For two and a half millennia the Empire has formed a bulwark against the encroaching forces of Destruction. Lying at the heart of the Old World, it is the greatest and most powerful of all the nations forged by Men. But the realm is in constant turmoil, beset on all sides by enemies ferocious and foul - despised by countless foes, with even gods and their unholy followers desiring nothing more than the Empire's utter destruction.
Yet it endures, for mankind has a steely determination to not merely live, but thrive. The Empire’s armies are mighty with ranks of highly-disciplined troops and heavily-armoured Knights, led by valiant warrior-generals and supplemented by the arcane will of Battle Wizards and powerful machines of war.
While the Empire’s vast armies are constantly caught in the swirling maelstrom of war, facing all manner of threats within and without its porous borders, perhaps its greatest foe is, and always has been, itself. For the Empire is not one harmonious nation but a collective of fiercely independent provinces and city-states each led by an Elector Count – a powerful noble whose own interests often come before matters of his people or the greater good of the nation. It is from these men and women that an Emperor is elected; in the past the realm has been blighted by a succession of corrupt leaders, or been riven with internal strife as rival Electors fought for the throne. During such dark times the Empire was at its weakest and so its many enemies have taken full advantage.
And yet when mankind seems in greatest peril, the Twin-Tailed Comet arcs across the sky and a great leader comes to the fore. First it was Sigmar, the warrior-god that founded the Empire, and in recent centuries Magnus the Pious purged the lands of Chaos, uniting the nation under one glorious banner. But that was five hundred years ago. A new Emperor has been crowned, he is untested, unwilling - as yet - to take up Sigmar’s Warhammer, and not the candidate many Elector Counts wanted. They are uneasy, fractious and, in some cases, outright hostile - and at a time when dark clouds gather in the north, the dead walk again in Sylvania, ancient allies are under siege, and the Greenskins are more belligerent than ever.
So begins the age of Karl Franz, and he has much to do: unite the Empire, secure its borders and bring prosperity to its beleaguered citizens. The Twin-Tailed Comet blazes across the sky once again, but is this an omen for good or ill?