Warhammer Fantasy Battle

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A Dwarf Slayer squares off against a Black Orc. This is about the least EPIC thing you will see.

"Prepare thyself to enter a world of daemons and vile sorcery, of battle and death, of violence and of madness."

"The fate of the world, be it damnation or salvation will soon be decided. This is a world of eternal war and fleeting glory. This is the world of Warhammer."

"The gods of strife shall feast upon this day, and every day hence, until the end of time."
Excerpts from the introduction to the 8th edition rulebook

If you were looking for a character who uses a warhammer, here it is.

Warhammer is the generic name of a number of tabletop battle and roleplaying games marketed by UK firm Games Workshop. "Warhammer" is a tabletop battle game that began in 1983, it is currently in its eighth edition and was previously known as Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB).

The Warhammer world is closely based on our own, with continents laid out in a similar pattern, and the action is mostly located within "The Old World", roughly analogous to 16th century Europe.

Standard fantasy elements are also present - Elves used to dominate but are a shadow of their former selves; Dwarfs occupy the few mountain strongholds that have not yet fallen to Skaven, Orcs and Goblins. Chaos is present, both in the form of great warbands of mutated and corrupted warriors and as cult activity in the heart of society.

The uninitiated might think that Warhammer isn't all that bad and it's a heroic fantasy land on its way to getting better - that's right. There's just a few small problems like delusional (or worse) madmen empowered by the Dark Gods to increasingly frequently lead crusades reducing the world further into hellish misery and incorporate it into the REAL hell. Then there are the rampaging hordes of Greenskins, scarily psychopathic aliens infesting everywhere existing only to joyously, brutally and (with known exceptions) mercilessly fight, destroy, enslave, kill and in the case of goblins malevolently torture every innocent creature they can find - and the Greenskins are the comic relief in this setting. If you thought it'd get better now that's just two of the usually gray forces inhabiting the world, which only survives because of the eternal sacrifice of some Elven mages imprisoned in their own spell, maintaining it forever to keep the forces of Chaos from overwhelming the world like they almost did in ancient times and nigh-inevitably will. But it really could be saved if only those tasty... uh... good-willed denizens of it would heed wisdom!

The darkly humorous and bleak feel of the setting and game is what sets it apart. If you were to combine equal parts JRR Tolkien, Michael Moorcock's Elric stories, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you would find something not unlike Warhammer.

There is also a science fiction tabletop miniatures wargame set in a universe having much in common with WHFB: Warhammer 40000, generally known simply as "40K". Think of it as Warhammer IN SPACE, though it has grown over the years into a distinct and very different game, and has become much more popular than Warhammer, at least in the United States.

Warhammer is a tabletop wargame where two or more players compete against each other with "armies" of 20 mm to 50 mm heroic scale miniatures. The rules of the game have been published in a series of rulebooks, currently on their 8th edition, which describe how to move miniatures around the game surface and simulate combat in a balanced and fair manner. Games may be played on any appropriate surface, although the standard is a 6 ft. by 4 ft. tabletop decorated with model scenery in scale with the miniatures. Any individual or group of miniatures in the game is called a "unit", whether represented by a single model or group of similar troops.

The current core game rules are supplied in a single book, with supplemental Warhammer Army Books giving guidelines and background for army-specific rules. Movement about the playing surface is generally measured in inches and combat between troops or units given a random element with the use of 6-sided dice. Army supplements also assign points values to each unit and option in the game, giving players the ability to play on even terms. An average game will have armies of 750 to 3,000 points, although smaller and larger values are quite possible. There are also different rules for games called a skirmish that consist of 500 point armies.

Game play follows a turn structure in which one player completes all movement for troops, then simulates casting spells (when spell-using units are available) and uses all ranged or missile weapons in the army such as bows and handguns, then any units touching fight in melee or close-combat. After finishing, the second player does the same. This repeats for a number of equal turns, generally six, although occasionally to a time limit or until no units are left on the playing surface. The winner is often determined by victory points; earning a number equal to the value of enemy units killed. Special factors, or "objectives" can add or subtract from this total based on predefined goals, usually holding parts of the battlefield or killing powerful units (such as the enemy general).

Dice rolls generally use traditional six-sided dice (d6), with a high result being desirable (in most cases). For example, an archer unit may be given a statistic that allows it to hit on the roll of a four or more. Various factors can change this number, reducing or raising the number needed. Mitigation of random results is a large part of the game, as well as traditional battlefield tactics. In some cases, other types of dice are needed; this can be a d3 (simulated with a normal die, 1 and 2 counting as a result of 1 and so on), or it can be a 6-sided "scatter" die used to generate random directions, often used alongside an "artillery" die (also 6-sided), used mainly for cannons, stone-throwers, and unusual variant artillery.

The wargame has also spawned a role-playing game tie-in, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which is not unlike a grimdark version of Dungeons and Dragons. Like its Sci Fi "brother", it also has some Gaiden Games: Blood Bowl, a "fantasy football" wargame set in a parallel dimension where ultra-violent rugby has replaced war, and Mordheim, a semi-postapocalyptic wargame set in the eponymous city after it got levelled by a meteor of solid Green Rocks and the shards of which, incidentally, are the key ingredient in a working recipe for the Philosopher's Stone.

There's also Warmaster, another miniature wargame within the same setting that uses smaller figures and a zoomed-out scale, thus allowing much larger battles. Warmaster became popular with historical wargamers and a specially-modified version called Warmaster Ancients is one of the major rule sets used for ancient and medieval historical wargames.

With the End of the World Special event known as the "End Times," however, the wargame as it was known has ended, resulting in a successor known as Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.

By the way, if you're reading this page and thinking you might add a few references to that other Warhammer game and how it's darker/bloodier/larger scale, don't.

The setting has had a few computer games, Among them Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Warhammer Dark Omen, Warhammer Online and Warhammer Mark Of Chaos with varying reception, and a large number of novels, such as the Gotrek and Felix series. More recently, Total War: Warhammer was released, which has been generally well-received by both PC gamers and tabletop fans.

It has also given inspiration to non-RPG table games, such as Chaos Invasion and Chaos Marauders, as well as community projects like The 9th Age.


The setting provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Doom Diver catapult fires a goblin in a hang glider, Warplock guns fire Green Rocks, Screaming Skull Catapults fire, ah, screaming skulls. Which are on fire. Thundertusks fire giant iceballs
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Many races have their own brand of blade weapon(s) that, in the game's terms, ignore the target's armor saves. The most famous being the twelve Runefangs from The Empire.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: One of the big reasons the Warhammer world is so insane is that every faction needs to be able, in canon, to fight every other faction, including itself.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Vlad von Carstein. Honestly, trying to take over the empire is actually a pretty common pastime for Elector Counts.
      • Also, considering that he kicked out the Priests of Morr, who are pretty much required to pass on in that part of the world, he's basically allowing of his subjects to stick around after being killed, instead of risking being consumed by the gods of Chaos.
      • In the short story The Ninth Book, it is inferred that Vlad actually wants to enslave the Empire, to prevent them turning to Chaos. If they served him, they would be unable to serve Chaos in life or death.
    • The setting pains many vampires as being like this. Apparently turning into a vampire heightens and inflames natural passions, adding a dark, predatory edge to a person, but leaves their personality mostly unchanged. The problem is the natural passions of humanity in this world kind of tend towards the crazy anyway, so a warrior with a violent edge becomes bloodthirsty or a flirtatious person becomes a seductive assassin and so on, leading to conflict with each other and everyone else.
  • All Trolls Are Different: In-universe example, with Stone Trolls, Chaos Trolls, and River Trolls having distinct abilities and backgrounds.
  • Exclusively Evil: How else can you describe the Skaven?
    • Or, for that matter, Daemons of Chaos. It's in the name people!
  • Ancestral Weapon: Several examples, too many to list here. The biggest one, however, is Ghal Maraz, the weapon that gives the series its name.
  • Animate Dead: The trademark of the Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings armies.
  • Animorphism: Numerous examples; for example, some Norse turn into bears, some vampires turn into bats or wolves.
    • Wizards with access to the Lore of Beasts can turn into various monsters, up to and including Dragons!
  • Annoying Arrows: A standard bow or longbow has a strength of 3, which is as effective as sword blow from a standard human soldier. Needless to say that tougher creatures such as orcs, as well as high-ranking leaders of any army, can shrug this off fairly easily.
    • The Wood elves subvert this with a selection of magical arrows that can cause anything from stupidity to instant and extremely painful death. Not to forget the Waywatcher's Lethal Shot Rule, which is, well, lethal.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Most academics in the Empire believe the Skaven to be a myth, even though the Dwarves have been at war with them for thousands of years and they actually conquered most of the Empire at one point.
    • Most academics in the Empire know they exist but stay quiet because of the witch hunters. The government condemns them as heretics because they would be panicking the population. If they didn't do that people would be in constant panic. Chaos invasions every decade? Sure we can handle that. Beastmen in the woods? Not a problem. Cultists in our midst? Disturbing but not that bad. Empire dwarfing our own just below the surface?
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: And how!
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: The winds of magic tend to have this effect on their practioners.
  • Axe Crazy: Khorne worshippers. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The leaders of an army will invariably be stronger and better equipped than other units. If they're a named character, such as the actual leaders of an entire race or faction, they will be very strong indeed.
    • In previous editions this game was nicknamed Hero Hammer as the trope was literally encouraged and/or enforced by poorly balanced rules regarding special characters and magic items.
  • Badass: Most of the named characters.
  • Baby Factory: Skaven females.
  • Badass Longcoat: Witch Hunters. The mere sight of the hat is enough to send both the guilty and the innocent running for their lives.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Chaos, the Necromancers to a certain extent.
  • Bald of Awesome: Warrior Priests.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Vampire Counts.
  • Beast Man: The appropriately named Beastmen.
  • Beneficial Disease: Since Nurgle is a Plaguemaster god, his servants become ravaged with all sorts of plagues but the effects don't kill them. They look utterly disgusting but not a bit weaker for it; they are actually harder to kill because they don't need to worry about things like infected wounds. Also they Feel No Pain, and the diseases they spread can still be lethal to non-believers.
  • Berserk Button: An actual rule for Vlad if Isabella is fielded in the same army as him and killed, he will gain frenzy and hatred against whatever he's fighting against.
  • BFG: The Skaven, Dwarfs, and Empire factions have a few examples.
  • BFS: Too many to list.
  • Big Bad: The Witch King? Nagash the necromancer? The Vampire Counts? The Chaos Gods? Take your pick.
  • Big Book of War
  • Big Eater: In the examination of an Ogre's corpse, the complete skeleton of a horse was found in it's belly.
  • Big Badass Wolf: Ridden by goblins. Dire (zombie) wolves are favorite vampire pets.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Not quite as bad as Warhammer 40000 on this, but it does run a close second. It's really more of a case of "They would if they could". More then once everyone has gotten their shit together to save the world from the Hordes of Chaos, but it takes a LOT before they get to that point.
  • Black Bra and Panties: In Warhammer Fantasy Battles this is a common paint scheme for Witch elves and the one used by the studio army. That said you can still paint their underwear anyway you like.
  • Black Magic: Powers of Chaos.
    • And Necromancy. And the Dark Elves' well, Dark Magic. And the Skavens' Ruin and Plague Spells.
  • Blade on a Stick: Halberds, spears, and other polearms are fairly common; just like they were in the Real Life Dark Ages Europe.
  • Black Knight: Most of the evil knights dress up as this.
  • Blood Bath: The Hag Queens of the Dark Elves practice this, bathing in a magical cauldron filled with blood to maintain their youth.
  • Blood Knight: All orcs and goblins are Blood Knights, plus Vampire Counts armies actually get a unit called Blood Knights. They're vampires. And Knights. They fulfill the trope perfectly.
  • Blow Gun: There's a Wargear option for Skinks, and a Huge version for mounting on dinosaurs.
  • Body Horror: Just try to make it all the way through the list of lovingly-detailed Chaos mutations in the Tome of Corruption without wincing at least once.
    • Morghur is able to induce this in basically anything that comes near him.
  • Breast Plate: Most classes are spared from this as the male and female models of their armors are otherwise identical. However, Dark Elf Witch Elves and Sorceresses only wear these (if anything). They also have very poor Armor Saves without magical assistance.
  • Burn the Witch: Subverted, witchcraft is a viable and dangerous practice in the Warhammer universe, thus, the church is usually right to weed them out and destroy them.
  • Call That a Formation?: Averted. While skirmishing units have a serious mobility advantage, the ranked soldiers gain a "rank bonus" when calculating the winner of a fight, making large, ranked units very difficult to shift. Skirmishers or lonely heroes engaging a ranked unit in a frontal assault are likely to be pushed back even if they deal more damage.
  • Campbell Country: Ostland in the Empire is a big example. But there's plenty of little villages all over the place with mysterious practices that don't abide strangers.
  • Cannon Fodder: Orcs and Goblins. Dem 'umies (stunties, skinnies) jes cawn't rilly kill us all, can dey?
    • Also Skaven and Lizardmen.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: While mostly operating on Screw You, Elves, it is played straight with Magnus the Pious, who allowed the Elf wizard Teclis to teach humans to use magic relatively safely. Really, Teclis is pretty much the only Elf who doesn't treat humans like a pack of apes, and one of if not the most powerful magic-user in the entire setting. Only a colossal moron wouldn't take his advice, even if he's being condescending.
  • Catapult to Glory: Goblin Doom Divers.
  • Chef of Iron: The Fighting Cooks, mercenary halflings that kick butt and boost other troops with good meals.
    • They also literally fire a catapult full of soup.
    • Ogre Butchers are another significant example, the Gut Magic they use being channeled through some distinctly unwholesome ingredients. the spell Trollguts uses... well...
  • The Chessmaster: Tzeentch, of course. Emperor Karl Franz on a good day. Manfred von Karstein probably belongs here too.
    • The Skaven Lords of Decay are a group of this. The best example is the Arabyan Crusades. The Lords of Decay sent Skaven to support Sultan Jaffar, spying on his enemies and assassinating them in exchange for the warpstone deposits across his land that's toxic to humans, but the backbone of Skaven society along with backstabbing and self-interest. They eventually convince him, by lying of course, that Estalia is planning to invade Araby and that he should strike first, which he does. Two-hundred years of warfare follow in which Bretonnia and The Empire get involved sending thousands of Knights to fight the Arabyans. The Skaven disappear once the tide turns against Jaffar, tens of thousands of humans are dead without one Skaven casualty, and they got all the warpstone and nobody ever found out they were involved. Stupid man-things.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tzeentch, the Skaven, Tzeentch's worshipers, the Skaven, Dark Elves, Khorne's worshippers... and did we mention the Skaven?
    • In the case of Khorne's worshippers, it's more like a Chronic Decapitation Disorder.
      • It's not that the Khornite decided to betray you, it's just that you were between him and some other guys that he wanted to kill. Or he hadn't killed someone for a while. Or he was bored. Or, you get the idea.
  • Church Militant: The Empire's got this one covered.
  • Cigar Fuse-Lighting: Ogre leadbelchers.
  • Clingy Costume: It's heavily implied this is what happens to Chaos Warriors once they take up Chaos Armor.
    • Malekith's armor too, although that was because he ordered the rogue priest to weld it to his body.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: The Imperial Colleges of Magic.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Chaos incursions never seem to have problems feeding their vast armies. This is partially explained by having part of their army not having a need for food, but the majority still needs to eat.
    • Pretty justifiable if you look at the fluff. Beyond those either mutated so that they can eat anything from stones to rocks and those that just no longer need to eat, all of the beastmen and mortal followers of a chaos horde are A: skilled hunters used to tracking down food in places where the very earth underfoot can try to eat you if it feels like it, and B: cannibals. If you can't rustle up livestock and animals, you can just eat your prisoners, your slaves, the enemy dead, your dead, any of your mates that are too weak to stop you...
    • Bretonnia, despite being in a state of crushing poverty is still able to maintain a considerable military force. To give you an idea on the level of poverty; on a good day a whole Bretonnian village could trade their entire collected wealth for half of the smallest unit of currency in the Empire.
  • Continuity Nod: The Warhammer world does not canonically take place in the same universe as Warhammer 40000 (anymore), but it does make a few nods to the sci-fi mythos, such as the Old Ones' starships and warp gates and Greenskin spores coming down from space, and the Ogres' Great Maw is reminiscent of Tyranid biotech. It's easy to believe that Sigmar, founder of the Empire, is one of the two missing Primarchs. In fact, in the earliest editions, it was all but stated that the Warhammer world is part of the Warhammer 40000 universe- or at least that the Chaos Wastes connected to the Warp. Characters of all species could run around with, among other things, bolters (machine gun rocket launchers) and lascannons, while Chaos Space Marines were an actual troop/leadership choice for mortal Chaos armies.
    • The Chaos Wastes are connected to the Warp, or at least something that they call the Warp. One can even enter the Chaos Wastes in the Warhammer world and catch glimpses of the 40k universe, though that is the only connection nowadays.
    • The Albion Dark Shadows campaign included a number of magical weapons. They are identical or almost identical in function or description, and most have the exact same stats or effects as their 40k counterparts:
      • Blade of Shining Death = Power Weapon.
      • Claw of Devastation = Lightning Claw.
      • Gauntlet of Power = Power Fist.
      • Armor of the Gods = Power Armour.
      • Divine Eye = Auspex.
      • Fusil of Conflagration = Flamer.
      • Mystic Shield of Light = Rosarius.
      • Hexstaff = Psy-staff.
  • Corpse Land: The island holding the Sword of Khaine is covered in the bodies and battle gear of the elves who've fought over it, and bodies thousands of years old can be seen fresh.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Take equal amounts of Arthurian legends, J.R.R.Tolkien and Ivanhoe, and add in twice the amount of Michael Moorcock, Monty Python and Age Of Enlightment ideas of Medieval society, and you get Bretonnia, with brave knights, damsels and fabulous castles - with peasants bound to turf with ridiculous 90% taxes living in squalor, ignorance and oppression, and where boy children having magical tendencies are quickly eliminated. And those are actually one of the good guys.
  • Crapsack World: Take the worst aspects of medieval European society: the paranoia, the hatred, and the fanatical religious devotion, and roll them into one. You'll get The Empire. Then add legions of demons, beast-men, and other assorted nasties, and you'll be rooting for the imperialist, heretic-burning Empire in no time.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: There's an Ogre dressing as a female.
    • That's a female Ogre. She's just wearing a fake beard (probably fake. Maybe fake. Hopefully fake.)
  • Creepy Souvenir: Many warriors keep parts of their enemies as trophies, including Gorthor, who wears a cloak make of the skins of shamen.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Aenarion's Curse makes Tyrion a strong fighter and Teclis a powerful wizard.
    • And Tyrion utterly fixated with battle (literal and metaphorical) 24/7 and Teclis so sickly he needed magic potions from birth just to stay alive.
  • Dark Fantasy: Ur Example
  • Dark Is Not Evil: This is how the less insane Undead commanders try to spin it.
    • Grey and Amethyst Wizards, who use the magics of Shadows and Death (respectively), have some difficulty convincing fellow Imperial citizens that they aren't necromancers.
    • The Lizardmen, despite being lizard people and feeding people to giant snakes for their religion, aren't all that bad. They're essentially the guardians of the world and will often oppose the machinations of Chaos. Provided that they don't intrude on territory that is considered sacred to the Lizardmen, other races will be generally be left alone. The problem is that while they're not overtly hostile to other lifeforms, they don't seem to particularly care about them either. Their dedication to carrying out the enigmatic plans of the Old Ones often results in them doing things like re-arranging entire mountains because they're not in the right place. Said rearrangement resulted in a catastrophe that nearly destroyed the Dwarven race and shattered their empire into a handful of isolated kingdoms and strongholds.
    • Many, or at least some Vampires in the Warhammer world aren't evil at all. However, they tend not to be at the head of an army, and so don't play a prominent role outside of the novels.
      • There is even a set of stories featuring a female vampire named Geneviève Dieudonné who is practically a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire... admittedly, the stories featuring her were created during the earlier editions of the setting and she is basically a "transcontinental cousin" of the same character from the other Kim Newman series Anno Dracula and The Diogenes Club.
    • The Tomb Kings of Khemri are the mummified rulers of an entire empire that was slain and reanimated in an act of magical genocide. They just want to be left alone, and are canonically considered a "Neutral" army that can ally with anyone.
      • However they launch massive invasions in order to get back their stuff that had been stolen over the years.
    • Morr may or may not be this.
      • Morr's Priests state Morr is this, mostly because Morr takes care of souls in the afterlife, as opposed to eating them, regardless of the host being dead or alive like most active gods in the setting do on a routine basis.
    • The Sacred Darkness: The magics used by Grey and Amethyst mages are distinct from Chaos magic.
  • Death Seeker: Dwarf Slayers.
  • Decade Dissonance: Bretonnia is pretty much Medieval France, rife with knights and peasant longbow men and run by a feudal system. It sits right next door to The Empire, which has Renaissance era level technology going into the early Industrial Period level with elements of Steampunk thrown in for good measure as well, including steam powered tanks! Bretonnia manages to resist being forcibly assimilated into the Empire, most likely due to the mountain range that makes travel between the two difficult, and the magic granted by a local god, the "Lady of the Lake" making their elite upper class Immune to Bullets. However, it's a little more complicated than that, with the local baby-eating wood elves being the most favourable candidate to be both granting them this power, and keeping the nation in its Medieval Stasis, simply to shield themselves from the outside world...
    • Another possible reason that Bretonnia has maintained its independence is their great success in domesticating the flocks of pegasi that live in their mountains resulting in the rise of the Pegasus Knight. Pegasi exist in the Empire too, but mostly as very rare possessions of aristocrats, giving Bretonnia effective dominance of the air.
      • The Royal Air Force - Bretonnian Pegasus Knights - are easily the most effective aerial troops in the game.
        • Another reason could be the fact that even after conquering Bretonnia it still has THE worst economy of any nation state/tribe/species in the setting. The Empire would probably spend a century or two trying to wring the cost of the initial invasion force's horse food bill from the captured Bretonnian lands.
  • Defictionalized: The Liber Chaotica has been published as a Sourcebook on the Chaos Gods
  • Dem Bones:Skeleton Warriors
  • Demonic Invaders: Chaos.
  • Demonic Possession: Chaos again.
  • Devour the Dragon: The mechanics are all there.
  • Diving Save: the "Look Out, Sir!" rule.
    • Ogres' gnoblars provide something similar.
  • Don't Go in The Woods: The forests of the Old World cover vast amounts of land, including most of the Empire. Virtually everything that lives in them is very, very bad.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Ohsomuch. The Doomwheel, the Anvil of Doom, Doomseekers, the Doom Diver, the Ziggurat of Doom...
  • Drop the Hammer: Warrior priests and many dwarves carry these, it is all in the title after all
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Chaos, just Chaos.
    • Skaven too. Especially with warpstone involved, Grey Seers are quite wary of the megalomania, more than usual for a Skaven, that comes with the power it gives.
  • The Dung Ages: If you're poor, this is your lifestyle.
    • Subverted in earlier editions of Bretonnia: Peasants who proved themselves had the chance of being upgraded to nobility. Now they just get a fat hog and some jewels (which likely wont last long anyhow).
      • It's still possible for a bretonnian peasant to be knighted for acts of great nobility, such as saving a Damsel in Distress. Not that it happens often. Three times so far since the founding of Bretonnia - over 1500 years ago.
      • Not to mention that bretonnian laws of nobility defines a noble as anyone whose ancestors on both sides were nobles for the last two generations. Anyone else is a peasant. A peasant may be knighted, but his line will die out immediately since his children will, by definition, be peasants.
  • Elemental Powers: The eight winds of magic. Kislev has ice magic.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Not so much in the present day, but the War of Vengeance is the embodiment of this trope taken literally.
  • The Empire: Yeah, the good guys. Usually. Based on the Holy Roman Empire; as a result, it's surprisingly democratic, with nobles known as Elector Counts voting for their emperor, again, a practice swiped from the Holy Roman Empire. The upper classes are largely corrupt, the church is an extremist military force, though the latter is justified, given the sheer evil of everywhere else. Suprisingly, the actual monarch (see below) is both decent and competent.
    • See Alternative Character Interpretation above: Various matters, such as if the Empire is merely allies with Kislev and the Dwarfs, or if they are essentially disposable vassals (or vice versa in the case of the Dwarfs), tend to vary quite wildly from source to source.
  • The Emperor: The Emperor is an elected official, the current one a guy named Karl Franz (who is also the reigning prince of one of the constituents of the Empire). He's what you could call an Emperor Action. Although it's possible he had the incarnation of his own god killed to preserve his position and maintain order. But then, nobody's perfect.
    • Elected by the College of Electors, not the people of the empire. The college of electors is made up of hereditary rulers of the Empire's lands and the heads of the cults of Sigmar and Ulric.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Lizardmen, not to mention what they use as steeds.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Lustria. Poisonous plants (soul-eating properties optional) carnivorous animals lurking around every corner, tiny tree frogs that can kill a Daemon with their poison, and to top it all off, a race of killer dinosaur-men lurking around every corner. In fact, a Chameleon Skink may very well be lurking right above your head right now...
  • Evil Albino: The Grey Seers.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Daemon Prince apotheosis.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Green Knight.
  • Exact Words: In the novel Nagash the Sorcerer, The eponymous sorcerer promises his bride, Neferem, that no harm will come to her son, Sukhet, from this moment forward if she drinks an elixir recently made from the now-deceased Sukhet's blood.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Virtually the only things Ogres don't think make for good eating are Gnoblars—and they'll eat them too, they just don't like it as much as better fare.
    • Although the ears and nose are quite tasty. Coincidentally, ear and nose size are badges of status among Gnoblars.
    • One Ogre mentioned in the army book was killed because it ate a loaded rifle, which went off in its stomach firing directly into its brain.
      • There was also a whole horse skeleton in his stomach.
  • The Fair Folk: The Fay Enchantress (a servant of the Lady of the Lake) takes all Brettonian children with magical talent away to be trained. This is considered a great honor. The Girls? They tend to turn up about ten years later, acting very different but well trained in using this power. The Boys? Oh, they tend to not ever be seen again.
    • The Wood Elves of Athel Loren (who may be the power behind the Lady) are known to flat-out abduct children. According to the army book, "Boy children taken from the lands around the forest, destined never to grow old, joyfully serve their Elven masters." What actually goes on is left to the imagination.
    • Wood Elves are shotacons?
    • Some Bretonnian children with magical abilities (apparently boys) are sent by their parents to Empire to Imperial colleges of magic.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Zig Zagged due to Schizo-Tech. Elves and Bretonnia stick to bows and arrows, while the Empire and Dwarfs use firearms and cannons. The Skaven use ratling guns and sniper rifles and flamethrowers and grenades and laser guns and poison gas and...
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The developers admit the Empire is the Holy Roman Empire in a fantasy setting. Bretonnia is Medieval France mixed with the Arthurian legends. Then there is the island nation of Nippon (take a wild guess on who they are supposed to be)... The Lizardmen culture is modeled after Aztec culture, complete with Ancient Astronauts, while the foggy moors of the island of Albion are home to a Celt culture. The Hung tribes are Mongols, Ogres are humongous Mongols, Hobgoblins are dire wolf-riding greenskin Mongols, Kislev is generically Eastern Europe with a good bit of Russia and Polish heavy cavalry, and Estalia and Tilea are Spain and Italy respectively. There is also Araby for a pastiche of the Middle East, and somewhere out east the mystical empire of Cathay, which is China.
    • Nehekhara is Egypt, except that pretty much all the humans who used to live there have died in a magical plague and the Pharaohs have all come out of their pyramids to rule over a kingdom of shambling undead.
    • An obvious reference is Sylvania, which of course is based on Transylvania. Is there any reason not to believe that is the official home land of the Vampire Counts? In fact, if you examine the map of the Warhammer World, you will notice that it is, in fact, a Fantasy replica of Earth, with most of the cultures being corresponding to their real-life counterparts in location.
    • The Chaos Dwarfs are a mix of Ancient Persia and Prussia located in Mordor.
      • Actually they are more like Babylonians and Assyrians.
    • The High Elves are modelled after Byzantium, with the Melnibonean's thrown in.
    • Norsca is the Viking era Scandinavia, while Dark Elves are the Medieval Scandinavia after the Viking period. Similar to the High Elves they also resemble Moorcock's Bright Empire of Melnibone, except while the High Elves have the sleeping dragon armies, faded ancient empire and impenetrable island fortress, the Dark Elves just get all the dark magic and utter amorality the Melnibonan's had.
    • Orcs and Goblins are a generic Dark Ages Germanic barbarian warband army
    • Skaven are modelled after Ottoman Turkish infantry without their cavalry. They just cannot kill all the bashi-bazoukis!
    • Wood Elves are a later Byzantine army, relying on their Bretonnian allied knights for some really heavy punch.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Beastmen, though the emphasis is much more on the beast than the man, they are still this.
  • Fearless Undead: Literally on the Tabletop, otherwise the whole army would flee at the sight of itself.
  • Fertile Feet: Inverted; the one character with this trait is a Champion of Tzeentch named Aekold Hellbrass. It's a side effect of a mutation called "Breath of Life", which renders the Champion a walking repository of life energy.
  • Fish People: None playable in the game yet, but a number of books have steadily indicated that there is some manner of underwater civilization that controls sea monsters and has had several run-ins with both the Dark Elves and the Lizardmen.
  • Fleur-de-Lis: The very emblem of Bretonnia.
  • Forged by the Gods: The Chaos Gods sometimes grant their mortal or daemonic servants powerful weapons (although usually their forging is done by daemons, not the gods themselves). Vaul, the forge god of Warhammer Fantasy Battle's High Elves, forged at least one uber-sword.
  • Full Boar Action
  • Functional Magic: Runs the whole gamut;
  • Gaiden Game: Mordheim and Warmaster respectively. Mordheim is a skirmish/street fighting game, while Warmaster is an epic battle game using mini-miniatures to represent giant armies.
  • Gallows Humor: Ubiquitous throughout the setting, but especially with regards to the greenskins.
  • Giant Spiders: Ridden by goblins.
    • And now with an even bigger spider ridden by Orks.
  • God Is Evil: The Chaos gods. Also, Sigmar, judging by when you meet his avatar in the chaos wastes in the MMO, is an extreme Knight Templar and kind of an asshole . Figures.
    • Though in fairness a god's avatar does not always represent the whole of his personality. Valtan was another avatar of Sigmar and was a well-meaning moron who got by on sheer concentrated Badass and a Healing Factor.
    • A pre-deity Sigmar is the hero of the Graham McNeill novel Heldenhammer he commits what's basically genocide on the Chaos worshipping Norse tribes and even his captains are a little... unsettled at his ruthlessness(though he was possessed by an evil crown at the time).
    • While not generally malevolent, the gods of Order are generally too apathetic to be considered benevolent by any definition of the word. Solkan is the Knight Templar exception. They are also implied to be somewhat weaker then the Chaos Gods, as they rely on more complicated concepts for their worship and power, whereas the Chaos Gods have VERY broad, very universal, and very negative concepts empowering them.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Averted in that several times gods have intervened to save their people, generally by creating an avatar to fight the forces of usually Chaos. The only reason the world still exists is the first chaos invasion was stopped when Aenarion was granted divine power. The Lizardman god Sotek appeared out of nowhere to protect them from the Skaven(which is weird since Sotek, unlike the other gods isn't real). Most recently, what was probably the god Sigmar reborn fought the Chaos champion Archaon, the result of which was... disputable.
    • The Greenskins god Mork can STOMP HIS FOOT DOWN ON THE TABLE.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The nicest description you could give to High Elves. They're still assholes.
    • This probably comes from being heavily inspired by the The Bright Empire of Melnibone, who while mighty and powerful were very alien and amoral compared to everyone else. Thankfully the High Elves have less of the causal nuttiness the Melnibonean's had, mostly because the Dark Elves have it covered.
    • The Lizardmen were the first to fight Chaos; they are the true reason that Chaos can hardly leave the wastes. Pretty good, right? Well, Their leaders the Slann are actively trying to shift the world back to its pure untainted state, and no cost is too high for them to pay if it thwarts the ruinous powers. The Lizardmen will eat sentient bipeds, lobotomize them and use them as slaves, and their opinion on almost every sentient race is that of a pest exterminator finding cochroaches in their own house. When they made the first and so far only step to fixing the world, it reduced the dwarven people to a shadow of a fraction of themselves; the Slann don't know this happened, but if they did they would be apathetically apologetic at how dumb the dwarfs were being for living where an inland sea should be.
  • Green Rocks: Warpstone
  • Grim Up North: The Chaos Wastes. Pretty Dark, too, since there's a hole to the equivalent of Hell at the north pole.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies appear as a flying unit for Dark Elves and Hordes of Chaos. They are a One Gender Race, winged female humanoid, group of scavangers and snatchers. The issue of beautiful vs ugly Harpies comes to a head since they are depicted as attractive but only from the belly up to the neck as a "parody of a woman's body".
  • Hat of Power: The crown of Nagash, which gained magic powers and its own personality from sitting on the necromancer Nagash's head for centuries. Anyone who wears the crown is granted magic power and increased intelligence, at the cost of hearing the voice of the crown.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During the Great Catastrophe, Lord Kroak's Temple Guard stood on the bridge outside his temple for 2 and a half days while the hordes of Chaos slowly beat them into the ground and took them down, but they survived long enough for Kroak to unleash a spell reserved for the gods. The propaganda covering up Valten's death paints it as one of these.
  • Heroic Willpower: You. Do. Not. Mess. With. A. Warrior. Priest. Also the Elven wizards who created the barrier to keep most of the Chaos magic out of the world - they're dead and still attack anyone who tries to undo their spells. Similarly, the most powerful Lizardman hero is a tens of thousands year old mummy, with friggin' laser eyes and who also happens to release the magic equivalent to a nuke around himself that fries anything not a lizardmen. Chaos Champions have their own version of this determining whether they become deadlier with more and more Chaos Gifts and may eventually ascend to demonhood, or whether their minds snap and they become Chaos Spawn. Also note Lord Settra of the Tomb Kings, who maintained an undead horde through his own willpower rather than the use of liches.
  • Hero's Muse: The Bretonnian knights, being Arthurian knights in France, follow the cult of the Lady, a mystical figure who gives visions and quests, leading to drinking from the Grail. Warhammer being the cheerful and happy place it is, the Lady may or may not be an elaborate hoax pulled off by the Wood Elves to protect their lands.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Aenarion, the first Phoenix King of the High Elves. He grew ever more violent and hateful as he warred against the Daemons of Chaos, and though he died a hero, his actions set the stage for the Sundering in which the Dark Elves split from their kin.
    • Also Note the Shadow Warriors of Nagarythe, the first High Elves to become victimized by the Dark Elves, are obsessed with eradicating the Dark Elves to the point of murderous fury. They're shunned even by other High Elves.
    • A good few cannonical Chaos champions started this way, including Archaon (maybe)
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Wood Elves. The other Elves have kingdoms and empires.
  • Hobbes Was Right: A few subversions
  • Hobbits: The Empire has a few Halflings living within their borders. They take all of the negative traits from Tolkien's Hobbits (being gluttonous, larcenous and lazy) and do away with all of the positive ones.
    • As a result of some deft political maneuvering and excellent culinary skills during the reign of Emperor Ludwig the Fat, the Elder of the Moot holds a vote in the election of the Emperor, and the halfling lands are not subject to any of the Elector Counts.
  • Horny Vikings: Keep heading North and you will run into these, the Norse of Norsca are not the nicest bunch.
  • Horse Archer: Kislevite Horse Archers, Hobgoblin Wolf Riders, Wood Elf Glade Riders, and Empire Pistoliers (who, as the name suggests, aren't quite horse archers, but definitely ride horses).
  • Horse of a Different Color: Between dinosaurs, pegasi, wolves, huge spiders, and dragons, there is no shortage of fantastic mounts in Warhammer universe.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Just go on and read the Skaven army book. They've got ratling guns, corateral damage and lots of other rodent-related puns...
    • Orcs & Goblins books are usually just as bad.
    • Though not technically puns, there is a number of occasions where the design team is horribly uncreative. Take the Bretonnian province of Bordeleaux, for example, which is known for its good wine. Also, there's a Chaos character called Valkia (no surprises as to which creature from viking mythology she's based on) who wields a magical spear named "Slaupnir".
    • Bordeleaux is actually Fridge Brilliance. It is pronounced like "bordello", a whorehouse.
  • Hybrid Monster
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Way too common justification for several people's, and nations', actions in this world. Its gotten to the point where it may have once been possible to fight Chaos in the past more effectively as an alliance if certain groups *cough*Lizardmen, High Elves*cough* didn't treat this trope as a standard operating procedure or even a stated goal of success.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Greenskins, Skaven, and Ogres are cannibals (too).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Several Lizardman names, including Xilicuncani (chili con carne), Xhilipepa (chili pepper), and Manquoxutni (mango chutney).
    • They stopped trying to hide it with X's with "Tiqtaq'to". Gaaaah.
    • There's also the Gwakamol Crater in Lustria, which has been known to induce facepalms.
    • They have been getting slightly better though: the aforementioned Xhilipepa was introduced in an article about some staffer's personal army, along with Itzibitzi, Tini-huini and Pol'kadotte. Tini-huini has since become an official special character, although his name has been changed to Tehen-Hauin. Admittedly, this is still a bad pun (Two-in-One), but it's better than "teeny-weeny."
    • There are some more subtle ones, such as the intricately carved Sentinels of Xeti, erected under the orders of Lord Arexibo to listen for signals from the space-borne Old Ones, of which none have yet been heard. This may remind one of the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, which has (on occasion) been used by SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) to listen for possible signals from aliens, of which none have yet been heard.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: The Skaven, anthropomorphic rats who are cannibalistic, disease-ridden, and generally unpleasant, as well as attacking in swarms. One of their war machines is a giant excersise wheel with guns on.
    • They are also absolutely out of their minds. One of the best possible examples is of the previously stated armed exercise wheel. The pilot of this so-called vehicle likes his guns so much that he will fire them every single turn, whether or not there are enemies nearby. Friendly troops are just as viable targets, since apparently this gun is too cool not to shoot SOMEONE with.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The targets of Lizard Men genocides were/are very nasty creatures (especially Chaos and Skaven) themselves, except for the dumb colonists on their coasts.
  • The Kingdom: Bretonnia, although they aren't defenseless by any means, and whilst possessing knights in shining armour and damsels in distress there's a lot of oppressed peasants taxed almost to (or sometimes past) starvation (ridiculous 90% taxes!) to pay for armour polish and gowns.
    • 90% tax rate? Thats overwhelmingly generous, most peasants are paying something on the order of 110% Income tax.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Empire Bright Wizards. Hint: The "Bright" doesn't refer to their IQ... Also, Dwarf Flame Cannons, the Tomb Kings Screaming Skull Catapult which fires burning, wailing skulls, the entire college of Fire Magic, and so on and so forth. Tomb Kings and Treemen are also "Flammable", due to being wrapped in tar-soaked bandages and made out of wood, respectively.
    • "Kill it with Fire" is, quite literally, a good tactic against anything with the regeneration rule.
    • High Elf dragon armour provides immunity to being killed with fire, necessary when trying to wake up a dragon that has been asleep for a thousand years and may not be happy.
  • The Knights Hospitallers: Bretonnian Grail Knights
  • Knight Templar: The character type most common in the Empire and Bretonnia.
    • Lizardmen have this, its just not very obvious from an outside point of view; just remember those elderly comatose toad guys will shift continents regardless of the bodycount if they think it's right, especially if the victims weren't part of The Great Plan of the Ancients.
  • Knight in Shining Armour: Brettonia was this for a while, until the next edition made them Knight Templars again. They certainly still look the part, though. The High Elves also have their own knights that fit the bill.
  • Large and In Charge: Common to Orcs, Ogres, Beastmen, and the Saurus species of Lizardmen.
  • Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid: any of the various races and characters in this game can be seen as one of these alignments. Except Stupid Good, for obvious reasons. You've got Empire Witch Hunters and Lord Mazdamundi (Lawful Stupid), the Skaven (Stupid Evil) and the Orcs & Goblins (Chaotic Stupid or Stupid Evil, depending on your point of view and the time of day).
  • Licking the Blade: A favorite of some of the IP's more unhinged characters, such as Konrad Von Carstein.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Bretonnian cult of the Lady.
    • Lore of Light in the main rulebook is actually more destructive then it's twin Lore of Shadow, which is primarily defensive/movement magic.
    • Less destructive than Death and Fire. Light is all about making the good guys better and burning daemons to cinder.
    • Then there's also Alluminas, one of the gods of order. Granted, he's technically neutral, and enemy of the chaos gods, but he literally hates all kinds of change, and wishes to keep the status quo. One way he does so is grant one of his angel like daemons the ability of casting a light that makes anything it touches unchanging. This alone should make someone more careful around him.
      • Another god of order, Solkan, is both a solar deity and a deity of vengeance. He and his followers are feared for their Knight Templar ways.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Bretonnian Knights. Ogres are almost as fast as cavalry units, and have at least three wounds each. Lizardmen Kroxigors may also qualify, since they too are a little slower than cavalry (even across water thanks to being aquatic) - but then again they always attack last due to wielding what are basically trees with blades on the end.
    • All heavy calvary and monstrous calvary falls under this trope.
    • Numerous monsters qualify, anything big with the flight ability can inflict massive hurt. However, a lot of fast monsters tend to also have low initiative, with some exceptions like the Bloodthirster and Keeper of Secretes.
  • Living Labyrinth
  • Living Statue: The Ushabti
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizardmen, obviously, except for the Slann (they're toads).
  • Low Fantasy: Warhammer swings from this to High Fantasy and everything in between.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Don't lose your standard, unless you enjoy routing.
  • Made of Iron: Ogres. The Ogre Kingdoms army book contains a mock scholarly report of an ogre corpse that sustained years worth of wounds, from a massive lance to the shoulder to dozens of crossbow bolts and gunshots to its head, surviving it all until he swallowed a loaded gun (arm and all) that went off in its throat and fired a bullet into its brain (!).
    • To a much lesser extent the Saurus and Kroxigors follow this trope.
    • Archaon, while he has same wounds and toughness as regular chaos lord, he has a 1+ armor save, a 3+ word save, and rolls to hit against him suffer from minus 1 penalty.
    • Great Unclean Ones are very hard to take down. How hard? Stand in front of a gunpowder cannon and take ten cannonballs in a row in the chest. If you're still standing, you're still not as tough as GUO. Fortunately 8th edition's army structure rules make this guy a rarely used piece.
  • Made of Phlebotinum: Has a moon made entirely of Green Rocks. It's as bad as it sounds.
  • The Mafia: The Eyebiter tribe of Ogres seems to be a pastiche or parody of The Mafia. They're an extremely close-knit family who often do profitable business with human merchants as guards or guides, and those who renege on favors are murdered, their severed heads found in their horses' feed bags.
  • Magic Knight Plenty, mostly Chaos-aligned, though this is also the main shtick of Bretonnia.
  • Magic Misfire: Troubling, though fairly uncommon, for most magic users. Amusingly prevalent and spectacular for Greenskins, with one of the possible results being a literal Your Head Asplode. Probably one of the funniest things that can go wrong in a non-Skaven army.
    • changed in the newest edition, with the new magic much more devastating at the cost of extra risk. Now, a roll of two or more sixes means the spell has Gone Horribly Right - it is completely impossible to stop but the caster suffers Superpower Meltdown .
  • Magitek: This is the specialty of Skaven Clan Skryre.
  • Master Poisoner: The entire Skaven race. The Skinks of Lustria are a distant second, its implied in fluff that they can do many things, but they'd rather just kill with their "jungle poisons."
  • Master Swordsman: Several, obviously, but High Elven Swordmasters are probably the best example.
  • Mayincatec: The Lizardmen are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Mayincatec. Culturally closer to the Mayans, their jewelry is more Aztec inspired and their pantheon is based on the Aztec one.
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted, this world is constantly changing and technology is continuing to advance, with steam rather than real-world stuff. The list of things that were invented differently with the alternate power source include tanks, helicopters, sniper rifles, and even mechanical horses to replace the modern day car.
    • Although the trope is played perfectly straight with Bretonnia.
      • Although perhaps justified, because it's suggested that the Wood Elves are deliberately keeping them there to act as an easily manipulated human shield.
  • Mighty Glacier: Lizard Men are known for two things: Uber powerful basic rulebook casters, and slow but tough as nails units.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Monsters created by Chaos, such as Griffons, Manticores, and the various Beastmen, combine the traits of multiple animals. The Skaven Clan Moulder also specializes in mixing rats with other creatures to create vile mutants.
  • Monowheel Mayhem: You do not want to get in the way of the Skaven Doomwheel, which is best described as a hamster wheel designed by Nikola Tesla after a particularly bad day.
  • More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Squigs
  • Mystical Plague: Nurgle mages get these kinds of spells, as do the Skaven.
    • How Nagash wiped out Nehekara and paved the way for the rise of the Tomb Kings.
  • Nice Hat: Witch Hunters, also quite intimidating.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The man who invented the Steam Tank made about twelve of them, and then threw the plans away.
    • Despite this, the Empire seems to have access to a lot of tanks.
    • This is possibly no longer canon in recent editions, and obviously not in the slightest in the MMO.
    • Lore says that one of the 12 tanks produced, the most successful prototype, dubbed "Conqueror" - fitted with a cannon and steam gun - was reverse engineered and went into mass production, while the other 11 unique originals are still lying around somewhere, except the ones that have been destroyed.
  • Ninja: Clan Eshin, who are Ninja Rats.
    • Also Shadow Warriors of Nagarythe are based on Ninjas.
    • And one model is an Ogre ninja.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Let's see. A Vampire Knight on a Zombie Dragon? Check. Dwarf Berserker Pirates? Check. Demon Robot Rhino Horses? Check.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The Norse consider blue eyes to be a sign of favour of the Chaos God Tzeentch. Since Tzeentch is not only the patron god of sorcery, but a Manipulative Bastard extraordinaire who's even fonder of inflicting mutations on his favourites than his brothers are, this may or may not be a good thing.
  • The Ogre: Used to be a Dogs of War unit, now they have their own Army Book.
  • Omniscient Morality Licence: The Slann, who are willing to sink entire continents to further the plans of the Old Ones.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Self-explanatory.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Many people who join Chaos cults do so in the hopes of attracting their chosen god's favor. Unfortunately for them, said gods are just as likely to ignore them, give them what they want or subject them to horrible (or benign) mutations.
  • Our Dwarfs Are All The Same: But with the surliness and grim stoicism cranked up the eleven, and a gyrocopter or two thrown in for flavor. And Death Seeker Cults, cannot forget those darn Death Seeker Cults.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Three main groups—the High Elves, the Wood Elves, and the Dark Elves. They're arrogant bastards , isolationist bastards , and sadistic bastards in that order.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants. Always drunk and not the brightest bulbs of the chandelier.
    • Storm of Magic introduces a super sized giant called a bonegrinder that is so big that it can use its thunderstomp against anything without the "largest monster" rule, and the only other thing with that rule is a giant killer mammoth.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They're basically identical to Dungeons and Dragons gnomes—small burrowing humanoids with a knack for technology and illusion magic—but extremely rude and short-tempered. They disappeared some time after the '90s.
  • Our Goblins Are Wickeder: Small, green, devious, and shamanistic; most get pushed around by Orcs. Forest Goblins ride spiders, Night Goblins live underground and enter a berserker rage by drinking mushroom brew. Related to Mongol-esque Hobgoblins, Ogre-abetting Gnoblars, and tiny expendable Snotlings who are so pathetic most players appear to have sympathy to these guys.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Big, green, tusked, dumb, mono-gendered Proud Warrior Race Guys who leave the thinking to the goblins.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: From each other, even. There are five known vampire Bloodlines; Von Carstein (classic Dracula-style aristocrats), Lahmian (literal Femme Fatales), Blood Dragons (Blood Knights), Strigoi (inhuman ghoulish monsters) and Necrarch (Mad Scientist necromancers).
    • The Different Ghouls and Zombies serve vampires, as (respectively) devolved, cannibalistic, but still living humans and shambling, brainless corpses which need magical control to stay upright.
  • Overly Long Name: The Ogre ruler Overtyrant Tradelord Greasus Tribestealer Drakecrush Hoardmaster Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese, more commonly known as Greasus Goldtooth.
  • The Pig Pen: Followers of Nurgle take great pride in being filthy and disease ridden.
  • Plaguemaster: Nurgle in a nutshell.
    • The Skaven clan Pestilens give his followers a run for their money.
  • Playing with Fire: Bright Wizards.
  • Precursors: The Old Ones who created the Lizardmen, made the world prosper, left open a backdoor for a Chaos to sneak through, died out and left a bunch of plaques and prophecy that the Lizardmen spend most of their time interpreting or genociding over.
  • Private Military Contractors: Dogs of War, i.e., mercenary armies.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Everyone. Well, except for the people of Tilea and Estalia, who avoid danger by hiding in the Empires shadow.
  • Pure Is Not Good: The Chaos Gods.
  • Raised by Wolves: The legendary Ogre Hunter Jhared the Red was cast out by his clan for being a hairy runt, only to be found and raised to maturity by a female sabertusk cat.
    • He eventually killed the pack leader, then lead the sabretusks to hunt down and eat his former tribe.
  • Red Right Hand: Chaos "gifts."
  • Redshirt Army: Bretonnian infantry.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This says it all, really.
    • The Bretonnians also have a Virtue called the Virtue of Audacity.
  • Religion of Evil: Chaos, need we say more? Also the Dark Elves and their veneration of Khaine (Elven God of War and Murder), the Skaven worship of the Horned Rat, and the Ogres' Great Maw.
  • Religion Is Magic: Cultists of Sigmar, and most of the other gods, have magic religion powers of ass-kickery.
    • The Greenskins and Ogres consider their magic relgious, as well.
    • Lizardmen magic is their religion, although its more shamanistic with the skinks, and sort of Zen Buddhist (minus the "prevent suffering" clause) with the Slann.
  • Retcon: All mention of Malal was written out of the backstory due to no one being quite sure who owned his copyright. He remains semi-popular amongst old school Chaos players and gets a Shout-Out every so often by GW proper.
    • The Storm Of Chaos event has been retconned out by the 8th edition rulebooks, which reset the timeline to before those events. As such Valten no longer existed (although he may be a blacksmith in a small village), Archaon is still the Everchosen and was not defeated and broken from his dark faith, and Manfred is still thought "dead". The Nemesis Crown event was also retconned almost immediately after completion, and then everyone tried really hard to forget it.
  • Reverse Grip: Witch Elves hold their daggers this way.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The Skaven, as well as the Giant Rat units.
  • Rule of Cool: Abides to this with the same zeal as 40k.
  • Rule of Funny: the Ork Doom Diver catapult, which fires a goblin in a hang-glider, and the Skaven Doomwheel, which is a giant hampster wheel with ray guns. Also, look at the names of the Lizardmen gods and special characters. The Snotling Pump-Wagon.
  • Salt the Earth: Man those Elves can be nasty. Anything non-elven that trepasses against an elven protection, like say a poorly positioned village, will be irradicated to the point of never knowing it existed and during The Sundering the point of no return when the two different elven races would form came when a king Tethlis whose family had been killed by the enemy moved to scorched earth tactics and would salt the fields of their lands on the continent, driving them onto a completely different continent.
  • Schizo-Tech: The Empire's up to rifled firearms supplemented by gigantic cannons and steam-powered tanks. The Dwarfs have gyrocopters, submarines, and ironclad ships. Thanks to Magitek, the Skaven have jezails, ratling guns, giant hamster wheels that shoot lightning, or really huge death rays, portable nuclear reactors, and what seems to be three different types of nukes. Meanwhile, the High Elves still use chariots and bolt-throwers, while the orcs have just enough know-wotz to slap together a "rock lobber." Though elves focus more on magic than technology and a well-trained elf archer tends to be as useful as any fellow with a musket.
  • Screw You, Elves: Half the point of the series.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: The lizardmen use blades with obsidian teeth, based on the Aztec weapons. Also, many champions of chaos use similar weapons, including possessed ones that grow actual teeth.
  • Shape Shifter: Kislev has them in a sizable minority, then there is Beorg Bearstruck, leader of a mercenary army, who is a werebear.
  • Shout-Out: Kroq-Gar's dinosaur steed, Grymloq.
    • Also the mounts of Lord Mazdamundi and Tik'taq'to, Zlaaq and Zwup.
    • There's a tunnelling unit mishap roll called "Should Have Taken That Left Turn".
    • In the current Skaven rule book, a slave revolt couldn't be put down by normal means (ie send the elites in and kill them) so they told the slaves they would be pardoned if they pointed out their leader. All 10,000 pointed to him. Guess what his name kinda sounded like?
    • The Skaven themselves are probably a shout-out to Stephen King's Graveyard Shift, if not anything earlier.
    • Actually based on a story from the Grey Mouser series called Swords of Lankhmar, although in that story the creatures are the size of normal brown rats. They have an evil council and everything!
    • Hell, half the names in the game are named after something/someone else.
    • Almost everything about Chaos, from the it's strange mutating effects and reality-altering abilities to it's eight-pointed star symbol comes directly from Michael Moorcock's stories, most specifically The Elric Saga. The High Elves have strong influences from the Bright Empire of Melnibone (a faded empire thousands of years old rule by human-ish but still alien beings on an island fortress kingdom with sleeping dragons they rarely use). The character Malus Darkblade is basically an expy of Elric himself.
  • The Slow Walk: In the trailer for Warhammer Online.
  • Spiked Wheels: In Warhammer Fantasy Battle, chariots of some races get upgraded with these, increasing the number of enemies they can run down when they charge.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Chaos, again. The Orcs like these two, though they're less villainous.
  • Squishy Wizard: Subverted and played straight. Mortal wizards often are. But Champions of Tzeentch wear full armor, and Orc Shamans are as tough as any other Orc.
    • The cover of one supplement on Battle Magic had a human Bright Wizard wielding a Flaming Sword to great effect (This is an actual spell in the game).
      • The current head of the Empire wizards throws acid at people. Also looks like Dr. Doom.
      • Teclis, reputedly the most powerful wizard alive, both subverts the trope and plays it straight. He has been physically weak ever since he was born, but he can drink a potion that greatly increases his physical strength. Plus, he always goes into battle with a sword.
      • And I doubt very much that you would call Mannfred Von Carstein squishy. Not unless you wanted to have your head ripped off and your corpse raised as a (blind) zombie.
      • Most Lizardmen Slann are very tough, with 6 Wounds, a toughness score of 5, and an (upgradable) talisman that essentially discounts half the attacks that get through as standard. The trope is played straight with Skink Shamans, though - and also with Lord Kroak, who is dead.
      • Er, dead and still one of the most powerful wizards in the game...
        • played with somewhat in the case of the Slann, since while they are tough, and better at taking hits than the saurus warrior heroes, they are still lousy fighters.
      • The Ogre Butcher are both casters for the Ogre army and their chef. And they're well trained against any would-be food thieves. They have a brutal statline that and different options for weapons (and they're TECHNICALLY allowed to take magic armor, due to an oversite in the rules set.)
      • Daemons that are wizards are still really powerful fighters, the Daemon Prince have the same statline as a Chaos Lord, and Lord of Change is even stronger. Another sorta subversion with Vlad and Archaon, they aren't dedicated wizards, but they can still use magic
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Turn by Turn.
  • Star Power: One of the eight schools of magic is the Classical (fate plus meteors) type.
  • The Starscream:
    • The Skaven. All of them.
    • Mannfred von Carstein. Fluff suggests that he knew about/helped/planned the stealing of Vlad von Carstein's Ring, leading to his downfall. He then disappeared to continue his studies of Necromancy and let the other potential heirs of Vlad kill each other, be killed in battle against the Empire, or hunted down by vampire hunters (and there are rumours that the one who killed Peter von Carstein was helped along by none other than Mannfred) before claiming Sylvania for himself.
  • Status Quo Is God: Last write up of Storm of Chaos. The Hero of the Empire is on his knees, about to be killed by the Champion of Chaos...only for the Champion of Chaos to get knocked out from behind by someone unrelated. And then both of the villains take their armies and go home. And then the Vampire who was invading in their wake changes his mind too. Why? Cause otherwise they'd have to alter how the world is set up.
    • Subverted in the actual rules. 8th edition shook up the rules of the game, altering the way magic, combat resolution and combat itself works. fan reaction is...divided.
    • Though the hilarity of The Messiah and The Antichrist of the setting having an epic battle to decide the fate of the world then suddenly getting blindsided and loosing by a random Blood Knight orc warlord (albeit a famous one)) and loosing to him despite him being completely unrelated to their prophecies of doom and/or salvation fits the darkly humorous tone of the setting.
  • Steampunk: The Empire, Dwarf, and Skaven Factions are rife with it.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: The Tomb Banshee unit is described like this in the Vampire Lord sourcebook, despite their models all having gorgeous, flowing tresses.
  • Swarm of Rats: The Skaven, an army based on the Rat Horde concept.
  • Sword and Gun: The preferred fighting style of Witch Hunters, as well as some bandits and pirates, though in the game the gun is also used as a melee weapon.
  • Taking You with Me: Caradryan, Captain of the Phoenix Guard. Whoever kills him will be consumed by an angry ball of fire lobbed by the Elven Creator God.
    • Same with killing a Tomb King, only you'll be eaten by Zombie bugs.
      • Actually, your blood turns to sand inside you veins. Sounds fun, yes?
    • The Heart of Woe is a magic item designed to do this - if the wearer dies it explodes.
      • There's an Orc and Goblin item that also has this function - although the Goblin in question just thinks it's cool and shiny, and can't understand why da Boss keeps sending him off to take on large groups of Chaos knights by himself.
    • Vlad Von Carstein was famously killed in this manner as the Grand Theogonist (basically the Pope) tackled him off of a tower and onto a row of spikes surrounding the fort.
      • It should be noted that this was probably the third or fourth time Vlad was killed. Only this time he stayed dead, probably because his magic ring had been stolen.
        • It should also be noted that this was probably third or fourth time that Grand Theogonist had been killed, that is if he had the same resilience as the guy currently holding the office.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: The Empire gets huge Chaos warhosts knocking on the doorstep every couple years. It's suprising they still make a big deal out of it.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Skaven worship the number thirteen. They're also ruled by a body called the Council of Thirteen, although there are twelve Skaven on it. The empty chair is for their Horned God. They also have exactly 169 Grey Seers (that's 13 x 13) and exactly 13 spells (guess which one is the strongest and most terrifying?). Even their bells chime 13 times.
    • In the last edition of the Skaven army book, they only got Irresistable Force on a casting roll of a 13, rather than the usual 2 or more 6's. That's right, one of the basic rules of the game bent for how much they worshiped 13.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Almost everyone has these, and then there's the alternatives, like "A Series of Stone Slabs Tied Together With Human Tendons in the Form of a Bound Book of Eldritch Lore"
  • Too Important to Walk: Dwarf Kings can be borne aloft by shield bearers; Slann used to have palanquins before they upgraded to hover-thrones; and Ogre tyrant Greasus Goldtooth rides in a gnoblar-borne litter.
    • Grom the Paunch doesn't usually walk for practical reasons but rides in a chariot. On one occasion he was borne on a palanquin by goblins. According to the story, more than one of them died from the experience.
    • Slann never walk... they just get to hover, with the exception of Mazzamundi, he just rides a dinosaur.
    • Mimicking (or possibly as a mockery of) the dwarven habit, some Skaven warlords have shield bearers carrying them into battle. The fluff suggests that they literally think of themselves as too important to walk.
  • Troperiffic: Not unlike 40k, Warhammer Fantasy exults in its clichés and makes of them something awesome.
  • Tunnel King: The Skaven have a tunneling unit. Whether it appears where it should (directly underneath the enemy's artillery units, usually) or the tunnelers screw up horribly and either collapse their tunnel, arrive somewhere on another continent or at least at a different spot on the battlefield than they should (whereupon they spend the rest of the turn bickering who held the map the wrong side up) is dependent on the roll of a die...
    • Also, Dwarf Miners.
  • Un-Equal Rites
  • The Undead: Just about every type there is makes an appearance in the setting. There's two undead factions, Tomb Kings, who are pretty much action figures from The Mummy 1999, and Vampire Counts, who are very in love with Dem Bones and Night of the Living Mooks.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Nearly all of the history fluff has a lot of bias towards the main faction, since it's being told by one of them, but the Dark Elves take the cake in that their entire history according to Malekith is a load of Blatant Lies to try and make Malekith look heroic.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The less insane Undead leaders who want to save the world from Cosmic Horror by turning everyone Undead. The Chosen of Chaos Archaon apparently also believes he is saving the world from corruption.
    • The Slann believe this as part of their goal to enact the Old Ones' plan.
  • War God: Khaine for the Elves and Khorne for Chaos. There's a sneaking suspicion that they're one and the same.
    • In the non ax-crazy end of the spectrum, the dwarves have Grimnir and the Empire have Sigmar, Ulric and Myrmidia. Yep, the world is so horrible that humans need three gods associated with warfare to deal with it. Gork and Mork, being orc deities, would also qualify.
  • We Have Reserves: The Skaven are the freaking embodiment of this trope. The Orcs, the forces of Chaos, and the Empire also practice this as well, to varying extents. Bretonnian peasants.
    • The Skaven are actually faced with mass starvation if they're not engaging in their part-time civil war, or invading the surface with countless numbers. It was stated in one of the army books that this is just as much a driving force for the Council's plans as conquering the Old World. The Skaven are the only faction that can shoot into close combat involving their own troops. With flamethrowers.
      • They have so many that when Grey Seer Thanquol takes a Kislevite manse with the odds of he considers that they had very bad odds of ten Skaven for every one human.
    • Whereas the Goblins are the only ones that shoot their troops as ammunition. Good old Doom Diver...
    • Vampires, ironically, do not feel this way about their mortal subjects. Why send a loyal peasant to his death when you can send a dead enemy back to kill his living friends? But the Vampires do tend to treat themselves as expendable. Mostly because even if you do manage to kill them in a way that would kill a vampire and they've already lost their additional magic ring that would resurrect them even then, they still have the capacity to come back from the dust that they were reduced to via absorbing the life-force that departs when a mortal is killed in battle.
      • Vampires used to be able to play this way in game, when they could spam resurrection spells and bring back most of their army in one turn. That doesn't work nearly as well in their latest edition, but with enough casters it's still possible.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lizard Men, there are other examples but none are worth mentioning next to the Lizardmen.
    • Frederick Van Hal is an example of the trope. Once a priest of Morr he turned to necromancy and resurrected a large horde of zombies... to defend his country Sylvania from the Skaven invasion. It worked, but went downhill from there. He was murdered by his apprentice and never sent the zombies away, his country was despised by The Empire for his actions and eventually vampires took over and made Sylvania their own.
  • A Wizard Did It: Chaos did it. Or maybe the Old Ones.
  • Wolf Man: Werewolves pop up from time to time. In particular, most of the barbaric Norse tribes have Chaos-warped guardians called Weres.
  • Verbal Tic: The Skaven, yes-yes.
    • Grey Seer Thanquol develops a nervous tic whenever someone mentions Gotrek and Felix around him. It is usually followed by violent bursts of green energy directed at the nearest living thing.
  • World Half Empty: How the world looks in fiction that takes itself seriously.
  • World of Badass
  • Wrench Wench: Frau Meikle, the first woman to be admitted to the College of Engineers created the Mechanical Horse, which shoots lightning.
  • Xanatos Roulette: Tzeentch has quite the grand scheme, as does his cult in the MMO.
    • The Daemons army book suggests Tzeentch is in fact just messing with everone, and most of his huge elaborate plots aren't actually meant to acheive anything but to just be there, the same as Khorne's murders and Nurgle's plagues.
    • It may well be that 99.99% of Tzeentch's plans are smokescreens for the 0.01% he cares about.
      • Tzeentch is the schemer of the gods because that is what he is the literal embodiment of. He exists to do nothing but scheme and change, in fact victory for him would be the end as there would be nothing left to scheme about.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The Necromancy spell Wind of Undeath kills any enemy unit and lets you replace them with a unit of Spirit Hosts- basically ghosts. The Tomb Blade steals an enemies' soul and adds their skeleton to your army (represented by adding a single skeleton to the unit the blade's weilder is attached to). The Casket of Souls for the Tomb Kings, which is esentially the Ark of the Covenant weaponized.
  • Your Vampires Suck