Emperor Karl Franz I, Elector Count and Grand Prince of Reikland, Prince of Altdorf, and Count of the West March is the current Emperor of The Empire and Elector Count of Reikland. He is widely regarded as the greatest statesman and diplomat of the Old World. [5a]
He was crowned in 2502 IC.
As Emperor, Franz is also the leader of the Imperial Army and has commanded it in numerous battles (most notably the battle of Norduin against the Bretonnians, the battle of Bloodkeep and the most recent Storm of Chaos).
He was born in 2470 IC and later that year, he, his parents and older sister were tavelling through the Drakwald and had stopped for the night at the Black Boar coaching inn. There they were attacked by a large Beastmen host but were saved by Wood Elves. One Elf claimed that the baby boy was far too important to die, calling him Harathoi Koiran. 
As the son of the late Emperor Luitpold he was a logical candidate to become Emperor after his father's death. However in the Empire the Imperial throne is not inherited, but chosen by a vote of the Imperial Electors. 
Although the exact circumstances and precise details are unknown, it is likely that Karl Franz was considered far too young and inexperienced for the throne; he himself did not believe that he would be elected and Boris Todbringer, the count of Middenland, was the favored other candidate. The first vote was 8 against and only 4 in Karl Franz's favour, the remaining 3 Electors presumably abstaining. Maximillian von Königswald, who was an old friend and count of Ostland, managed to persuade all but one of the other electors to cast their vote for Karl Franz. The Church of Sigmar also supported him with 3 votes. In the end Karl Franz won the election. [7a]
With Oswald von Konigswald, he had planned for his coronation to take place at Castle Drachenfels as all the Electors would be there to see the play by Detlef Sierck.[7a] Although the Empress declined to attend, he travelled with their twelve year old son, hunting along the way where Luitpold was first blooded. [7b] Karl Franz was injured by Oswald when he revealed himself as a traitor [7c] and could only speak in a whisper for several months. [7d]
During his reign, the Empire prospered, his armies victorious, the school of engineers and colleges of magic both growing. [5a]
In 2510 IC whilst hunting he was attacked by Beastmen and saved by a Hochland forest patrol at the Battle of the Weeping Glen. Following this and in recognition, the Hochland provincial banner was allowed to bear the Imperial Cross. [8a]
Karl Franz is unmarried but has two children by Lady at Court Maria-Luise von Walfen: his older son Luitpold (probably named for his Imperial grandfather), and a younger daughter, Alia.[6a] He has a sister, who is also married[*]
Karl Franz's formal titles include Protector of the Empire, Defier of the Dark, Emperor Himself and the Son of Emperors, Elector Count of Reikland and Prince of Altdorf.[6a]
Weapons and Equipment
- 4th Edition: Ghal Maraz, Heavy Armour, Silver Seal, Sword, may ride a Barded Warhorse or a Monster - He usually rides his loyal Griffon Deathclaw. [5a]
During the Storm of Chaos Karl Franz gave his magic hammer to Valten as a personal favour to the new Chosen of Sigmar. Eventually, Karl Franz entered in battle wielding his Runefang as Prince of Reikland.
- Armour: Forged by Dwarfs and including fragments from the suit worn by Magnus the Pious in Kislev. [5a]
- Ghal Maraz, the Hammer of Sigmar. [5a]
- Silver Seal: a magical item which protects against harmful blows and even harmful magic; created by Frederick von Tarnus for Magnus the Pious after the Great War Against Chaos.[5a]
- The Runefang of Reikland
- Grey Seer Thanquol planned to manipulate Fritz von Halstadt, the chief of Nuln's secret police, into arresting Karl Franz's "brother-in-law". The logical inference is that this noble was married to a sister of Karl.
- Drachenfels (novel) states he has a wife and Empress rather than a mistress. [7a][7b]
- Prince of Altdorf details the period of the vote but adds that Karl Franz and his retinue were attacked by Orcs & Goblins whilst travelling to Altdorf. Also that he met with the Bretonnian King Louen Leoncoeur and that at the final vote it was Maximillian von Konigswald who voted against him and proved to be imposter.
- 1: Sigmar's Heirs, pg. 77
- 2: Skavenslayer (novel) by William King, Chapter One
- 3: The Fall of Altdorf (Novel), Chapter 4
- 4: The Enemy Within (Supplement) , pg. 14
- 5: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
- 5a: Special Characters, pg. 67
- 6: Altdorf: Crown of the Empire
- 6a: Governance of Altdorf, pg. 17-18
- 7: Drachenfels (novel)
- 8: Uniforms & Heraldry of The Empire
- 8a: Hochland, pg. 18
- 9: Prince of Altdorf (Short Story)
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (6th Edition), Needs Citation
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition), Needs Citation
- Warhammer: Storm of Chaos, Needs Citation