Valten was a special character released for The Empire as part of the Storm of Chaos narrative campaign (as much of a disaster as that eventually turned out to be), built up as the Empire's counter to Archaon. He first appeared in White Dwarf #281, got updated for the Storm of Chaos Army Book, and then vanished from continuity. With The End Times being released for 8th edition, he has returned to canon, gaining updated fluff & crunch in Nagash: Book 2.
In short? A baby boy with a birthmark like a two-tailed comet on his chest gets born to a blacksmith and his wife in a Reikland village called Lachenbad. Superstitious peasants mutter about omens, but his daddy declares he'll thump anyone who tries to lay a hand on him, so he grows up - bigger and stronger than any of his fellows, but a likeable enough lad. Then, when he's eighteen, Beastmen attack his village, but he grabs two hammers from his dad's forge and leads the counterattack, killing the beastlord singlehandedly despite what should have been a fatal wound.
People start telling stories about him, Luthor Huss shows up, and proclaims he's the heir of Sigmar, and there's a big showdown with Karl Franz. The Emperor cleverly sidesteps the issue by decreeing Valten is Sigmar's heir, giving him Ghal-Maraz, and making him leader of the Sigmarite church, but retaining his own secular power, the wisest possible choice.
In The End Times, naturally, Valten is all gearing up to be the potential savior of the Empire once again, making his first appearance defending the town of Alderfen from a rip in Balthazar Gelt's Auric Bastion. He achieves much in the few years he is alive, including wracking up the most impressive kill count of other champions, most notably being Wulfrik the Wanderer and Vardek Crom. He ends up getting murdered by a Verminlord Deceiver as he duels Archaon in The End Times: Thanquol, making the Skaven into a team of killstealing pricks. This version of Valten is clearly superhuman, who even as a young lad beats chaos warriors and plaguebearers to death with his bare fists after a Great Unclean One breaks his blacksmith hammers. Huss was watching this and then declared Valten Sigmar's Herald. This leads to a big ceremony in Heffengen where Franz declared the man the Herald of Sigmar and gifts him Ghal-Maraz (Thought the whole Exalted crap doesn't happen this time around). In the Lord of the End Times novel, it is revealed that Valten held a portion of Sigmar's power in him, which transferred into Ghal-Maraz after his death (The other portion was transferred into resurrecting Karl Franz into the Incarnate of Heavens/The Emperor Ascendant). Once Sigmar reunited his power of the heavens with the power he had in Valten, he was complete once again, which in summary means that Valten was the reincarnation of Sigmar all along but was never fully able to regain his full potential due to bad shits happening in the End Times. (I mean for fucksake he even has the same Twin-Tail scar a Bloodthirster gave Sigmar back during the Time of Legends series during the battle for that same goddamn CITY slapped across his chest.)
Storm of Chaos
Valten has three profiles in this edition; Chosen of Sigmar (before he gets recognized by Karl Franz), Champion of Sigmar (after given Ghal Maraz) and Exalted of Sigmar (after being given extra gifts by the Elves and Dwarfs).
Valten the Chosen of Sigmar costs 215 points and uses up two Hero slots. For this, you get a character with a M 4, WS 5, BS 5, S 4, T 4, W 2, I 5, A 4 + 1, LD 9 statblock and armed with two hand weapons (hence the "4+1" for Attacks). He comes with three Special Rules:
- Against the Odds: Valten + Unit are both Stubborn AND Immune to Psychology. Enemies do not gain combat resolution bonuses for flanking, rear attacking or outnumbering Valten or a unit containing him.
- Awesome Presence: Valten cannot be the General unless every other Hero or Lord in the army has lower Leadership than he does, and he doesn't grant his LD bonus to other units even if he is the General, but wounds he inflicts in close combat count towards Combat Resolution for all Empire units within 12" and not just his own.
- Iron Resolve: 5+ Ward Save, and if killed, take a Leadership test - passing means he is restored back to 1 Wound and his death is ignored for anything like combat resolution, panic, victory points, it. This ability can't save Valten if he's run down by pursuers (somehow: it's hard to make him Flee since he's, y'know, Stubborn AND Immune to Psychology AND Leadership 9) or taken down by a Killing Blow.
Valten the Champion of Sigmar, is the middle of the road choice, at 415 points he comes in costly, but only uses up one Lord slot (unlike his later version). For this, you get a character with a M 4, WS 6, BS 5, S 4, T 4, W 3, I 5, A 4, LD 9 statblock, riding a barded warhorse (Cavalry, M 8, WS 3, BS 0, S 3, T 3, W 1, I 3, A 1, LD 5), sporting Ghal Maraz and wearing Full Plate Armour. He has all the same rules as his previous form (except, thankfully, wound bonus from Awesome Presence is calculated before Ghal Maraz multiplies the wounds he inflicts). Naturally, if you have Valten the Champion of Sigmar in your army and Karl Franz, the Emperor can only wield his Runefang.
Valten the Exalted of Sigmar, on the other hand, is insane. He uses two Lord slots and costs 560 points. For this, you get a character with a M 4, WS 7, BS 5, S 4, T 4, W 3, I 5, A 4, LD 9 statblock, riding Althandin the Elven Steed (monster, M 9, WS 4, BS 0, S 4, T 3, W 3, I 5, A 2, LD 7, 5+ save), he's also sporting Ghal Maraz and wearing the Armor of the Heldenhammer. He has all the same rules as his previous form (except, thankfully, wound bonus from Awesome Presence is calculated before Ghal Maraz multiplies the wounds he inflicts), and his new armor gives him a 2+ Armor Save and Magic Resistance 2, as well as preventing any model in base contact (including friendlies, so keep your own spellcasters away!) from casting spells or using Bound Items. Naturally, if you have Valten the Exalted of Sigmar in your army and Karl Franz, the Emperor can only wield his Runefang.
The End Times
The revised version of Valten is saner. Arguably. For 330 points, you get a Lord character with a M 4, WS 7, BS 6, S 4, T 4, W 3, I 6, A 4, LD 9 statblock that is armed with two weapons. Alternatively, for +145 points, he can be given full plate armor, a barded warhorse and Ghal Maraz, to represent him as the
Exalted Champion of Sigmar. He has the following Special Rules:
- Immune to Psychology
- Awesome Presence: Valten, and any unit within 6", are Stubborn.
- Chosen of Sigmar: +4 Ward Save, and once per game can declare that he is "harnessing the power of Sigmar" (roll a D3 and add the result to Weapon Skill, Strength, Toughness and Attacks) at the start of any Close Combat phase, with the bonus lasting until the end of that turn.
- Iron Resolve: The first time Valten suffers a wound that removes him as a casualty (including unsaved Wounds that killed due to the Killing Blow, Heroic Killing Blow or Multiple Wounds rules), roll 2D6; if the result is a 9 or lower, then Valten negates the wound.