Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Total War: Warhammer III

Go To

"The heart is as a new-strung bow. It knows not its strength ‘til tested. Yet though it wound its target deep. ‘Tis the bowman’s flesh that festers. A woman is as a new-cut axe. She needs no strength for rending. Yet though she bests at every clash. She yields at battle's ending. A fray is as a blazing hearth. Where life and death are found. Our enemies driven back in fear. Our hearts with brothers bound. Death is like the winter chill. No door can keep it from us. And summer yet may bloom again. Though ice be all upon us."
Prayer to Dazh, God of the Sun

Total War: Warhammer III is the sequel to Total War: Warhammer and Total War: Warhammer II and the third and final game in the planned trilogy. The game was announced on February 3, 2021, and the races for launch are the Tzardom of Kislev, the Daemons of Chaos, the Empire of Grand Cathay and the Ogre Kingdoms. It was released on PC in February 17th, 2022, on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Its borders include the bitter, frozen country of Kislev at the very edge of the Old World's North, the vast easternlands that encircle the Darklands, as well as far Cathay, as well as the forsaken, impassable nightmare that is known as the Realm of Chaos, so far North it goes beyond frozen Norsca. It focuses on the eternal threat of the Chaos Gods, and the damnation they bring to so many. Like its predecessor, it has a campaign centered around its own factions; but if the player owns all three games, they can play a larger campaign map that combines the environments of the previous campaigns.

Far beyond the world and its petty wars there exists a dimension of pure, malevolent magic: The Realm of Chaos. It is a terrible place, incomprehensible to the mortal mind. It whispers promises of power, but to behold it is to be seduced by it. To relinquish your soul to it. To become it.

The four Ruinous Powers rule over this place, ever seeking to slip their bonds and engulf the world in a tide of daemonic corruption. Nurgle, the plague god; Slaanesh, the lord of excess; Tzeentch, the changer of ways; and Khorne, the god of blood and slaughter.

On the border between the worlds, two mighty kingdoms stand sentinel: the stern warriors of Kislev, led by Tzarina Katarin, and the vast empire of Grand Cathay, under the rule of the Celestial Dragon Emperor’s children. But each is beset by its own trials, and now both have cause to cross the threshold and send their armies into the Realm of Chaos.

Within the Mountains of Mourn, the Ogre Kingdoms are mostly unbothered by the world-encompassing conflict. However, they still see a great opportunity for power, loot and food to be had by throwing their hat into the great game, something that Tradelord Greasus Tribestealer Drakecrush Gatecrasher Hoardmaster Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese is quick to take advantage of, rallying the many tribes into battle.

Amidst the smoke and forges of the Dark Lands, the Chaos Dwarfs consider these recent events tumultuous enough for their many enemies and a perfect opportunity to expand outwards against the rest of the world. Astragoth Ironhand, oldest of the Sorcerer Prophets, now prepares to make the ultimate tribute for Hashut and cement the supremacy of the Dawi-Zharr.

The world stands on a precipice. A single push will plunge it into cataclysm - a push that has already been achieved. Ursun, the bear-god of Kislev, lies dying by the hand of a treacherous mortal, sealed within the Forge of Souls deep in the Realm of Chaos. There, Be'lakor, the Master of Shadows and the first Daemon Prince, is slowly draining the god of his remaining life and power, eager to enact his revenge on the Dark Gods, with Ursun's desperate flailing for life tearing holes between the mortal world and the Realm of Chaos. This has caught the attention of Ursun's would-be murderer, a fallen prince of the Ungols, whose ultimate sacrilege against his god has seen him ascend to daemonhood himself. He now seeks to complete what he set in motion and steal the bear-god's power from under Be'lakor.

With apocalypse comes opportunity - to free Ursun in return for a legendary boon, or to finish the job and take his power for oneself. The coming conflict will engulf all. Will you conquer your daemons? Or command them?

Many tropes that apply here also apply to Warhammer, and vice versa.


Total War: Warhammer III contains examples of the following:

    open/close all folders 
  • Action Girl: Cathay and Kislev are notable for having a much larger female presence in their armies compared to other human factions. Both factions feature mixed-gender regiments, female Hero Units, and powerful female Legendary Lords: Miao Ying the Storm Dragon for Cathay and Tzarina Katarin for Kislev.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: In the original Warhammer, the Daemons of Chaos were a single army. In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, they're divided into four factions based upon which Chaos God is their patron. Here, all five groups are present, with the mono-god factions being differentiated from Chaos Undivided by having special mortal units taken from the Warriors of Chaos roster.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The four factions of Chaos Daemons were part of a single faction in Fantasy, while Kislev was only had a few units to its name and Cathay was essentially a lore-only non-entity. The game fully promotes them into a fully playable faction with its own roster, heroes, and Legendary Lords. Cathay in particular is easily the most dramatic example for the trilogy, as they never had an official army list or any presence in the Warhammer tabletop game, not even any appearances in the Gaiden Games, since they (along with the other far eastern realms such as Ind and Nippon) existed as an offscreen Space-Filling Empire with only scraps of concrete lore.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In Fantasy, Cathay's main trade route was known as the Silk Road, named after its real life inspiration. The game changes it to the Ivory Road.
    • The Grimhorn Rhinox Riders have been renamed to Crushers, which were the unit champion name for Mournfang Cavalry in the tabletop.
  • Alien Landmass: The Realm of Chaos consists of chunks of warped landscape floating through endless voids. This is particularly evident in the Tzeentch battle maps, which have large pits opening down into eternity where the ground has crumbled away and are dotted with twisting promontories and hills of blue crystal.
  • Alien Sky: The skies of the Realm of Chaos have no celestial bodies, and burn with powerful magical energies. The sky of Tzeentch's realm, for instance, is a mixture of vivid blue and coruscating pink clouds.
  • Amazon Brigade: As a rule, all users of Ice Magic in Kislev are female — whether they are mages or Ice Guard. On the other side of the world, many ranged units in the armies of Grand Cathay, such as the Iron Hail Gunners and Crane Gunners, are entirely composed of women.
  • Amphibian at Large: A specialty of the Nurglish roster. They have access to Plague Toads of Nurgle and Toad Dragons, the former being monstrously sized mutant cyclopean amphibians that sometimes serve as mounts for Plaguebearers and the latter being mutated dragons that resemble gigantic scaled amphibians.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Grand Cathay's ending for the Realm of Chaos campaign sees the Dragon siblings continuing the search for their sister Shen-Zoo with the aid of Ursun's spirit. However, by that point the Advisor has already received his payment and parted ways with them.
  • Animal Motifs: Kislev is associated with Russian Bears. Cathay is primarily Dragons Up the Yin Yang, though they do have slight lion and bird motifs given units such as the Jade and Jet Lions, Celestial Lions, Onyx Crowmen, and Great Moon Birds. Tzeentch has quite a strong avian theme, while Slaanesh features a lot of scorpion imagery. Nurgle is primarily associated with flies, but also incorporates units based on slugs, toads and other "filthy" animals and Khorne goes in for dogs and, to a lesser extent, bulls. Similarly, the Chaos Dwarfs have a heavy association with bulls given their Mesopotamian influences.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The Diplomacy pane now includes much more information so you can see what deals factions will take or determine why they might not want a particular deal, and includes buttons to automatically balance the scales with money to get a specified result, assuming you have enough. This removes a lot of the pointless fiddling that made diplomacy such a headache in the previous two games.
    • Taking a cue from one of the most popular mods for the second game, you can now buy, sell, and trade settlements with neighboring factions via Diplomacy.
    • You can now move in Encampment stance with a 50% movement range reduction, removing the need to use 50% of your movement manually before encamping. This also lets you move through friendly territory that causes attrition without having to either suffer the attrition or raid your own ally.
    • Update 1.1.0 modified the "Protection" building (normally used to mitigate public order loss from corruption and detect skaven undercities) to also suppress the emergence of rifts in the local province, allowing the player to more easily protect their territory from raids through the portals without having to waste time and resources closing them manually.
  • The Archmage:
    • Tzarina Katarin is often noted to be the most powerful Ice Witch alive, with rumors stating that she is the reincarnation of Khan-Queen Miska (the first and most adept wielder of Ice Magic).
    • Although they are not playable, the Celestial Dragon Emperor and Moon Empress devised their own understanding of the Winds of Magic long ago and created the Lores of Yin and Yang from it. They then taught their children and generations of human mages in the arts of the arcane. In particular, the Dragon Emperor favors the Lore of the Heavens and is responsible for establishing his Astromancers as the most sanctioned mages in Cathay.
    • Due to spending some time in the Well of Eternity, Kairos Fateweaver is the greatest spellcaster in an entire faction of Evil Sorcerers. He has the unique ability to customize his spell list with fragments of all eight magical lores.
  • The Artifact:
    • Karl Franz is a recommended first campaign only because it was that way in the first and second games. Since the launch of the second game the Empire has received multiple overhauls adding new campaign mechanics and multiple new and sometimes hostile factions have been added near Karl Franz, making his campaign surprisingly difficult for a 'beginner' campaign.
    • Over three games multiple legendary lords have been moved around the map to different starting locations. Their quest battles, however, stayed clustered around their initial starting location. While the Teleport function renders this a non-issue from a gameplay standpoint it can lead to players wondering why all the quests are so far away.
  • Artificial Stupidity: There have been several complaints regarding the unit behavior to be unreliable due to poor programming.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Kislev has been a minor faction since launch, while Cathay has never been shown on-screen in any Warhammer media. Both are set to be major factions at launch, and will thus get whole unit rosters, Legendary Lords, Heroes, and building chains.
    • Ku'gath Plaguefather had rules and even artwork for the tabletop wargame, but never had a model and thus never enjoyed the same attention as other Nurglish characters. Here, he's the first Legendary Lord for the Daemons of Nurgle.
    • Soul Grinders were always more associated with Warhammer 40,000, despite existing in both settings, to the point where their appearance here is their sole appearance in any Warhammer Fantasy media beyond the wargame. They even enjoy some plot relevance, as they originate from the Forge of Souls and are thus employed by Be'lakor as Mecha-Mooks.
  • Ascended Glitch: Downplayed variant. As far back as the first game the AI-controlled Empire could confederate Marienburg, but players could not. As of Patch 2.2.0, Empire players are finally able to confederate Marienburg as well.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • The Trial by Fire trailer starts with but a single word: Kislev. This was a meme in the fandom due to it being one of the only things Kislev would say in the diplomacy of earlier games until other dialogue was patched in. Similarly, the Kislev roster reveal ends with just Kislev as well.
    • The frequent slaughter of High Elves in Warhammer II trailers became so memetic that even their own faction trailer showed them getting killed in droves. In the Realm of Chaos campaign, the High Elves make a grand total of two appearances — One is a cinematic where they're shown being butchered by daemons during the Great Catastrophe, and the other is a quest battle where they get slaughtered by N'Kari.
    • A trailer for the Immortal Empires feature ended with Karl Franz's oft-quoted declaration "Summon the Elector Counts!"
  • Automatic New Game: The game encourages playing the prologue campaign before even showing the menus the first time it's launched, since it functions as both story setup and an extended tutorial.
  • Badass Cape: All the Legendary Lords, Lords and Heroes of Grand Cathay sport large impressive capes. In Kislev, capes can also be seen on Boris Ursus, his daughter Katarin, Boyar Lords and elite units like the Tzar Guard and Gryphon Legion.
  • Badass Family: Grand Cathay is ruled by a family of immortal, shapeshifting dragons who, aside from being skillful mages and leaders, can also take on Greater Daemons in their true forms. On the human side, there are the Bohkas — Tzar Boris Bohka brought new unity and strength to Kislev while becoming a bear-rider blessed by Ursun, and his daughter Tzarina Katarin is the most powerful Ice Witch to have ever lived.
  • Bears Are Bad News: A specialty of the Kislevite roster. These include War Bear Riders, ice sleds being pulled by bears (some carrying Streltsi, others carrying cannons such as Little Grom), and the Kaiju-sized Elemental Bear. Bears are also available as a mount for every Kislevite character, even the Legendary Lords.
  • Beyond the Impossible: No matter who you play as, the final battle with Be'lakor will end with Ursun dying, drained of his lifeforce by the Dark Master. If you play as one of the Kislevite Legendary Lords, though, Ursun will be so touched by their determination to rescue him that he comes back to life on his own power!
  • BFG: Several factions have access to ridiculously large guns, such as the Kislevite Little Grom, the Cathayan Grand Cannon, and the Ogre Ironblaster.
  • Big Bad: Be'lakor the Dark Master is the overarching villain of the campaign, as it is because of his machinations that Ursun is dying.
  • Big Eater: The Ogre Kingdoms as a whole, bordering on Extreme Omnivore.
  • Big Red Devil: Khorne's Daemons embody this trope. As shown by his roster reveal article, his daemonic infantry takes the form of Bloodletters — man-sized, red-skinned devils carrying a BFS each — and among his monsters are the Bloodthirsters, Greater Daemons who are about as a large as a Dragon. One of the faction's lord options is the Exalted Bloodthirster, the single most powerful members of all daemonkind, and his Legendary Lord is Skarbrand, the biggest red devil in the setting outside of Khorne himself.
  • Call-Back: When in snowy areas N'kari might mock Malekith's infamous hatred of snow.
  • Canon Foreigner: As Ascended Extra factions that weren’t extremely fleshed out in the past, both Kislev and Cathay have Legendary Lords that are entirely new to the series (and the entire Warhammer franchise as a whole). Kislev has Kostaltyn, the zealous Supreme Patriarch of the Great Orthodoxy, while Cathay has Miao Ying and Zhao Ming, the children of the Celestial Dragon Emperor. On the Daemonic side, the God-Slayer is also an original character who sports unique customizability to boot. And as subsequent DLC has been added, more and more original characters have been added to those aforementioned factions.
  • Canon Immigrant: Doombreed, an infamous Daemon Prince of Khorne from Warhammer 40,000, makes his first appearance in the Warhammer Fantasy franchise as the leader of the aptly-named Doombreed's Followers rogue army. His spawn position north of Cathay darkly references the fact one of his origin stories in 40k is a Historical Villain Upgrade of Genghis Khan.
  • Character Customization: Made available for the first time in the Warhammer series with the introduction of the God-Slayer. As players dedicate victories and buildings to the Chaos Gods, they can gain access to body part appearances and abilities from each of the Big Four, allowing them to give the God-Slayer any combination of visual features, effects and skills.
  • Civil Warcraft: Most factions will wind up fighting people who should be on their own side at some point or another, but Grand Cathay will almost always experience a vicious civil war almost from the first turn with or without the player's involvement.
  • A Commander Is You: As with the previous two games, each faction is wildly different from one another.
    • Kislev: A Brute/Ranger/Unit Specialist faction. The Kislevite roster has two specialties: Hybrid melee/missile infantry and powerful cavalry. Almost all of their infantry (excluding the elite Tzar Guard) possess both melee and ranged weapons, allowing them to whittle their opponents down with missiles before charging into close combat; as a result, their missile units tend to have much more armor and are thus more survivable than those of most factions (barring the High Elves and Cathayans). Their cavalry roster is also diverse, ranging from Horse Archers to powerful bear cavalry and sleds. Kislevite cavalry excel upon the charge and cause fear, but as a trade-off, they tend to be less armored than their Imperial and Bretonnian counterparts. Several of their units also have the Frostbite ability, allowing them to slow down enemy units in combat. Unlike their fellow human factions, they have no flying units to speak of.
    • Cathay: A Turtle/Ranger faction. The Cathayan roster focuses on defense with special buffs for their ranged and melee units, which results in them having superior ranged firepower and an excellent and survivable frontline consisting of a diverse array of armored melee and ranged infantry. That said, Cathayans tend to be slow-moving and easy to flank, which is not helped by the fact they have the worst cavalry out of all the human factions. They more than make up for these disadvantages through their flying machines, artillery, and dragon sorcerers.
    • Khorne: An Elitist/Brute faction. The Khornate roster focuses on powerful, heavily armored troops that charge into the heat of combat and slowly get even more powerful the more casualties they inflict. They have access to powerhouse units such as Skullcrushers, Bloodthirsters, and Khornebulls that excel at breaking the enemy lines with their charge. As a trade-off, Khorne is the only faction in the game without access to magic and has limited ranged options such as Skull Cannons.
    • Tzeentch: A Technical/Ranger faction. The Tzeentchian roster is made up of several weaker troops that rely on ranged attacks, offensive spells (with the Lore of Tzeentch being entirely damage or debuff spells) or hit and run tactics to do damage. Out of all the monogod factions, they have the best ranged capabilities, and they have the potential to be the most magically adept faction in the game as they can upgrade their Lords of Change (both as Lords and single entity monsters) to wield a wide range of spells from different lores of magic, allowing for whole armies of spellcasters without resorting to Hero spam. All Tzeentch units come with Barrier, a damage shield that recovers when a unit is not engaged in combat, emphasizing a hit and run style of play. Their roster has few units with staying power, relying on Forsaken to hold the line. In their place there are several fast flying units, such as Doom Knights, Screamers of Tzeentch, and Burning Chariots, which can perform fast, damaging hit and run, or bombard enemy lines with ranged firepower.
    • Nurgle: A Brute/Technical/Unconventional faction. The Nurglish roster relies on slow-moving but extremely resilient units that whittle down their enemies through spreading diseases, such as Pox Riders, Beasts of Nurgle, and Great Unclean Ones. On the campaign map, Nurgle plays less like a traditional faction and more like a gradually spreading infestation. Their buildings are not manually upgraded but instead evolve over time into higher tiers of infrastructure, and they do not summon their forces at full strength but instead have them grow to their full strength over time after being summoned. They also have access to the Plague Cauldron which allows them to concoct different sorts of Mystical Plagues that ravage their enemies while growing their own forces.
    • Slaanesh: A Guerrilla/Technical/Espionage faction. The Slaaneshi roster emphasizes speed, armour piercing and poison attacks, and relies on chariots, cavalry and generally fast moving units such as Hellstriders, Hellflayers, and Fiends of Slaanesh, some of which gain significant bonus damage from flanking attacks due to having the Devastating Flanker attribute. However, their Crippling Overspecialization leaves their roster without units with strong staying power, and they have almost no way to deal with flying units as none of their units have ranged attacks outside of spells and they have no flying units outside of Furies, which are merely Cannon Fodder. Slaanesh also relies on debuffing spells and abilities to weaken their enemies, and gain bonuses and abilities from killing routing units. On the campaign map Slaanesh focuses on creating vassals, debuffing opposing factions through Hero actions, as well as seducing enemy units into switching sides for the duration of battles, making them a faction focused on undermining other factions.
    • Daemons of Chaos: A Generalist/Unconventional/Elitist faction. The Daemons of Chaos faction combines the daemon units of all four Chaos Gods above into one army led by a Daemon Prince, allowing for a mix and match of different units from the different factions to cover all bases. However, they have only access to daemon units, and not some of the cheaper generic mortal units available to each individual faction. On the campaign map, the Daemons of Chaos focuses on devoting captured settlements to the four Chaos Gods or Chaos Undivided, and customizing their legendary lord, the Daemon Prince, to fit each situation. They do however lose out on the unique and powerful campaign abilities of the individual Chaos God focused factions in place of adaptability.
    • Ogre Kingdoms: A Brute/Elitist/Unit Specialist faction. Almost all Ogre Kingdoms units are of monstrous size barring the Gnoblars (who exist only as Cannon Fodder), and are extremely devastating on the charge. Though they have limited ranged options, those that they do have such as Leadbelchers and Ironblasters can do monstrous damage to any enemy battle line at the expense of having more limited ammunition. However, Ogre Kingdoms units are limited in terms of model count and so can be overwhelmed by more numerous enemies if improperly used.
    • Chaos Dwarfs: An Elitist/Economist/Industrial/Ranger faction. The Chaos Dwarfs boast heavily armored units with powerful ranged capabilities, including some of the strongest war machines in the game such as the Iron Daemon and Dreadquake Mortar. They also possess powerful monstrous units such as Bull Centaurs, Bale Tauri, and K'daai Destroyers. However, just like their uncorrupted cousins Chaos Dwarf units are expensive and limited in number, and other than Greenskin slaves and Hobgoblins serving as Cannon Fodder they lack reliable mid-tier options. Their campaign mechanics are extremely intricate with a heavy focus around resource management and industrial development evocative of a Paradox Interactive game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • As expected, the computer will just handwave many obstacles that will take up a considerable amount of your time and effort in dealing with. But the level and frequency in which it does this is simply unbelievable and is not singularly based on which difficulty the player picked, but also how much they've extended, how many armies they have, etc...
    • Most egregious is the fact that the Realm of Tzeentch work entirely differently for the player than it does the AI. The player has to navigate the maze and trying to find the right portal, the AI... doesn't. It picks portals at random, and the fifth one it goes through will automatically drop them on the final island.
  • Continuity Cameo: In Immortal Empires, a few Legendary Lords begin the campaign accompanied by a Hero Unit with a unique name and trait, based on minor characters from the lore or the Lord's own backstory:
    • Festus the Leechlord starts with an Exalted Hero of Nurgle named Samuel Ludenhof. In the lore, one of Festus' more infamous deeds was corrupting the ailing son of the Elector Count of Hochland (who Festus starts at war with in the campaign). Samuel's unique trait, "Mutant Betrayer", provides a diplomatic penalty with the Empire, and increases his melee attack stat and provides Fear while fighting human armies.
      After drinking one of Festus' warping elixirs, this former son of Aldebrand Ludenhof slaughtered dozens in his father's court before joining his new master.
    • Valkia the Bloody starts with an Exalted Hero named Kormak. A member of the Schwarzvolf tribe and Valkia's most fanatical follower, he lost his arm to a creature of the Chaos Wastes during Valkia's search for a gateway to the Realm of Khorne, and eventually died alongside his chieftess within eyesight of the portal. Kormak's unique trait, "Reforged for the Gorequeen", halves the cost to convert him into an Exalted Hero of Khorne, and references how he was brought Back from the Dead by Valkia after her ascension.
      The loss of an arm could not stop Kormak from following his queen to the edge of the world, and neither could death.
    • Archaon the Everchosen has an Exalted Hero named Prince Ograx, a beastman-turned-human who accompanied him on his quest to become the Everchosen. Here, he's Spared by the Adaptation, as in the original lore Archaon had sacrificed Ograx to claim the Slayer of Kings. His unique trait, "The Great", increases his weapon strength by 15% and provides a moderate anti-large damage bonus.
      Once a beastfiend in Khorne's service, Ograx was elevated through his long association with Archaon during the Everchosen's quest for the Six Treasures of Chaos.
    • Malagor the Dark Omen has a Gorebull named Kha'Rak Stoneheart, a minor character from the 7th edition Beastmen army book. Kha'Rak was the victim of a botched Grand Theft Me by an enterprising bray-shaman, who he promptly killed in retribution. This led to the two creatures Sharing a Body, and Kha'Rak's unique trait "Two-in-One" allows him to cast Viletide from the Lore of the Wild.
      Within Kha'Rak war two souls — one, a brutish minotaur, and the other, a crafty bray-shaman who once sought to dominate him.
    • Tiktaq'to has Itzi-Bitzi the Skink Chief, from the 5th edition Lizardmen army book. A commander of Tlaxtlan, Itzi-Bitzi is the only servant of the slann lord Zltep to hear his final words; an unfinished prophecy that fortells the ultimate doom of the enemies of the Lizardmen. Called the "Incantation of Xetlipocutzl", the fragment of prophecy is a Supernatural Fear Inducer that passively reduces the leadership of enemy armies in the local region.
      The last words of Lord Ztlep of Tlaxtlan are a secret of formidable power, known only to Itzi-Bitzi.
    • Settra the Imperishable has Prince Nebbetthar, a Tomb Prince and former captain of a regiment of renown from The End Times. His unique trait, "Captain of the Royal Chariot Guard", predictably buffs skeleton chariots and increases their unit capacity.
      With Herald Nekaph elsewhere, Captain Nebbetthar serves as Settra's right hand.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Immortal Empires Be'lakor starts in Albion, which in the tabletop game was at the heart of a previous plot of Be'lakor's and a centre of worship of him by the Dark Emissaries, corrupted Truthspeakers. He also starts with a rift already in place near the Imperial city of Mordheim, which was the site of his last attempt at gaining physical form.
  • Cool Airship: A downplayed example with the Cathayans, who have access to Sky Junks bristling with various guns (which are much smaller than the Dwarfen Thunderbarges). The description exaggerates their size as being "as large as a normal warship" when they look nothing like the sort, instead being a taller version of the Sky Lantern (their lighter variant).
    • The Dwarfs later got their own Thunderbarges in, and they are monsters. They have a deck full of gun toting Dwarfs who shred anything in range dealing as much damage as a unit of thunderers per salvo, with twin cannons mounted in the prow with infamous Dwarfen accuracy. Like most air units and unlike Cathay blimps the Thunderbarge moves fast and can have the engines overcharged to move even faster, and the blimp is heavily armoured with a shocking amount of health making it very difficult to kill.
      • Malaki gets his own Ace Custom called the Spirit of Grungi which is not only superior to normal Thunderbarges, but also acts as a recruitment point on the world map for everyone in range, although only at one unit a turn.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Finally Averted, with the introduction of Wound mechanics to single-entities from the tabletop, meaning that their performance will decrease as they take damage.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • In the Enter the World of Khorne trailer, Skarbrand is erroneously depicted as taking flight at the very end. In the game, Skarbrand is neither flight-capable or even able to jump all that high in combat.
    • In the Dawn of Grand Cathay cinematic trailer, Kairos Fateweaver easily obliterates chunks of the Great Bastion's defenders using the spells Blue Fire of Tzeentch and Pink Fire of Tzeentch, neither of which are powerful enough in the game proper to be one-shotting single-entity units like Alchemist heroes, Sky Junks and Terracotta Sentinels. Blue Fire, in particular, is depicted as scattering its projectiles to hit multiple different targets, while in the game Blue Fire only homes in on a single victim.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The Champions of Chaos DLC states that Kislev canonically succeeded in their quest to save Ursun, with Ice Queen Katarin being specified as the leading Lord.
  • Cyborg: The Soul Grinders, huge monstrosities resembling a daemon from the waist up and a mechanical spider from the waist down, are part of the Daemons roster. This notably marks the second appearance of the Soul Grinder in any Warhammer video game, despite the creature being far more strongly associated with Warhammer 40,000.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Very possible with the release of Immortal Empires and its huge map with every legendary lord from the previous two games present and playable. A worldwide victory for one of the big names among dictators, daemons and demigods wouldn't be all that surprising but would anyone see it coming if someone like Tretch Craventail or Wurrzag conquered the world?
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Zig-zagged with the Daemons of Chaos. While there is a base Daemons of Chaos faction, the four Chaos Gods have been given their own separate factions as well that combine both Daemons and Mortals (in a similar fashion to Age of Sigmar). The Immortal Empires and Champions of Chaos DLCs further blur the lines, with Marked Mortals such as Sigvald and Valkia being in specialized Warriors of Chaos subfactions in the campaign that can recruit Daemon units from their patron gods, but being also playable in Monogod rosters in Custom Battle and Multiplayer. Even Be'lakor leads a Warriors of Chaos subfaction rather than a Daemons of Chaos subfaction on the Immortal Empires campaign, though his faction can recruit Daemon units from all of the gods.
    • An odd example with generic characters for the Daemons of Chaos (Greater Daemons and Heralds). On the tabletop game, Heralds were Hero-level characters for the Daemons of Chaos. In the game, they have been promoted to Lord-level characters, while their Hero spot have been filled by the unit champions for lesser Daemon units. This qualifies as both groups are both drawn from the ranks of the lesser Daemons (e.g., both the Herald of Khorne and Bloodreaper are both elite Bloodletters of Khorne). Meanwhile, Greater Daemons have been split into a Lord-level variant (the Exalted version) and a generic non-hero single entity variant, allowing for players to have entire armies of Greater Daemons. As it turns out, the reason for this change was because rather than being recruited like regular Lords, Greater Daemon Lords are instead promoted from Heralds.
    • In the tabletop, Mournfang Cavalry were ridden by Ironguts. Here, they are ridden by Bulls while the role of Irongut Cavalry has been given to Rhinox Riders/Crushers.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Any faction the player is playing as will get to unlock Be’lakor as a unique lord once they defeat him at the end of the campaign.
  • Demon of Human Origin: Daemon princes, such as Be'lakor, Azazel, and the player-named Prince, are former mortals who were rewarded with daemonhood by the Dark Gods. The Realm of Chaos campaign revolves around capturing the souls of four daemon princes within the domains of the Dark Gods, as their one-human nature gives their souls a special property necessary for the ritual to reach the Forge of Souls. Among the Warriors of Chaos race, army lords who attain enough marks of chaos can eventually morph into daemon princes, in a similar fashion to daemon heralds becoming exalted greater daemons.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The higher ranks of Daemonkind finally make their full appearance in this game. First there are the four kinds of Greater Daemon, one for each Chaos God: Bloodthirsters for Khorne, Great Unclean Ones for Nurgle, Lords of Change for Tzeentch and Keepers of Secrets for Slaanesh. They all come in two variants, the Exalted versions (which serve as Lords) and the normal versions (which are single entity monster units). Then there are the Daemon Princes, which unlike the Greater Daemons are created from mortal Chaos Warrior lords.
  • Demoted to Extra: Important Legendary Lords from the previous two games, like Karl Franz and Mannfred von Carstein, can be encountered on the Realm of Chaos campaign map. However, they share the same AI programming as regular minor factions, so they're not nearly as aggressive and capable as they are normally, and won't confederate their same-race neighbors for rapid growth. One character in particular, the skaven lord Deathmaster Sniktch, appears as a mere Starter Villain for Zhao Ming's initial provinces.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: If you're playing the Realm of Chaos as a non-Chaos faction you do this as a requirement since winning requires you to fight up to the edge of the home citadels of each of the Chaos Gods, kill their favoured Demon Princes and even trap their souls so they can't just come back like usual.
  • Downer Beginning: Of all the playable factions in the game, Kislev starts its campaign in the most dire straits. On top of a civil war brewing between the Great Orthodoxy and Katarin’s court (both of whom are struggling to inherit the legacy of Tzar Boris Ursus), the nation is suffering from an Endless Winter because its patron god Ursun has been captured and mortally wounded by one of their own. Thankfully, players can solve all of these problems throughout the course of the Kislev campaign by unifying the warring factions and bringing Ursun and Tzar Boris back to life.
  • Downloadable Content: Like the last two games, there is DLC aplenty. Notably, the DLC format wound up shifting quite a bit with the Lord Packs of the previous two games being reworked into far more comprehensive packs that cover three to four factions at once.
    • For FLC: Immortal Empires, Ulrika Magdova, Harald Hammerstorm, Aekold Helbrass, Epidemius.
    • For DLC: Blood for the Blood God 3.0, Ogre Kingdoms, Champions of Chaos, Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs, Shadows of Change, Thrones of Decay.
  • Dragon Ancestry: Due to their ancient nature, the dragons of Cathay have produced many human descendants. These individuals have often been promoted to high positions due to their heritage and innate magical ability. In-game, they are represented by the Dragon-blooded Shugengan Lord and the Great Longma Riders (as the longma appear to only allow those with draconic blood to ride them).
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The major theme of Grand Cathay. As a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial China, it is ruled by literal Dragons who espouse the harmony between Yin and Yang. Yin/Yang balance mechanics are crucial to both the effectiveness of Cathayan armies and the administration of Cathay on the campaign map. In addition, the Dragon rulers and their human descendants have access to the unique lores of Yin and Yang magic.

  • Elemental Powers:
    • Tzarina Katarin — along with the Ice Witches and Frost Maidens — are the primary wielders of Ice Magic in the setting. Their Lore of Ice is pretty much what you can expect, but they also have a Lore of Tempest that allows them to utilize wind and storms as well.
    • In Grand Cathay, the Dragons are heavily based on Elemental Motifs. Miao Ying uses lightning to attack, but she also possesses the ability to cast spells from the Lore of Life (seen in Cathay as the Elemental Wind of Water). Her brother Zhao Ming uses both fire and metal. The human mages of Cathay also follow suit, with Astromancers casting the Lore of the Heavens and Alchemists utilizing the Lore of Metal.
    • The Chaos Dwarfs have their own unique lore of magic, the Lore of Hashut, which revolves around raining fire and brimstone upon their enemies.
  • Eldritch Location: The Realms of Chaos. Within them, time, space and other rules that govern the mortal world do not apply—only the whims of the Chaos Gods matter. Faction leaders who stay in the Realms for too long eventually accrue nasty negative traits that can only be removed when they visit home.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The absolutely massive and aptly-named Elemental Bears, which are literal chunks of the land of Kislev that have risen to fight. The Shadows of Change DLC also gives them (and the Beastmen) access to the Elemental Incarnates of Beasts, massive Wendigo-esque creatures that are the primal spirit of the wilds made manifest.
  • Endless Winter: This is one of the many quandaries Kislev faces at the start of its campaign. Normally, Ursun's roars break the ice and herald spring, but with Ursun imprisoned and on death's door Kislev is left stuck in winter and on the brink of civil war.
  • Enemy Exchange Program:
    • If you have an alliance with a faction from a different race, you may build a special "outpost" sub-building in any of their settlements, which will enable you to spend allegiance points to hire that race's units from the chosen city. Upgrading the outpost provides access to the parent empire's global recruitment, and the presence of the outpost will also provide the city's owner with a few of their partner's units to augment the local defence garrison. A single army can support up to four auxilary units.
    • One gimmick of the Daemons of Slaanesh is the ability to "seduce" enemy units before battle, paying their cost in gold out of a fixed budget to make them switch sides for the battle. They'll immediately disband if you are victorious, for reasons that are thankfully left unspoken.
  • Enemy Mine: One of Kislev’s main campaign mechanics revolves around the political rivalry between Katarin (leader of the ancient and mysterious Ice Court) and Kostaltyn (leader of the relatively new but powerful Great Orthodoxy). While both of them want to save Ursun and defend Kislev, Kostaltyn sees Katarin’s magic as heresy and she in turn brooks no opposition to her rule. They are both caught in a race for supporters that would allow them to confederate the other party.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: A recurring theme with the Chaos factions and units; the longer a mortal serves the Dark Gods, the more likely they are to become horrifically mutated or lose their humanity completely. Slaanesh’s Marauders have arms that have turned into giant Power Pincers, while the Forsaken are barely-sentient berserkers that have spikes, extra eyes and tentacles poking through their armor. Perhaps the game’s most important example is the Daemon Prince, a former prince of Kislev who was transformed into a massive, winged monster after betraying his god.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Daemons of Chaos are not a unified force, with the servants of each god warring against the others, and occasionally each other. Skarbrand, in particular, is hated even by others Daemons of Khorne for trying to usurp their master. The "A Covenant With Chaos" trailer shows off the armies of Slaanesh and Nurgle fighting each other for control of the Advisor...who ends up refusing them both.
  • Fan Disservice: The game has a bit of Jiggle Physics, a first in the series, but only for the Ogres and Daemons of Nurgle.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Kislev is a big amalgamation of Tsarist Russia, the Kievan Rus', and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Even the name of their chief city is derived from Kyiv, the historical capital of the Kievan Rus' (though it also shares a name with a month of the Jewish calendar). Much like Russia, Kislev faces an invasion from a nomadic steppe tribe wreaking havoc across the known world (Kurgan/Mongols).
    • Cathay is Imperial China, an extremely large empire from the east that lies near an important trade route and produces spices, silk, gold, porcelain, and other exotic goods that are sold in the Old World. It is ruled by a Celestial Dragon Emperor who bears strong resemblance to the Jade Emperor from Chinese Mythology. The culture of Cathay is also strongly influenced by the philosophy of Yin and Yang, which extends to the Harmony mechanic that governs their armies.
    • The Ogre Kingdoms are basically Ice Age Mongols.
    • The Chaos Dwarfs are Steampunk Mesopotamians, while their Hobgoblin underlings are inspired by nomadic tribes such as the Mongols and Scythians.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • The Great Unclean Ones, Nurgle's Greater Daemons.
    • The Ogre Kingdoms are a whole race of them, and Overtyrant Greasus is the fattest bastard of them all. Ogres are generally rude and dismissive of other races when they're not being courted with money or food, and will happily switch sides and employers if they get a chance at a better deal.
  • Fatal Fireworks: A specialty of the Cathayans, being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial China and all. They have access to infantry who carry firework launchers, war balloons with rockets, and rocket batteries, enabling them to do a medieval version of a Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Lords of Change, Tzeentch's Greater Daemons.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: In the early trailers and gameplay videos after TW:W3's announcement, Kislev's ice witches, polar bears and tundra homeland are contrasted with Khorne's Burning with Anger theme and the Fire and Brimstone Hell his daemons hail from.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that the Advisor looks significantly younger here than he did in the first two games is the first hint that the game is a Stealth Prequel.
  • Floating Island: These make up a distinctive feature of Cathay's landscape, with the Celestial City above the capital Wei-Jin being the largest of them all.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the end of the cinematic announcement trailer, a letter on the Tzarina's desk can be seen addressed to Yuri Barkov, protagonist of the released game's prologue campaign. If paused, it allows the viewer to read some of its contents.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The game launched with a twofer in relation to field battles. The first was a bug that greatly slowed down unit response times to the point they could take multiple seconds to respond to issued commands, which made 'micro' (the fine management of individual units in combat) very clunky and unresponsive, and the second was a bug that caused ranged infantry to never find a firing solution and simply shuffle in place forever without doing anything. These two bugs combined to make a miserable playing experience for anyone manually fighting battles as factions that relied on fine control of their ranged units, namely Cathay and Kislev, and it showed in those two factions having the worst win-rates in multiplayer.
    • There are two related bugs that sometimes cause games to get irreversibly corrupted when certain factions or armies get destroyed. The first bug causes the game to crash the turn that any army borrowed via the Allegience system gets destroyed, even if you stopped borrowing it 20 turns ago. The second bug sometimes causes saved games to get corrupted when certain factions are destroyed; the game runs fine initially, but reloading any game saved after that point, even autosaves, will cause the game to crash when the turn is ended. Both of these have persisted through two major patches.
    • Nakai the Wanderer was hit with a nasty one in Update 3.10, namely regarding his recruitment pools. By some oversight, several units were accidentally removed from his Horde buildings' recruitment unlocks, making Nakai completely unable to recruit them. Most notable of the missing units are Kroxigors, Nakai's primary unit, which borderline cripples his campaign because it makes all his skills and research focused around buffing them almost completely worthless since he can't recruit any more than the three units of them he starts with.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • As usual, there are the units the players can recruit in any amount they can afford, even if, in-lore, they are supposed to be rare.
    • It makes sense for Khorne to make Skarbrand compete in his challenges. It also makes sense for Tzeentch, a god who screws over his own followers almost as much as he does his enemies, to have Kairos navigate his maze. But there is little reason for Ku'Gath and N'Kari (Greater Daemons who are favoured by their respective gods) to take part in their masters’ challenges. At launch, the greater daemons were also vulnerable to gaining negative traits from their native realms, but this was fortunately rectified by Patch 1.1.
    • At launch, the reward for completing the campaign story was Be'lakor as a Unique Lord for your faction for the rest of that campaign. While this makes varying amounts of sense for the Daemons of Chaos, there are few reasons Cathay would willingly let such a powerful Daemon Prince be in their ranks, and none that would justify Kislev utilizing the very daemon who imprisoned and murdered their main god. This was eventually patched to be an optional choice, with the alternative being to banish Be'lakor for some campaign boons.
    • Daemon factions are still allowed to recruit Soul Grinders throughout the later stages of the campaign, despite the fact that Bel'akor is control of the Forge of Souls where the Soul Grinders are canonically created. Furthermore: they're allowed to be used during the final assault on it, despite the fact that, in the lore, part of becoming a Soul Grinder involves a magically-enforced obligation to stand in the defense of the Forge no matter who is attacking it, including their patron gods.
    • Despite being a Daemon Prince, Be'lakor's Realm of Chaos campaign incarnation can still suffer attrition damage from Chaos corruption and visiting the Chaos Wastes.
    • Being a bloodthirsty War God, Khorne only accepts skulls that were taken in battle (whether it was a fair battle or not, however, is irrelevant). Despite that, Khorne factions have the ability to collect skull piles at the sites of battles they didn't take part in.
    • The Realm of Slaanesh is meant to present temptations few could resist to stop the invaders from reaching the centre of its Circles of Hell, since if you take any of the temptations you get forced to leave and cannot return to claim the Slaanesh Demon Prince's soul until the next time the rifts open. However, while the in-game bonuses on offer are certainly nice, falling behind on the race for Demon Prince souls means losing the entire game so players will likely not find it hard to resist at all.
    • At one point during the Realm of Chaos campaign the Advisor notes that it would be easier if the entrance to the Forge of Souls could be opened by any old daemon's soul but they require the formerly mortal souls of Daemon Princes and they need to be completely devoted to one god so the playable Daemon Prince is out, hence the dangerous expeditions into the Chaos Realms. However rogue armies can spawn led by Daemon Princes and devoted to one god and with the Champions of Chaos add-on there are also Valkia and Azazel leading major factions, Daemon Princes of Khorne and Slaanesh respectively. No explanation is given as to why they won't do.
    • The Ogre Kingdoms get meat from defeated enemies, regardless of who they are. Fair enough, they're not picky eaters. However they can also somehow do this with the non-biological daemons and, in Immortal Empires, the entirely fleshless Tomb Kings. They can also eat defeated Nurgle armies to no ill effect from the diseased flesh.
    • In-lore the Chaos Dwarfs kill Skaven outright, seeing them as too scheming and untrustworthy to be worth taking as laborers in a twisted form of Villain Respect. Since this would make fighting and raiding Skaven much less rewarding, this isn't represented in-game. In fact, with their huge numbers, Skaven can be some of the more lucrative targets of slave-raids.
  • Gang Up on the Human: As ever, the AI factions are much more likely to target the player, even if there could be other potential targets around them. Using Tzeentch's Changer of Ways "Reveal faction intentions" really shows how far it can go (in the example, the Kislev AI decided to direct every single one of its armies to target the player).
  • Genocide Backfire: The Ogre Kingdoms are one of the biggest problems for Cathay's western borders, and the only reason the ogres are there is because they moved there after Cathay nearly exterminated them thousands of years ago through the summoning of the comet that created the Great Maw. A player can choose to take this one step further by conquering Cathay as the Ogres.
  • Giant Flyer:
    • The forces of Chaos have several of these, such as Lords of Change, Bloodthirsters (besides Skarbrand, whose wings are ruined), and Daemon Princes (besides Azazel, who is infantry-sized).
    • The Cathayan also have several examples. Aside from the Dragon siblings in their dragon forms, they can also field Celestial Lions (Gryphon-sized winged lions) and Great Moon Birds (monstrous birds similar to the High Elven Phoenixes). Averted with Satyang, who despite being a winged Terracotta Sentinel cannot fly but instead can leap vast distances In a Single Bound.
  • God-Eating: The entire goal of the Ogre Kingdoms campaign is to let the Ogres eat Ursun.
  • Grand Finale: This game serves as the finale of the Total War: Warhammer trilogy.
  • The Great Wall: As is fitting for a fantasy version of ancient China, Grand Cathay has the Great Bastion — a meandering, titanic wall that protects its northern border against the Chaos Wastes. Built in ages past and infused with the literal life essence of the Celestial Dragon Emperor, it is placed under the control of his favorite daughter, Miao Ying the Storm Dragon. Each of the Bastion’s three gates (the Snake, Turtle, and Dragon Gates) have unique building chains and commandments, and holding all three of them at once will trigger certain campaign bonuses.
  • Grim Up North: With its biting winters and close proximity to the Chaos Wastes, the land of Kislev is one of the harsher places to live in the Old World. This is a major reason why its inhabitants are so hardy and formidable, but even they are challenged by the especially grim circumstances at the beginning of Kislev’s campaign. With the Bear God Ursun missing, they have been subjected to an endless winter that makes them more vulnerable to Chaos invasions and internal strife.
  • Guns Are Worthless: ZigZagged. Gunpowder infantry are generally a step up from archers and crossbows because they deal primarily Armour-Piercing damage and have a much higher projectile speed making them ideal for picking off small, or erratically fast moving targets. However, their main weakness is they need direct line of sight on their target that even small shift in elevation can cause a unit of Handgunners to refuse to fire. In the campaign, they'll eventually get outclassed by elite archer and crossbow units like Sisters of Avelorn, Waywatchers, Shades, and Celestial Dragon Crossbowmen who can all deal Armour-Piercing damage without the drawback of needing line of sight, and they often have longer ranges as well. Despite this, the speed of gunpowder projectiles still makes them better for shooting down small fast-moving targets like mounted lords and heroes or flying monsters.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: ZigZagged. While it is true that several ranged units (such as the Crane Gunners, Iron Hail Gunners and Sky Fleet crew) are all-female, many other ranged and melee units in the Cathayan roster are actually mixed-gender. The in-universe lore does state, however, that Cathayan girls are especially encouraged to learn archery in order to emulate the Moon Empress. Kislev also zigzags this, as the all-female Ice Guard are primarily archers but can also be quite vicious in melee, while the only pure melee units in Kislev's ranks are the male Tzar Guard. Every other infantry unit is a hybrid that both shoots and fights.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: At launch, with the exception of Daemons of Slaanesh, all daemonic factions were automatically at permanent war with any non-Chaos-aligned race they met. The only exceptions to this were the Skaven (who are closely related to Chaos) and the Ogres (who are as likely to work for Chaos as against them). A patch later removed this feature, though Daemon factions are still subject to harsh Aversion penalties in diplomacy.
  • To Hell and Back: The major focus of the game. Ursun’s pained roars can open Chaos Rifts — literal tears in the fabric of reality that allow Order-aligned armies to invade the Realms of Chaos. Ursun himself is trapped in the Forge of Souls, and every race's objective is to fight their way in and reach him.
  • Hellgate: As the campaign progresses, the agonized roars of Ursun will open a series of Chaos Rifts that randomly generate across the campaign map. These can be used by playable factions to travel to any of the four Chaos Gods’ domains. Alternatively, Chaos Rifts can be used to teleport to another part of the campaign map. They can also be closed in two ways: by defeating a Daemonic army that spawns upon choosing the option, or by using a Hero action. Leaving them open for too long will allow Daemonic agents and armies to pour into the mortal world.
    • In the Champions of Chaos campaign, the unstable rifts have closed in the aftermath of the main campaign. However, the four playable champions are able to re-open them as stable gateways through rituals powered by harvesting mortal souls.
  • Hero Unit: Legendary Lords, Lords and Heroes return in the same arrangement as in the previous two games.
    • Kislev
      • Tzarina Katarin (Legendary Lord)
      • Kostaltyn (Legendary Lord)
      • Boris Ursus (Legendary Lord)
      • Mother Ostyanka (Legendary Lord)
      • Ulrika Magdova (Legendary Hero)note
      • Naryska Leysa (Legendary Hero)
      • Boyar (Lord)
      • Ice Witch (Lord)
      • Druzhina (Lord)
      • Frost Maiden (Hero)
      • Patriarch (Hero)
      • Hag Witch (Hero)
    • Cathay
      • Miao Ying, the Storm Dragon (Legendary Lord)
      • Zhao Ming, the Iron Dragon (Legendary Lord)
      • Yuan Bo, the Jade Dragon (Legendary Lord)
      • Satyang the Watcher (Legendary Hero)
      • Dragon-blooded Shugengan Lord (Lord)
      • Lord Magistrate (Lord)
      • Celestial General (Lord)
      • Astromancer (Hero)
      • Alchemist (Hero)
      • Gate Master (Hero)
    • Khorne
      • Skarbrand (Legendary Lord)
      • Valkia the Bloody (Legendary Lord)note
      • Exalted Bloodthirster (Lord)
      • Herald of Khorne (Lord)
      • Chaos Lord of Khorne (Lord)note
      • Daemon Prince of Khorne (Lord)note
      • Cultist of Khorne (Hero)
      • Bloodreaper (Hero)
      • Exalted Hero of Khorne (Hero)note
    • Tzeentch
      • Kairos Fateweaver (Legendary Lord)
      • Sarthorael the Everwatcher (Legendary Lord)note
      • Vilitch the Curseling (Legendary Lord)note
      • The Changeling (Legendary Lord)
      • The Blue Scribes (Legendary Hero)
      • Aekold Helbrass (Legendary Hero)note
      • Exalted Lord of Change (Lord)
      • Herald of Tzeentch (Lord)
      • Chaos Lord of Tzeentch (Lord)note
      • Chaos Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch (Lord)note
      • Daemon Prince of Tzeentch (Lord)note
      • Cultist of Tzeentch (Hero)
      • Iridescent Horror (Hero)
      • Exalted Hero of Tzeentch (Hero)note
      • Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch (Hero)note
    • Nurgle
      • Ku'gath Plaguefather (Legendary Lord)
      • Festus the Leechlord (Legendary Lord)note
      • Tamurkhan (Legendary Lord)note
      • Epidemius (Legendary Lord)
      • Exalted Great Unclean One (Lord)
      • Herald of Nurgle (Lord)
      • Chaos Lord of Nurgle (Lord)note
      • Chaos Sorcerer Lord of Nurgle (Lord)note
      • Daemon Prince of Nurgle (Lord)note
      • Cultist of Nurgle (Hero)
      • Plagueridden (Hero)
      • Exalted Hero of Nurgle (Hero)note
      • Chaos Sorcerer of Nurgle (Hero)note
    • Slaanesh
      • N'Kari (Legendary Lord)
      • Sigvald the Magnificent (Legendary Lord)note
      • Azazel, Prince of Damnation (Legendary Lord)note
      • Exalted Keeper of Secrets (Lord)
      • Herald of Slaanesh (Lord)
      • Chaos Lord of Slaanesh (Lord)note
      • Daemon Prince of Slaanesh (Lord)note
      • Cultist of Slaanesh (Hero)
      • Alluress (Hero)
      • Chaos Sorcerer of Slaanesh (Hero)note
    • Daemons of Chaos
      • The God-Slayer (Legendary Lord)
      • Be'lakor the Dark Master (Legendary Lord)note
      • Daemon Prince (Lord)
      • Exalted Bloodthirster (Lord)
      • Herald of Khorne (Lord)
      • Exalted Lord of Change (Lord)
      • Herald of Tzeentch (Lord)
      • Exalted Great Unclean One (Lord)
      • Herald of Nurgle (Lord)
      • Exalted Keeper of Secrets (Lord)
      • Herald of Slaanesh (Lord)
      • Bloodreaper (Hero)
      • Plagueridden (Hero)
      • Iridescent Horror (Hero)
      • Alluress (Hero)
    • Ogre Kingdoms
      • Greasus Goldtooth (Legendary Lord)
      • Skrag the Slaughterer (Legendary Lord)
      • Tyrant (Lord)
      • Slaughtermaster (Lord)
      • Butcher (Hero)
      • Hunter (Hero)
      • Firebelly (Hero)
    • Chaos Dwarfs
      • Astragoth Ironhand (Legendary Lord)
      • Drazhoath the Ashen (Legendary Lord)
      • Zhatan the Black (Legendary Lord)
      • Gorduz Backstabber (Legendary Hero)
      • Sorcerer-Prophet (Lord)
      • Overseer (Lord)
      • Infernal Castellan (Hero)
      • Bull Centaur Taur'ruk (Hero)
      • Daemonsmith Sorcerer (Hero)
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • Kislev specializes in polar bear cavalry. Not only can their Lords and Heroes ride bears, they field whole units of bear cavalry and sleds. Meanwhile, Mother Ostyanka and the Hag Witches ride sleighs pulled by the Things in the Woods respectively and elks. Tzarina Katarin and the Ice Witches can ride monstrous Frost Wyrms, and the former has her signature Ice Court Sleigh as her unique mount.
    • The Dragon-blooded of Cathay are able to ride Longma, which are winged draconic horses. Some of their more exotic mounts include the Celestial Lion, a Gryphon-sized winged lion, and the Great Moon Bird, an analogue to the High Elven Phoenixes.
    • The forces of Chaos have many monstrous mounts for both mortals and daemons alike. Khorne has rhino-like daemonic machines called Juggernauts, Tzeentch has Discs of Tzeentch, Nurgle has monstrous toads known as Plague Toads and monstrous Rot Beasts, and Slaanesh has Steeds of Slaanesh.
    • The Ogres have multiple monstrous examples, ranging from Mournfangs to Stonehorns.
    • Chaos Dwarf Lords and Heroes are able to ride either the monstrous winged Great and Bale Tauri or the Lamassu.
  • Hot as Hell: Slaanesh's daemons embody this trope. From the Daemonettes to the Keepers of Secrets, all of Slaanesh's daemons are alluringly seductive and evocative of androgynous beauty but can morph into sadistic killers if they need to.
  • Husky Russkie: All of the male Kislevite units are this to a degree, combined with Mother Russia Makes You Strong. This is to the point that with the exception of Kostaltyn and the Patriarchs, Kislevite males (and even Naryska Leysa for a Rare Female Example given that her armor is fully enclosed) use the Norscan/Chaos Warrior skeleton rather than the regular human skeleton used by the Imperials, Bretonnians, and Cathayans. It’s especially apparent with the huge Boyars and Tzar Boris Ursus himself, who wrestled with a giant polar bear and made it into his loyal mount. Even the God-Slayer, being a former Kislevite prince, retains his cultural accent as a hulking Daemon Prince.
  • An Ice Person: Kislevite spellcasters - the Tzarina herself, Ice Witches, and Frost Maidens - specialize in this sort of magic. This is reflected in their available lores - the Lore of Ice and the Lore of Tempest (the latter of which combines this trope with Blow You Away). The Ogres also fit this trope with units such as Thundertusks and Yhetees (though these units were not added at launch).
  • Ice Queen: Tzarina Katarin is this in both the literal and metaphorical sense. On the other side of the world, Miao Ying the Storm Dragon is also noted to be “cold and aloof.”
  • Immortal Ruler: Unlike the other human nations of the Warhammer world, Grand Cathay is ruled by a family of immortal Dragons. The Celestial Dragon Emperor and the Moon Empress were actually around when the Old Ones first arrived on the planet, making them older than even the gods themselves. Their long lives — as well as that of their children — have allowed them to perfect many formidable skills and magics, but at the same time it gives them a detached perspective in which their human subjects can be little more than exploitable resources.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the tutorial, Prince Yuri suggests building a totem to Ursun to cleanse a recaptured fort of its Chaos corruption. The building "Totem to Ursun" the player builds does not list Reducing Corruption as an effect, even in its most upgraded form, foreshadowing the fact that Yuri is already damned and nothing can save him.

  • Jiggle Physics: Great Unclean Ones.
  • Kaiju: A few monsters in the game can be considered this, being roughly comparable in size to the Dread Saurian and Rogue Idol from the previous game. These include the Elemental Bear (a bear composed of the ice and soil of Kislev itself), the Stonehorn (a massive creature with rock-hard skin resembling a cross between a mammoth and an aurochs ridden by Ogres) and the K'daai Destroyer (a Mechanical Abomination with magma coursing through its body).
  • Kill the God: The entire plot of Warhammer III was set off after a Chaos-corrupted Kislevite prince tried to do this to Ursun. For Daemonic factions, the main objective is to finish him off and exploit his power for themselves. And the Ogres just want to eat him.
  • Kirin: The Cathayans have access to regiments of Longma (dragon horse) riders, which bear a noted resemblance to Qilin. They also look a lot like Dark Pegasi (being equines with bat-like wings).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of the announcement trailer, immediately after the Wham Shot revealing that the Empire of Grand Cathay would be playable at launch, a man who is revealed to be the Advisor himself looks right at the camera and smirks, acknowledging how Creative Assembly managed to pull the wool over everyone.note 
  • The Legions of Hell: After having only a minor presence in the first two games, the Daemons of Chaos debut here as five distinct races — one for each of the Dark Gods, and one for Chaos Undivided.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: The starting Cathayan Legendary Lords exhibit this, with Miao Ying the Storm Dragon wielding lightning and Zhao Ming the Iron Dragon wielding fire.
  • Living Statue: The Cathayans are known to deploy these. These include titanic Terracotta Sentinels that brandish giant guan daos, the Legendary Hero Satyang the Watcher who is a winged Terracotta Sentinel armed with a Great Bow, and the Jade and Jet Lions.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The game zig-zags between this and Cosmic Horror Story. On one hand, you can't defeat Chaos Gods, or remove their influence for good. However, all their factions can be defeated, the state of the world can be massively improved, and End Times can definitely be averted.
  • Magic Compass: A very large one in the Wu Xing Compass, a magnificent contraption housed in the Celestial City above Grand Cathay’s capital. Created by the Celestial Dragon Emperor, it is able to track the pattern of the Winds of Magic across Cathay — and if the need arises, it can also be used to redirect magic to wherever it is needed most. It forms one of the campaign mechanics for the faction, as pointing it in one of four different directions can provide different bonuses, army abilities and effects.
  • Magikarp Power: Nurgle's faction is unlike anything seen in a Total War faction to date, with self-upgrading buildings that operate in cycles and each cycle adding a unit to a global recruitment pool, which can then be recruited from anywhere in a damaged state. They start out able to recruit a small number of low-tier units that are barely able to fill a full army at a time when other factions might be running around with multiple armies, but as time goes on, technology gets researched, and Nurgle's forces slowly expand, this eventually ramps up into a machine that can recruit any unit anywhere in prodigious numbers, wait a single turn to replenish, then march into battle, replacing any losses on the march without ever having to stop and simply drowning enemies in an unending tide of Nurglings. Further, not being reliant on recruitment buildings means destroying their high-tier settlements, normally fatal to any faction since it cuts off their access to their best units, is merely annoying to Nurgle's forces since they can still recruit the high-tier units they already have pooled and their late-game Growth rate is so absurdly high that they can replace Tier 5 settlements pretty quickly.
  • Mechanical Abomination: Several Chaos-aligned units are this, oftentimes due to being Daemonic constructs of some sort. These include the Juggernauts, Skull Cannons, and Blood Thrones of Khorne, as well as the K'daai Fireborn and Destroyers for the Chaos Dwarfs.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Streltsi uses gun-axes, modeled on an actual Real Life Eastern European weapon used by their historical namesakes. This is actually explained in the lore as being the result of Kislevite commanders noticing the tendency for their troops to use their guns as improvised clubs and following up on it. The Infernal Guard use fireglaives, which are firearm/halberd hybrids.
  • Monstrous Scenery: The backgrounds of the final battle maps within the Realm of Chaos are dominated by the shapes of the Chaos Gods as they look down on the clashes between their followers and invading challengers. Most take the form of immense humanoid forms half-seen within the gloom, while Tzeentch appears as hundreds of eyes staring down from the sky.
  • Morale Mechanic: Returns from the previous games and is still called Leadership. Notably, Daemons are banished back to the Chaos realms when their courage fails, leading them to effectively die on the spot similar to undead factions.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Russia, Kislev is this as an entire faction. It’s combined with Had to Be Sharp given how close they are to the Chaos Wastes.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The Keepers of Secrets, Slaanesh's Greater Daemons, have four arms. Some end in hands that they wield weapons with while others end in pincers. Tzeentch’s various Horrors and Heralds also sport multiple arms, though they each tend to have three.
  • Multiple Head Case: Kairos Fateweaver has two heads, one that sees into the past and the other into the future. Similarly, the Exalted Heroes of Tzeentch have three heads.
  • The Musketeer: All Kislevite infantry units (excluding the Kislevite Warriors and Tzar Guard) are some form of this, using gun-axes, swords and pistols, or bows with spears. Streltsi have been shown firing from the back ranks while the front ranks swing their axes (a feature carried over from Total War: Three Kingdoms). They also have the Druzhina, a generic Lord who not only fights with both an axe and bow but is designed specifically to synergize with their hybrid playstyle.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the unique weapons that can be found in the Blood God's Domain in the Realm of Chaos campaign is a Chainsword. This hearkens back to the days where Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 shared the same setting, when it was possible to gift mortal followers of Chaos with 40K weapons in the tabletop game.
    • Some of the imperial hero units that are recruitable are the player party from The End Times: Vermintide, and they do in fact have a higher chance to spawn naturally if a Skaven faction has declared war on the Empire.
      • This is taken even further in the literal Vermintide endgame crisis, which not only reenacts the story of Vermintide by spawning massive amounts of Skaven across the map, but also gives the player a unique quest battle which rewards them with an army that has a Witch Hunter, Dwarf Thane, Wood Elf Waystalker, Imperial Captain, and Bright Wizard embedded by default, all at level 25, the same set up as the player characters from Vermintide.
    • As a nod to him originating from the Gotrek & Felix novels, Malakai Makaisson's segments of the Thrones of Decay trailer features cameos from the eponymous duo.
  • The Napoleon: Like regular dwarfs, the dawi-zharr hate being called short. Unlike regular dwarfs, chaos dwarfs have warped it into a full-on height complex, where they'll posture about being taller than their minions and political rivals. It's implied that this is why they wear their distinctive tall hats.
    Drazhoath the Ashen: You address the Lord of the Black Fortress. When I say you are shorter than me, it is true.
    Zhatan the Black: We are tall. You are short. Ignore your eyes.
  • Never My Fault: A defining trait of both of the main Daemon Princes in the story. Both are motivated by what they see as deserved vengeance for something that only happened because of their own behavior to begin with. Be'lakor was punished by the Chaos Gods for presuming too much of himself thanks to power he only had because of them, and the player-named Prince cursed his god for failing him and Be'lakor for betraying him, when not only was he the one who killed his god, he did so on Be'lakor's behalf after learning that the Obviously Evil Be'lakor had tricked him into doing so.
  • No Canon for the Wicked:
    • With the last-second reveal of the game being a Stealth Prequel. Kislev is still live and fertile in the first game's Grand Campaign story (and also in Immortal Empies), implying that a Kislev victory (the only ending where Ursun lives) is canon.
    • The Champions of Chaos DLC campaign explicitly takes place in the aftermath of a Kislev victory in the Realm of Chaos storyline, as the rifts have closed after Ursun's successful rescue by his followers, forcing the four champions to manually re-open the portals to pursue their quest for Zanbaijin.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: In the Immortal Empires campaign, Karl Franz's campaign is labelled as being good for beginners. And while it is true that The Empire's campaign mechanics and units themselves are relatively uncomplicated for newcomers to grasp, what the tooltip fails to warn about is that Karl starts surrounded by, and will be quickly at war with any combination of, the following: Khazrak the One-Eye, Festus the Leechlord, Vlad Von Carstein, Drycha, Durthu, Be'lakor, The Changeling and Wulfrik the Wanderer. When left to fend for himself, Karl is likely to be wiped out before even turn forty.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Hanyu Port, a major city in southern Cathay, does not contain a port in the Realm of Chaos campaign map. On a more pedantic level, the God-Slayer has not slain a god yet.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: Streltsi use their gun-axes both to fire at point blank range in general, as well as Finishing Move animations doing this. Meanwhile, Armoured Kossars carry pistols that they use at point blank range before charging.
  • Order Versus Chaos: While all the Dark Gods count as chaos, Grand Cathay — a prosperous nation focused on harmony and discipline, under the rule of an immortal royal family — is specifically arrayed against Tzeentch, a Mad God embodying magic, transformation and ambition.
  • Original Generation:
    • A player-named Daemon Prince, specially created for this game, leads the Legion of Chaos faction.
    • While they incorporate the scraps of lore that existed beforehand, most of the Grand Cathay faction was cut from whole cloth for the game.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • While it was long implied in the lore that the Dragon Emperor of Cathay was a literal Dragon, the game outright confirms this. In fact, it reveals that he and his family have been ruling the region of Cathay since before the coming of Chaos. All of them, including the Cathayan Legendary Lords, can freely switch between human and dragon forms in battle. As Cathay is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial China, they are all of course Eastern dragons.
    • Kislev has Frost Wyrms, monstrous flightless serpents attuned to Ice Magic that the Ice Witches are not only able to summon in times of war, but can ride into battle as mounts.
    • Nurgle has Toad Dragons, mutated dragons that resemble gigantic scaled amphibians. One of these, Buebolos, serves as the mount for Tamurkhan.
  • Our Mages Are Different: As with the last two games, there are plenty more Lores of Magic being introduced into the game for the new factions to toy around with:
    • The Kislevites, living in a land of biting cold and furious storms, have managed to master the Lore of Ice and the Lore of Tempest. With the Lore of Ice, the witches can not only freeze their foes to death or slow them down, but can also use that very same ice to empower the weapons of their allies. The Lore of Tempest, wile not as cold as the Lore of Ice, makes up for it by bringing along intense winds, hellish hail and biting blizzards, all wile keeping the same winds against the backs of your soldiers. They also have a third lore, the Lore of the Hag, which is naturally associated with Mother Ostyanka and the Hag Witches. Like the Ice Witches, this lore draws from the land of Kislev itself, specifically its woodlands, fens and oblasts, to confound and bewitch their enemies with various curses and hexes. Uniquely, when spells from this lore are overcast, they instead become blessings that can augment friendly forces.
    • The Cathayans, after being taught for millennia by the dragons that rule over their land, have developed the Lore of Yin and the Lore of Yang. The Lore of Yin utilizes the darker, stealthier and colder parts of the different lores wile the Lore of Yang utilizes the brighter, extravagant and hotter parts of the different lores, all to ensure harmony. It is the closest thing that most humans will ever get to casting High or Dark magic without burning their soul out.
    • The Ogres, thanks to the influence of The Great Maw, managed to develop a lore of magic known as the Lore of The Great Maw, a brutish form of sorcery that utilizes food that the Butchers and Slaughtermasters devour on the field in order to cast spells based on their meals. This includes munching down on troll guts to heal, chewing on granite to get hardier or eating brains to fill the foe with the victim’s nightmares.
    • The Lore of Tzeentch is a highly destructive and unstable form of Entropy and Chaos Magic that only the most magically adept (and insane) followers of Chaos can perform with even a small chance of safety. None of these spells will buff or support your own units as they are fully geared towards destroying the foe in ways perfectly suited for the God of Magic.
    • The Lore of Slaanesh is quite the fitting collection of spells for an army where you will have a hard time finding anyone who isn't a Combat Sadomasochist. The spellcasters ensure that both sides feel as much pain and pleasure as possible through a myriad of twisted spells, driving the deranged mortals and daemons further into macabre acts of violence wile the enemy is too distracted by euphoria or suffering to properly fight back.
    • The Lore of Nurgle is all about forcing your foes to suffer from one Mystical Plague after the other, rotting them apart while your own bloated troops will find themselves invigorated and motivated by those very same diseases that they keep on spreading through the battlefield.
    • The Chaos Dwarfs bring along the Lore of Hashut, a cross between Lava Adds Awesome and Evil Is Burning Hot that they learned thanks to the blessings of their new dark god of fire and tyranny. Using metals, flames and darkness, this lore of magic will cause immense harm to ones foes wile also making them even more vulnerable to the burning attacks of the Dawi-Zharr. And unlike the regular Lore of Fire or Metal, there are no supportive spells for your troops here, as to be expected from Hashut. Only carnage and despair for your enemies.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The Ogre Kingdoms, first teased in Total War: Warhammer II as mercenary units available to all factions, make their debut in this game as a full playable race. The Thrones of Decay DLC introduces Tamurkhan - a Chaos Lord of Nurgle who inhabits the body of an Ogre - and Plague Ogres
  • Panthera Awesome: The Shadows of Change DLC adds a few of these to the Cathayan roster. These include the Jade and Jet Lions, which are monstrous leonine constructs with the former being a conduit to magic and the latter is being to be an Anti-Magic shield, and the Celestial Lion, which is a monstrous winged lion that serves as their analogue to the Gryphons and Hippogryphs of the Old World.
  • Plague Master: Nurgle's playstyle revolves around this both on the campaign map and in pitched battle. On the campaign map, they have access to the Plague Cauldron which allows them to create different Mystical Plagues to afflict their enemies while empowering their own forces. On the battlefield, all of their units can afflict their foes with diseases, especially through their signature lore.
  • Polluted Wasteland: The Dark Lands are a monster-infested arid/volcanic climate made further inhospitable by the Industrialized Evil of the Chaos Dwarfs. Of particular note is the River Ruin, which snakes through the heart of Chaos Dwarf territory, and is so heavily polluted by industrial waste that the water has turned green.
  • Power Pincers: A specialty of Slaanesh. A majority of their roster, from the Daemonettes to the Fiends and Keepers of Secrets, have limbs ending in sharp pincers.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Tzar Guard and Ice Guard of Kislev, along with the Celestial Dragon Guard for Grand Cathay, act as high-tier infantry units for the forces of Order.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Rather than being carried around by hundreds of Gnoblars (who would probably not be able to support his weight and, from a developer standpoint, be extremely difficult and intensive to animate), Greasus Goldtooth instead moves around in a makeshift wheeled contraption not unlike a Pump Wagon. The developers even joked that not even Greasus' wealth was enough to change this. While Ku'gath Plaguefather still has his palanquin carried by Nurglings, it has been redesigned as a more simplistic circular dais carried by six Nurglings rather than being a makeshift chair carried by hundreds of Nurglings for the same reason.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • After being a minor faction in the first game, Kislev is one of the six playable factions in the base game Total War: Warhammer III.
    • The previously unseen Empire of Grand Cathay (the Old World's Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Imperial China) is finally playable in this game. Notably, this is the first time since Warhammer started that Cathay gets a major story role.
    • In Immortal Empires Be'lakor, the Final Boss for the Realm of Chaos campaign, is a playable Legendary Lord.

  • Rescue Arc: From the perspective of the Kislevites, one of their main objectives in the game’s plot is to literally rescue their god Ursun from imprisonment and death. This trope is also true in a sense for the Grand Cathay campaign — while the Dragons traditionally do not have a liking for gods, they have decided to save Ursun because he knows the whereabouts of their missing younger sister.
    • The Kislevites get another rescue arc halfway through their campaign: if they manage to control the cities of Kislev, Praag and Erengrad for ten consecutive turns, they get the opportunity to save their greatest Tzar, Boris Ursus, from the forces of Chaos and bring him back to life.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Dragon Siblings of Cathay are this, having been tasked with the actual governing and defense of the empire by their father. In Kislev, Tzar Boris Bohka was a formidable Frontline General in addition to being a visionary reformer, and his daughter Katarin continues his legacy while using her Ice Magic to subdue Kislev’s foes.
  • Running Gag: The setting bad guys all hate snow, with Immortal Empires added Skarbrand, Be'lakor, Vilitch and Malekith all having random dialogue in snowy areas expressing their distaste for it.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: As the “Bulwark of the North,” Kislev is the first stop for any major Chaos invasion from the Chaos Wastes. Due to suffering from these incursions for hundreds of years, it has formed a culture devoted to fighting Chaos in all its forms. Even by those standards, its campaign starts off in an especially grim place: its main god Ursun has been captured and mortally wounded, and the nation itself has been torn asunder by political and religious strife following the apparent death of its greatest Tzar.
  • Save Your Deity: The Kislev campaign is centered around the quest to save Ursun from the clutches of Be’lakor.
  • Screw Destiny: The player's chosen legendary lord can do this at the end of the Champions of Chaos campaign. After the player has defeated the three other contenders for the massed souls of Zanbaijin, Archaon himself arrives, declaring that no one Chaos God can be ascendant over the others and that, as the Everchosen of Chaos, the souls are his destiny to claim for Chaos Undivided. The player's lord then tells him in no uncertain terms where he can stick his destiny and can then defeat his army, kill him and usurp his role as Everchosen, putting their god in ascendance anyway.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Ursun. His capture and wounding is the catalyst for the main plot, as he is literally opening rifts between the mortal and Chaos realms with his death throes. The main objective of the game is to either rescue him (if you’re playing as an Order faction) or to kill him and take his power (if you’re playing a Chaos faction). In a lesser case, Tzar Boris, as noted below.
  • Secret Character: When a Kislev player manages to maintain control of the three main Kislevite cities (Praag, Erengrad and Kislev) for ten consecutive turns, they will be given the chance to rescue Boris Ursus — the previous Tzar and Katarin’s father — in a special quest battle. This not only makes him available as a lord in the player’s current campaign but also unlocks his own campaign in the faction selection menu.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Rivalry: The children of the Dragon Emperor and Moon Empress are known to bicker with each other, with Miao Ying and Zhao Ming having a particular rivalry. However, they are capable of putting aside their differences for the sake of Grand Cathay—and saving a missing younger sibling.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Cathayan Legendary Lords, Miao Ying and Zhao Ming, exemplify this trope. Miao Ying is a black dragon, the eldest daughter in the family and an Ice Queen who doesn’t hesitate to invoke We Have Reserves while defending Cathay’s northern border. Her younger brother Zhao Ming, on the other hand, is a fiery, eccentric white dragon who is much more in touch with his human subjects. Both of them are also the favorites of different parents, with Miao being favored by her father and Zhao by his mother.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: In the trailers, the filthy, obese and plague-ridden Daemons of Nurgle are juxtaposed with the Daemons of Slaanesh, a race of Hot as Hell daemons that represent excess, hedonism and debauchery.
  • Snow Means Death: The launch trailer shows a desperate battle between the forces of Kislev and a host of Khornate daemons in the middle of an arctic wasteland. A cart is seen hauling piles of frozen corpses away from the Kislevite camp before the battle commences, and when the armies make contact the Kislevite rank-and-file are scythed down in droves by the daemons.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Zig-Zagged with Boris Ursus. According to the lore of Warhammer's 6th Edition, he died in Troll Country while fighting off a Kurgan invasion. In Total War: Warhammer III, however, he was encased in ice by the Motherland itself and can be brought back to life as a bonus Legendary Lord during Katarin and Kostaltyn’s campaigns. Though it is worth noting that the Realm of Chaos campaign takes place before the first game's campaign (which itself takes place before Boris's fatal incursion).
  • Stealth Prequel: The Realm of Chaos campaign takes place before the events of the first game, as revealed by appearance of Sarthorael the Ever-watcher (in his white raven disguise) in the game's ending, and the Advisor losing his sight in the campaign's epilogue.
  • Spiteful A.I.: The 'anti-player bias' present in the previous game is much more prominent. This is especially noticeable in the Realms of Chaos, where roaming armies will actively seek out and attack the player but will frequently ignore the AI unless they get very close.
  • Summon Magic: The Daemonic factions possess the ability to summon more of their own kind during combat, depending on the circumstances. For example, Cultist heroes are able to learn how to summon the lesser daemon troop of their alignment, eventually upgrading to summoning greater daemons. The Cathayans can also summon Ancestral Warriors through the Lore of Yin. Ice Witches and Ice Maidens, meanwhile, can summon Snow Leopards to serve as temporary bodyguards, with additional points in the skill giving the Leopard improved stats.
  • Supernatural Elite: Cathay is ruled over by a draconic aristocracy consisting of the Dragon Emperor, the Moon Empress, their five children, and their own children's descendants.
  • Take Over the World: The Immortal Empires add-on now models pretty much the entire Warhammer World (with the absence of Nippon, Ind and Khuresh being inaccessible for the time being). It would take a long time, as the map is huge and the number of enemy factions borders on the absurd, but a skilled player could in fact bring every single territory under your faction's control.
  • Title Drop: Each of the "Enter the World of" trailers ends with a phrase that incorporates the starring faction's name, such as "Defend the legacy of Kislev" or "Devour for the Ogre Kingdoms". Khorne's trailer is the only exception, though it makes up for it with his signature Badass Creed of "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!"
  • Too Important to Walk: Greasus Goldtooth (who wheels around in a makeshift contraption laden with his treasures), Ku'gath Plaguefather (who resides on a palanquin carried by Nurglings), and Astragoth Ironhand (who due to his limbs being petrified walks around in a mechanical harness).
  • Tutorial Failure: Downplayed in the prologue campaign. It's completely possible to blitz through parts of it, skipping some of the lessons and ending the exercise early. Mitigated by the fact the main campaign has extensive advisor help that recaps a lot of the same material, and if you could finish the prologue that easily you generally don't need the basic overviews you missed.
  • Unseen No More:
    • The Daemons of Chaos were The Ghost in the previous two games, barring Lords of Change appearing in the first game. Here, they're finally on-screen and fully playable.
    • Ku'gath Plaguefather never had a miniature despite being a playable character in the 8th Edition Daemons of Chaos Army Book (though he did have a corresponding illustration). Now he makes his first proper appearance.
    • Similarly, N'Kari never had a miniature, but he was heavily alluded to in the endings of multiple campaigns in the second game. Now he makes his first full-on playable appearance in any Warhammer media (with his appearance being based off the one illustration of him fighting Aenarion).
    • Cathay was only mentioned in supplementary material related to Warhammer as well as brief mentions in the first two games. Now they are playable for the first time in franchise history with their own Legendary Lords, Heroes and units no less.
      • Of particular note within the Cathayan roster are the Celestial Lions. These were originally mentioned in a minor lore snippet in the 8th Edition Core Rulebook as some of the denizens of Ind that the Everqueen and her entourage must face whenever they venture to the Tower of the Sun every decade and did not have any association with Cathay, but were eventually added to their roster in a later update.
    • As part of the Adaptational Expansion Kislev and Cathay have received, several new characters for both factions have been introduced in passing before eventually being introduced in DLC. For example, the Shadows of Change DLC adds Mother Ostyankanote  and Naryska Leysa for Kislev and Yuan Bo to Cathay, all of whom were new characters first introduced in promotional and in-game lore material.
  • Utopia: Cathay stands out in the Warhammer setting. While other races are defined primarily by their flaws, with some factions reaching comical levels of Crapsack World, Cathay is governed by immortal, benevolent beings who genuinely care for their people's welfare, and is equal if not superior to everything other Order factions can do (e.g. having magic on par with the High Elves and technology on par with the dwarfs, etc.) Many of the lore snippets given during the loading screens consist of other characters gushing about how wonderful Cathay is. This was stated to be intentional by the game's writer in an interview, where he confirmed Cathay is being presented in an initially positive light in order to make a good first impression with the fans, and that its darker sides will be explored later.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Legendary Lords for each of the Daemonic factions can act as this if players choose their campaigns. The Ogres as well, to a lesser extent, as they're only looking for Ursun so they can eat him. In Immortal Empires a plethora of evil Legendary Lords are available, every single one from this and the previous games plus Be'lakor.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Relative to the previous two games. Most Total War games play like a map-painter, encouraging you to expand and create a huge empire. Always expand, always grow, always be fighting. The Reign of Chaos campaign is much harder if you do this, since you have more portals to close, more territory to defend, and it's more likely your Legendary Lord will be out of position when the time comes to grab a soul. Instead the campaign encourages you to build tall and expand only to two or three provinces, focusing all your effort on creating the biggest, mightiest doomstack you can for the trip to the Realm of Chaos and the survival battles therein and maintaining the bare minimum of territory you need to sustain it.
    • Flying melee units can attack and destroy constructed towers (the ones built mid-battle, not ones built into walls) much faster than artillery can because of a number of quirks in how the game assigns damage.Long-Winded Explanation
    • Encampment stance now only provides its casualty replenishment bonus in hostile territory. If the difference between you encampment bonus and your province's regular casualty replenishment bonus is large enough it can be faster to replenish in a camp in enemy territory than in a friendly city.
    • Building up friendly relations with an ally, sticking by them, standing up for them, and helping them out feels like it should be the best way to secure a confederation, but it's actually the worst. AI factions will rarely confederate if they feel safe, so the best way to secure a confederation is to actively undermine and sabotage them in ways that don't damage your relations. Preferred tactics for this include 'borrowing' their armies and intentionally getting them killed and securing a military alliance then declaring war on their neighbors, and even then you may have to threaten them into accepting the confederation.
  • Wendigo: In contrast to the Vampire Coast's Mournguls which resemble the traditional depiction of the wendigo and behave rather similarly, the Things in the Woods and Elemental Incarnates of Beasts resemble the popular culture depiction of the wendigo complete with the Sinister Deer Skull. However, they are notably less malevolent than their inspiration given their association with the Creepy Good Mother Ostyanka and the Hag Witches (though the Elemental Incarnates can also be fielded by the Always Chaotic Evil Beastmen).
  • Weredragon: The Dragons of Cathay are noted to take human form. Miao Ying, Zhao Ming, and Yuan Bo - the Cathayan legendary lords, can quickly switch between their dragon and human shapes in the midst of battle; while their human forms allow them to cast more spells and augment the Battle Harmony of their troops, their dragon forms are flying melee powerhouses that possess incredible speed.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The second trailer ends with The Reveal that the Kislevite sentry and her bear have not only wandered into the Realm of Chaos, but are directly facing the Brass Citadel and Khorne himself.
    • All campaigns end with a shot of the advisor having a white crow (Sarthorael in disguise) perch on his shoulder before marching off to parts unknown with his tome in hand, revealing that the Realm of Chaos campaign is actually a Stealth Prequel to the original game.


Video Example(s):


Elspeth von Draken

Despite her grim appearance and macabre magical arts, Elspeth is a protector of the Empire of Man.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkIsNotEvil

Media sources: