The Vampire Counts are a collection of immortal vampires and twisted human necromancers. Using dark magic, they raise the dead and summon creatures of the night to march upon the lands of the living, seeking to dominate the world. Their armies consist of hordes of Zombies and Skeletons, backed up by ethereal ghosts and huge bat-like monsters. Vampire Counts units never rout or break; but they also have no ranged units.
How they Play
A summary of Vampire Counts gameplay:
- Units: Large, varied roster featuring hordes of expendable undead infantry backed up by ethereal units and bat-like monsters. All lords are spellcasters.
- Regiments of Renown: These are unique, more-powerful versions of regular Vampire Counts units.
- Binding and Crumbling: In battle, units never rout. Rather, they will crumble into dust if losing badly.
- Raise Dead: In campaign, units can be instantly recruited anywhere by raising the dead. Large battle sites provide more and better units to raise.
- Vampiric Corruption: In campaign, vampires spread their influence, harming other factions. However, they take attrition in areas with low vampiric corruption.
- Dark Magic: Vampire Counts use dark magic instead of gold, though it functions the same.
- Bloodlines and the Blood Kiss: Vampire Counts are able to collect a special currency when defeating and subjugating other factions. This currency is used to unlock powerful Bloodline Lords and faction wide buffs in the form of Forbidden Dark Arts.
"By all means, try and stop 'em. I won't stand in your way. Beat them back, chop them down, hold the line, carry the day. Cover yourself in glory, or in guts, it makes no difference to me. Or to the dead, for that matter. You're just postponing the inevitable, lad."
- —Black Ruprecht, grizzled veteran of the Vampire Wars
In the forsaken lands of Sylvania, the Undead battalions of the Vampire Counts gather. Upon fen and moor, creatures of darkness that have haunted the nightmares of Men for millennia break free from ancient cairns and age worn mausoleums, thundering the ground beneath them and eclipsing the moon as they spread their tattered wings and take to the skies. In the eternal gloom of ancient tombs can be heard the scrape of bone on bone, wordless moans, and the clank of rusted armour. The unliving host advances, a tide of resurrected corpses, driven on by necromantic magic and the immortal will of the Vampire Counts.
The presence of the living dead is a corruption upon the face of the world and as they expand their holdings, the very land they occupy is transformed. Their advance is heralded by encroaching mists no wind can displace, trees twisting and buckling as though in agony, and a gathering darkness of supernatural perpetuity. In battle, they are a fearsome force to behold. Legions of moldering soldiers wear down their enemies without fear or hesitation whilst colossal, contorted aberrations and bat-winged beasts crush all who dare stand in their way.
All tremble before the unliving masters of Sylvania, for they are a blasphemy against nature and reason. Those that attempt to stem their relentless onslaught will soon learn that there are fates in this world that are worse than death. The Midnight Aristocracy are masters of Death Magic and Necromancy and those that fall before their might will soon rise again. Where once stood defiant enemy soldiers now stand twitching corpse-puppets devoid of any determination save to serve the morbid fiends that now command them.
- Sylvania, led by Mannfred von Carstein.
- Von Carstein, led by Vlad von Carstein and Isabella von Carstein.
- The Barrow Legion, led by Heinrich Kemmler.
- ??, led by Helman Ghorst.
On the campaign map, many minor factions are grouped together as Vampire Counts. These all have a diplomatic positive racial bias towards each other, and use units from the Vampire Counts unit roster.
Total War: Warhammer
Factions introduced in The Old World campaign:
Total War: Warhammer II
Factions introduced in The Eye of the Vortex campaign:
Factions introduced in Mortal Empires campaign:
Total War: Warhammer III
Factions not yet implemented but present in the game's files:
Vampire Counts armies are made up of large numbers of slow-moving, expendable undead infantry (eg: Zombies), supported by a few powerful elite units (eg: Blood Knights) and large bat-like monsters (eg: Terrorgheists and Varghulf). As such, they tend to outnumber their enemies. Vampire Counts can recruit many flying units. This includes character mounts such as the Zombie Dragon. The army also has access to a significant amount of ethereal units (eg: Cairn Wraiths) which are highly resistant to non-magical damage. Almost all Vampire Counts units cause fear, and some cause terror as well. Unlike every other faction, Vampire Counts have no ranged units at all, including no artillery. Exceptions to this are the Sylvanian Handgunners and Sylvanian Crossbowmen, being able to be recruited if you progress in the Von Carstein bloodline.
Their armies are heavily reliant on its powerful lords (for instance, units may crumble if the lord dies). All Vampire Counts lords are spellcasters, and many are powerful melee fighters as well. Additionally, the army is heavily reliant on spells to summon new units, heal friendly ones and damage the enemy.
Vampire Counts spellcasters have access to three lores of magic:
Regiments of Renown
Vampire Counts have several Regiments of Renown available. These are elite, unique versions of standard Vampire Counts units.
Binding and Crumbling
Vampire Counts units are undead – they are fearless and will never rout from the battle. However if their lord is killed or if a unit is losing very badly, then they will start to lose Binding, and eventually crumble into dust (take damage over time).
For Vampire Counts units, vigour/fatigue levels have different labels. This represents the fact that undead units never get tired, but the magic sustaining them can deplete.
In the Campaign
- This should not be confused with the Lore of Dark Magic, which is a selection of spells for the Dark Elves and Wood Elves in Total War: Warhammer II.
For the Vampire Counts, money is referred to as Dark Magic, and the treasury is referred to as Total Dark Magic. This is because Vampires and Necromancers have little need of money to pay troops, instead they use magic to raise undead armies.
Blood Kisses are a currency used for unlocking various Bloodline Lords. You gain a Blood Kiss each time you make another faction into your Vassal, defeat a faction ruler in battle (not just Legendary lords, but also minor faction rulers), or assassinate an enemy Hero. Additionally, Mannfred von Carstein and Vlad von Carstein begin the game with a minor amount of the currency.
- Main article Raise Dead (mechanic).
Raise Dead allows Vampire Counts armies to instantly raise units anywhere on the campaign map. This replaces the normal global recruitment pool that other factions use. This allows Vampire Counts to reinforce very quickly after a battle, especially when it is combined with normal recruiting/reinforcement.
Most of the time Raise Dead is limited to only a few basic units (eg: Zombies) per turn. However, if the player moves their army to the region of a major battle fought earlier in the campaign, the number of units they can raise will be increased, and more elite units will be available (eg: Hexwraiths, Grave Guard, Vargheists).
Vampiric corruption is spread across the land by all Vampire Counts factions. It represents the growing influence of vampire covens and dark magic on the land.
Vampiric Corruption harms most other factions (negatives to growth and public order, including the possibility of generating vampiric rebellions), and benefits the Vampire Counts. However it is also a limitation: if a Vampire Counts army moves into an area with low vampiric corruption, they will take attrition damage. Additionally, if corruption is too low, Vampire Counts may suffer a rebellion of the native population.
Vampire Counts factions have a tech tree split into 4 branches, each revolving around a different book of dark magic.
Stances available to Vampire Counts armies:
Vampire Counts factions have these settlement options when they have captured a settlement:
- Loot and Occupy
They can also colonize ruins and Treasure hunt.
See the article on commandments for a list of Vampire Counts commandments.
Vampire Counts climate preferences for settlements in Total War: Warhammer II:
- Favorable: Temperate, Wasteland, Desert, Jungle
- Unpleasant: Frozen, Savannah, Mountain, Island
- Uninhabitable: Ocean, Chaotic Wasteland, Magical Forest
This does not apply to The Barrow Legion, as they have other preferences.
- Sylvania and Von Carstein start in the region of Sylvania, in the eastern Empire.
- The Barrow Legion starts in the mountains between Bretonnia and the Empire.
During a Chaos Invasion, the AI Vampire Counts factions remain neutral. That being said, dealing with Chaos is still part of their victory conditions.
Vampire Counts names
See Vampire Counts names.
- Vampire Counts heroes and buildings can generate Vampiric Corruption within campaign map provinces. Uncorrupted provinces will cause attrition to the travelling army, meaning sending heroes to pave the way for invasion is a wise choice. Corruption can also be generated in adjacent regions by certain buildings, and may trigger Vampiric rebellions.
- Vampire Counts have no ranged units. Hit fast, hit hard, and close distance. Solid infantry, fast cavalry, and plenty of magical and terror units, combined with immunity to panic and excellent flying units means that the Counts excel in aggressive attacks and bold maneuvers. Use Fell Bats and Dire Wolves to tie up enemy ranged units and stop them firing. Fell Bats can even be used to screen, taking hits from enemy projectiles to protect the rest of the army.
- Attrition? Vampire Counts don't care about death and you shouldn't either. Mastery of necromancy allows Necromancers to bring extra zombies into combat in battles, as well as instantly recruiting full units into the army on the campaign map.
- Strong battle magic options, including raising of new units from the dead. Units cause fear, impacting enemy leadership. Crumbling: wavering is for the living. Vampire Counts units experience casualties over time and melee damage penalties when suffering from low leadership levels instead of routing.
- Remember that some battle casualties are automatically raised from the dead post-battle, even in defeat. Don't be afraid to sacrifice some expendable units.
- A weird but completely valid way to play the Vampire Counts is to completely ignore any high tier units, and only focus on Skeletons. This is possible, due to the fact that the Lore of Vampires has great damage spells and excellent support spells. The technology that makes this way of play possible is "Defiler of Ancient Burrows" which reduces upkeep of Skeleton troops by 100%, making them essentially free. This allows you to recruit armies with a lord, necromancer and 18 skeletons and still come out on top, due to the power of the Lore of Vampires. If played this way, a single Vampire Counts army can cost as much as 500 gold per turn, thereby making it the most cost-effective way to play them. This army misses a siege attacker, and a lord on a zombie dragon is recommended to speed up your siege attacks.
There are the following paid DLCs which has extra content for the Vampire Counts:
- The Grim and the Grave (adds Helman Ghorst and various other units).
- Vampire Counts was originally the name for the Sylvania faction, sharing the generic name with its race. This was changed with the Potion of Speed Update in Total War: Warhammer II.
- The race received an extensive campaign overhaul with the Aye-Aye! Patch in Total: War: Warhammer II, including the additions of the Bloodlines and Heinrich Kemmler getting his own faction.
- The Vampire Counts Trailer
- Unit Guide by Zerkovich