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. He was crowned in 2502 IC.
Karl Franz is the son of the late Emperor Luitpold; therefore, 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.
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). In battle Franz typically carries the Hammer of Sigmar and the Silver Seal. He usually rides his loyal Griffon Deathclaw. 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.
Karl Franz is married and has two children: his older son Luitpold (probably named for his Imperial grandfather), and a younger daughter, whose name is unknown. 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.
- 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.
- Ghal Maraz, the warhammer of Sigmar
- 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.
- 1: Sigmar's Heirs, pg. 77
- 2: Skavenslayer (novel) by William King, Chapter One
- 3: The Fall of Altdorf (Novel), Chapter 4
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition), Needs Citation
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (6th Edition), Needs Citation
- Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition), Needs Citation
- Warhammer: Storm of Chaos, Needs Citation