Warhammer Wiki
Warhammer Wiki

"It is your selfish desire to shun the power that makes you the best candidate."

Kurt Helborg to the soon-to-be-elected Karl Franz

Emperor Karl Franz, the current ruler of the Empire

Emperor is the title of the elected monarch of the Empire of Man, the most powerful Human realm of the Old World. The emperor is elected from among and by the majority vote of the fifteen Elector Counts and crowned by the Grand Theogonist.

The first emperor was Sigmar Heldenhammer and his coronation marked the starting point of the Imperial Calendar. The current emperor, Karl Franz, was crowned in 2502 IC.

Despite being technically both the Empire's head of state and commander-in-chief of the Imperial military forces, the emperor is not by any means an absolute ruler. He has to share much of his power, influence and responsibilities with the powerful Elector Counts of the Electoral Provinces and the other Imperial nobility.


Upon the death of an Emperor the throne does not automatically pass to his heir. An election is held with 15 Electors, 10 of which are Elector Counts. The heir of the deceased Emperor is an obvious candidate; under normal circumstances he will be supported by the friends and allies of his predecessor. Therefore a dynastic succession is a strong possibility. However, the heir may lose the election due to personal enmities, political manoeuvring or his or her own personal failings.

Nearly all of the Emperors were chosen from among the Elector Counts and in many ways being Emperor means being but the "first among equals." The Emperor is the recognised leader of the Elector Counts, who are themselves powerful and independent nobles. Many matters are debated between the Emperor and the Counts on an equal standing and then agreed upon, and the outcome is not always as the Emperor wants.

The Emperor's power is severely limited by his inability to enforce his edicts within the semi-independent provinces that comprise the Empire. Far from the capital and within their own provinces, the Elector Counts rule as they see fit and they can choose to largely ignore Imperial edicts and decrees.

Furthermore, the Empire is not a centralised state, but a feudal confederacy. The Emperor does not control the entire military of the Empire and he does not receive all, or even the majority, of its taxes. His revenues and other resources are collected from his own province and his own personal treasury will pay the military units under his direct control.

Each of the Elector Counts collects taxes from his respective province and will spend his wealth as he sees fit. He will recruit and pay his own provincial army, which is far more loyal to its local ruler than to the distant Emperor. Depending upon the wealth of the province, a wealthy Elector Count may even be able to afford to recruit a larger army than the Emperor.

A wise Emperor will realise that trying to subdue the Elector Counts through threats and/or force is a very dangerous task, all too likely to result in open rebellion against Imperial authority and a civil war that may cost the Emperor his crown. Gaining the respect and loyalty of the Elector Counts of the Empire through example and fair leadership tends to be the best policy.

The Elected Emperors (1 to 1152 IC)

Name Reign State Notes
Sigmar 1 - 50 Reikland Founder of the Empire.
Siegrich 50-51 Stirland

[Note 1]

Died shortly after his inauguration in a hunting accident.
Hedrich 51-100 Reikland

[Note 2]

Received the Runefangs and distributed them amongst the Elector Counts.
Fulk 100 - ? Wissenland Moved the capital to Nuln as a symbol of support of the Cult of Sigmar.
Wilhelm I 263 IC Reikland Early Emperor considered a tyrant. Was buried in Altdorf and his ghost was rumored to haunt the city. Was reanimated by Vlad von Carstein during the End Times.
Hündrod the Furious c.322 Unknown Killed Mascar, the Great Dragon, in the Drakwald.
Sigismund II 501 - 510 Averland Ruled from Altdorf. Absorbed Marienburg into the Empire.
Siegfried the Lawgiver 510 - 557 Moved the capital to Nuln again.
Hasso 632 Unknown Instituted the office of the "Keeper of the Coast" to ward off Norscan raiders
Siegfried I 667 - 732 Unknown A corrupt Emperor who rode a dragon. Died at the Battle of Fates and was burned by his own mount.
Sigismund IV c.850 Unknown Led colonization efforts in the lands beyond the Grey Mountains.
Jürgen the Opulant c. 900 Possibly Drakwald N/A.
Ludwig the Fat c. 1000 Drakwald Established The Moot.
Boris Goldgather 1053 - 1115 Corrupt Emperor who died of the Black Plague.

Mandred Skaven Slayer

1124 - 1152 Middenland Unites the Empire to defeat the Skaven.


1152 - ? Solland First of a series of weak emperors that have no real power over the Electors.

Beatrice the Monumentally Cruel

During the Age of Wars (1152-1359 IC) Unknown Saw many folk in Reikland become outlaws in order to escape rapacious religious persecution.

Age of Three Emperors (1359 to 2304 IC)

Elected Emperors

Name Reign State Notes
Wilhelm 1359 - 1375 Stirland Unknown.
Hjalmar the Tyrannical c. 1416 Nordland First and only Emperor from Nordland. Deeply unpopular.
Frederik III c. 1448 Stirland Sent Knights to the Great Crusades.
Dieter III c. 1602 and c. 1650 Unknown Formed an alliance with Tzar Alexandr Njevski of Kislev.
Sigismund IV circa 1706 - 1712 Reikland Emperor during the siege of Altdorf of Waaagh! Gorbad! Slain in combat.
Maximillian III c.1876 Unknown (claimed legitimacy through descent from Stirland) Proclaimed himself Sigmar's true heir. During his regency, rumours arose that Ghal Maraz is a forgery, ostensibly created by Bretonnian minstrels on behalf of the Ottilian Emperors.
Carolus II 1937 Unknown Was poisoned by Constant Drachenfels during a banquet.
Magritta 1979 Marienburg Last Elected Empress. She was refused the crown by the Grand Theogonist.

Ottilian Emperors

Name Reign State Notes
Ottilia I 1360 - ??? Talabecland First self-proclaimed Ottilian Emperor.
Frederik V c. 1550 Emperor when Middenheim had a self-proclaimed Emperor.
Horst the Cautious c 1750 Refused to make war on Nuln Emperors. Talabheim rebelled, resulting in two Ottilian Emperors.
Helmut II 1750 - ??? Launched a coup against Horst the Cautious. He becomes the Ottilian Emperor of Talabheim.
Ottilia IV c. 2100 Emperor during the Battle of Four Armies.

Wolf Emperors

Name Reign State Notes
Heinrich 1547 - ???


First self-proclaimed Wolf Emperor.
Gerhardt Meister c. 1707 Rival of the elected Emperor Sigismund IV.
Mannfred Todbringer[4a] c. 2000 Is the ancestor of the current Elector Count of Middenheim, Count Boris Todbringer.

Marienburg Claimants

Name Reign State Notes
Magritta 1979 - ???


The self-proclaimed Empress of Marienburg.
Helmut c. 2100 Father of Helmar, killed and turned into a Zombie by Konrad von Carstein.
Helmar 2100 - ??? Emperor who released his father's spirit and killed Konrad von Carstein.

Reiklander Claimants

Name Reign State Notes
Emperor Siegfried c. 2000


Ludwig c. 2051 Father of Lutwik, endured the Siege of Altdorf by Vlad von Carstein.
Lutwik ??? - 2100 Was killed by assassins after the Battle of Four Armies by agents of Ottilia IV.
Unknown 2185 - ??? First of the Holzkrug Emperors. Supported by Wissenland, Stirland, and Averland.
Eberhardt the Just 2232 - 2260 Last of the Holzkrug Emperors. Ruled from Altdorf and founded the Great Hospice.
Annette 2260 - ??? Of the Von Telland family

Nuln Claimants

Name Reign State Notes
Adelbert IV c. 2107


Secured the trade route to Kreutzhofen

Elected Emperors (2304 IC to Present)

Name Reign State Notes
Magnus the Pious 2304 - 2369 Nuln Victor at the battle at the gates of Kislev during Great War Against Chaos, reunited the Empire. Founded the Colleges of Magic. Considered greatest Emperor after Sigmar.
Leopold 2369 - ? Stirland Grandfather of Dieter IV.
Eckhardt III ?[Note 3] Elected because of his complacency and lack of enemies among the Electors
Dieter IV 2411 - 2429 Incompetent Emperor who sold Marienburg's independence.
Wilhelm III 2429 - 2434 Reikland Established the current royal line.
Matthias IV 2434 - 2438 Father of Mattheus II. Disappeared without a trace after mingling with the people in disguise to learn their true feelings about their Emperor. Imposters that claim to be him still turn up.
Mattheus II 2438 - ? Father of Luitpold I
Luitpold 2470 - 2502 Father of Karl Franz.
Karl Franz 2502 - incumbent Current Emperor of the Empire.

Emperors without clear dates of reign or provenance

Name Reign State Notes
Gunthar II Unknown (long time ago) Unknown Controlled much of northern Tilea.[3b]
Sigismund c. 1695 unknown Relieved a dwarf army during the Battle of Grimgill Hill.
Molrella III Unknown, before 1923 IC Unknown The card game "Scarlet Empress" is named after her.
Joachim Unknown; after the Vampire Wars Unknown Attempted to destroy Castle Drakenhof, only for his engineers to become mad and feast on each other.
Gotthold Unknown Unknown Constructed a dungeon wing beneath the Imperial Palace in Altdorf


The following individuals have the right to vote for the next Emperor upon the death of the incumbent. Certain individuals are Electors without being Elector Counts, but only the Elector Counts can become Emperors.

Elector Counts:


Former Elector Counts:


  • Note 1: Tome of Salvation states that Siegrich was from Averland, while the WFRP 4th Edition rulebook states that he was from Stirland.
  • Note 2: The WFRP 4th Edition rulebook states that he was from Reikland, while other sources state that he was from Wissenland.
  • Note 2: Eckhardt III's introduction is in the novel Van Horstmann by Ben Counter, which is contradicted by the timeline of both the Warriors of Chaos (8th edition), in which Van Horstmann betrayal is discovered in 2457 IC, which would already fall under the reign of the Reikland Emperors, and Altdorf: Crown of the Empire (WFRP 4th Edition), in which Van Horstmann betrayal is discovered in 2507, during the reign of Karl Franz


  • The Prince of Altdorf (Short story) by Andy Hall
  • Tome of Salvation (RPG), pp. 17, 19
  • Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition) pg. 16
  • 3: Sigmar's Heirs (WFRP 2nd Ed)
    • 3a pg. 15-17
    • 3b pg. 26
  • 4: Mordeheim Rulebook
    • 4a pg. 68-69
  • Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (7th Edition) pg. 14