The Empire

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“Three things make The Empire great – faith, steel, and gunpowder!”

- Magnus the Pious

The Empire
General data
TypeMajor race
CategoryEmpire Provinces
RulerEmperor Karl Franz, also depends on subfaction
Playable subfactionsEmpire.pngReikland
Tw2 goldenorder.pngThe Golden Order
Tw2 huntsmarshalsexpedition.pngThe Huntsmarshal's Expedition
Starting territoryDepends on subfaction
ClimatesPrefers temperate, desert, savannah
RegionalTemperate lowlands
Racial capitalAltdorf, Reikland
Distinct features
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 empire offices.pngOffices:Lords may be assigned into offices, granting them a unique title and bonuses.
Bullet icon empire units.pngVaried unitsLarge and varied unit roster with a wide range of infantry, cavalry, artillery and other unit types.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Empire is a race introduced in Total War: Warhammer. The Empire is playable in campaign, multiplayer and custom battles.

The Empire is the largest human nation in the Old World. 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.

In Total War: Warhammer they have no playable subfactions, but have 3 legendary lords.

From Total War: Warhammer II and onwards, they have 3 playable subfactions and 4 legendary lords. The 3 subfactions are Reikland, The Golden Order and The Huntsmarshal's Expedition.

How they play[edit | edit source]

A summary of Empire gameplay:

  • Units: The Empire have an extremely large and diverse roster with almost every unit type represented. Infantry form the core of their army, backed up by strong cavalry and artillery. They lack any sort of elite infantry, however, making it extremely difficult to hold the line for long. Use combined arms tactics of ranged units, cavalry, and artillery without expecting much from your infantry.
  • Regiments of Renown: These are unique, more-powerful versions of regular Empire units.
  • Offices: In the campaign, Empire players can assign characters to offices via the office panel, which confers a title and various other benefits depending on the office.
  • Colleges of Magic: The Empire can recruit 7 different kinds of spellcaster heroes, who have access to a total of 42 spells – the most of any faction.
  • Good for beginners: Of all the factions in Total War: Warhammer, The Empire are perhaps the most similar to a historical Total War faction. Diplomacy and trade plays a major role in the initial stages of an Empire campaign, while combined arms tactics are required to achieve victory in battle. Players will be slowly introduced to magic spells and monster unit as they play.

Background[edit | edit source]

"By Sigmar, the Hammer and the Empire!"

- Victor Saltzpyre

For two and a half millennia The Empire has formed a bulwark against the encroaching forces of destruction. The Empire lies in the heart of the Old World, and it is the greatest and most powerful of all the nations forged by Men, greater even than the fair land of Bretonnia. But the The Empire is in constant turmoil, beset on all sides by enemies ferocious and foul, with even dark 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 that founded The Empire. Then two hundred years ago, Magnus the Pious marched to the aid of neighbouring Kislev, and purged the lands of Chaos, uniting the Empire under one glorious banner for the first time in centuries.

Now, a new Emperor has been crowned. He is untested, unwilling as yet to take up Sigmar’s warhammer. Furthermore, he is not the candidate many Elector Counts wanted. As a result the Counts are uneasy and in some cases outright hostile. So begins the reign of Karl Franz, and he has much to do: unite The Empire, secure its borders and bring prosperity to its beleaguered citizens. It is a time when dark clouds gather in the north, threats lurk in the Empire's dark forests; the dead walk again in Sylvania; The Empire's ancient allies are under siege, and the Greenskins are more belligerent than ever.

The Twin-Tailed Comet blazes across the sky once again, but is it an omen for good... or ill?

In Battle[edit | edit source]

Unit Roster[edit | edit source]

Main article: Empire unit roster

In battle, 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 (outriders and handgunners) and shock cavalry (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 none of the Empire's infantry can last long against them in melee.

Colleges of Magic[edit | edit source]

Bullet icon empire magic colleges.pngColleges of Magic: Empire spell casters have access to the Lore of Metal, Lore of Light, Lore of Heavens, Lore of Fire, Lore of Beasts, Lore of Life, Lore of Shadows and added in the second game: Lore of Death. This is a total of 48 spells, the most of any faction. 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.

Regiments of Renown[edit | edit source]

The Empire has several Regiments of Renown. These are elite, unique versions of standard Empire units.

Elector Count State Troops[edit | edit source]

The Empire has access to Elector Count State Troops. These are elite, unique versions of standard Empire units. You can recruit them by appointing or confederating with an Elector Count.

In the Campaign[edit | edit source]

Karl Franz, with Deathclaw and Greatswords in the background.

The Empire is a normal, non-horde race who occupies settlements and controls provinces.

Legendary Lord choices[edit | edit source]

In Total War: Warhammer there is only one playable Empire faction which can choose from the following Lords:

In Total War: Warhammer II, Balthasar Gelt was split into a separate subfaction, the Golden Order. So the main Empire faction, Reikland, now has access to:

There are a total of four Legendary Lords for the Empire:

Playable Factions[edit | edit source]

In campaign, as of Total War: Warhammer II, the Empire has 3 playable subfactions, each with their own starting position and led by different legendary lords. See individual pages for details and strategies.

Empire.png Reikland, led by either Karl Franz or Volkmar the Grim
Tw2 goldenorder.png The Golden Order, led by Balthasar Gelt
Tw2 huntsmarshalsexpedition.png The Huntsmarshal's Expedition, led by Markus Wulfhart

Reikland Elector Trait[edit | edit source]

As of the Empire Undivided patch in Total War: Warhammer II, when playing as Karl Franz or Volkmar the Grim you start off as the Elector Count of Reikland. This provides the following benefits; see the Golden Order page for details regarding them. Note that The Huntmarshal's Expedition does not have this feature.

Offices[edit | edit source]

Bullet icon empire offices.pngOffices are a gameplay mechanic for The Empire in the campaign that allows them to assign characters to certain positions in the Empire government. This confers a unique title on the character, and gives various bonuses to the whole faction and to the specific character.

In the Empire Undivided Update (9/11/19) for Total War: Warhammer II this mechanic was removed for Fealty and Imperial Authority. However, it still exists in the first game as it is not affected by the second game's patches.

Imperial authority[edit | edit source]

Main article: Imperial Authority

Empire players can extend their authority across the empire by engaging in internal politics and quelling agitators in their efforts to confederate or go to war with the Elector Counts leading other major Empire factions.

Buildings[edit | edit source]

Main article: Empire buildings

Technology[edit | edit source]

Main article: Empire tech tree

Technologies in The Empire tech tree must be unlocked by constructing the correct building before they can be researched.

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Stances[edit | edit source]

Common stances: March, Encamp, Ambush, Raiding, Channelling.

Post-battle options[edit | edit source]

Empire post-battle options for captives are as follows:

  • Pardon - bonus money, recruitment penalty
  • Execute - leadership bonus
  • Take-On (if enemy is human) - extra replenishment

Settlement options[edit | edit source]

The Empire has these settlement options when they have captured a settlement:

  • Occupy
  • Loot and Occupy
  • Sack
  • Raze

Commandments[edit | edit source]

See the article on commandments for a list of Empire commandments.

Climate preferences[edit | edit source]

Empire climate preferences for Empire settlements in Total War: Warhammer II differ depending on subfaction. See the climate page.

Regional occupation (Only in Total War: Warhammer I)[edit | edit source]

Under the regional occupation system of Total War: Warhammer I, The Empire can only occupy Human/Vampire Counts land. They cannot occupy mountain/wasteland areas which are restricted to the Dwarfs and Greenskins. Nor can they occupy Norsca.

Start Position[edit | edit source]

  • Reikland starts in Reikland, situated in the western part of the Empire.
  • The Golden Order starts in Solland, in the southern borders of the imperial lands.
  • The Huntmarshal's Expedition starts in either the Scorpion Coast or the Creeping Jungle in the northern parts of Lustria.

Victory Conditions (For Reikland and the Golden Order?)[edit | edit source]

Short Campaign (Old World Campaign)
Long Campaign (Old World Campaign)

The same as the short campaign, with the following addition:

Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • 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.
  • The Empire has no unique economy mechanics. Instead, the player can assign lords to positions in the Imperial offices, providing local and global modifiers. (This only applies to Total War: Warhammer I)
  • 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 Wood Elves, 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 even further up, Orcs to the south, Vampire Counts in Sylvania and agents in the shadows, 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. With the Wood Elves and Beastmen apparent, the Empire has a challenging strategic situation, especially under an AI player.
  • Overall, The Empire is a very strong race in both single 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 insanely 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 eg. 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 enemy fields of fire.

DLC[edit | edit source]

There is the following paid DLCs which has extra content for the Empire:

Empire Provinces[edit | edit source]

On the campaign map, many minor factions are grouped together as Empire Provinces. These all have a diplomatic positive racial bias towards each other, and use units from the Empire unit roster.

Introduced in The Old World campaign:[edit | edit source]

Introduced in An Eye for An Eye campaign:[edit | edit source]

Introduced in Eye of the Vortex campaign:[edit | edit source]

Chaos Invasion[edit | edit source]

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

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

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