"A man does not die of love or his liver or even of old age; he dies of being a man."
- – Miguel de Unamuno
- – Heinrich Kemmler
A little known fact is that this guy is THE OG of Warhammer Fantasy. Heinrich Kemmler is Warhammer Fantasy's first Special Character.
- 1 The Legend
- 2 On The Tabletop
- 3 Lore of the Lichemaster
- 4 Army of the Lichemaster
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Total War: Warhammer
- 7 Gallery
Back in the days of yore, when Warhammer Fantasy was a combination of tabletop game and role-playing game, the campaign "Terror Of The Lichemaster" (for the tabletop) introduced Heinrich Kemmler as the first playable 'special character' (along with the skavens as a race). "Terror Of The Lichemaster" dealt with Kemmler's rise to power and eventual downfall (at least in canon, it was possible for Kemmler to actually 'win' the campaign in play).
Kemmler however wasn't destroyed, he returns in "Vengeance Of The Lichemaster". (Written as a RPG-supplement, where he is the Big Bad Evil Guy.) It turned out that after his first defeat, he managed to flee retribution and attempted to find a moment of respite at the Abbey A la Maisontaal in the Grey Mountains, pretending to be a pilgrim. The residing abbot (a powerful cleric of Taal) saw through his magical disguise and hammered Kemmler with a spell that severed him from his magical power source permanently. (What would today be known as Shyish, but back then was left nebulous).
Still, Kemmler managed to escape once again and spent many years as an insane hermit in the mountains; his old foes believing him dead and the abbot never realising who he'd driven off and secure in the knowledge the black mage would not regain his powers. But he was wrong: in his errance, Kemmler chanced upon a daemon which offered to restore his powers if he would kill in Chaos' name; each soul he claimed for the daemon's patron(s) granting him a measure of power. (It is left unclear who exactly Kemmler bargains with, the demon he encounters is said to be 'serving Nurgle' but 'showing an unusual interest in the necromantic arts'). Kemmler, eager for revenge, and at that point utterly batshit insane after years of barely surviving, agreed to the bargain.
"Vengeance Of The Lichemaster" then deals with Kemmler's slow restoring of his power with terror attacks meant simply to kill and secure magical power (striking at prospectors, lone altitude hovels and farms, an isolated human village and a small dwarven mine outpost; with the PC's getting the chance to limit the damage in most places), until he felt secure enough to raise 'a famous chieftain having terrorised the region in ages past' as his champion. (Back then called Hans Zwemmer, but who would later become Krell) With enough raw magical power from his wanton killing and undead under his command, he then launches an all-out attack against the Abbey A la Maisontaal, where he is eventually defeated for good. (The player characters having to either bargain with Skaven or chance risking using an artefact made of pure warpstone to counter his magicks.)
Heinrich Kemmler burnt with the need for power. Having recognised the limits that mortality placed upon him in his early years, Kemmler made it his life's work to escape them. He plunged into the world of necromancy as a young man, and by the time he had reached his fortieth year he was able to raise entire graveyards of corpses to do his bidding.
Kemmler became a great and much-feared Necromancer, plundering every Wizard's tower and ancient temple he could find in his search for dark truths. In the hills beyond Quenelles in Bretonnia his army had smashed the zombie legions of the Council of Nine, an alliance of nine powerful necromancers. In the dark woods beyond the town of Bögenhafen in the western Empire, he had overcome the three Vampire Wizards of Blutwald and all their armies of walking dead. In the crypts beneath castle Vermisace he had overcome the ancient Liche wizard and all his acolytes and was since known as The Lichemaster. His star was in the ascendant for many decades until ambitious rivals began to usurp his power. United, those who Kemmler had defeated proved stronger than even the self-styled Lichemaster. At the Battle of Ten Thousand Skulls, Kemmler's foes succeeded in driving him to his knees. Although he finally managed to scatter his attackers with a great spell of confusion, his body was broken and his mind blasted in the battle.
Tomb of Krell
For many years Heinrich wandered the Grey Mountains and the Border Princes as little better than a half-sane beggar. It was in the Vaults where by some quirk of fate, he uncovered the tomb of Krell; a long dead Chaos Champion whose burial mound was so magnificent it towered high above him. Here Kemmler struck a terrible pact with the gods. They restored him to his former power and in return, Heinrich swore to slay and destroy in their name. The name of the Lichemaster once again struck terror into the hearts of ordinary folk.
The tales of these two monsters were many. In 2491 IC they attacked Brettonian abbey at la Maisontaal which contained a powerful artifact stolen from the Skaven. It was only thanks to the skill and heroism of Duke Tancred of Quenelles that the abbey wasn't destroyed utterly in a three-way battle. Kemmler escaped and fled back in the Grey Mountains while the Skaven returned to Skavenblight with their prize. Tancred returned with much honour and spent the rest of his life chasing the Lichemaster. The Duke was eventually killed at the Battle of Montfort Bridge, smashing Kemmler's forces. The Wood Elves remember Kemmler for the Battle of the Cairns, when he raised a huge army from the many cairns in the forest, ancient human burial mounds long forgotten that were site of great mystical energy closely linked with the health of the Elves woodland home. By attacking in winter the Elves were at their weakest and it was thanks to the great and venerable treeman Durthu who roused the native wood spirits, and the sacrifice of a warrior-elder Sceolan (who grievously wounded Kemmler before Krell cut Sceolan's head off) that the necromancer fled and his army was defeated, though not before he caused great swathes of devastation to the forest, managing to strike further into the realm than any previous attacker. Funnily enough Kemmler showed up in the woods many times before this point, seemingly being one of the few outsiders who can enter and leave the woods of Athel Loren without issue (sometimes he'd even show up with Krell). If he was ever spotted he'd either turn the sentries to dust or have Krell hack them apart, and if the Elves ever gathered in number to catch him he'd just vanish on the spot, like mist in a breeze. Presumably thanks to this he learned where the cairns were and also how to navigate the woods without fail, allowing him and his army to set their path straight to the Oak of Ages before his defeat. After his loss the Elves celebrated because he wouldn't show back up in their forest again... for a few years anyway.
Though he perhaps never knew it, Kemmler's wanderings in the mountains were subtly guided by the spirit of Nagash - part of an evil plan that would free Krell and unite him with the forces of the Undead. Nagash's plans suffered a minor setback following the heavy casualties that the Lichemaster's armies suffered at the Battle of Maisontaal Abbey, but in time they bore rich and terrible fruit.
Despite his honored place in the history of the game, Kemmler is hit by a third set of retcons that are hard on him. GW mixed up the business relationship, with Krell becoming so independent that it appears that Krell is the master and Kemmler is the servant. He gets enlisted by Arkhan the Black to help him retrieve Nagash's staff, Alakanash. But Kemmler is so independent, he chafes at the idea of servitude to the point of mania. The two of them summon an army and attack the abbey where it is being held, getting caught in a protracted battle against a Bretonnian army. At this point Kemmler gets called a servant of Nagash one too many times by Arkhan, so he goes goes "fuck it!" and turns his back on Nagash to serve the Chaos Gods. He abandons the battle to sneak into the abbey's vaults to try and take the staff for himself.
Just as Kemmler grabs the staff, Arkhan confronts him and Kemmler triumphantly proclaims his new allegiance. He tries to get Arkhan to join him, but the liche is actually loyal to Nagash and genre savvy. Arkhan rebuffs Kemmler, telling him that the Chaos Gods will fuck him over on a whim and calling Kemmler a loser. This enrages the necromancer and the two engage in a destructive magical duel, Lichemaster vs Liche (which Arkhan, being the smartass that he is, comments on). Despite being evenly matched in magic power, following Kemmler's power boost from the Chaos Gods, Arkhan's thousands of years more experience with magic prove decisive. A beam-of-war between the two results in Kemmler being ripped to pieces. The magical backlash causes the abbey to explode and the blast floors most of both armies. To add insult to injury for Kemmler, Arkhan survives and laughs it off with nothing more than charred robes.
Thus, Warhammer Fantasy's first Special Character was the first Special Character killed off in the End Times. In hindsight, this seemed to be foreshadowing for what GW would end up doing to the Warhammer Fantasy setting.
On The Tabletop
Being the oldest Fantasy character, Kemmler naturally has had a number of rules variations on the tabletop and has appeared in most of the editions of the game (thanks to White Dwarf more than the individual army books). This is so long as we include his original appearance(s), which means he's had a total of 7 variations of his own rules (6th edition gave him rules twice as well for some odd reason), with the only thing remaining the same across all editions being that he had the Undead rule. His appearance record is quite impressive, if for no other reason than GW remembered he existed and felt like giving him rules in a game where named characters were abruptly dropped from books for no reason (until AoS anyway, where he was first given very poor rules before being removed entirely).
As anyone familiar with HeroHammer would be able to tell you, Kemmler's stats and weapons back in these editions were fucking bullshit. Having a statline that would allow him to annihilate most combat lords of 6th, 7th and 8th edition Kemmler also could get his own magic items and a skeleton steed (for +2 points) that made him harder to lock down and kill (optional, since this was back when named characters could buy their own magic items and with his cloak there was little reason to get the horse). Speaking of which, he was also a level 4 wizard who could equip the following:
- Chaos Tomb Blade: Kemmler's trusty sword that he's almost never without. In this edition it cost a whopping 75 points, but it was worth it as the Chaos Tomb Blade granted Kemmler a free spell every time he killed something (and if you take a look at his statline, you'd realize there's never a time he isn't going to be killing something).
- Skull Staff: Kemmler's gibbering staff, which oddly enough received very few changes throughout the editions. In this edition it cost 35 points, it made enemies reveal all magic items when they came within 12" of Kemmler and it gave him +1 to dispel enemy spells (which given his level and how spells used to work, meant he dispelled nearly everything on a 2+ or very rarely, a 3+). In future editions the Skull Staff would usually keep one of these abilities (or both) and otherwise get something new in place of the one it lost.
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: Like the Skull Staff, the Cloak of Mists and Shadows rarely gets changed around and is tied for having the fewest variations. In this edition it cost 50 points and gave him a free cast of Dark Mist, which made Kemmler Ethereal and allowed him to instantly move 24" so long as it wasn't dispelled or Kemmler hadn't decided to end it. Yes, this meant a combat monster was free to roam around the field at 24" a turn until the game was over, it's hardly a wonder he was changed around later.
5th Edition started to reign back the crazy profiles that appeared all over 4th, but that didn't mean it didn't have its own fair share of bullshit with its heroes. As such Kemmler's stats were dropped down a bit and his points increased... sort of (going up by 100 points base, but automatically given all his toys, so he's 60 points cheaper than a maxed-out 4th edition Lichemaster). He also lost 3 Weapon/Ballistic Skill, 1 Strength and 2 Attacks, but everything else with his profile remained the same. He also lost the ability to get a horse, something that would stay with him for the rest of Warhammer Fantasy since there was never a need for anyone to use him on one. Kemmler was still a level 4 wizard and armed with the following:
- Chaos Tomb Blade: Surprisingly this edition saw no changes to the Tomb Blade (unlike the latter editions). It was listed as the same price and still gave Kemmler free magic spells per kill, although thankfully he'd be doing a whole lot less killing in this edition.
- Skull Staff: The Skull Staff is entirely unchanged in this edition. It still cost 35 points, made enemies reveal all magic items when they came within 12" of Kemmler and it gave him +1 to dispel enemy spells (which given his level and how spells used to work, meant he dispelled nearly everything on a 2+ or very rarely, a 3+).
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: Dropped 20 points in cost (down to 30), but otherwise remained the same. In this edition it cost 50 points and gave him a free cast of Dark Mist, which made Kemmler Ethereal and allowed him to instantly move 24" so long as it wasn't dispelled or Kemmler hadn't decided to end it.
6th Edition v1.0
6th Edition once again kicked Kemmler right in the stats, dropping him down another 1 WS/BS, 1 Strength, 3 Initiative, 2 Attacks and 1 Leadership. It did help him out a little as far as his rules went though, even if he still cost a metric fuckton. He was still a Level 4 Necromancer, but this time with a whole host of new gear under his cloak and a shiny new rule:
- Sword: Kemmler dropped the Chaos Tomb Blade off somewhere, or was scared the Skaven might find it shiny and decide to steal it (since he was working alongside them at the time of getting these rules) so he only uses a normal sword in this version.
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: In this edition it still makes Kemmler Ethereal, though for some reason loses its massive movement. It also makes it so that he can only attack other Ethereal creatures in close combat, although you were hardly going to have him in close combat to begin with unless it was to troll a combat lord who hadn't bought a magic weapon (they're more common than you think).
- Skull Staff: The Skull Staff had a minor change. While it still makes enemies reveal all magic items when they came within 12", it no longer gives +1 to dispel, instead it allows Kemmler to re-roll the result on the Miscast table. Very handy for making sure he doesn't instantly die. Technically too the next four items are a part of his staff somehow:
- Power Stone: Once per game Kemmler could immediately give himself 2 free Power dice. Handy, if a little odd to see such a common item with him.
- Black Periapt: Kemmler apparently became fond of jewelry in this edition, as this is his second (and more useful) piece. It allows him to store one unused power/dispel dice, and then use it in the next magic phase (turning a power dice into a dispel dice and vice versa).
- Spell Familiar: Aside from picking up jewelry Kemmler also started keeping pets (aside from Krell). This one allows him to know an extra spell atop the usual 4 he already knows.
- Power Familiar: The second pet Kemmler keeps tied to his staff. This one gives him a free power dice and dispel dice every single magic phase.
Most of Kemmler's magic items work really well with the special rule he gained in this edition, you could potentially use the Power Stone, the Power Familiar and the Black Periapt to gain +4 power dice in one phase, just in case you felt like lubing up to use the rule to its full potential:
- Master of Necromancy: Kemmler can cast any spell he wants as many times as he wants so long as he still has power dice. It's essentially Khaine magic before Khaine came out and it's equally as broken. Presumably this is the reason Kemmler costs so much as he could heal up his entire army before scooting everyone across the battlefield, or just spamming Gaze of Nagash to annihilate annoying skirmisher units.
6th Edition v2.0
Yes he got rules twice for this edition, and you know what? His first showing was just a warmup to what he can really do. While he lost a few toys here and there (deciding two pets were too hard to care for, losing interest in his Power Stone and trading 1 Wound for 1 Strength) Kemmler's second version, despite being 100 points more expensive is easily one of the most powerful spellcasting Lords Warhammer Fantasy has seen, primarily due to still being Level 4, keeping the Master of Necromancy rule and gaining his own unique magic lore, as well as his own entire ARMY LIST. Before getting to that though, here's what he's armed with:
- Chaos Tomb Blade: In this edition it allows Kemmler to re-roll failed to Wound rolls and would be a great weapon if it was on anyone else. Fortunately it did have a use, if you combined it with Desiccating Grasp it gave a very welcome buff to the spell.
- Skull Staff: No change here either. It still makes enemies reveal all magic items when they came within 12" and it allows Kemmler to re-roll the result on the Miscast table. Very handy for making sure he doesn't instantly die.
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: A slight change here, Kemmler's still Ethereal but he's no longer forced to only be able to attack other Ethereal creatures. Now he's free to walk up to anyone he wants and attempt to murder them with Desiccating Grasp while fearing no retaliation unless they have a magic weapon.
- Black Periapt: Luckily Kemmler decided to keep this over his Power Stone. It allows him to store one unused power/dispel dice, and then use it in the next magic phase (turning a power dice into a dispel dice and vice versa). No longer tied to his staff so you're not fucked if that gets destroyed.
- Power Familiar: The one pet Kemmler decided to keep under his coat. This one gives him a free power dice and dispel dice every single magic phase and like the Periapt it's no longer tied to his staff.
Aside from his gear Kemmler keeps the following rule, and gains a new one:
- Master of Necromancy: Kemmler can cast any spell he wants as many times as he wants so long as he still has power dice. Like before it's really powerful, and now even more so since his own spell lore is even better than regular Necromancy.
- Spells of Protection: Because only pussies gain their Ward saves from magic items. Kemmler finally decided he needed at least some save of some kind, so he cast a few spells on himself that give him a permanent 5+ Ward save that cannot be removed by any normal means (such as destroying a magic item, since this is a rule unique to him). Kemmler and his unit (should he be in one) also ignore one point of crumble, which can certainly help out if you lost because of something minor like musicians or outnumbering.
Kemmler had a very sad showing in 8th edition. After becoming an absolute magical beast in 6th which led his own unique army with its own unique units, 8th neutered him pretty hard and took away nearly all of the previous reasons you'd bring him. In here he's stuck in a bizarre dual roll of being a mediocre combat character thanks to trading -1 Ld for +1 Initiative (for some reason) and getting +2 attacks from his weapon, as well as being a good spellcaster (still level 4). However aside from the smaller games or a themed list where you wanted to avoid using vampires he'd see little use. He had the following equipment:
- Chaos Tomb Blade: Kemmler's sword underwent a weird change in 8th, here it gave him +2 Attacks, and when he kills enemies they turn into extra models for the unit he's leading (so long as he was with Skeletons or Grave Guard). This could be very handy if he was in a souped-up unit of Grave Guard since it was essentially letting you get extra points, or helping you replenish your casualties from crumble, but most of the time you didn't want him in combat since any decent combat lord would kick his shit in and Kemmler has always cost a fuckload of points.
- Skull Staff: Oddly enough the Skull Staff went back to the rules it had in 4th/5th edition, making enemies reveal magic items when they get within 12" and giving Kemmler +1 to dispel. Handy, but you could recreate this for less than his cost.
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: In this edition it gives Kemmler either the Fly or Ethereal rule. Most of the time this meant he was Ethereal as he was way too easy to kill otherwise.
That's all the stuff he gets, 8th dropped him down to his bare-basic gear and also removed his unique rules, which included removing his Ward save and anti-crumble. They did give him the following generic rules though:
- Loremaster (Lore of Vampires): Kemmler knows all of the Lore of Vampires spells. This is to be expected since he already had a similar rule in the previous edition.
- Master of the Dead: Kemmler can increase Skeleton units to be larger than their starting size. Whoopee.
Age of Sigmar
In the "warhammer legends, hero of the old world" compendium, Kemmler returns with rules, but without points cost (those rules are for nostalgic and narrative play, after all). Here, Kemmler doesn't have a command ability, neither such a good unique spell (CV 5, every "vampire counts" model within 12" heals one wound. Only good with multi wounds models like varghaists or bats). For the rest, he can put some really nice tricks, like teleporting around the table at the start of the HERO PHASE (yes, he can move after), adding one to casting and unbinding rolls, and can pass wounds and mortals wounds to another "vampire count" unit at 2+ (no limitations about which unit can get the wounds, so this can have hilarious outcome: "hey Mannfred, can you step in front of me and take those incoming arrows in my place?" "why the hell i shou... Wait, what am I doing?! PLEASE NO! AAAAAH, RIGHT IN THE EYE!" "thanks Mannfred, you are the best bro ever" "FUCK YOU!")
Lore of the Lichemaster
Yep, at one point, back in 6th Edition Kemmler had his own spell lore. Only he could use it and he knew all of the spells in it (naturally). This was also back when Kemmler was built up to being close to Nagash in power and both his rules and his lore reflected this.
As for how the spells themselves worked, the Lore of the Lichemaster was essentially a far more powerful version of Necromancy. Every spell has been upgraded in some way, shape or form and Kemmler has renamed some of them after himself, presumably to show up the original creator(s) (which are Nagash and Vanhel respectively).
- Invocation of the Lichemaster: This spell has two uses and three casting levels. The use must be declared before the spell is rolled and they are to raise new skeletons and heal Wounds on a unit respectively. How many skeletons are created and how many Wounds are healed depend on the respective casting level. The first is 3+, and this created D6 Skeletons, or it heals D3 Wounds on any existing unit. The second value is 7+, which creates 2D6 Skeletons or heals 2D3 Wounds. The final one creates 3D6 Skeletons or heals 3D3 Wounds and its value is 11+. All Skeletons are armed with Hand Weapons and Shields, however if you create less than 5 Skeletons the spell fails to work.
- The way this spell is superior to the Invocation of Nehek is simple, it heals far more Wounds. In 6th the spell would only heal 1/2/3 Wounds respectively, as opposed to 1D3/2D3/3D3 Wounds, and you could use this spell on anything, from Vampires to Zombie Dragons and if you were playing for fun, you could use it in 7th to heal stuff like 3D3 Wounds that were on Blood Knights, whereas normally they could only be healed one Wound from any other source. On its own this spell is a good reason to take Kemmler, let alone the other shit he can do.
- Desiccating Grasp: A remains in play spell. If Kemmler casts this on himself (and he can only cast it on himself) then his attacks ignore armour saves, and if he causes even a single unsaved while this spell is active then he instantly kills whoever he hurt, no matter who/what they are and how many Wounds they had left.
- You know what's sweet about Hand of Dust? It's how it can instantly kill your opponent. You know what would make it even better? If it had a lower casting value (6+ instead of 7+), didn't take your attacks away and turned whoever it killed into a skeleton instead of turning them into dust. If you can find some sort of creative way to give Kemmler his attacks back (as well as some way to up his Strength) then you can emulate his 4th/5th edition versions where he can kill a ridiculous amount of things. Even with only one attack Kemmler has a 30% chance to Wound even T6 creatures (and better than 50% on T5) thanks to his sword, so using him to kill monsters even while he isn't buffed isn't out of the question. Think of it like Heroic Killing Blow but it always works so long as you Wound successfully.
- Eternal Vigour: The upgrade to Hellish Vigour. The targeted unit gains the Always Strikes First rule (Zombies also lose Always Strikes Last) and they re-roll all failed To Hit rolls, as well as all failed To Wound rolls. Cast this on pretty much anything and they become combat blenders.
- In this edition Hellish Vigour only granted re-rolls on To Hit rolls as well as Always Strikes First. They both had a 7+ casting value but the re-rolls on To Wound rolls are quite nice, and make stuff like Sword and Board Grave Guard hit harder (normally you'd have to choose whether you wanted them to be the hammer, or the anvil and this way they could be both).
- Withering Gaze: Kemmler shoots beams of light from his eyes, Aku style and kills whatever he's looking at. It's a magic missile with 8+ to cast, and causes 2D6 Strength 4 hits, with a 36"(!) range.
- This is straight up Gaze of Nagash with an extra 12", presumably because Kemmler wanted to show Nagash up in this magic dick-measuring contest.
- Kemmler's Danse Macabre: Pick an undead unit within 24" and isn't in close combat. That unit now gets to make a free 8" move as if it was the movement phase. This means this move can even be a charge, following the usual charge restrictions with the exception being that this move allows the unit to ignore the effects of both terrain and obstacles, and a failed charge (in the event that the charged unit flees since they get normal charge reactions and they have to take the appropriate Psychology tests) will still have the unit move 8".
- This is Vanhel's Danse Macabre but better because not only does the move ignore terrain and obstacles (it's like that forest or that house wasn't even there) but it works up to 24", as opposed to Vanhel's meager 18", because Kemmler can't get away with only showing up Nagash. The only downside is that it has a casting value of 10+ instead of the 9+ of Vanhel's spell.
- Curse of Eternities: Arguably Kemmler's greatest spell. Pick an enemy unit within 24", even one engaged in close combat, then roll a dice for each model in the unit. On a 5+ that model takes a Wound with no Armour saves allowed. To make matters better, this spell is a Remains in Play spell that only grows stronger over time, at the start of the next magic phase every model takes a Wound on a 4+, then in the next phase it's a 3+, then it's a 2+, where it finally caps. This spell even affects characters in the unit, although if they leave they become free of its effects.
- This spell is Curse of Years on steroids. Curse of Years only has a 10+ to cast as opposed to Curse of Eternities 13+, however Curse of Years cannot be cast into combat, and its first roll is only on a 6+ before it gets better (making it lag behind by a significant amount and limiting its use).
Overall the Lore of the Lichemaster is an incredibly powerful lore that is even preferable to the 7th and 8th edition Lore of Vampires due to its many uses and having many advantages to its spells that the regular lore lacks. It's a shame Kemmler didn't feel like teaching it to anyone, as having such a powerful lore without having to pay his 550 points cost to get it would've been awesome. Thankfully his Master of Necromancy rule softens the blow somewhat when you realize you have no limitations to the amount of times each of the spells can be used in a single magic phase.
Army of the Lichemaster
Yep, as if having his own spell lore wasn't enough, Kemmler had his own fucking ARMY LIST. This wasn't even one of those half-assed army lists either (like that Kislev bullshit), Kemmler's army is comprised of 13 units (almost being as big as the actual rulebook armies), 9 of which are entirely unique to his army and it also has its own magic items completely unique to it (which is a shame because most of them are fucking awesome and would be great choices in other armies). The army is based on the entities Kemmler summoned from the Barrows when he attacked the Wood Elves, and as such many of them have not been seen before or since. Even now it can still be fun to experiment with as it has oddball stuff like Wight Kings with Great Weapons riding Chariots (it made more sense in the editions when charging allowed you to strike first with them), Ethereal undead spellcasters that were T2 and could use the Lore of Heavens, and core choices that were Strength 5, Toughness 5, with three Wounds and 4 Attacks!
All units in the Army of the Lichemaster are governed by the following:
- Undead: Universal. Like usual it's a mishmash of other rules:
- Break Tests: When you lose combat, you take an unsaveable amount of Wounds equal to the amount you lost by instead of taking a break test. In the even of multiple combats, these Wounds apply to all units on the losing side.
- Immune to Psychology: Exactly what it says on the tin.
- Cause Fear: Same as above.
- Charge Reactions: Undead can only Hold when they're charged, a shame as Kemmler's army can actually get shooting attacks.
- Marching: No unit can March unless they're within 12" of Kemmler.
- The Lichemaster: Kemmler must be in the army and he must be the general. If he's ever killed (as much as he can be anyway), then at the end of the phase (and the start of every controlling player turn afterwards) everyone in the army must take a Leadership test, taking a Wound for every point they fail by, unless they're a character. If units have characters in them they can use the character's Leadership, which oddly enough means that Kemmler dying hardly affects most of his army. The average Ld is 8 and characters are either Ld9 or Ld10. If there was anybody else who could use Necromancy in this list then Kemmler dying could be entirely healed off. Oddly enough too the rules state that if Kemmler is taken below 0 Wounds but somehow gets them back then the army-wide crumble ceases to apply.
- Naturally Kemmler is the one and only Lord of this army. He's compulsory so you might as well learn to like him, despite his 550 points cost. He's an absolute magical beast especially if he teams up with a Shadow Druid carrying the right items and he has the following profile and items/rules:
- Like Kemmler, Krell is compulsory and how much you like him will depend almost entirely on how well you do with Stupidity tests, as Krell unfortunately has that rule and Kemmler's only Ld9. Still, Krell's more of a melee powerhouse in this edition than he is in later iterations and no matter who you point him towards, so long as it isn't a monster he's practically guaranteed to fuck shit up. He has the following profile and magic items/rules:
- Unit Size: Just Krell.
- Black Axe of Krell: Way better in this edition than it was in later editions, the Black Axe of Krell is a Great Weapon that aside from the usual rules, also causes whoever it Wounds to roll a dice at the start of each player's magic phases. On a 1-2, the model suffers an additional Wound that ignores Armour saves, and this effect lasts for the rest of the game. Even if Krell is killed, this ability is likely to finish off whoever killed him.
- Crown of the Damned: Krell has a 4+ Ward save and suffers from Stupidity. In addition the crown has fused to Krell and the two have become one entity, in practice this means the item is indestructible, in effect meaning it cannot be destroyed by spells such as Vaul's unmaking.
- Chaos Armour: Krell was a former Chaos champion after all, so naturally he has Chaos Armour. Given how he's armed though it's more of a mulligan compared to stuff like his crown.
- In addition to his fancy hat and axe, Krell has the following rules:
- The King of Wights: Krell's killing blow works on a 5+ instead of a 6+. If you use Eternal Vigour on Krell you're practically guaranteed 4 Wounds, about half of which benefit from Killing Blow. This in turn also means Krell's a close combat monster and a terrifying opponent against anyone who can be affected by Killing Blow.
- Undead: As described above.
- Yet another compulsory choice, so you might as well learn to love them. It's a Wight King that always comes mounted on a Chariot; Their statlines and points costs are pretty bad, but their chariots are quite good and the magic items they can take are fantastic, so their impact largely depends on how they're built and when you use them. Done properly they can very well surprise you with the destruction they can bring.
- Unit Size: One Barrow King on a Chariot pulled by two Skeletal Steeds.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon, Heavy Armour and Great Weapon.
- Barrow Kings can choose Magic Items from the common lists or the Archeological Artefacts list of up to 50 points.
- It's rather a shame they can't choose shields aside from magic ones. With some editions this would provide them a massive armour boost against missile fire (in 7th for example, having a 4+ save on a 4+ Chariot would mean you had a 2+ Armour save against missile fire).
- In addition to the above equipment, Barrow Kings have the following special rules:
- Magical Attacks: Exactly what you think it means.
- Killing Blow: Same as above.
- At the time this was actually a bit different than the regular book, because back then Wight Kings gained both of their abilities from the weapons they used, and as such they could be taken away by spells like Vaul's Unmaking. Since these are special rules they are exempt to such tactics, and in one case Killing Blow can cause a ridiculous chain reaction of deaths thanks to a certain sword (think beheading lightning).
- Undead: As described above.
- The first choice that isn't compulsory, although these guys are awesome enough you're going to want 1-2 of them anyway. They have the single worst profile out of all characters in Warhammer Fantasy (presumably because they're ghosts and have no physical body), however their rules certainly make up for it and their magic items are must-haves.
- Unit Size: One Shadow Druid.
- Magic: Shadow Druids are Level 1 Wizards who can use the Lore of Death or the Lore of Shadow.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon. With a statline like theirs it's not like they should have anything more anyway.
- Shadow Druids can choose Magic Items from the common lists or the Archeological Artefacts list of up to 50 points.
- Shadow Druids can be upgraded to Level 2 Wizards for +35 points.
- In addition to the above equipment, Shadow Druids have the following special rules:
- Undead: As described above.
- Ethereal: Awesome. This means that your Shadow Druid can go with units or on their own, and like Kemmler they can be challenge trolls, holding up anyone who doesn't have a magic weapon.
- A nice thing to note is their Ld of 10 on top of being Wizards. This means that one of them can babysit Krell while still being able to cast spells should Krell fail his stupidity test.
Those are all the heroes that the Army of the Lichemaster gets, which unfortunately means you get no Battle Standard Bearer. This is quite unfortunate as unless Krell has a babysitter it's easier for him to fail his test than you'd think and some of your other choices die if they fail their Leadership tests. In turn this means Krell either goes along on his own beside other units, or you pair him with a Shadow Druid the entire time which admittedly doesn't work out all that badly.
- One unit of these are compulsory, which is unfortunate as they pale in comparison to literally every other choice in the army. You might as well find a use for them though since you have to take at least one unit, whether it's as a small unit of charge re-directors, a large tar pit, small javelin throwers meant to annoy or just a bunker to hide Kemmler in. Fortunately they're also the last the Compulsory units and from here on out you're free to choose what you wish.
- Unit Size: 10-40 Skeleton Warriors.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon and Shields.
- Any unit may replace their Shields with Great Weapons for +2 points per model. This is actually a good idea if you want to make them useful, as S5 models for only 9 points each are a pretty decent deal, especially if Kemmler casts Eternal Vigour on them, you'll end up with Core than can wreck the shit of most Special choices.
- Any unit may be equipped with Javelins for +2 points per model. An iffy prospect at best, especially depending on the edition you're playing at. In the editions before 8th, you'd hit on a 5+ so long as then enemy had no cover (regardless of moving and long range) and you could pick away at a few wounds each turn, but at 9 points and the comparatively short range of Javelins made them little more than an annoyance that cost too much.
- Any unit may be equipped with Light Armour for +1 point per model. A good choice if you want to keep them with sword and board.
- Any unit may be equipped with Spears for +1 point per model. Skeleton Warriors can make for a decent horde and like with Great Weapons, casting Eternal Vigour on them can have them put out a surprising amount of damage. Cheaper than Great Weapons though they're slightly more durable and not as likely to kill as much.
- Skeleton Warriors can buy Command for the respective costs: Musician (+5 points), Chieftain (+10 points), Standard Bearer (+10 points).
- In addition to the above equipment, Skeleton Warriors have the following rule:
- Undead: Slap yourself if you thought otherwise.
- These work similarly to Banshees, although they are far better at it than those ghosts. Unfortunately this is balanced out by the fact that they have a chance to die each turn (and when that happens, they can't come back). Don't be scared off by their terrible statlines, thanks to their special rule proper use can have them kill models that are worlds above them in terms of points quite easily and even models that have magic items/weapons aren't safe.
- Unit Size: 1 Ghost.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon. They can't actually attack so it's not like they need anything else.
- In addition to the above equipment, Ghosts have the following rules:
- Undead: It figures.
- Ethereal: Fucking duh.
- Tormented: Ghosts always act as if Kemmler had died, following the Lichemaster rule described in the Army Rules. If Kemmler ever dies then they have to take the test twice. Of course if they fail at all (a little hard on Ld 10, but you'll be taking a lot of tests) they instantly die. Lorewise this is because they're constantly fighting Kemmler's control as they don't actually want to hurt the living (whereas Banshees and Cairn Wraiths do), but Kemmler uses them anyway because (former) beggars can't be choosers.
- Chill Attack: The main reason you take these guys. This attack can only be used in close combat and doesn't work on units that are Immune to Psychology. At the start of the close combat phase, the unit(s) engaged with the ghost must take a Leadership test on 2D6+2, taking a Wound for every point that they fail by. These Wounds ignore Armour saves, are distributed like combat casualties (so in editions earlier than 8th would take away the attacks that the targeted unit(s) could make back) and count towards combat resolution, which is awesome. On their own these guys can slaughter monsters, wipe out skirmishers and utterly break units of elite models. They also combine extremely well with anything that decreases the enemy's Leadership, as well as any other unit of yours (since they even work before Always Strikes First and as stated, can take away attacks from enemy units, therefore protecting your own units) and they're absolute hell for any cavalry that can be affected by them.
- Core Units: Ghosts do not count towards the minimum amount of Core units you must have. A real shame because they can be pretty awesome, skeletons can seem like sub-par choices, and the next choice is really expensive. If Ghosts didn't have this rule they'd be the perfect Core choice filler.
- These are walking statues made in the appearances of the various gods of death, and they're fucking awesome. Simulacra work like Tomb Kings Ushabti, except they're even better and they're core! While they might be limiting as far as static resolution goes, Simulacra are murder machines that only get better with Eternal Vigour cast upon them.
- Unit Size: 3+ Simulacra.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon. With a profile like that who needs anything else?
- In addition to the above equipment, Simulacra have the following rule:
- Undead Constructs: Simulacra have the Undead rule and on top of that suffer one less Wound from Crumble than normal (which really helps save them in case the enemy outnumbers/has a musician) and it also gives them a 5+ Armour save.
- The anvil to end all anvils. The Simulacra's points costs hold them back from being a great tar pit, but the Embalmed Ones have no issue, having good Strength and fantastic Toughness. Just watch out for poisons and other auto-wounding effects. They're also basically 4th edition mummies with fewer Wounds (and use the same models) which is awesome.
- Unit Size: 5-20 Embalmed Ones.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon. Unfortunately they can't get anything else which is a real shame.
- One Embalmed One can be upgraded to a Cadaver for +14 points.
- In addition to the above equipment, Embalmbed Ones have the following rule:
- Undead: Yep, the mummies have it too.
- Kemmler's poorly named and overpriced cavalry, good for flank charges and that's about it. Their points costs are very prohibitive so if you're taking them, make sure you're going to get your money's worth and break the enemy on the charge, otherwise they're just going to waste. At least their points cost have an explanation as far as the lore goes, that being the Barrow Kings couldn't find many uses for cavalry in a forest, so they hardly had any.
- Unit Size: 5-16 Unquiet Horsemen.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon, Spear, Light Armour and Shield.
- Any unit may replace their Spears with Lances for +1 point per model. The points cost for this unit might as well be 17 points per model as this is a near-mandatory upgrade.
- Any unit may replace their Light Armour with Heavy Armour for +2 points per model. Not too bad an idea, you're already paying out the nose for this unit, so you might as well make them survivable.
- Unquiet Horsemen can buy Command for the respective costs: Musician (+5 points), Chieftain (+10 points), Standard Bearer (+10 points).
- In addition to the above equipment, Unquiet Horsemen have the following rule:
- Undead: Yep, they've got it too.
- Grave Guard with a different name and newer options/rules for the time. They used to be outright better than regular Grave Guard as their magic attacks/killing blow weren't dependent on the weapons they used, but the later editions of VC changed them to make them almost identical to these guys. In effect these are going to be the elite troops of your army, as there is nothing in the game they cannot handle with the right equipment and Eternal Vigour.
- Unit Size: 10-30 Barrow Guardians.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon, Corroded Heavy Armour (it has the same effect as the normal stuff).
- Any unit may be equipped with Great Weapons +3 points per model. You're paying out the ass for this upgrade, but in turn you get a unit that can slaughter everything in its path. If you are buying this upgrade, make sure you're not letting their unit-wide S6 go to waste.
- Any unit may be equipped with Shields for +1 point per model. Mandatory if you're not taking Great Weapons, otherwise you can skip it.
- Barrow Guardians can buy Command for the respective costs: Musician (+6 points), Dread Guardian (+12 points), Standard Bearer (+12 points).
- A Standard Bearer can carry a Magic Standard worth up to 50 points. This is quite handy since aside from the obvious, you're not limited to only having one unit of these with a Magic Standard (unlike many other armies).
- In addition to the above equipment, Barrow Guardians have the following rules:
- Undead: Figures.
- Magical Attacks: Just like their Barrow Kings.
- Killing Blow: Not exactly reliable, but it is handy when it goes off.
- A bizarre unit for more than a few reasons. Like the Simulacra they are stone constructs (usually) with awesome statlines, however they're very limited in size and despite their Undead Construct rule are prone to being killed through static combat resolution. Thanks to their very cheap points cost (comparatively) you might want to take quite a few, but that eats up your special choices very quickly and even in 8th you're only allowed 3. As such they're better for keeping smaller units in check, taking out Skirmishers and hunting down more annoying units that you wouldn't want to spare an entire unit block to deal with.
- Unit Size: 1 Tomb Stalker.
- Generic Equipment: Claws/Tails/Fists/Whatever they're modeled with, aka a Hand Weapon. Like the Simulacra they don't need anything else.
- In addition to the above equipment, Tomb Stalkers have the following rule:
- Undead Constructs: Just like their Core choice stone buddies, Tomb Stalkers have the Undead rule and on top of that suffer one less Wound from Crumble than normal. Unfortunately as mentions this hardly helps them survive static combat resolution and is more of a mulligan. It also gives them a 5+ Armour save.
- A strange case, essentially being zombie ghosts. Meant to be a tarpit but they usually end up dying to their own rules more than anything else. Even so they can be quite good at holding up very high Strength units that the Embalmbed Ones can't handle even with their T5. If you're left with the power dice to spare however, Invocation of the Lichemaster can keep them in perfect shape without much issue and they might impress you against stuff like units with Great Weapons.
- Unit Size: 10-20 Glooms.
- Generic Equipment: Throttling Dead Hands (aka a Hand Weapon, or two if your opponent is generous and/or you want to try rules lawyer arguing it).
- In addition to the above equipment, Glooms have the following rules:
- Ethereal: The main reason you're taking them. Think of them as a unit of very weak Wraiths.
- Tormented: Like Ghosts the Glooms tend to destroy themselves. Unlike Ghosts, the entire unit doesn't die when they fail the test once. Unfortunately this also prevents them from using Kemmler's Leadership when they take the test.
- Spirit Levy: Basically the Skaven rule Strength in Numbers, the Glooms add their rank bonus to their Leadership. In practice this means they'll pass their tormented test more often than not provided they're at full Strength. If you're still worried about them even with Ld8, you could put a Shadow Druid in their unit as they're also Ethereal and have Ld10, therefore making sure the unit isn't going anywhere.
- Undead: Yep, they're spirits.
- Winged Nightmares:
- Because Kemmler's powerful enough to have several of these things running around without other necromancers to power them. Winged Nightmares are of dubious use in this army, filling mostly the same role as the Tomb Stalkers (albeit for 130 points more) and having the added bonus of being able to hunt War Machine crews. However even in that role they're outdone by a Barrow King with a certain magic item (who's also 25 points cheaper). Still they're not actually bad at what they do, just outdone by some others in certain situations/with certain equipment, however if you've got other uses for Tomb Stalkers/you can't get a Barrow King on a Sky Chariot then you'll find they can do their job very well indeed. Depending on the edition you can also get great use out of their Terror rule as well.
- Unit Size: 1 Winged Nightmare.
- Generic Equipment: Hand Weapon. It's not like a monster can get anything else.
- In addition to the above equipment, Winged Nightmares have the following rules:
- Undead: Kemmler's Nightmares are Frankenstein creations between stuff like Manticores and Griffons, so naturally they're undead too.
- Terror: As it says on the tin. Either really good or mediocre depending on the edition you're playing.
- Impale: The Winged Nightmare gets +1 Strength on the turn it charges. In turn this means it Wounds even Dwarf artillery crews on 2+ when it makes the charge to ensure it makes the kill.
- Fly: Awesome, and the main reason you're taking them. Unfortunately it also makes them a big target which isn't helped by the next rule.
- Large Target: On the one hand it's nice that it can help them see over terrain (depending on the edition), on the other hand it really hurts to see them get shot. A lucky bolt thrower can definitely put them down.
- Kemmler's Magic Items. Both Barrow Kings and Shadow Druids can take common items, but these ones are almost all universally good as well as entirely unique to the army, so you might as well use them.
- The Stormsword of Medhe: A magic sword costing 50 points. A sword that discharges lightning in each strike. Every time the bearer delivers an unsaved Wound from this sword, everyone in base contact with that model who took the Wound automatically suffer a Strength 4 hit. Thanks to how it's written, it's easily argued that such extra hits benefit from the Killing Blow ability, should the user be a Barrow King. Unfortunately the weapon also hits the user of the Stormsword (as well as any mount/chariot they might be on), which means that by killing enemies your Barrow King can easily decapitate himself with his own lightning (and thanks to his poor statline, he's quite likely to kill himself even without killing blow). Still, it's a high risk/high reward weapon that can easily wipe out more points than your King is worth, it's just a shame that at 50 points it takes up his entire magic allowance.
- Shield of the Ancients: A magic shield costing 50 points. One of the few ways to give your Barrow King a shield (which can buff him to a 2+ save against missile fire and working really well with his hand weapon depending on the edition), it's a shame that it uses up his entire points allowance. Still, it adds +1 Toughness and if you get a flank charge with a character as tough as their chariot, you're virtually guaranteed to stay lodged in there until the enemy breaks.
- The Ring of Cailledh: 30 points. An odd item, it gives you a 5+ Ward save that also grants you Frenzy (despite being Undead) should you pass it. Can be quite nice if you only wanted a 5+ since it's outright better than the 8th edition rulebook equivalent, and a Barrow King with 4 Attacks is awesome. Otherwise you should avoid it as Barrow Kings aren't especially durable anyway.
- Hide of Retribution: A 25 point cloak. An awesome item, every time you get hit, the model who did the hitting automatically strikes themselves with an equal amount of hits and at the same Strength. This is great for setting up traps and dealing a ton of damage without actually paying that much (a Barrow King who exposes their flank can wipe out an entire unit of Blood Knights for example). The model who has it isn't likely to survive, however so long as you kill more points than you spend you shouldn't regret a suicide run or two, and the psychological effect it can have on an opponent who knows you took it but not who you took it on can't be underestimated.
- Staff of the Trickster: A staff costing 50 points. A great reason on its own to take a Shadow Druid, as it allows you to modify one of your dispel dice to match the number on a casting dice. In effect you can turn one of your ones into a six which is fantastic. Combined with one of the later items and you'll be ruling the Magic phase.
- The Storm Cauldron: A cauldron costing 50 points. Another great reason to take a Shadow Druid, as not only does it allow them to take spells from the Lore of Heavens, but it also gives them +1 to cast such spells. Such a bonus is always welcome, it's much cheaper than the 8th edition common equivalent and the Lore of Heavens has plenty of useful spells to help you, regardless of edition.
- The Casket of Shadows: A scary coffin costing 50 points and containing a bound spell (Shades of Death, power level 3). Your use of it will depend on the edition in which you're playing, as this can be really good or really bad. In effect whoever it's cast on now causes Terror instead of Fear.
- Sky Chariot: A special chariot for 50 points that can only be taken by Barrow Kings. This chariot grants the user the fly rule, and it's awesome, especially if you pretend the Barrow King's on a normal chariot right up until you suddenly fly him from atop a hill across the table and into a flank. It's a shame that the Barrow King only has a points allowance of 50 as there's so many good items for him to take.
- Charm of Defiance: 15 point charm that might as well be mandatory. It gives you two free dispel dice with no consequence in each enemy magic phase. It's probably supposed to have the one use only rule attached to it, but it doesn't!
- Charm of Destruction: Another 15 point charm that functions as a one use only bound spell (power level 4). If the Hide of Retribution is used on another model, you can certainly save this trap for somebody else. You can take as many of these as you'd like, even stack them on the same character and like the Hide of Retribution they can pull off an awesome performance if you pull a Barrow King up alongside another unit to get a ridiculous amount of hits (getting up to 21 automatic S4 hits on the 20mm bases, and 18 automatic S4 hits on 25mm bases) before combat even starts. Unfortunately pulling up alongside somebody like this likely means sacrificing your impact hits and charge bonuses, so you're going to have to decide whether or not this suicide run is worth it.
It is possible, especially considering GW's love of basing things in both 40k and Fantasy on actual history, that Heinrich Kemmler takes the basis of his name from the German priest Heinrich Kramer, the who wrote the Malleus Malificarum, the book that started the European witch craze and was basically "Witch Hunting for Dummies", complete with claims that witches went around stealing dicks and hiding them in birds-nests for the lulz.
Alternately, the above is bullshit; Heinrich Kemmler is named after Heinrich Himmler, the man most responsible for how the Holocaust was carried out.
Double alternately: Both. It would be uncharacteristically clever of GW but they might have managed it.
Unrelated trivia: A necromancer of the same name existed in the Dresden Files series; he was the biggest BAMF to ever raise a corpse, and now that he's dead, his apprentices are the runners-up. It *might* be a coincidence. Theoretically.
Total War: Warhammer
Heinrich was one of the starting legendary lords for the vampire counts in Total War: Warhammer. Unfortunately his rather lackluster stats, the absence of Krell and lack of differentiation from a generic master necromancer have led to him becoming something of a joke to the playerbase. Indeed it got to the point where Helman Ghorst, an extremely minor character that a significant portion of the fanbase were unaware even existed, was generally considered more useful than Heinrich. Granted, Heinrich is more or less the same as his tabletop version, a cheap necromancer lord with Krell on his side, at least until you start grabbing his magic items in the campaign, whereupon he becomes a great necromancer who casts well and isn't fucked if he gets in melee combat.
As of 20/07/2017, Krell has been added in the free DLC An Old Friend. Sadly, he is not a unique lord like The Red Duke, but a special summon usable only by the Lichemaster himself. He also comes with the downside of constantly deteriorating due to his summon status, but he can be kept around longer with Invocation of Nehek and has his own skill tree to make him even more powerful in Kemmler's skills list (one of which removes his deterioration). Still, Krell is a solid lord slayer who is capable of challenging and killing powerful heroes with nary a problem.
With the free Bloodlines DLC, Heinrich splits off from Manfred in a new subfaction called the Barrow Legion and has a new location in the Grey Mountains, along with some new tricks. He gets his own mount, bonus relations with Chaos factions (so Beastmen don't instantly try to wipe your towns off the map) and attrition immunity for his army (which is huge). Caveat that this faction only appears in the Mortal Empires campaign, which requires both TW1 and TW2; in the Old World campaign of Total War 1 Kemmler is still Manfred's underling. Still, this gives him a much-needed boost in usefulness as he actually plays differently from the rest of the Counts, and his new location makes confederating with Mousillon actually viable for once.
A mod is currently in progress to grant the Barrow Legion the old Army of the Lichemaster units.
THE MOD IS HERE! thanks to cataph, the lichemaster now own a horde-kind army. Even if probably not everyone love this or the fact that his faction can only have four armies, ruled by legendary lords, this greatly reflect his errand life, going around all over the old world, looking for knowledge and artifacts. Plenty of units from his army are now at your disposal, with a unique perk. When you explore a destroyed settlement, you can open the barrow, having all your barrow units back at full capacity. Nasty!