Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki

The Empire is a race introduced in Total War: Warhammer. They have four playable factions with four Legendary Lords to choose from.

The Empire is the largest human nation in the Old World and the second largest in the Warhammer World, second only to Cathay. They are a proud country built on gunpowder, steel, and faith in their patron god Sigmar. They are based on the real world Holy Roman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Their army combines Spearmen, Knights and Cannons with fantasy elements such as Battle Wizards, Steam Tanks and Griffons.


  • Bullet icon empire magic colleges.pngColleges of Magic: Harness multiple Lores of Magic to bolster the Empire's strength and destroy its enemies.
  • Bullet Icon The Empire Imperial Authority.pngImperial Authority: Develop authority within the Empire by engaging in internal politics and quelling problems to enforce confederation, vassalage or war.
  • Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngSummon the Elector Counts: Secure the fealty of the Empire's Lords to govern or take over by force, assigning new, more loyal Elector Counts.
  • Bullet icon empire units.pngWell-rounded unit roster with a wide range of magical Lores and war machines.


Three things make the Empire great; faith, steel and gunpowder.

For two and a half millennia the Empire has formed a bulwark against the encroaching forces of Destruction. Lying at the heart of the Old World, it is the greatest and most powerful of all the nations forged by Men. But the realm is in constant turmoil, beset on all sides by enemies ferocious and foul - despised by countless foes, with even gods and their unholy followers desiring nothing more than the Empire's utter destruction.

Yet it endures, for mankind has a steely determination to not merely live, but thrive. The Empire's armies are mighty with ranks of highly-disciplined troops and heavily-armoured Knights, led by valiant warrior-generals and supplemented by the arcane will of Battle Wizards and powerful machines of war.

While the Empire's vast armies are constantly caught in the swirling maelstrom of war, facing all manner of threats within and without its porous borders, perhaps its greatest foe is, and always has been, itself. For the Empire is not one harmonious nation but a collective of fiercely independent provinces and city-states each led by an Elector Count - a powerful noble whose own interests often come before matters of his people or the greater good of the nation. It is from these men and women that an Emperor is elected; in the past the realm has been blighted by a succession of corrupt leaders, or been riven with internal strife as rival Electors fought for the throne. During such dark times the Empire was at its weakest and so its many enemies have taken full advantage.

And yet when mankind seems in greatest peril, the Twin-Tailed Comet arcs across the sky and a great leader comes to the fore. First it was Sigmar, the warrior-god who founded the Empire, and in recent centuries Magnus the Pious purged the lands of Chaos, uniting the nation under one glorious banner. But that was five hundred years ago. A new Emperor has been crowned, he is untested, unwilling - as yet - to take up Sigmar's Warhammer, and not the candidate many Elector Counts wanted. They are uneasy, fractious and, in many cases, outright hostile - and at a time when dark clouds gather in the north, the dead walk again in Sylvania, ancient allies are under siege, and the Greenskins are more belligerent than ever.

So begins the age of Karl Franz, and he has much to do: unite the Empire, secure its borders, and bring prosperity to its beleaguered citizens. The Twin-Tailed Comet blazes across the sky once again, but is this an omen for good or ill?[1]


The Empire is a non-horde race that can occupy settlements and control provinces.

Playable factions[]

The Empire has three playable factions with four Legendary Lords to choose from:


  • Berry Drury - Gives objectives and quests to The Huntsmarshal's Expedition.

Minor Factions[]

On the campaign map, many factions are grouped together as The Empire and use units from The Empire unit roster.

Total War: Warhammer

Factions introduced in The Old World campaign:

Factions exclusive to the An Eye for An Eye campaign:

In Battle[]

Balthasar Gelt and Halberdiers face off against Zombies lead by a Vampire Lord on a Zombie Dragon.

Bullet icon empire units.pngUnit Roster[]

Main article: Empire unit roster

The Empire has access to a large and balanced unit roster with a wide range of options. Their roster offers plenty of flexibility in terms of strategy. The backbone of their armies are infantry armed with a variety of weapons from greatswords to spears and handguns. They also have various types of knights and ranged cavalry, cannons and even magical artillery. The mighty Steam Tank is one of the game's most powerful war machines. The Empire even has flying units and monsters, available as character mounts.

However, high specialization among units means that the day is won not through numbers or tactics, but a competent strategic approach through combined arms: mixing units and covering their weak spots with other forces. As they lack any sort of elite infantry, holding the line against most opponents can be extremely difficult and requires heavy reliance on the support of ranged units (such as Outriders and Handgunners) and shock cavalry (such as Reiksguard and Demigryph Knights) for hammer and anvil tactics. The Warrior Priest hero character can also use powerful area of effect buffs that can offset their relatively weaker melee infantry. Artillery is essential for softening up approaching formations of elite tier infantry in the campaign once enemy factions gain access to it, as the Empire's infantry struggles against them in melee.

Bullet icon empire magic colleges.pngMagic[]

Empire has access to eight lores of magic:

Each type of Empire wizard has its own unique model (and in some cases unique mounts or abilities) to represent the various Colleges in lore.


Bullet Icon The Empire Imperial Authority.pngImperial Authority & Prestige[]

Main article: Imperial Authority

The Empire is known for its Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngElector Counts and internal politics that leave it in a permanent state of unrest and war. However, increasing your Icon Prestige.pngPrestige, and ultimately your Bullet Icon The Empire Imperial Authority.pngImperial Authority, will bring stability.

Acquire Icon Prestige.pngPrestige through noble actions such as expansion, victory in battle and constructing grand buildings, then use it to deal with incidents and solve dilemmas from which your authority will grow, improving File:Hunter effect icons loyalty green.png.pngFealty among the Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngElector Counts.

Additionally, Icon Prestige.pngPrestige can also be spent on Electoral Machinations which enable you to manipulate diplomatic relationships within the Empire.

Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngElector Counts[]

Main article: Fealty

Each state of the Empire is governed by an Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngElector Count; securing their Hunter effect icons loyalty green.png Fealty is key to unifying the Empire through confederation. Some, though, will not be easily convinced and will require much persuasion through aid or miltary force.

Once a state's capital is under your control, you may keep the residing Bullet Icon The Empire Summon the Elector Counts.pngElector Count or elect a new one. Each provides a host of new benefits, such as granting a specific Runefang sword and units.

Event Buildings Neutral.pngBuildings[]

Main article: Empire buildings

Event Technology Neutral.pngTechnology[]

Main article: Empire tech tree

Event Commander Activity Neutral.pngStances[]

The Empire's armies can adopt the following stances:

Stance Description Effects
Default Stance None.png


Traverses the world as normal None
Stance March.png


Increases this army's campaign map marching range.
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range: +50%
  • Military.pngRecruitment: Disabled
  • Vigour.pngVigour in battle: Tired
  • Melee.pngShould the army be attacked, retreat will be impossible, if it loses the battle it will be wiped out
  • Melee.pngBattle initiation: Disabled
Icon ambush stance.png


Conceals this army, allowing surprise attacks against passing enemies.
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range required to adopt: 25%
  • Subterfuge.pngHidden until discovered or battle initiated
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement: Disabled


Raids wealth from the local region.
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range required to adopt: 50%
  • Icon income plus.pngIncome generated from raiding: Arrow increase 1.png
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range: -25%
  • Public order.pngPublic order: -3 in the raided province
  • Growth.pngGrowth: -5 in the raided province
  • Disaster.pngImmune to attrition
  • Vigour.pngVigour in battle: Winded
  • Diplomacy.pngDiplomacy: Penalties with raided factions
  • Income.pngIncome from all buildings: -100% (when raiding own region)


Sets up a defensive camp, allowing for recruitment and replenishment, regardless of territory.
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range required to adopt: 50%
  • Replenishment.pngEnables replenishment and access to the global recruitment pool
  • Disaster.pngImmune to attrition
  • Defence.pngMelee defence: +5
  • Morale.pngLeadership: +5
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement: Disabled


Increases the favourability of the Winds of Magic when fighting battles.
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range required to adopt: 25%
  • Campaign movement.pngCampaign movement range: -10%
  • Magic.pngWinds of Magic power reserve: +15

Event Military Neutral.pngPost-Battle Options[]

The Empire has the following post-battle options after winning a battle:

Icon ransom.png

Pardon Captives

Icon kill.png

Execute Captives

Icon enslave.png

Take on Captives (against The Empire only)

Allow these warriors to return to their homelands, for a ransom. Despite dipping into their treasury, the enemy will appreciate such a deed. Leave no captives alive. The foe and their allies will not look upon you kindly, but their enemies will respect your decision. Force these troops to change allegiance and allow them to serve in your army.
  • Icon treasury.pngTreasury: Arrow increase 1.png
  • Your army will gain the following effect:
    • Replenishment.pngPardoned Captives (Turns: 1)
      • "Men are reluctant to join the ranks of this army."
      • Replenishment.pngCasualty replenishment rate: -5%
Your army will gain the following effect:
  • Morale.pngKilled Captives (Turns: 5)
    • "These men are feeling confident after cleaning up stragglers from the recent battle."
    • Morale.pngLeadership: +4
  • Icon Replenish.pngUnit replenishment: Arrow increase 1.png%

Event City Neutral.pngSettlement Options[]

The Empire has the following settlement options after successfully sieging a settlement:

Occupy Loot & Occupy Sack Raze
The Empire Occupy Settlement.png The Empire Loot Settlement.png The Empire Sack Settlement.png Raze Settlement.png
You occupy the settlement and all captives are killed. You gain wealth from looting, but buildings in the settlement are damaged. All captives are enslaved,Icon public order.pngPublic Order is greatly reduced, and your diplomatic relations with the previous owner also suffer greatly. You do not occupy the settlement but instead steal wealth and damage buildings. All captives are enslaved, Icon public order.pngPublic Order is reduced, and the previous owner will like you a lot less. All buildings are destroyed and the settlement is torched.
  • Icon Public Order Negative.pngConquest penalty: -10
  • Province instability: -3
  • Icon Public Order Negative.pngConquest penalty: -30
  • Province instability: -10
  • Icon treasury.pngTreasury: Arrow increase 1.png
  • Icon Replenish.pngUnit replenishment: Arrow increase 1.png%
  • Province instability: -10
  • Icon treasury.pngTreasury: Arrow increase 1.png
  • Icon Replenish.pngUnit replenishment: Arrow increase 1.png%
Icon treasury.pngTreasury: Arrow increase 1.png

Event Province Region Neutral.pngCommandments[]

The Empire can issue the following commandments when all settlements are owned in the selected province:

Commandment Effects
Commandment Host Festag.png

Host Festag

  • Public order.pngPublic Order: +4
Commandment Sigmarite Dogma.png

Sigmarite Dogma

  • Agent.pngEnemy Hero action success chance: -15% (all regions in this province)
  • Religion.pngUntainted: +1 (local province)
Commandment Imperial Taxation.png

Imperial Taxation

  • Income.pngTax rate: +5%
Commandment Council of Burgomeisters.png

Council of Burgomeisters

  • Income.pngIncome from trade: +5% (factionwide)
  • Growth.pngGrowth: +20
Commandment State Troop Levy.png

State Troop Levy

  • Treasury.pngRecruitment cost: -5%
  • Army.pngLocal recruitment capacity: +1

Event Commander Activity Neutral.pngClimate[]

The Empire has the following climate preferences:

Preference Climate
Suitable: Temperate.pngTemperate, Savannah.pngSavannah, Desert.pngDesert
Unpleasant: Magical forest.pngMagical Forest, Mountain.pngMountain, Temperate island.pngTemperate Island, Jungle.pngJungle
Uninhabitable: Frozen.pngFrozen, Wasteland.pngWasteland, Ocean.pngOcean, Chaotic wasteland.pngChaotic Wasteland

Event Character Activity Neutral.pngInventory[]

Event Military Neutral.pngChaos Invasion[]

During a Chaos Invasion, the AI Empire factions gain the Shield of Civilization trait along with certain other races.


  • The Empire plays similarly to traditional Total War factions, with diplomacy playing a major role in the initial stages of the campaign (uniting the Elector Counts with the strength of their arguments or the argument of strength) and strengthening the realm against future threats. Late game focuses on frontline affairs more strongly, as the Empire comes under attack from Chaos.
  • This race starts with a fractured Empire, whereby the provinces of the Empire are ruled by Elector Counts over whom the Emperor has tenuous control at best. However, this same situation also allows for plentiful confederation options that allow other Empire factions to be merged with the Emperor’s via diplomacy. Dwarfs are a vital ally in any Empire game, as they have generally non-overlapping territorial interests and can provide a strong boost to trade. Bretonnia is an excellent ally as well, but can also be dismembered and annexed for special building chains and raw income (eg. Couronne), while Southern Realms can also play that role. Notably, the Southern Realms and Bretonnia can act as a buffer for Beastmen and the Wood Elves of Athel Loren, which have a habit of stomping neighbors into the ground thanks to the edge they have in low tier battles.
  • Numerous enemies, dissatisfied Elector Counts to the north and east, Chaos looming even further up, belligerent Orcs to the south, sinister Vampire Counts in Sylvania, vengeful treemen to the east and Beastmen all around. Bretonnia, Tilea, Estalia and the Border Princes can become your enemies should relations turn sour. Lastly, the Dwarfs and their heavily armoured warriors will stop at nothing to settle any grudges with the other factions, try not to put yours on the list. The Empire has a challenging strategic situation, especially under an AI player.
  • Overall, The Empire is a very strong race in both singleplayer and multiplayer games. Infantry, especially Halberdiers and Greatswords, can hold the line well, but their ace in the hole is their war machine and cavalry catalogue. Imperial commanders can snatch up Demigryph Knights for wiping out enemy beasts and dealing with large armored threats (though fielding them against Bretonnian massed cavalry charges is a good way to get them killed) together with the Reiksguard shock cavalry (excellent against weaker opponents). The Steam Tank shines among other war machines thanks to its versatility (ram and artillery), with Karl Franz being very powerful (though prohibitively expensive in multiplayer games). Other Lord choices are good, especially Balthasar Gelt after the Lore of Metal improvements. Heroes like the Witch Hunter, Jade Wizard, and Warrior Priests round out the roster for single models, though they might be more useful on the campaign map than in battle.
  • No flying units other than high level characters mean the Empire is effectively hamstrung when dealing with factions that love flying units, like Bretonnia, Wood Elves, or Vampire Counts. They have to deal with them defensively, using units such as Handgunners (accurate, high AP), Lore of Light, or the Luminark of Hysh to deal damage to the enemy. Combined with a trapping spell like Net of Amyntok enemy flyers need to be wary of wandering into imperial fields of fire.

Downloadable Content[]

The Empire can be expanded upon with the following downloadable content:




'Karl Franz of the Empire' trailer
Empire Campaign Strategy Guide
Empire Unit Roster Guide
Empire Lords & Heroes Guide


Reikland.png The Empire units