious Bruiser: Can take on small armies of undead and beastmen by his lonesome and is such a persuasive preacher that he can turn a slum of despondent refugees into a mob of howling, blood thirsty fanatics in under an hour. He is also bent on destroying Chaos.
- Vigilante Man: When he isn't busy hunting Chaos beast or heretics, Luthor hunts down and executes priests of Sigmar he knows are corrupt. His rash actions cause all the Cult to demand his excommunication and only the Grand Theogonist's will has kept him in their ranks.
- Warrior Monk: A warrior priest of Sigmar. With Weapon Skill 5 and Strength 4, he is one of the best warriors the Empire can field.
Balthasar Gelt, Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic
The Patriarch of the Golden College, the Wizarding School devoted to mastering the Wind of Metal. Formerly the Supreme Patriach of all the wizards of the Empire.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Amulet of Sea Gold is an ancient elven talisman picked up in Estalia and glowing with protective energy. It grants him Magic Resistance which increases the more enemy wizards there are.
- The Archmage: The Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic and by extension one of, if not the, most powerful wizard in the Empire. In game he is a Level 4 Loremaster wizard in the Lore of Metal.
- Badass Bookworm: Comes with being a wizard.
- Badass Cape: The Cloak of Molten Metal is a mystic cape shimmering with images matching Balthasar's appearance. It disturbs enemies looking at him from afar and thus grants the wizard a 3+ ward save against shooting attacks.
- Body Horror: When he was younger, an explosion caused by an accident during his experiments either turned his body into gold or horrifically burnt off his flesh. Whatever the case, Balthasar hasn't been seen without his Cool Mask since.
- Cool Mask: Wears an ornate mask of solid gold over his head, which is speculated to conceal rather grisly deformities.
- Extra-ore-dinary: Wields Gold Magic, the lore of metal, allowing him to transform enemies into lifeless golden statues, transmute bones into molten iron, liquefy enemy weapons and/or armor, or burn them to death with gouts of molten steel.
- Expy: His backstory is similar to Dr Doom, even wearing a metal mask.
- Klingon Promotion: A non-lethal example. Gelt became Supreme Patriarch after defeating the previous one, Thyrus Gormann of the College of the Bright Order, in a ceremonial Wizard Duel.
- Magic Staff: The Staff of Volans, a personal item belonging to Volans the first Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic. It allows Gelt to bind the Winds of Magic to his will, and thus a +2 bonus to casting spells.
- Meaningful Name: Gelt means money in old German.
- Pegasus: A pegasus named Quicksilver serves as his mount of choice.
Thyrus Gormann, Master of the Bright Order
The Patriarch of the Bright College, the Wizarding School devoted to mastering the Wind of Fire. He used to be the Supreme Patriach of all the wizards of the Empire, until he was unseated by Balthasar Gelt following the latter defeating him in a formal duel, but remains an influential figure in Altdorf politics and a close ally of Karl Franz.
- The Archmage: He used to be Supreme Patriarch and the leader of almost all wizards in the Empire. He remains the leader of Bright Order, the greatest pyromancer in the realm, and one of the Empire's most powerful and respected wizards.
- Elemental Hair: His hair and beard are a fiery copper-red.
- Mood-Swinger: In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, he's described as having the sort of highly tempestuous personality common among red wizards, and can quickly switch between extremes of mirth and anger.
- Out of Focus: He had tabletop rules in the Empire's 4th edition armybook, where he was the then-current Supreme Patriarch, but in later editions only receives mentions in background lore or ancillary products — in the main books, his appearances are generally limited to mentions of how Gelt unseated him in the latter's own biography.
- Playing with Fire: He's a master of the Red Wind, and the most powerful practitioner of fire magic in the Old World.
Elspeth von Draken, Magisterix of the Amethyst Order
The most powerful user of Shyish, the Wind of Death, among the people of the Empire, the so-called Dark Lady of Nuln has been the subject of hushed speculation and superstitious fear for the three generations during which she has ruled the Amethyst Order from her blackened tower on the city's edge. Yet, despite her fearsome reputation, Elspeth von Draken has been a steadfast champion of the Empire, her mastery of her Wind having brought ruin to many of its foes.
- The Archmage: She's the current head of the Amethyst Order, and quite possibly the most powerful wielder of the Wind of Death in the Old World.
- Dark Is Not Evil: She uses the Wind of Death, the selfsame one that is twisted and employed by the Vampire Counts and Nagash's other heirs, resides in a dark and twisted tower, shuns contact with the rest of society and generally gives off a very strong "evil necromancer" impression, but she's no more evil than the rest of the Empire's more, ah, eccentric wizard recluses, and has been a terrible foe to many of its enemies.
- Dragon Rider: She rides a carmine dragon into battle, one of the perhaps two dragons ridden by any Imperial figure.
- Long-Lived: It's not known exactly how long she's been around, but she's been in residence in Nuln for three generations so far, and she does not seem to age.
- Mage Tower: She spends the majority of her time secluded in a tall, black tower on the edges of Nuln, and according to rumor she keeps a second such tower in the Grey Mountains.
- The Red Baron: She's often known by titles such as the Dark Lady, the Graveyard Rose and the Dark Lady of Nuln, as many of the Empire's residents would rather not invoke her given name.
- Sinister Scythe: She wields the Pale Scythe, a weapon forged by her own hands and attuned to the Wind of Death.
Emperor Sigmar Heldenhammer
- The Legend of Sigmar
The first emperor, born in the sign of a twin-tailed comet. Deified after his disappearance, with the Cult of Sigmar being the foremost religion in the Empire.
- Barbarian Hero: Subverted. While he had the tribal background of one and the martial prowess to match, his reign transformed a collection of disorganized petty tribal kingdoms into the bastion of order and civilization that is now known as the Empire of Man.
- Celibate Hero: Sigmar deliberately had no wife or children because he believed the Empire should be bigger than any one man, and therefore didn't want to establish a dynasty which would dominate the Empire based on his legacy. The fact that a Chaos-corrupted Unberogen tribesman murdered his betrothed didn't help matters. Somewhat averted as Sigmar did indeed father twin sons with the Countless of Stirland.
- Child Soldier: By the age of fifteen, Sigmar was already a veteran of dozens of battles against the Orcs. Or so the legends claim.
- Drop the Hammer: First wielder of the legendary Ghal Maraz, the eponymous war hammer of the game.
- The Emperor: The Empire's very first ruler.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With High King Kurgan Ironbeard of the Dwarfs. Sigmar first saved him from orcs, and after fighting battle after battle alongside each other, Sigmar managed to gain enough of the Dwarfs' trust for them to enter a military alliance with his Empire that still holds to this day.
- Founder of the Kingdom: United the many tribes of the land into the Empire.
- God-Emperor: Worshipped as the foremost god in the Empire after his disappearance. And then he took it even further in Age of Sigmar.
- Posthumous Character: Sigmar is dead, although how he died isn't recorded, but he surely couldn't resist old age and abhorred necromancy.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Almost all official artwork depicts him wearing nothing on his upper body. In-story he actually favors heavy armor, being so strong that it doesn't slow him down, although he was prone to losing it in fights.
Emperor Mandred Skavenslayer
A long-dead Emperor who came to power during the Black Plague. He was one of the few points of resistance against the Skaven and managed to drive them back below ground before his coronation. He was noted to be one of the best Emperors and Warriors ever, having fallen through the flame of Ulric and survived unscathed, his wounds healed. However, he fathered no heirs and on his assassination by the Skaven the Empire split into civil war.
- The Berserker: Went nuts on any Skaven in range in many battles after his father was killed.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Most of the women he was interested in were killed by his bodyguard in an attempt to get Mandred into a dynastic marriage. This handily explains why he never married.
- Cool Helmet: Had one in the shape of a wolf's skull.
- Properly Paranoid: His father wisely quarantined Middenheim from all outside contact during the plague, sparing the town of the disease. Mandred initially objected before seeing his error.
The Elector Count of Hochland at the time of Gorthor the Cruel's invasion of the Empire, Mikhael gained notoriety in his efforts to stop Gorthor's Beastmen horde by any means necessary.
- Bad Boss: The first piece of information about him states he was more feared than loved by his subjects. He abandoned the villages in Hochland's outer provinces to Gorthor's mercy to buy time to fortify his capital Hergig, press-ganged anyone and everyone he could into military service, forbade his archers from carrying quivers so they wouldn't yield any ground to the Beastmen and forced the wives and children of his soldiers to carry food and water to the front lines so his men wouldn't be tempted to abandon their positions. When the Beastmen finally broke into the city, Mikhael retreated to his castle and had the rest of the city set ablaze to kill as many Beastmen as possible, declaring that any of his citizens who wouldn't fight were useless to him.
- Crazy-Prepared: He used all the time he had to fortify his capital, Hergig, for Gorthor's inevitable siege. By the time Gorthor's horde reached the capital, Mikhael had had every well poisoned and all crops and livestock either stored in his castle or destroyed to deny the Beastmen food and water, as well as turning every approach to Hergig for miles around into a killing ground. It took the Beastmen the better part of a month to fight their way through the outer defences before they could actually lay siege to the city.
- Dying Curse: His last act before dying of the injuries he sustained in his final duel with Gorthor was to curse the Knights of the Blazing Sun for arriving too late to save him.
- The Extremist Was Right: He didn't earn himself much love with his methods, but his brutal actions slowed Gorthor down long enough for Imperial forces to arrive to relieve the siege of Hergig and to give him the chance to kill the Beastlord for good.
- Get Out!: When one of his advisors suggested negotiating with Gorthor, Mikhael banished him, calling him more like a Beastman than one of his own race. Ironically, that insult goaded the advisor into keeping his mouth shut when Gorthor caught and interrogated him about Hergig's defenses.
- Mutual Kill: He slew Gorthor in a duel to the death, but died of his injuries soon after.
- Posthumous Character: He's long dead by the time of the present storyline.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Zigzagged. He certainly wasn't idle when Gorthor attacked his province... but instead of defending his people, he abandoned the villages in Gorthor's path to their fate and focused on preparing his capital for a siege.
- Straight for the Commander: When the Knights of the Blazing Sun attacked Gorthor's army in the rear, Mikhael led what was left of his forces in a counterattack targeted solely at killing Gorthor. When Gorthor was slain, his army broke and fled.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Among those he press-ganged into service were a team of Dwarf engineers that he forced to make weapons, armour and artillery pieces for him. That act got Mikhael an entry in the Great Book of Grudges.