The Warhammer world would not be what it is without the presence of great lords, valiant heroes and mighty wizards. Such powerful individuals add a new dimension to your games of Warhammer, either as inspiring leaders or skilled warriors able to trounce hordes of lesser fighters. Such potent personages are called 'characters'.
Characters are generally known by different names appropriate to their nation or race. The types of character available to an army will vary with the personality of that army. Most races in Warhammer can call upon the services of powerful fighters and puissant wizards in equal measure, some have unique types of specialist character, and a few have jack-of-
all-trades characters that are adept in many different aspects of war.
Characters are a special type of unit that can either operate on their own, or join another unit from the same side. They often have superior characteristic values compared to ordinary members of their race.
Characters and Units
The most useful thing about a character is their ability to join other units. The character receives a greater degree of protection for being in the unit, becoming far harder to assassinate from range. In return, the unit gains the character's formidable fighting and leadership skills – all the better to help them crush the foe.
What Unit Can I Join?
Most characters are allowed to join certain types of unit over the course of the battle. A character is normally permitted to join units of made up of infantry, cavalry, monstrous infantry, monstrous beasts or monstrous cavalry. Characters can also join other characters belonging to one the troop types listed above, thus forming an impromptu unit entirely made of characters. However, a character is not allowed to join a unit made up of a Troop Type with a higher Unit Strength than his own Troop Type, unless specified.
Unless otherwise stated, a character cannot join a unit of monsters, a unit of flyers (unless they are also a flyer of the same Troop Type), a unit of chariots (unless they are also mounted on a chariot), a unit of swarms or a war machine. Similarly, a character that is itself a war machine, monster, or riding a monster or a chariot cannot join other units (with the exceptions mentioned above). A character cannot join a unit that is already engaged in close combat or is fleeing.
Joining A Unit
To join a unit a character must move into base contact with it during the Movement phase. Once a character has joined a unit in this way, neither character nor unit can move further, so it's a good idea to plan your moves in the correct order.
As a unit can move only before the character joins, it's better to move the unit first and then have the character move to join it. A unit which has been joined by a character in the Movement phase only counts as having moved if it has itself moved, not if a character has moved to join it.
Position in the Unit
When characters join a unit, they are placed in the front rank (regardless of distance). Rank-and-file models (including the command group) are moved to the second rank to make room for the characters. If there is no more room in the front rank, the characters may not join the unit until the unit reforms to make it wide enough.
Different Sized Bases
Most of the time, a character is mounted on the same size of base as the unit they decides to join. In this case, the character can simply be added to the front rank, displacing another model as described above. Naturally, this gets a little more involved if the character has a different-sized base to the members of the unit. Here we have to use a little common sense to make everything work.
If a character's base is larger than one model, but has exactly the same size area (or 'footprint') as two or more models, simply displace those models to the back rank and position the character in their place.
If your character(s) fit into the unit in this manner, work out the unit's ranks (and therefore its rank bonus) as if the space was filled with rank and file troops.
If a character's footprint does not fit neatly into a unit, place them on the edge of the unit, beside the front rank, facing the same direction as the rest of the unit. In this case we do not assume the character's footprint to be filled by rank-and-file troops.
When a character joins a unit that is under the effect of a spell that affects the entire unit, the character only benefits or suffers from the effects of the spell whilst they remain in the unit. Similarly, if a character is the subject of a spell that is capable of affecting a unit, the effect will also apply to any unit they join, for as long as they remain part of it, and the spell lasts.
Characters in Fleeing Units
If the character has joined a unit and this later flees, they will count towards working out if the unit is still at or above 25% of its initial numbers for the purposes of Rally tests.
Whilst a character is part of a unit, both they and the unit (including any other characters that have joined that unit) are treated as a single combined unit for all rules purposes, save for the exceptions listed here.
A unit always moves at the same rate as the slowest model, so when the unit moves, charges, flees or pursues, always use the lowest Movement characteristic and rules of the slowest troop type. Similarly, if the character is subject to any movement restrictions, then those restrictions apply to whole combined unit whilst the character remains part of it, and vice versa.
Characters can change position inside a unit as part of a normal move, as long as they end up in the front rank of the unit. It is also worth remembering that even if only the character moves the whole unit will count as moving that turn. Having a belligerent officer barge their way through the unit is not conducive to a good round of shooting!
If a unit containing one or more characters has had its Movement Allowance altered, this will affect a character leaving the unit, including if they try to charge out of it, but for that move only.
Missile attacks (except templates) cannot hit a character in a combined unit if there are five or more rank and file models from the same troop type (excluding other characters) left in the unit. We assume that the enemy cannot pick the character out. All hits are allocated onto the unit's rank and file models.
However, if the character has a different troop type with a higher Unit Strength than the rest of the unit, it possible to target that model separately from the rest of the unit. If so, roll a D6 for each successful Hit on the character; on a 4+, that Hit is allocated to the unit it is with instead. This applies even if the unit can only draw Line of Sight to the character, but not the unit they are with.
If there are fewer than five rank-and-file models left in the unit before resolving the hits, there is a chance that any characters in the unit could be hit – the controlling player decides who is hit, but must allocate one hit on each model before they can add a second hit on a model; they must allocate two hits on each model before they can allocate a third, and so on.
"Look Out, Sir!"
If a character is hit by a template weapon or spell that uses a template, a comrade will shout a warning or physically push them clear of incoming harm and suffer the hit themself instead. This happens automatically, and no roll is required, nor is this considered as a "save" for rules purposes.
"Look Out, Sir!" cannot be used if there are less than five rank-and-file models (including command group) left in the unit. This only applies to Characters with the same troop type as the unit.
In the Close Combat phase, enemy models in base contact with both the character and one or more models from the character's unit can choose to attack the character or the unit, or split their attacks between them. You need to declare where attacks are being allocated before they are rolled. If the character is slain, any excess wounds do not carry over onto the rest of the unit but are simply lost.
Should a combined unit be fighting in close combat, it is only right and proper that a mighty hero will push his way through to the fighting. At the start of the combat (before Impact Hits are resolved), if a character's unit is in combat, but the character is not in base contact with the enemy, the controlling player can swap his position with another model that is in base contact. You can exchange him with rank-and-file model(s), including the command group, that are in base contact with the enemy. If there are one or more stranded characters on both sides, the players roll off and the winner decides which character makes his Make Way! first. Players then alternate choosing characters to do their Make Way! moves. Only characters whose footprint is compatible with the unit's rank and file can do this.
Note that Make Way can only be used to move the character to another position in the front rank; it cannot be used to move the character to a rank in the flank or rear.
Leadership Tests (Characters)
As already mentioned, Leadership tests are always taken using the highest value present in the unit. In the case of a combined unit, this will normally be the character, but might occasionally prove to be the rank and file of the unit themselves, particularly in the case of elite warriors.
Special Rules (Characters)
Unless otherwise noted in the text of the rule itself, a special rule applying only to a character does not apply to the unit, and vice versa. Most special rules are there to represent specific skills or powers – you couldn't learn to shoot a longbow by standing next to someone who could, so why would you become able to perform a Killing Blow, deploy as a Scout, and so on?
On the other hand, many spells and magic items bestow special rules and other effects on units. In this case, everyone (including the character) in the combined unit will be affected.
Leaving a Unit
Whilst a character might well stay with a unit for the entire course of a battle, there often comes a time when they depart for pastures new. This might be because you need your character to take charge of another section of the battlefront, or because the character's current unit has been so mercilessly butchered by the enemy that they are no longer safe within it. Whatever the reason, we're going to need rules to allow a character to leave a unit.
A character can charge out of a unit, by declaring a charge in the relevant phase – in which case, they will move and their unit will stay still – it is not permitted to declare a charge of its own, though it can move during the Remaining Moves phase. If a unit contains multiple characters, only one of them may charge out of the unit per turn.
If a Stand and Shoot reaction is declared against a character charging out of a unit, the shots are fired at the character as if they were a separate target – they do not gain the same protection as being inside a unit, but they does get a 4+ "Look Out, Sir!" if the unit they are leaving is the same troop type as they are.
Alternatively, any character can leave their unit during the Remaining Moves sub-phase by moving away from the unit before that unit makes its own move. If the unit cannot move in this phase for any reason, the character may not leave the unit. A character may not leave a unit on the same turn that they join it.
For example, a character cannot leave if:
Their unit is fleeing.
The character themself or their unit is not permitted to move by a spell or other effect.
If the unit is in combat.
If the unit has made a failed charge.
And so on...
When leaving a unit, the character reverts to their normal rules for movement. The distance of their move is worked out from their actual position in the unit before the unit moves. they can even join another unit as part of the same move if their controlling player wishes, and the character has enough movement, although the unit they join cannot move if it hasn't done so already.
As soon as the last model from the unit has been removed, any remaining characters will count as a new unit. Note that this will cause Panic tests to all friendly units within 6" (including the newly formed unit of character(s)) as the unit has been destroyed.
Being dangerous and canny fellows, characters are permitted to move around the battlefield as individuals, fighting a solitary battle against the foe. Indeed, many characters excel at this role, having the raw power to take on entire enemy units and still prove victorious.
Characters that have not joined another unit are treated as a separate unit of the appropriate type for all rules purposes. They move, shoot and fight as described in the relevant section of the rules. For ease of reference, we will call such models 'lone characters'.
Lone Characters that are Infantry follow the rules for Skirmishers. Lone Characters that are Cavalry follow the rules for Fast Cavalry.
Shooting at Lone Characters
Characters are tempting targets for the marksmen in the enemy army – one well-placed volley and a powerful foe can perhaps be brought down before they have the chance to wreak ruin. However, picking out a lone character in the midst of a clamorous battle is harder than you might think. At a distance it can be hard to tell officers and common soldiers apart, particularly when units are advancing, marching and charging all around you, so we give lone characters a little protection to represent this.
If a lone character is hit by a shooting attack (remember the modifier for shooting at Lone Models) of any kind (including shots fired using ballistic skill, templates and so on) a "Look Out, Sir!" roll can be attempted, provided there is a friendly unit consisting of five or more rank and file models of the character's troop type within 3". Roll a D6. On a roll of 4+, the character has been successfully forewarned or otherwise preserved from harm by their nearby allies the hit is transferred to a model in the friendly unit (if there is more than one eligible unit within 3", the controlling player can decide which made the honourable sacrifice). Otherwise, the hit is resolved against the character as normal.
You'll notice that the there is a chance of this "Look Out, Sir!" and it does not work automatically like the one discussed previously. This is only fitting as it's far harder to warn a friend from a distance than if they stood a few paces away.
No matter their race or allegiance, the quickest and easiest route for a warrior to earn glory and a dread reputation is by killing enemy heroes in close combat. I don't mean through a chance blow in the brutal crush of melee – after all, even the most cowardly peasant can poke a spear through an enemy warlord's back, should they get the opportunity. No, what I'm referring to is a duel between mighty warriors, the clash of sword upon and sword and axe upon shield as two doughty fighters strive against one another in a contest of battle-skill. In Warhammer, we refer to such battles as challenges. Challenges are one of the most dramatic parts of Warhammer, representing as they do the final showdown between opposing warlords or hated rivals. It's not unusual for the result of a battle to hinge on who wins a challenge!
Issuing a Challenge
Challenges are issued at the start of the combat round, before any blows are struck (but after Impact Hits). Only one challenge can be issued per close combat - the side whose turn it is has the opportunity to issue a challenge first. If that side chooses not to, then the other side can issue a challenge.
The player issuing the challenge nominates one of their character models to issue the challenge. If they do not have a suitable model in the fight, a challenge cannot be issued. Similarly, if there are no characters in the enemy units, a challenge cannot be issued – there's no one to fight!
Quite how individual warriors issue their challenges varies from race to race. An Elf or Man might salute their opponent, whilst an Orc bellows insults at their foe. To issue a challenge, choose one of your characters in one of your units in the combat – this is the model that issues the challenge. Once one challenge has been made, further challenges cannot be issued in that combat.
Accepting a Challenge
If your opponent has issued a challenge, you can now accept it with one of your characters whose unit is in base contact with the unit containing the issuer of the challenge. Note that a character does not have to be in base contact with an enemy to accept or issue a challenge, just part of a unit that is. The two models will now fight, as described in Fighting a Challenge, below.
Refusing a Challenge (Boo! Hiss!)
If no enemy character steps forward to meet the challenge, one of them must retire in ignominy. This character is nominated by the challenger (though they may not nominate a character that could not have accepted the challenge). The retiring character slinks off to the back ranks and is not allowed to attack that round – move the model into a rank where they are not in base contact with the enemy. Another model will step up and fight in their place, just as if they had been slain. Furthermore, the model's Leadership cannot be used for any Leadership tests that take place that turn. The character may return to the front rank in the next round of combat if you wish, or stay in the rear rank until the unit reforms.
Once a challenge has been refused, the issuer can fight normally in that round of combat.
Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
A character cannot refuse a challenge if his model cannot be placed so that he is not in base contact with an enemy model – he can't evade his opponent and so must fight for his life. This most commonly happens if a lone character is the subject of a challenge, if his unit is small and engaged on all fronts, so that every model in the unit is in base contact with an enemy, or if he is fighting from a Shrine which must remain in the front rank of the unit.
Fighting A Challenge
If a character accepts the challenge, move them into base contact with the challenger – after all, what good is the narrative of a challenge without the visual reality? If, for whatever reason, this is not possible, assume that the two models are in base contact (this might require a little gumption to work out, so it's best to move the model if you can). These two characters must direct all of their attacks (except Breath Weapons, Impact Hits and Stomps – these are directed at the unit as normal) against each other – they cannot be attacked by any other model for that round of close combat. However, note that they may still be affected various special rules and abilities that normally affect models in base contact.
If one model slays the other, then any excess wounds they inflicted above and beyond those needed to slay the opponent, up to a maximum of +3, are counted towards their side's total number of wounds for close combat resolution.
Note that this is an exception to the rule stating that a model can only suffer as many wounds as it has on its profile. This time you need to add up all of the wounds inflicted on the victim, even those from a weapon causing multiple wounds, or by repeated Killing Blows (each successful Killing Blow scores the same amount of wounds the slain character has on its profile), etc. This is great fun, albeit a little one-sided.
If both competitors survive a challenge, and the combat continues, then they will continue to fight in the next round of close combat. Further challenges cannot be issued in that combat until the existing challenge has been resolved.
The General (Characters)
Every army is led by a General, a heroic character to whom command of the various warriors, war machines and wizards has been entrusted (or who has seized control over the army by brute force or nefarious means). The General model is a miniature representation of you as the controlling player – they are your physical avatar upon the battlefield and the heart of your army.
Warriors fight all the better under the stern gaze of their General, taking heart from their noble presence (or perhaps fearing their anger more than the blades of the enemy). Providing that the General is not fleeing, all friendly units within 12" may use their Leadership instead of their own (so rally your General first), unless specified (such as having to use their unmodified Leadership).
If your General has a Line of Sight value of 5 or more, then the range of their Inspiring Presence ability is increased by 6".
If a unit taking a Leadership test has a modifier to its Leadership, this modifier still applies if the unit uses the General’s Leadership.
If a unit is Steadfast, it may use the Leadership of the General for Break tests if it is higher than their own Leadership after applying all negative modifiers from combat resolution. Otherwise, they will use their own Leadership.
For example, a Steadfast unit with Leadership 7 has lost the combat by 1 but is within the Inspiring Presence range of the General who has Leadership 9. In this case, the unit can use the Generals Leadership value and will test on Leadership 8. However, if they instead had lost the combat by 3, the unit will test on their own Leadership of 7, as this would be higher than using the General's Leadership value of 6 after combat resolution modifiers.
The Battle Standard Bearer
Armies often include a Battle Standard Bearer – a trusted warrior who holds aloft the General's personal heraldry. A Battle Standard Bearer is a rallying point for the army, from which friendly soldiers can take heart and draw strength.
A Battle Standard Bearer is a heroic model carrying a particularly impressive banner, and it will be presented as an option in your Warhammer Armies book. The battle standard is carried by a character model and, unless specified otherwise, the model that carries the battle standard cannot be the General.
Unlike normal standards, the battle standard is lost if the bearer is slain – other models cannot pick it up, even if they are in the same unit.
If a Battle Standard Bearer is in a unit and Refuses a Challenge it is subsequently moved to the rear of its unit and loses the Hold Your Ground rule until the end of the turn. Note, however, that if the Battle Standard Bearer has a magic standard its effects continue to apply as normal (it cannot be ‘switched on or off’).
Combat Result Bonus
Like a normal standard, a battle standard adds +1 combat resolution in a close combat if it is in a friendly unit.
Hold Your Ground!
To represent the battle standard's steadying presence, friendly models within 12" of the Battle Standard Bearer re-roll failed Panic and Break tests. This ability cannot be used if the Battle Standard Bearer is also fleeing – no one takes heart from the sight of a coward.
If your Battle Standard Bearer has a Line of Sight value of 5 or more, then the range of their Hold Your Ground ability is increased by 6".