Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Empire (Warhammer)
The Empire is one of the political factions and armies of the Warhammer Fantasy world, heavily based upon the real world Holy Roman Empire, especially during the Renaissance; there is even a wealthy city-state which bears some similarity to Hamburg, and most of the place and character names are German; for example, the capital of the Empire is the city of Altdorf, which is the name of several real-world places.
The Empire is nominally ruled by the Emperor, who is named Karl Franz in the current setting. The Emperor is chosen by election of the various Elector Counts, who rule the states within the Empire; the Emperor is usually one of these Elector Counts.
The religion of the Empire is polytheistic, with the god Sigmar being the most important. Sigmar is exalted, having been a powerful warlord who unified various tribes to form the Empire. The Grand Theogonist is the leader of the Imperial Orthodox Church, which devotes itself entirely to Sigmar, and is analagous to the Pope. Sigmar's worship is strongest in Altdorf but runs throughout the Empire. However, some regions also worship other gods, such as the Middenheimers , who revere Ulric before all others.
The armies of the Empire are amongst the most diverse in the Old World. Older forms of troops like spearmen, swordsmen, archers and crossbowmen fight alongside more 'modern' troops like cannon, handgunners and pistoliers (pistol armed warriors on horseback), and even a steam-powered tank. The Empire is also noted for having excellent cavalry in the form of its Knights. Lastly, the Empire also often fields state-trained battle wizards and/or religious fanatics such as Warrior-Priests and Flagellants. The armies can be led by Elector Counts, Grand Masters of the various Knightly Orders, captains chosen by the Counts, or even the Emperor himself.
An interesting side note is that a realm near the Empire, named Sylvania (an obvious homage to Transylvania, the home of the Dracula of legend) has been ruled by a family of vampires for a many centuries. These vampires have on more than one occasion attempted to conquer the rest of the Empire, generally at the head of an undead army.
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