From Total War Modding

This is a troubleshooting guide for mod users in TW: Warhammer 2 and now 3. The generic pointers should be valid for all recent TW games.

– Your neighbourhood Cataph


WARHAMMER 3 PRELIMINARY HIGHLIGHT (will update and merge better later on)

  • Remove any movie pack from the pre-workshop interim period.
  • Delete any user script you may have tried using if you were a masochist.
  • Delete the -dx11 override you may have put on Steam (game>properties>launch options in the lower right must be empty).
  • Don't launch the game from the taskbar or from the exe, as it won't load mods; use the Play button or steam shortcut, or even RPFM's launch.
  • Go to %appdata%\The Creative Assembly\Launcher and delete moddata.dat. In case the launcher got stuck.
  • Since Steam is doodoo, data may get corrupted. Unsubscribe, and wait for the mod to be removed. If it needs to be manually removed, go to steamapps\workshop\content\1142710\xyz where xyz is the mod id on its url. Then redownload and wait.
  • Verify game cache.


Managing Mods

So, you have subscribed to mods on the workshop. You now open CA’s current mod manager (hereby called George) and – blimey, they don’t work or something’s not right.

First thing to keep in mind, if you have issues with George you should definitely report them to CA so that they know what they should look at.

That said, you can just use the community mod manager (normally called KMM). Long story short, George is unwieldy and has grown responsible for a lot of issues of its own, becoming hated by modders and users alike. Among other things, KMM is more reliable and provides mod profiles.

For WH3 as of August: KMM is still not updated, but PJ made another perfectly-working community mod manager (read for the actual link). Good practices still apply, but all issues/notes about KMM copying items to data/ don't apply because it doesn't. Will update the guide better as things evolve.

How to Load Order

KMM and even George have a function to manually change how mods are loaded, which is an old habit of a lot of other modding communities, so you’d be tempted to change load order manually, right?


Ok, I’ll spare some time for this before we get into the actually useful tips, because this is one of the nastiest tropes around the community. The truth is that compatibility-minded modders already handle load order on their own as far as possible. Manually changing load order may do absolutely nothing, shift the problem somewhere else or break everything.

Some context. There are six main possible categories of folders in a mod pack and this is how they handle load order, either through actual pack name or table name:

  • Db: table name.
  • Scripts: pack name.
  • Startpos (the big bad): pack name.
  • Text: table name.
  • UI: pack name.
  • Variants: pack name.

And that is if the modder doesn’t redirect content (e.g., telling database to use a different ui icon). KMM can only affect pack name order, so there are things like balance submods (Db overrides) that are still completely in the hands of the modders and intentionally so.

In other words, there are only two possible cases in which you may want to alter load order manually: UI and variants, basically if you want to use specific reskin B.pack in the midst of larger reskin A.pack, in which case you push B on top.

In conclusion, you want to follow KMM’s instructions, give Steam time to download/remove mods and mostly keep load order in an alphabetical fashion (e.g. order by name and save profile), especially after adding new mods.

Which, incidentally, is this:

! # $ % & ‘ ( ) + , – ; = @ 0-9 a-z [ ] ^ _ ` { } ~

Where “!” wins over “a”.

Common Troubleshooting

In an efficient mod, at least half of the reported issues are down to user error or what is technically called launcher f***-up. We’re going to try and cut that amount down for the greater good.

User good practices:

  1. Read the mod description. Seriously, this alone would prevent 80% of comments on Steam pages. Even if a description looks long, do it, it’s there for a reason. Some mods will also have FAQs or a list of known issues, incompatibilities and instructions. Read the comments before yours too if you have to post one. There’s an excellent chance the question you’re going to ask is already answered in in descriptions, FAQs and recent comments.
  2. Don’t ignore the required items. The mod may show you a popup upon subscribing, disregarding that is almost always cue for disaster. This popup is not shown when subbing from a Steam collection (thanks Gaben), so actually check the mod’s page.
  3. Keep the mod list in alphanumerical order. We’ve been over that already. If you have new mods that have popped at the tail of the list, just click again on the File Name column in KMM and save your profile.
  4. Troubleshoot yourself! The thing is, we don’t have time to help everybody, and in most cases the problem is local. We’ll get to best practices on this, don’t worry.
  5. Upon commenting about an issue, provide context. Ok, you did everything right but that ugly bug is still there. That’s fine. The worst thing you could do at this point is comment “mod doesn’t work” because that means absolutely nothing. Modders aren’t telepaths. Steam comments aren’t the best place for this, so use a discussion or the discord server/channel lurked by that given modder.
    • Context: when and how the thing happened. E.g. during the interturn after X’s turn, or clicking this button, whether it was Vortex/ME/multiplayer, custom battle or campaign battle.
    • Mod list: Link a collection or a screenshot to the KMM list. For example, the big thing is not being naif enough that the overhaul in your list can’t affect other mods. For some reason, sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to know what else is there.
    • Screenshot: always helps for clarity and visual context.
    • Save game: if requested, you can find your save game in (example) C:\Users\%USER%\AppData\Roaming\The Creative Assembly\Warhammer2\save_games. Remember the mod list, because the modder may not be able to load without it.
    • Results of your own troubleshooting: for example it’s good to know it happens with that one mod only. Relatedly, if you posted about an issue and later find the cause, let us know.
  6. Don't assume your mod lists is working just because it's not crashing. A crash is only the most visible of symptoms, it's like assuming a coal miner is perfectly fine just because they haven't dropped dead yet. You may have all kinds of issues in your 400-mods list ranging from fucked models to script breaks. Did I mention don't use 400 mods? Yeah, probably don't.

This list is of course not meant to insult anybody’s intelligence, but you’d be surprised at how many issues and massive wastes of time are due to neglect of these simple rules. Following them is in the user’s interest in order to find a solution sooner, and it will allow the modder more time for improvement rather than wasted in unnecessary bug-hunts.

Frequent Steam issues:

  1. Corrupted and botched download: this is relatively frequent and it causes 'random' crashes with mods that don't otherwise crash. Delete locally and redownload until it works. If using KMM, use the unsub+delete option, and resub.
  2. Mod not updated: Steam may also not fetch the latest version of a random TW mod. At the merest issue, always double check the local file's last date and that of the mod on the workshop (on the top right, Last Updated).

Common launcher/game issues:

  1. Failed to download/remove mod. This happens relatively often and if in doubt you should always check in the mod download folder (example: Z:\Steamsteamapps\workshop\content\594570\??????) whether that mod was successfully downloaded/removed. Open George/Steam again until it is. The final folder id is the same as the one on the mod’s Steam url and you can sort by date for the most recently poked folder.
    • More on this if using KMM: Kaedrin’s manager copies packs from that content/ to the game’s data/ folder. Moreover, when mods update you will likely need to refresh/restart KMM.
  2. Ghost mods. Definitely spooky. You have toggled off that mod, but somehow it turns out it was still being loaded and crashing your game. Or a mod updates and self-enables. Using KMM seems enough to prevent this kind of poltergeist.
  3. Random crashes: sometimes stuff just breaks and you have to verify your game’s cache: Steam Library>right click on game>Properties>Local Files>Verify yadda yadda. Or check with the game’s support.
  4. Failure to enable mods or borked load order: sometimes George simply won’t fire what you want, or you’ve accidentally touched load order and now it won’t revert. Use KMM.
  5. Soft cap: as of King’s Shilling update, this is completely fixed and the cap is indefinite. You can stop merging stuff or believing conspiracies about CA intentionally capping mods.

Some specific KMM issues:

  1. Doesn’t work: KMM can be installed anywhere, BUT in the game’s stuff. Don’t install in data/ or anywhere close. Hell, plop it in the desktop.
  2. Doesn’t work cause I’m pirating the game: KMM can smell piracy. Buy the game.
  3. KMM freezes on start: reboot it.
  4. Game crashes on load: if you get that or suddenly crash for no good reason, just refresh/restart KMM first thing. If it persists, time to actually troubleshoot. KMM doesn’t often suffer of corrupted downloads but it may theoretically still happen.
  5. Movie packs: still crashing? Even with no packs enabled at all? Ok, keep in mind that once they are in the data/ folder, movie packs will always be enabled no matter if you’ve toggled them on or not. KMM shows if a mod is a conventional pack file or movie pack (Type column), and it will tell you on the lower right how many movie packs you’re currently running. To effectively disable a movie pack, use the right click option Unsubscribe (Steam) and Delete. This should get rid of that mod in one go, instead of doing a mix of things that will probably still cause KMM to copy the pack again. Movie packs are mostly used for vfx, but sometimes also come with data baggage that you don’t always want around. Modders: you really want to only have harmless vfx in the movie pack, not db and scripts.

APPENDIX: Trimming the Mod List

Again, there is virtually no such thing as a soft cap in WH2 anymore. So it’s up to you to keep your mod list functional, and if you have more than 100 mods enabled, risks and maintenance time will increase for you. Making that work is up to how careful you are, and even if a mod list doesn’t produce an instant crash you can’t be sure there aren’t less visible issues, e.g. script breaks.

As a rule of thumb, don’t be cocky with your list of 250 mods because it’s all fun and games until everything works perfectly (and with those numbers chances are it doesn’t already, you just can’t see it), at which point there’s a lot of stuff to check.

If you’re not experienced yet (and don’t assume you are just because you played Skyrim, this is different), use the mod list of someone that has very carefully been curating it, and check that it looks ok with the help of the modders themselves. For example, start by a modder’s own collection on Steam, they often have one.

Finding the culprit

The usual problem with large mod lists is this: bad, I got a crash; worse, which one of the N mods I have is the culprit?

Generic pointers:

  • Pure Text, Variant and UI mods can basically NEVER crash the game for the user. If they do, it’s a botched download.
  • Momentarily sort by date either on KMM to find the most recent updates, if you didn’t add additional mods those may be responsible.
  • If you had the issue during a campaign, do not remove mods that have custom items, units or buildings because you’re just going to crash harder if those are around in the campaign map.
  • As mentioned above, watch out for movie packs. If you’re inexplicably crashing even with no mods on, you might have a movie pack with crashy data in it.

Bisect and Conquer:

Especially when dealing with big mod lists, the quickest method is to enable half of it. If you crash, that’s the troublesome half. Halven again to tighten the noose.

Keep in mind mod requirements while you do this.

If you want to check on a particular mod, disable everything and load the bare minimum to make that mod work, in other words mod+whatever required mods that comes with. And up from there, adding one or small groups of mods at a time until you can reproduce the issue.

It’s patient work but the modder will appreciate it, and it takes less than panicking for hours in a comment section. Assume that a modder won’t troubleshoot your mod list of 150 packs because you say it’s their mod doing it, unless they have proof because you tested without anything else plus requirements.

Remember: a happy modder is a happy user.


Scripts are being increasingly used by mods. While most scripters are getting smarter by the day to maintain compatibility, some require a framework or some mods will just struggle to work when there are too many mods around.

You may encounter symptoms of broken scripts, due to botched downloads, bad compatibility or just plain unforeseen issues because we can just mess stuff up sometimes. Script glitches tend to be quite tricky to root out.

A few examples of broken scripts:

  • Starting lords that should be custom are not custom, or don’t spawn, or don’t have the correct army or settlement.
  • Sword of Khaine button is unchained right off.
  • Chaos and all Rogue armies may spawn immediately.
  • Campaign camera on a fresh campaign starts zoomed-out and doesn’t pan in.
  • Chivalry starts at 0.
  • One of the worst, characters do not gain XP (this may sometimes happen in full vanilla too, requires repair).

Scropt broken, what do?

In some cases, it’s just a botched download (see Launcher error 3). Otherwise it gets trickier and requires you to start trimming the mod list to find the culprit. When/if you report the issue to modders, remember to provide as much info as humanly possible because finding a script break can turn ugly and complicated.

Particularly useful to help with scripting issues: please enable this debugger, reproduce the bug and send the resulting log, which will be a lenghty txt generated in Steam\steamapps\common\Total War WARHAMMER II. Specific scripty mods may come with additional instructions in their mod descriptions/faqs.

Do not keep the script logger there unless you need it, since it will noticeably slow down your game.

One of the most frequent issues at the moment is a performance-related clog-up at the start of a campaign. This basically means that too many scripts are trying to fit into that time frame to do their stuff (legendary lords, changing armies, this kinda stuff) and results in some of them not working. This is where size of the mod list, in regards to any mod with a first-tick script, becomes serious.

Quick note about Communiy Modding Framework: an obsolete scripting system, it’s basically only used by Crynsos’s unlocker at this point in time (september 2020) and will cause issues more often than not when enabled and not required.

Basically disable it unless you’re using CFU.

I repeat, it often breaks stuff. When in doubt, shoot it in the face.

APPENDIX: UI Modding Framework

This framework is technically not required to do UI modding at all, but it may be used as a framework by some scripty mods. Unless it happens to have broken functions after a patch, there are zero reasons not to have it around just in case one of your mods is actually using it or starts doing it.

APPENDIX: Mod Configuration Tool

This other framework is used to provide settings for compatible mods, i.e. to tweak some details at your heart’s content. Usually a good thing to keep it around because there’s quite a few mods supporting it, or that may do it in the future. For example, you may use it to configure some scripts to fire in a performance mode to reduce impact on campaign start.

APPENDIX: WH3, crashing on clicking Skirmish

The most likely cause for this right now is that you saved a character (that new fancy function in WH3 to play campaign characters into skirmishes) but it was originated or affected by a mod that you have since then removed. Kaboom. The other symptom is going kaboom when trying to recruit any hero or lord in campaign.

Go in C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\The Creative Assembly\Warhammer3\saved_characters (or search %appdata% in windows search, then continue to those folders) and delete them.