- This article is about the Nation. For the omnibus, see The Empire (Omnibus).
|Three things make The Empire great - faith, steel and gunpowder!|
Magnus the Pious[1a]
The Empire is the largest and most powerful nation of the Old World. It is located east of Bretonnia, south of Kislev and north of Tilea. The current Emperor is Karl Franz, who was elected and crowned in 2502 IC.
- 1 History
- 2 Government
- 3 Organisation
- 4 Foreign relations
- 5 Society & culture
- 6 Religion
- 7 Magic
- 8 Military
- 9 Notes
- 10 Notable Citizens of the Empire
- 11 Historical Figures
- 12 Sources
The Empire was founded 2,500 years ago, by Sigmar Heldenhammer. At its founding, the traditional territories of the tribes unified by Sigmar were formalised as the imperial provinces. Following the passing of Sigmar, the system of Electors was established, with the provincial rulers entitled to elect a new Emperor from among themselves.
Upon the death of an Emperor the throne does not automatically pass to his heir. An election is held by 15 Electors, 10 of which are Elector Counts. Each of them casts a vote, and the candidate with most votes becomes Emperor.
The Emperor is largely the leader of the Elector Counts, who are extremely powerful and independent. His power is severely limited by the inability to enforce his edicts within the semi-independent provinces, where the Elector Counts can effectively choose to largely ignore them.
A wise emperor realises that trying to subdue the Elector Counts through force and/or threats is a very dangerous errand, which all too easily ends with open rebellion and civil war. Gaining their respect and loyalty through example and fair leadership tends to be the best solution.
The Empire is not a centralised nation, but rather a feudal confederacy of 11 large and semi-independent provinces, bound together by common interests, history, language, religion, and culture.[1b]
Somewhat outside of the rule of the nobility are the semi-independent city-states. There the burghers choose their own Burgomeisters. It is likely that the richest and most influential merchants have the greatest influence over the whole process but precise details are currently unknown.
Provinces of the Empire
- The Moot (technically not an elector state)
- Altdorf - capital city of Reikland, and notional capital of the Empire
- Middenheim - capital of Middenland
- Talabheim - capital of Talabecland
The Empire's oldest and foremost allies are the Dwarfs and the Empire of Kislev, but over the centuries the High Elves and the Kingdom of Bretonnia have also fought at the side of The Empire in the eternal struggle against the forces of Chaos and the Greenskin hordes.
Society & culture
The Empire has the 8 Colleges of Magic which, in exchange for suitable fees, teach and train powerful Wizards. The colleges were founded by High Elf Loremaster Teclis at the request of Emperor Magnus the Pious. The Wizards provide valuable magical support and protection for the armies of the Empire. Nevertheless the majority of the common people see Wizards with more than a little amount of unease, fear and suspicion.
- For more details see: Armies of the Empire
The armies of the Empire are massive and diverse fighting forces, having a wide range of available units while the Imperial Navy patrols the mighty rivers of The Empire besides protecting the northern coast of Nordland.
Each of the Elector Counts, including the Emperor, maintains their own standing armies, called State Troops, which are largely composed of infantry. These forces are supplemented during war by various forms of militia, such as peasant levies and mercenary bands. In addition to these forces are the various secular and religious Knightly Orders which will form most of the cavalry.
Empire Swordsmen - Swordsmen are amongst the three most common infantry types fielded by the armies of the Empire. Equipped with a sword, shield and half-plate armor, the Swordsmen of the Empire provides the military with reliable offensive capability.
Empire Halberdier - Halbediers are amongst the three most common infantry types fielded by the armies of the Empire. Equipped with a battle-worn Halberd, providing the Empire with both offensive and defensive capability with bone-crushing force.
Empire Spearmen - Spearmen are amongst the three most common infantry types fielded by the armies of the Empire. Equipped with a spear and shield, providing the Empire with much needed holding power.
Free Companys - Sell-swords, mercenaries, cut-throats, and bandits paid to fight for the Empire and her armies. They are hardy fighters and are well-accustomed to the rigours of war, but are undisciplined and unruly.
Free Company Militia - not to be confused with the usual band of cut-throats and mercenaries, these are rag-tag groups of patriotic civilians taking up arms alongside the Empire's armies.
Handgunners - Handgunners are one of the primary ranged units of the Imperial army. Equipped with the loud and deadly handgun, these men are highly trained as a line-formation of missle support that can penetrate even the thickest of enemy armor. As such, they are the mainstay of most Imperial missile support.
Empire Archers - Archers are an often irregular group of hunters and trappers that usually band together to form their own regiment of scouts and support units. These men are often fielded when regiments of crossbowmen and handgunners are in short supply.
Empire Crossbowmen - Crossbowmen are the least common ranged units following the introduction of gunpowder weaponry. In the past, Crossbowmen provided the Empire with a stronger degree of peneration against heavily-armored foes. As of now, some provinces still retain the use of Crossbows as a substitute should Handguns be unavailable.
Greatswords - Greatswords are the elite infantry of the Imperial army. Operating as a crack fighting force, their main duty is the protection of their Elector Counts during the heat of battle, and to provide the Empire with dedicated shock infantry.
Flagellants - Flagellants are an unorganized grouping of warriors and fanatics that unofficially serve the Church of Sigmar. These fanatics are used by many Imperial Generals for their great ferocity and complete lack of fear in the heat of battle. However due to their insanity, they are often accompanied by a priest from the clergy of Sigmar to ensure these men are put on a tight leash.
Empire Knights - Knights are one of the most common cavalry troops deployed in battle. Many knights have a certain color scheme or heraldry that identifies them with a knightly order. They are considered heavy shock cavalry, wearing heavy plate armor and wielding lances and swords into battle.
Pistoliers - Pistoliers are agile light cavalry that are meant to support the armies of the Empire in their role as dedicated scouts and skirmishers. Equipped with light armor and a brace of pistol, these units can harass the enemy with a hail of bullets and can flee the scene to avoid any repercussions.
Outriders - Outriders are those veteran Pistoliers whom have survived their time within the Pistolier Korps but have not yet been able to join any of the Knightly Orders afterwards. Instead, these veterans are promoted into the ranks of the Outriders, an elite core of cavalry equipped with deadly repeater handguns, and adorned with a greater degree of armor.
Demigryph Knights - Demigryph Knights are amongst the most powerful and heavily armored shock calvary within the Imperial arsenal. Not only are these horsemen excellent knights, but they also ride one of the most dangerous and fearsome creatures ever to live within the depths of the Reikwald Forest.
Empire Generals - Empire Generals are amongst the highest commanding officers within a Imperial army, second only in command to an Elector Count or the Emperor himself. They are tested veterans with many years of experience in soldiering, having spent most of their lives practicing the arts of war in defence of their besieged homelands.
Wizard Lords - A Wizard Lord is a highly prestigious rank within the Imperial Colleges of Magic that are second only to the Matriarch or Patriach of a Magic Order. A being of immense but unstable power, these mighty Men of the Empire are amongst the strongest particioner's of magic within the realms of Man.
Grand Masters - A Grand Master is a warrior and leader of unparalleled valour, having fought in dozens of battles from atop his great steed and whose military prowess is beyond question. These mighty warriors are the leaders of one of the many prestigious Knightly Orders that populate many of the Empire's lands, a position of power suited for only the most wisest and martial member of their Order.
Captains of the Empire - A Captain of the Empire is a veteran military commander possessed of a variety of different formal titles who leads a smaller regiment or other unit of troops within an Imperial army. These leaders take to the field of battle whenever they can. Most of the men appointed by an Elector Count to serve as officers in their province's armies.
Warrior Priests - Warrior Priests lead and inspire Imperial troops in battle, but also minister to their spiritual needs. Warrior Priests of normally wear mail or full plate armour underneath their holy vestments and carry mighty two-handed weapons.
Witch Hunters - Witch Hunters are highly dreaded figures in the lands of the Empire, feared by both enemies and allies alike, whose job is to eradicate and kill any if not all Chaos Worshippers that dare to defile the lands of Sigmar.
Master Engineers - An Empire Master Engineer are those select few individuals amongst many thousand that have the knowledge and skills to create, maintain and operate wonderous invenstions of war in the battle against the Empire.
Battle Wizards - Battle Wizards are individuals with the knowledge and power of one of the great Winds of Magic, who has been schooled from one of the eight Colleges of Magic within the capital of Altdorf, and are now giving their services to the Empire.
Empire Great Cannon - Great Cannons are one of the most common pieces of Imperial artillery. Great Cannons are among the largest of the mobile cannons built and utilised by the Empire.
Empire Mortar - Mortars are squat cannons that fire at a high angle, lobbing projectiles over troops or even tall walls. They fire an explosive shell which can cause severe damage to a tightly packed regiment of troops.
Helblaster Volley Cannon - The Helblaster is an experimental artillery piece. This infamous weapon has the ability to fire multiple cannon balls in a 3 round-burst, with enough strength in it to be able to tear whole regiments of men or beasts into limbs and torsos. However, it is also known for its unreliablity.
Helstorm Rocket Battery - The Helstorm is another experimental artillery piece. This eccentric piece of artillery is notoriously inaccurate yet when it does hit its intended target, the effects are devastating, with entire enemy regiments blown to smithereens by an earth-shaking cascade of shrieking explosive rockets.
Empire War Machines
Steam Tank - Steam Tanks are monstrous, smoke-belching creation, firing deadly cannonballs that plow through the enemy ranks while charging headlong into battle, protected by extremely thick steel plating. Indeed, these wondrous inventions are powerful and extremely formidable, but they have weaknesses as well. The most glaring weakness is the rarity of these machines.
War Altar of Sigmar - The War Altar of Sigmar is a wonderous battle-altar that is known not for its magical or mechanical power, but a spiritual one. This Altar is a wheeled chariot, decorated with many heraldries and talismans that helps protect it and its user from harm.
Luminark of Hysh - The Luminark is a chariot similar in ways to the War Altar of Sigmar, though it is not one of spiritual power but a magical one. This chariot is imbued with the strong energies of the Light Order, with a massive construct built within the roof of the chariot that emits powerful rays of pure light energy towards its foes.
Celestial Hurricanum - similar to the Luminark of Hysh, this construct is of similar design but hails from the Celestial Wizards of the Celestial College. This Altar emits powerful energies from the Winds of Azyr, giving the wizard controlling it with unrivalled power over the heavens.
Empire War Wagon - was formerly used to transport Empire soldiers through the battlefield and provide a vantage point for units of archers or cannoner's to fire at the enemy. As of now, the Empire War Wagons have been replaced with the more reliable and heavily armored Steam Tank.
The background of The Empire has undergone some changes since its introduction (See: The Empire (outdated)).
It started with probably the most diverse army in Warhammer. The Empire has cannons, handguns, knights, and tactically resourceful infantry giving it the possibility to use various tactics on the battlefield. In recent editions of Warhammer Fantasy with the addition of Warrior Priests, Luthor Huss, and Valten in sixth edition the Empire seems to be moving towards a more religious themed army.
Notable Citizens of the Empire
- Emperor Karl Franz I
- Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg, Grand Master of the Reiksguard
- Ludwig Schwarzhelm, The Emperor's Champion
- Volkmar the Grim, Grand Theogonist of Sigmar
- Balthasar Gelt, Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic
- Aldebrand Ludenhof, Elector Count of Hochland
- Boris Todbringer, Elector Count of Middenland
- Marius Leitdorf, Elector Count of Averland
- Valmir von Raukov, Elector Count of Ostland
- Huntsmarshal Markus Wulfhart, Captain of the Empire's Scouts
- Luthor Huss, a Warrior Priest known as the Prophet of Sigmar
- Valten, a former blacksmith, named the Herald of Sigmar by Karl Franz
- Sigmar Heldenhammer - founder, first Emperor, and patron god of The Empire
- Boris Goldgather - incompetent and corrupt Emperor, died during the Black Plague
- Mandred Skavenslayer - saved The Empire during the Skaven Wars
- Ottilia - Elector Countess of Talabecland and first of the Ottilian Emperors
- Magnus the Pious - reunified the fragmented Empire, defeated the Great Chaos Incursion, and founded the Colleges of Magic