- Nagash bitching at Sigmar and co.
"There will be no escape, no blessed oblivion. I can end your life as easily as I can extinguish a candle, and before your corpse is cold, I can reach out and grasp your soul. You will be my slave for all eternity, and I shall laugh at the depths of your pain. Such is the power of Nagash."
- – Nagash the Undying
"If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he's died, then maybe he was a great man. Immortality is the only true success."
- – James Dean
Nagash the Undying, also known as Skelepope and Big Bone Daddy, is the first Necromancer and arguably the second
most evil character biggest asshole most evil badass asshole character to ever curse the Warhammer Fantasy world. Ever. After Drachenfels, of course.
Nagash has practically zero redeeming factors and was an obvious sociopath from day one (more on that below).
He went into hand-to-hand combat with the likes of Sigmar, and has plans to kick Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Nurgle (as of Age of Sigmar, the Great Horned Rat as well) out of the Warp and become Chaos itself. Despite being the setting's main villain apart from Archaon and the Chaos Gods, he hasn't been directly involved in as much as you think. To be fair, he did destroy Nehekhara, nearly killed Sigmar (but successfully handicapped him until his ascension) and used his armies of undead to fight THE ENTIRE SKAVEN EMPIRE to a stalemate, but until the End Times (see below), his main mark on the setting was creating Necromancy and what his various fan-clubs and critics did with it. In Age of Sigmar, he leads Grand Alliance: Death.
Nagash was the firstborn son of King Khetep of Khemri. Unlike most places, in Nehekhara the firstborn sons of the royal family were given to the temples and the second sons would become kings. He joined the Nehekharan Mortuary Cult and quickly rose to become High Priest. Like all Mortuary Priests, he was searching for a means of achieving immortality; following the command of the by then (oh irony!) long-dead Settra the Imperishable. Unlike most Mortuary Priests, Nagash hated his job and wanted to be king instead, lamenting that in every other nation he knew of firstborn sons took the throne. He also coveted even greater magical power. Then one day he saw the hot chick his brother was betrothed to; before then Nagash considered sex a distraction from work, but she made him want some. Realizing she could've been Nagash's if he was heir to the throne instead of Thutep, and that the required celibacy for priests was another reason he couldn't have her, this was the final straw for Nagash, but for the time being there was nothing he could do about it.
After their father, King Khetep, died horribly in battle against the Zandri army, Nagash's younger brother Thutep took to the throne and became the ruler of Khemri. Nagash was none too pleased with this, considering Thutep to be a weak king, a belief that was only reinforced by Thutep's diplomatic concessions. When tending to his father's body, instead of mourning his father's death (which was the first red flag for the uninitiated that something was wrong with the guy), Nagash was more interested in what killed him, for his corpse bore the marks of powerful dark magic. To put it in detail, while extracting his dead father's organs to put them in a canopic jar, Nagash discovered that his father's inner belly organs has been blackened, twisted together by some unknown foul magic, a power that should not be possible for any Nehekharan mortuary cult priest to wield at that time.
Unfortunately for the Khemrians and the world as a whole, Nagash found the source of this magic. During his father's burial ceremony, a Zandari diplomat had arrive and offered three unidentified humanoids with snow white hair, pale skin and pointy ears as sacrificial slaves. This immediately drew Nagash's attention, and he speculated that they may have been used by the Zandri army as slaves/mercenaries against his father, but had become so feared thanks to their dark magic that the Zandari chose to betray them. Nagash, quick to seize opportunities when he saw one, ostensibly agreed and took custody of the three elves. Although they were supposed to be poisoned and entombed along with his father, he ordered his priest to drug them with sleeping medicines instead and had them imprisoned somewhere else.
An interesting piece of trivia is that these trio of Dark Elves were the leaders of the covert-op unit that was killing Dwarf caravans to start the War of the Beard. So we can place Nagash in the timeline properly; the first Nagash novel occurs approximately just after the second War of Vengeance novel and demonstrates another way the Dark Elves have helped fuck up the world. Another interesting thing is that, before being put under, the male among the captives spoke to the Nehekharan crowd in their language claiming that whoever killed them would have their flesh slough from their bones and their land would fall to ruin, which would come true, just not in the way anyone would've predicted.
But back to Nagash: he trapped the three magic-users in his father's pyramid, beneath about a gazillion of lethal traps; and forced them to barter their sorcerous knowledge for him revealing what and where the traps were. Despite this, they were far from subdued, demanding whatever they could from Nagash, from silk pillows to books (particularly ones about tomb construction and architecture...). From the trio, Nagash learned of the Chaos Gate in the far north and the Winds of Magic that blew from it, and how they could be harnessed by a careful practitioner. Unlike the sorceries of Khemri, which relied on the intercession of gods, Nagash learned that mortals could manipulate magic for themselves. He learned of Dark Magic and of how it coagulated into warpstone. Although the Dark Elves withheld the full depths of their knowledge, Nagash, a twisted and brilliant genius in his own way, had become one of the few humans to truly master Dark Magic from what they had taught him and his own brilliant and twisted deductions. It quickly became clear that Nagash's very human nature limited his ability to draw and channel magical energy (the reason why Teclis would create the Imperial Schools of Magic drawing on a single aspect instead of the full raw power like High/Dark magic does). He performed many experiments of his own along with other evil magic-y things; combining what he could use of the dark Elves' craft with ways to call upon power as a human (all of which invariably involved mass human sacrifices, which was how the Dark Elves showed him the limits of his power, but Nagash couldn't be bothered to give another fuck beyond remaining discreet).
Eventually The Dark Elves gathered enough knowledge to escape the tomb. Near the exit, they found Nagash standing in their path to freedom, who told them they were free only if the bested him in a magical contest. Although the Dark Elves outnumbered Nagash, one had been crippled by a poison dart from the tomb's traps and one underestimated Nagash, so he still ended up brutally killing them and consuming their souls (you know that when someone can out-evil and out-betray Dark Elves, they're cold mothafuckas). Taking everything he’d learnt, Nagash created an elixir out of human blood which allowed him to stay alive through death (although the body degenerated, becoming essentially a lich without a Phylactery). He wandered the Necropolis of Khemri, summoning spirits of the departed and daemons with his new power, and learned great secrets. He penned nine different Necronomicons/Books of Vile Darkness which contain all of his work and experiments (which nobody to date has ever managed to attain the same degree of working knowledge of; because Nagash took a leaf from Sauron and inscrolled part of himself in each of his artefacts so no one but him could master them). The books explain the details and use of Necromancy, a form of magic that Nagash had codified from Death magic along with the rituals of the Tomb Kings and the Dark Magic tidbits his Dark Elf tutors gave him (He was not the first to attempt this, but he was the first to be so unequivocally successful). Necromancy, although usable by the forces of Chaos, also repels it; in a way the Undead are artificial Daemons made of equal amount of magic and material which flips the middle finger at the laws of physics (as much as Chaos can be said to have such laws anyway) of both.
King of KhemriEdit
During his studies Nagash also planned to overthrow his brother, scheming with several disgruntled military officers and nobles (including a certain wastrel called Arkhan who would go on to become his infamous right-hand man). He gave them all a sip of his elixir, with Arkhan being the first to take it. When Thutep learned of Nagash's experiments with dark magic via investigating the disappearances of the people he sacrified, he took some royal guards and confronted Nagash. While many of Nagash's followers died, his inner circle didn't and Nagash used his dark magic to kill all but Thutep. Nagash then killed his brother by entombing him alive in their father’s pyramid.
The next morning, Nagash claimed the throne of Khemri for himself along with Thutep’s wife. Despite being the only woman he felt attracted to, Nagash was a terrible husband to her. It's all but stated he abused her, used her as a sex object with no care for her pleasure, her handmaidens were terrified of him and his murder of Thutep was about as secret as the incestuous habits of the Lannister twins. To secure his throne, he secretly murdered her son (also his nephew) and used his body and soul to make a variant of the elixir to make her his sort of undead sex-slave. Nagash contracted the services of the Skaven, and assembled the largest pyramid in Nehekhara (a big feat) made entirely out of black Warpstone (or made entirely out of black marble because he didn't even know Warpstone and Skaven existed yet. The undead backstory is inconsistent as fuck). However, doing so was expensive, and Nagash demanded such a large tribute of building materials and slaves that he nearly bankrupted Nehekhara; the fabulously wealthy kingdom became as poor as Detroit. During this time, his unholy work had become an open secret, and many others in Khemri flocked to his promise of immortality and power as well as a third of the Priests of Khemri.
However, the other Kings of Nehekhara were aghast at Nagash's reign of terror. Enraged at the corruption he had brought, and in fear of the wrath of the gods, the kings from seven other lesser cities formed an alliance to force Nagash from his throne. A powerful army was raised against Khemri.
Nagash, in turn, used the Black Pyramid to channel the energies of his Necromancy and raise an army of the undead - a horde of skeletons to destroy the attacking armies. Just as planned. Such a thing was unheard of, and in the death-obsessed culture of Nehekhara, it was recognized as the greatest of obscenities. Hundreds fled, terrified by the thoughts of battle versus the departed. Things got even worse when Nagash had his undead wife killed, ending her bloodline and breaking the covenant between the Nehekharans and their gods. However, all was not lost. Although many did flee the sight of the dead army, the forces of the other kings rallied; Lybaras brought with them new technologies (including steam-powered hot air balloons) and Lahmia brought guns from Cathay. With the awesome new tech and the fact that though the priests no longer had the god's blessings they still had magic, they managed to push the undead back to Khemri and after a final battle they defeated Nagash. He retreated to his sarcophagus in the Black Pyramid while Arkhan, and an army of undead covered his retreat.
After the battle, it was generally decided at that time that all that Nagash had wrought during his accursed reign should be destroyed: the cabal of twisted followers he had ensnared to his ghastly practices were put to the sword, and great fires consumed much of what Nagash had done and written — even his precious Nine tomes were believed to be among the ashes...
The Great NecromancerEdit
Nagash had not been destroyed, but had fled into the desert, the Saharan-style one with no water anywhere. He wandered through the desert, yelling and raging to scare off the hungry jackals that followed him, until he got far enough into the desert that even they abandoned the chase. Without any of his elixir, he was doomed to perish in the wastes. One night, he did die. During this time his brother Thutep's soul found his and rightfully castigated Nagash over all of his evil. He pointed out that breaking the covenant with the gods had made it hard for the dead to find Nehekhara's version of heaven, and that many vengeful dead wanted payback against Nagash. However, the next morning, Nagash returned to his body, got right back up and kept walking.
That's right, Nagash went "fuck this!" to being dead and just kept going. (Once again, another being who makes the Emprah look like a failure. It's sort of a theme in Fantasy though).
This is where he first encountered the Skaven. During his exile, he was traveling towards the direction to the Sour Sea (the area on the upper right of the Nekehara). He met a group of 4 Skaven hunters, who were searching for the recent warp stone comet landing site. Nagash, like the smooth undead assassin he is, pretending to be dead when one of the rat hunters found and decided to eat him, then surprised the rat with a bite to the neck. The others were also killed as well, having their blood devoured by Nagash, and he found that a mysterious power within the rat's blood gave him more replenishment compared to all the elixir he had consumed in the past. It was there he first discovered the existence of the warpstone on one of the rat hunters' clothing, its faintly glowing green light attracting Nagash's attention. As he examined the rock, he found some bite marks on it, prompting the assumption that it was not only edible, but also the source of power that he had felt when he consumed the rat. He then decided to eat the stone, the smallest piece out of the 3 he had smashed it into. The stone gave Nagash a painful sensation like never before, but also gave him enough power to travel toward his destination. Sadly, the stone also fucked up his vision and his sense of direction, forcing him to wander the wasteland for 100 fucking years.
He eventually came upon a mountain inhabited by various tribes of humans formed during Nagash's 100-years-warpstoned trip. These human were but barbarians, but not like the Norscan barbarian slaves Nagash had owned back in his day of Khemri. These barbarians' appearances had much more in common with Nehekharans, with a few mutated appearance caused by the warpstone's influence. While studying the daily lives and the behaviour of these barbarian tribes, he realized that while most of the tribesmen had a mutated appearance, a few of them, namely their "high priests" (who wore long robes and carried out funeral rites and other rituals) were not mutated due to their thorough understanding and control of the stones. These priests sat at the top of the barbarian hierarchy, and were in fact a type of necromancer who used the barbarians to harvest souls and dead bodies for their own means while chilling in the hill top castle like the nobility they are. In order to gaining more power and information to control the stone, Nagash decided to take over the barbarian tribe. With some luck and his undead magic, he secretly resurrect the dead for his warpstone manual labour, even gained a living follower after he "accidentally" spared him. He then used his undead armies and his magic power (further powered up by the warpstone he had mined) to conquer them and, with an army of living and undead, made a new domain for himself. After some fighting with the chaos worshippers just to the north that were lead by 3 sorcerers, he began turning the mountain into a fortress-city to inspire terror and awe the world over - Nagashizzar. The mountain's highest peak was its tower. During his exile, Nagash learned how to manipulate the warpstone, and at Nagashizzar he forged many of his famed artefacts of power including his wretched sword Mortis (AKA Zefet-nebtar), his Crown of Sorcery, and his Black Armour (AKA Morikhane). Prolonged exposure to the mutagenic warpstone twisted Nagash into a hideous monster, no longer recognisably human. It increased his size and his strength but left him little more than a walking skeleton.
Such a large amount of warpstone drew other creatures, namely Skaven, who fought a massive war against Nagash for control of Cripple Peak, led by Eekrit Backbiter, Warlord of Clan Rikek (a very important character remember) with his Edhin agent Eshreegar by his side. Initially, Nagash sensed the absence of his skeleton miners, which he believed the work of the traitorous "living" barbarians among his army. When he actually saw the image of an armored rat through the vision of one of his undead miners, Nagash was PISSED OFF. He hated the Skaven for being cowardly, coyote-like beasts that used any means to get their dirty little paws on the warpstone, so he decided to hunt these rat bastards until he razed whatever rat hole they came from, erasing their existence from the world for good. The Skaven armies were vast, but Nagash's magic abilities were also great, as were his armies of undead. At the time, the Skaven had a very old version of a warpfire launcher - a very large bronze device mounted on a wooden cart pushed by four ratmen - and it was powerful enough to melt some of Nagash's living servants. The warpfire launcher even almost killed Nagash himself, though he raised the corpse in front of him fast enough to avoid getting completely facefucked, and destroyed it with a magic missile to the back as the rats turned the weapon away. After years of war led to a bitter stalemate, Nagash offered the Skaven a truce: he would give them warpstone if they would give him slaves in exchange. The Skaven, wary of his plans but coveting the warpstone, agreed; luring several Orc tribes into the pits beneath his fortress for Nagash to slaughter and use for his rituals.
When Nagash checked in on Nehekhara, he found that the folks in Lahmia had been up to mischief. For hundreds of years the kings continued to rule Nehekhara much as they had before. In Lahmia the reigning Queen Neferata had come across a copy of one of the Books of Nagash; they hadn’t been destroyed, but had been taken there by the Queen’s power-hungry brother. She was captivated by the dark lore contained within and had begun studying Necromancy.
Finally driven by her quest for immortality to make a pact with Nagash, she took an elixir distilled from his own blood. The moment the elixir reached her lips, Neferata's fate was sealed. She had chosen damnation and exile: Her heart stopped beating, and she became something both more and less than human. She became the first true vampire. Nefereta gathered to her the eleven greatest minds and champions of Lahmia, and gave to them each a portion of this elixir. They were the Master Vampires, from whom all other vampires in the world are descended.
But Nagash had underestimated his former countrymen. Alcadizaar the Conqueror was the greatest general of his age (the 6th dynasty of Nehekhara) -- and some argue the greatest king to rule Khemri since Settra -- and led a unified army against the undead invaders. After many years of bloody war the hordes of Nagash were pushed back. After a night of duelling and name-calling the vampires made a run for it (other than W'soran's followers, most of whom refused to leave Nagash's burning library. For W'soran's part, he grabbed as many books as he could carry and made off into the night). As such the Master Vampires decided to flee, with only W'soran remaining at Nagash's side, eager for more necromantic lore.
Nagash was so furious he cursed all vampirekind to burn in the rays of the sun and threw a tantrum for a fortnight. Once he stopped killing failed minions and wrecking things, he sat down and brooded. Nagash had gained knowledge of all of the Winds, including those that did not blow through Nehekhara, and became one of the only mortals to gain a grasp of understanding about the Chaos Gods without his mind breaking. Far from it in fact, he saw them as a goal; to become Chaos and rule over the material plane consisting only of the mindless Undead. His first targets were the Nehekharans. He paid the Skaven to poison the Mortis Tarn (a lake that contribute the primary water source of the entire Nekehara region) and spread its corruption through every rivers it connects, including the important River Vitae (would later known as the Great Mortis River after this incident) and unleashed a magical plague to decimate every living thing in Nehekhara (ironic, considering Nagash and Nurgle don't get along later). He then sent an undead army to Khemri to slaughter the rare few who had survived the plague, except Alcadizaar, who was to be captured and brought to Nagash.
Nagash had a massive plan, and he had spared Alcadizzar for a reason, even working his magical plague so Alcadizzar wouldn't be infected no matter what. Nagash needed him as a focus for his new master plan: a massive spell that would kill EVERYTHING living in Nehekhara and render it a literal no-man's-land with no water anywhere, no vegetation, no animals, nothing; just skeletons up the ass which he would raise into a gigantic undead army under Nagash's command. Nagash would then use this army to kill every living thing in the world and turn it into a kingdom of undeath, where only he would rule for all eternity.
After the biggest summoning in history, Nagash was weakened so he needed to recuperate for the last part. He had Alcadizaar thrown into a dungeon for later torture and took a power nap on his throne. Fortunately for the rest of the world, Alcadizaar was spirited away by the VERY frightened Skaven Lord Eekrit and Eshreegar into Nagash's throne room itself and given a sword made of pure Warpstone which was SO deadly, Alcadizaar only had a short amount of time to use it before he himself died just from touching it. During this time, Nagash was confronted by the ghost of his ex-wife/his brother's widow, who was enraged at all he did and subtly mocked him about the coming beatdown he was going to get. Cue our "hero" arriving in the big bad's throne room, where he charged in and chopped off Nagash’s hand before he could react. While the Skaven DIDN'T directly attack Nagash themselves, the Council of Thirteen did use their magic to protect Alcadizaar from Nagash's magic even as it slowly killed them; the fact that SKAVEN were co-operating with each other AND a non-Skaven, knowingly risking their lives, shows just how bad things had gotten.
Despite both being fatigued and weakened by their ordeals, the ensuing battle was titanic. The battle lasted for ages, for even in his weakened state, Nagash was a foe to be reckoned with. But finally, it was Alcadizaar who emerged victorious. Flying into a rage, Alcadizaar flew at Nagash and hacked away at him until he was dead and his corpse left in many small pieces. Alcadizaar took his crown as a trophy and staggered off, with Eekrit and Eshreegar gathering all of Nagash's body parts (except for his right hand, which crawled away unnoticed during the fight...) and burninhg them in Warpstone fire. For Alcadizaar, it was the ultimate sacrifice; killing Nagash cost Alcadizaar literally everything. His kingdom (the largest empire in the world) was killed to a man during the final battle, his family died of plague which ended his line forever, his sanity was shattered, and the weapon he needed to use to kill Nagash was slowly killing him as well since he was too broken to even think of abandoning it (or maybe Alcadizaar wanted to die at that point). And die he did: Alcadizzar fell dead into the River Vitae, and his corpse was washed out to sea (likely untouched by scavengers due to the Fellblade, which he was still clutching in death). The Skaven is however the true winner from this incident. Not only was the Horned Rat proud of his children did something competent for once, Eekrit and his Clan Rikek now owns Crippled Peak and profit massive under the shitload of warpstone it holds and became very wealthy for a century.
Nagash's nine books were lost, popping up in various times and places. Alcadizaar's body, bearing the Crown of Sorcery made by Nagash and still carring the Fellblade, washed up on shore in the Old World along the Mediterranean equivalent. The Skaven tracked him down and took the Fellblade back from his lifeless body, but left the corpse and crown alone. Later the sorcerer Kadon found Alcadizzar's body and the crown. Taking both, he interred Alcadizzar's body in a cairn and used the crown which gave rise to the Necromantic kingdom of Mourkain.
Nagash did not stay dead. Using the power of his Black Pyramid, he was able to knit his body back together, piece by tiny piece, over 1,111 years minus the severed hand. The next time he rose, he found the lands of Nehekhara defended by many jealous undead kings with their combined armies of skeletons equal to anything he could muster. Nagash challenged the reigning king of Khemri, the first King Settra, for the rule of Nehekhara. Settra and the other Kings, furious at what Nagash had done, chased him from Nehekhara. They had no fear of his monstrous form or the undead hordes he commanded, for they commanded skeletal legions of their own and had become just as monstrous in appearance as him. And while powerful, Nagash no longer had the power to bend them all to his will, despite being their creator. He had lost too much, and the Tomb Kings had gained in power and independance while he regenerated.
Returning to his fortress, Nagash found the Skaven had mined most of the warpstone away. Nevertheless, he took command of a horde of Ghouls, and in one night they drove all the Skaven from Cripple Peak, venting his frustrations on the ratmen. The Skaven made many attempts at regaining Cripple Peak, but after being defeated by Arkhan who once again joined his master, they eventually decided that they had gathered enough of the warpstone, and left Cripple Peak for good.
After wiping out the Skaven who'd taken over his fortress, Nagash realized that he needed his old magical artefacts to reassert his power, including his stolen crown. So Nagash forged a new hand to replace his missing one out of a warpstone alloy. The crown had been taken north into the Badlands, where it fell into the hands of Orcs who raided across the Black Mountains and seemingly disappeared. Nagash led a great army into the nascent Empire to reclaim it. During the final battle he fought in a duel with Sigmar himelf and nearly defeated him. Sigmar, realizing what was at stake went on a Humanity Fuck Yeah! rampage and finally crushed Nagash's skull with his hammer. The spirit of Nagash fled the battlefield and went back to his fortress where he recovered, having learned that the world now has powers capable to match him. Even Sigmar at the height of his power only just managed to defeat Nagash, and even then only by wearing Nagash's own crown to protect him from Nagash's magic. A crown that had pretty much sent Sigmar insane the last time he wore it. Even then, fighting Nagash crippled Sigmar; while he still kicked a lot of ass he did not regain his full strength until much later.
Nagash did pop up a few times more after that, but each time he did, he was weaker than the time before; pre-retcon every time he died the ghosts of people he killed would gang up on him in the Afterlife and hurt him a bit more each time. Post-retcon the Fellblade was so deadly, its killing blow was continuing to eat away at Nagash's very spirit, slowly making him less and less with each incarnation. Nagash once again returned to life, 1,666 years after his death at the hands of Sigmar, in the night known as the Night of the Restless Dead because his return prompted undead to awaken across the world, but was so weak he was only alive for a single night before his power weakened and he slipped back into the afterlife. Between this and knowledge of the Chaos Gods, he made a plan to come back for good and be free of what the Fellblade did to him. To this end, he charged Arkhan with working to restore him.
During the downtime, Nagash recruited a "young" Vampire named Mannfred von Carstein to serve him, and teamed him up with Arkhan the Black to resurrect their master. Now the time has come... FOR GAMES WORKSHOP TO UNLEASH THEIR LATEST CASH COW IN THE NAME OF NAGASH!
GUESS WHO'S BACK!!!!!!!
Nagash is back, with fuckawesome (and fuckexpensive) model (*It would be 100% if not for the derpy skull face on the staff - which can be solved by using the sword instead, the ridiculous skeleton pope hat that is the size of a man standing on another man's shoulders - though that is meant to evoke the Pschent crowns of real-life Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, the naughty tentacle spinal cords borrowed from Doctor Octopus, the buck-teeth on the ghosts and that long bone hanging between his legs - which is meant to be a loincloth made from a spine but it looks like something else...) and another storyline chapter that involves everyone this time.
His primary goal is to bring order to the world; with the dawn of the End Times we see the High Elves and Dark Elves getting railed by massive chaos incursions while the Wood Elves sit in their forest laughing about how everyone is gonna be speared on Slaanesh's dick but them. The Beastmen who are massing disagree with this assessment however. The Empire is currently taking it from behind by nearly every faction in the game (mainly the Warriors of Chaos lead by Archaon who is determined not to end up looking like a little shit this time) at the moment, with Kislev having been almost entirely wiped out (assuming this "End Times" is a wash like the last one they'll have rebuilt their green wood castles in a week, but still). Bretonnia was in flames as civil war tore through the country, but has mostly united now, even if 50% of the population died. The Orcs & Goblins have been decimated by the attacks of Eltharion against their race as WAAAGH!s that lasted since the dawn of time were obliterated with fire magic, leaving no spores to repopulate. The remainder of their race (barring individuals and their bands such as Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks and Grimgor Ironhide) are heading straight for eastern Ulthuan into a trap that could possibly work and wipe out most of the greenskins. The Skaven backstabbing and plotting against the world hasn't changed of course and are currently conquering the majority of the southern human nations with numbers that even vampires think is excessive.Lizardmen are under assault from Daemons, and Mazdamundi declares that the great plan has failed and that a great exodus must begin. Dwarfs have barricaded themselves in their holds, or else gone about trying to retake and rebuild the Eight Peaks thanks to being shunned by both the Empire and Tyrion when help was offered in their missions against the Undead (of course, thanks to the fact that Dwarfs will rather destroy their own race than let grudges go, it's unlikely that the Dwarfs will be around long after reunification and the chance to avenge themselves at each other with impunity).
Just before the End Times, Teclis managed to contact Nagash with an offer of gaining the Wind of Shyish and forming an anti-Chaos alliance with the living. Nagash, being Nagash, threw Teclis' offer back in his face. However, he secretly co-opted Teclis' plan with a few alterations: harness the Wind of Shyish to control all Death magic (something even Nagash himself hadn't thought of and grudgingly commended Teclis for), overthrow the Chaos Gods and become the only god of a world of undead. To this end, Nagash had Arkhan fast-track his resurrection plan. In his own End Times book, after much scheming, magic and war from Arkhan and Mannfred, Nagash has risen again. By the way you can read the efforts of Arkhan and Mannfred to bring back Naggy in the "The Return of Nagash", brought to you by Black Library, among the highlights of the novel you get Count Nyktolos "Count Von Count", finally fulfilling the long time wish of /tg/ to get the old Sesame Street star as a vampire Count.
Once he came back he held up his hands for quiet, then told the assembled peoples of the world this; "Guys, I got a plan. Everyone just take off your skin and meat, and line up over there. Trust me guys, this'll work for sure." As one can imagine, that isn't going over so well. The first to get crushed was Settra the Imperishable, who united the Tomb Kings (and punished those who refused to kiss the ring and get in line by ordering their unliving skull by used as artillery ammunition) against just such a threat. The idea that anyone rule over SETTRA THE FUCKYOU was too much for the old man, but it turned out badly and his army (plus one of his gods) were destroyed/eaten by Nagash. Likewise, Archaon stopped his march into the Empire and instead followed a route that would lead him to the massive Undead fuckhead that DARED to take HIS rightful place as big-bad of the setting.
Following similar logic, Queen Neferata has gathered a massive army pulled from the Undead across the world, as well as the living armies whose leaders have been under her thumb since day one. But she has not yet decided who she'll follow; on one hand, serving Nagash would be beneficial as he's seeking to become the Chaos God of Undeath (replacing all four of the other Chaos Gods and BECOMING Chaos Undivided) which would make her ruler of all beneath him. On the other hand..."serving" isn't something she does, to the point that one of her earliest decisions after leaving his service originally involved pooling all the forces available to her to go fuck up one of her closest allies and his entire kingdom because he implied that he was better at ruling than her. If she DOES choose to serve however (as in, if the player who shells out $79 for her model fields her as a model in the Undead Legion army) she becomes known as the Mortarch of Blood and takes place in Nagash's trinity of servants.
But Nagash has planned for his return well. His first servant and first in the big three Mortarchs, Arkhan the Black, became known as the Mortarch of Sacrament. Arkhan leads Nagash's main army against the forces of the world. Meanwhile Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow, leads a detachment of Nagash's forces against Archaon's Chaos army to ensure that the
Nordic fuckup half-blooded EMPIRE Daemon Prince fuckup that got boo-ed offstage in Storm of Chaos doesn't interfere with Nagash's big moment in the spotlight. He even cemented power by entering the Afterlife, defeating and consuming the god of the dead for humanity Usirian (AKA Morr and all the other names humans have for their god of the dead in Warhammer Fantasy). He even tore Settra apart, though didn't kill him, and forced Settra to watch the destruction of Khemri. Nagash then went on to bitch-slap the Tomb Kings into submission, destroying the few that resisted and finally has his FUCKHEUG undead army to conquer the world, which he will use to ruin the day of Chaos' forces, he also has now a Necron Monolith his own Flying Black Pyramid.
Nagash landed the Black Pyramid in Sylvania, surrounded by a River Styx expy where the magic builds up, and spent the next three books chilling in a sarcophagus, slowly absorbing the wind of Death Magic. During that time Arkhan took a leaf from the Witch King and the Mouth of Sauron, keeping the undead legions in order. When Isabella and the turncoat Nameless lead a Nurglite host attack Sylvania, Arkhan arranged a battle plan. The undead hold them off but they force their way to the front, even slaying Krell and Arkhan. Just after Arkhan is killed by Isabella, Nagash wakes up and enters the battle, but while Isabella distracts Nagash by trolling him her Skaven allies destroy the Black Pyramid with warpstone bombs (the warpstone equivalent of nukes) placed by tunneling teams. Nagash gets pissed enough to impress an Angry Marine and destroys all the daemons, including a Great Unclean One, with a single blast of magic. After venting, Nagash took stock. Between that epic, magical temper tantrum and the Black Pyramid's destruction he can't reach godhood as he originally planned. After much introspection Nagash swallowed his pride and conceded that he would either have to serve the Chaos Gods or ally with the living to survive. He reluctantly chose the latter, bringing back Arkhan and Krell; despite his frustration over their failure, he needed loyal, intelligent servants.
He leaves Neferata to rule Sylvania and its undead legions before going to Athel Loren, sending Mannfred as a messenger to parley. During the meeting Nagash tries to engender goodwill by handing Mannfred to the elves as compensation for Aliathra's death, but he also taunts Alarielle and Tyrion about Aliathra's fate and withholds Arkhan's involvement because he's too useful (the only reason Nagash even did this was because Malekith had nearly convinced the other Incarnates that they didn't need Nagash and, combined, the six Incarnates present could have destroyed him). His army is ordered to stay out of Athel Loren, except for Vlad and Arkhan. Nagash and his accompanying two Mortarchs are escorted everywhere under heavy guard including at least two other Incarnates because (understandably) no-one trusts him. When the forces of Chaos arrive, Nagash goes "Bitch Please!" and gives a beatdown to anything thrown at him, from Beastmen warbands to monsters; he even solos A BLOODTHIRSTER... AND WINS! After being teleported to Middenheim with Arkhan, Krell, Vlad and part of his army he roftstomps his way through the Chaos forces occupying Middenheim until they get to the the excavation. Along the way he kills Chaos' prisoners, bringing back all the dead as zombies under his control. His forces do take losses, including Krell being killed by Sigvald. He then he meets Settra, who was restored by the Chaos Gods. He tells Nagash he was sent to kill him, before killing a daemon that was about to attack Nagash. Settra explains that NO ONE COMMANDS HIM, that he's going to take down the Chaos Gods for offering him rulership for service, then he'll come back and Nagash had either better bend the knee or be slain. Settra then goes off to fight the Chaos army, leaving Nagash to join with the others. Nagash gives Arkhan the remaining Morghasts and tells him to cover his retreat and hold the line until dead.
Nagash reaches the artefact with the other incarnates and tries to fight the forces of Chaos, providing a rearguard of zombies raised from the combined dead of Middenheim. He continues curbstomping anything that directly engages him, only fighting an opponent who can match him in the form of a stronger than average Bloodthirster, Ka'bandha.
After all the Chaos forces are defeated with Archaon MIA, the Old Ones artefact destabilizes, creating a magical rift that will consume the world. The surviving Incarnates and Teclis (who takes two winds of magic into himself) start to contain the Rift but fail when Mannfred disrupts the ritual by killing Balthazar. This led to Teclis' death as he tried to re-stabilize the magic by taking a third wind but the power is too much and he is disintegrated. Free of their control, the rift grows; when it touches the surviving Incarnates it sucks out all of their magic, including Nagash's. He is last seen collapsed and panicking while his body crumbles to dust.
In the new setting Nagash has achieved godhood, but not on his terms and with others who can challenge him. According to Black Library, after the End Times Nagash was originally trapped by the Chaos Gods in "a crypt of forgotten moments, burying him in the weft of time itself"; we still wonder how is that Sigmar managed to free him, as well as why he freed him as it's obvious that apart from GW favouritism, there's no possible reason that Sigmar could've had that would justify all the shit that Nagash could (and did) do later. Once freed (and being the asshole that he is), he immediately set up shop in the realm of Shyish, declared himself its king and tried claiming ownership of everyone who died (despite not running the place or providing its afterlives, just being the biggest kid on the playground). He also planned to betray all of the other gods in the setting (who are at this point his allies), with his reasoning being that they were probably going to betray him sooner or later so he might as well be the first to do it. Given what happens later, it's not really a surprise so many races chose to ignore his (unsubstantiated) claim to their people's souls.
For a while he was allied with the other incarnate gods in this new era, mutually tolerating Sigmar (not counting his planned betrayal) and providing order and occasional undead reinforcements. Morathi eventually found her way to the pantheon in her aelven form and, as is her style, tried to seduce the other members. Sigmar ignored her so she focused her efforts on Nagash. Nagash responded with an epic pimp slap that struck Morathi down, revealing her true serpentine form, which caused Morathi to flee in humiliation and rage. At one point Alarielle, now the ruler of Ghyran, managed to strike a bargain with him to deal with some rampaging undead in the Realm of Life; Nagash could consider the undead-infested part of Ghyran his sovereign territory, in exchange he kept the undead contained to it. Nagash agreed to Alarielle's terms, likely with his finger bones crossed behind his back.
At the onset of the Age of Chaos (and when things were looking bleak) the various gods started going their separate ways to defend their own lands. Surprisingly, Nagash was the last one to abandon Sigmar and step out on his own. Unsurprisingly he did so in the most dickish way, kicking Sigmar's forces in the balls on the way out (and fucking over any hope the pantheon had of holding Chaos in check, meaning he also fucked himself over). This was the last straw, with Sigmar going back to being a barbarian god-king and roflstomping his way through Shyish to try and teach Nagash a lesson. They 'fought' twice, with Nagash running like a bitch both times before Sigmar could finish him. After working out his rage, Sigmar finally bothered to check his inbox... and found out that in his absence Chaos went "all your bases are belong to us!" on the realms. This made Sigmar head back and seal off his realm before working on his newest weapons. Nagash on the other hand tried fighting off the forces of Chaos, only to get his shit kicked in by Archaon (who destroyed his body) and having his armies destroyed while his territory was claimed by Chaos. From this point on, instead of trying to fight Chaos in any way Nagash just gave up and waited for somebody else to do it, only stepping back into the fray when Sigmar showed up with the Stormcast Eternals. This time he rejected Sigmar's request to team up against Chaos, figuring he can do just fine against them on his own, because that worked out so fucking well for him last time. He also later had a rematch against Archaon where he once again lost, his army being destroyed and being forced to run like a bitch.
Unsurprisingly Nagash didn't take kindly to Sigmar keeping the souls of his dead to remake into Stormcast Eternals, with him claiming he'd never forgive Sigmar for his 'soul-theft' and whining that he'd been betrayed (ignoring that he'd planned well before this to betray everyone else and that the souls don't technically belong to him). He began plans to fight Sigmar's forces and take back what he saw as his, because that worked so fucking well the last two times he got his ass kicked by Sigmar who didn't have superhumans helping him at the time. To add insult to injury Nagash is the reason the Stormcast Eternals degrade with each death, whenever they die Nagash sticks his skeletal fingers in Sigmar's pie to try and grab some each time; the bits of memory and personality that each Stormcast loses with each death and rebirth are the bits Nagash claims. It took a while, but Sigmar eventually learnt of this (actual) soul-theft. In response, Sigmar marshaled his forces and directed them to Shyish to find Nagash and/or liberate the souls.
The first expedition, led by Lord Celestant Tarsus Bullheart, found Nagash with predictable results. Nagash threw their message and Sigmar's offer back in their faces, and then attacked (Nagash struck first). When the rest of the Stormcast attacked Nagash, he killed all but Tarsus. Tarsus got up and noticed that the Stormcast's souls are being trapped by Nagash and that he's unable to return to Azyrheim and Sigmar. He mocked Nagash and hit him with a bolt from of his cape hammers, which hurts Nagash enough to distract him, the lapse in concentration allowing the Stormcasts' souls to escape. Livid, Nagash killed Tarsus with a wave of amethyst fire and imprisoned Tarsus soul, gloating to the imprisoned Stormcast about how he would torture Tarsus' soul and pry as many of Sigmar's secrets as he can from him.
Sigmar isn't the only one who pissed Nagash off however, the new book revealed that Nagash really wants aelf souls, as they can be manipulated more than most others, being more easily used in more complicated craftings like weapons of war, rather than just becoming more undead servants. He was unable to acquire them however, thanks to Slaanesh eating them all. Furthermore, when Tyrion and Malerion cut Slaanesh open Nagash sensed the souls spilling out, though once again (and perhaps, unsurprisingly) he wasn't able to get any, he was really steamed about that. He's also equally pissed at the Idoneth Deepkin who steal the souls of their victims, though he hasn't been able to catch them either. Furthermore there's a number of other factions who do whatever they want to their souls and the souls of their dead, and unless Nagash or his forces show up in person there's fuck-all he can do about it. When he does show up though, he makes sure to let everyone know it by punishing those who keep their souls in as dickish a manner he possibly can, although sometimes it fucks him over too (since Nagash is just the king of foresight), like altering a city so that the souls of anyone in it can't leave the city and preventing him from doing anything with them (Other than creating more Nighthaunt.)
Nagash still likes his black pyramids, so much so he built many of them, turned them upside down (because why not) and made them all fly, in theory making them Skaven-proof although in practice they definitely are not. He also managed to get some use out of them, in the Malign Portents campaign he built a new inverted black pyramid and surrounded it with realmstone, think crystals that are literally magic in solid form. His plan was to cause all the magic in the realm to coalesce into the center, where he'd absorb it all to become the true master of death, giving him control over all the dead in all the realms, because that worked so fucking well the last time he tried it. Unsurprisingly he got the exact same fucking outcome as last time, drawing all the magic to himself, finding he's not as awesome as he thinks he is, because just like last time, the ritual is corrupted (this time by the Skaven, who could have predicted they'd fuck him over) and having the magic spill back into the land, fucking things up for everyone in the setting (while his pyramid started spinning and accidentally burrowed into the ground). During this ritual the Chaos Gods themselves show up to first get laughed at by Nagash, then laugh at Nagash, then get laughed at by Nagash again, who viewed his failure as success. As a by-product, souls everywhere coalesced into the Nighthaunt, under the dictations of Nagash's ironic sense of justice. The sudden influx of spooky ghosts resulted in Sigmar having to open up his special mage chamber, the ones formerly guarding his anvil-of-apotheosis. The failures in Sigmar's reforging process have become more common because of the Necroquake, making him more desperate to fix the flaw of reforging.
Out of all the dieties in the setting, Nagash is easily the most impotent. While Nagash claims every soul for himself, and every soul has to travel to the Shyish underworlds, many of the other Deities do what they will with their souls of their people. Necromancers are likewise free to do as they please because unless Nagash happens to be right there, he's not going to be affecting shit as Nagash seems unable to enforce anything from afar. He still sticks his bony fingers into everything he pretends is his, see Shadespire, where they cheated death using shadeglass and Nagash weaved a great ritual to trap their souls in a prison of eternal torment. Among other things, Shyish consists of afterlives that are created by beliefs of mortals of what happens after they die. Most people who die go to one of these places, where they remain until those places fade away (if the civilization they're from is destroyed) upon which they can just go elsewhere - except, since the Necroquake, many of those underworlds are being dragged to the epicenter of the ritual and are ripped apart into more raw magic, and more nighthaunt. Additionally, since Nagash's claimed dominion over Syhish, many of those underworlds have been twisted by his presence - pyramids, obelisks, and other monuments to his vainglory dot the various landscapes. To make matters worse and show just how much of a failure he is, when Chaos invaded Nagash was stunned to find the realm of death rife with chaos-worshiping cults that had already been well established beforehand.
He might as well be a cartoon villain given how often he tries to repeat past events while forgetting their outcomes. Each and every time he seems surprised he's getting exactly the same results and then he holds a grudge because he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those/that meddling Skaven/Chaos gods/Sigmar/Archaon. Luckily this never gets him down, since Nagash sees negatives as positives, his cowardice during the Age of Chaos was just him biding his time, his petty and unreasonable grudges are him punishing thieves who are stealing his (unjust) due. His planned betrayals of his closest allies were just him demonstrating how much foresight he has (aka, none) and his routine failures have just instilled in him the confidence that he is never to blame for any of his mistakes, so he carries no doubt in his unbeating heart that he will, one day, rule over everything.
Sigmar considered Nagash his closest ally back in the 'good old days', in fact, they initially went on a super smash bros tour cleaning the still forming Mortal Realms from eldritch abominations which would have given even Chaos a run for his money. Arkhan the Black believed that the two need to be reunited in order to beat back Chaos. Neither of the two gods seem keen on that idea, in Sigmar's case he gave up on forming an alliance after getting betrayed again by having an entire army of Stormcasts wiped out during the Allpoints' Shyish gate siege due Nagash never sending the promised reinforcements, in Nagash's case, well, as Sigmar apointed out, he still hasn't learned the frakkin' lesson.
Recently it's been retconned that when Nagash was helping create Sigmar's cities, he built secret underground tombs beneath them that nobody noticed in however long it's been from the age of myth until now. How the fuck they went undetected, even by the race that literally burrows up into areas exactly like these has gone unanswered, but it's probably fair to blame shitty writing. In these crypts were super-skeletons made from several bodies, in effect being the prototype versions of one Nagash's design that he'd later call the Ossiarch Bonereapers. This means that he planned to betray Sigmar twice when they were still working together, but don't think this doesn't mean he's not still upset at imaginary betrayals against him. After the necroquake, Nagash would summon all of the undead in the crypts beneath the cities, and apparently they all made their way to back to the realm of death, making one wonder what the point of building the crypts was in the first place. After they arrived he spent time perfecting his design, working them into their current appearances and distilling souls to ensure that the beings housing them were free of all negative traits (those being any he doesn't like), and once satisfied with the result he then unleashed them to collect more bones for him so that they can build him fancy bone cities and bone statues.
On The Tabletop (Warhammer Fantasy)Edit
Nagash was actually a special character back when it was just Warhammer Armies: Undead and all the dead boys were united in one armybook. Despite being described as "a pale shadow of his former self" he was an unholy rapetrain - a statline with the lowest stats being 6's (init and attacks) and everything else being a 7. Add in a completely unmodifiable 4+ save against everything (including any and all spell effects), a sword that gives him +1 str and lets him use any wounds he causes to heal himself and being one of the most powerful mages in the game making him pretty much unstoppable. (
Unless you threw a High Mage at him with Drain Magic and Banishment which resulted in epic lulz. Foolish Elf. Nagash would take High Magic with his book just to prevent you from doing that.)
It used to be speculated, before Games Workshop advanced their storyline with The End Times and Age of Sigmar, that Nagash getting off his bony ass and doing shit would be a game ender. There were only a handful of non-divine characters equal to or more powerful than him such as Sigmar (who'd beaten him once before), Kroak (though now he's much weaker as a ghost-Slann) and other First Spawning Slann who would simply think Nagash out of existence if they were still alive. Arguably Morathi, Malekith and Aenarion could stand up to him, Teclis is described as being if not his equal in magic, then close behind, and Archaon the Everchosen would be a fine matchup.
In those days Games Workshop chose to give him what might very well be the single most derptastic model to ever blight a tabletop with its presence, an unholy abomination of fail so ridiculous that it makes the Tyranid Biovore look like a towering monument of awe and might in comparison. Even the beardiest of cheesemongers thought twice before fielding it, knowing all too well that they would pay for it not only in army points, but in dignity and self-respect. There was a running joke that the model was made stupid-looking to prevent people from using Nagash, therefore keeping him from changing the status quo.
Then the End Time rolled around.
The End Times update brought Nagash back into the game as a powerhouse, boasting higher stats and better spellcasting than anything else in the entire game. In short he's a Level 5 Wizard with access to the Lores of Death, Light (he's Nehekharan, remember?), Vampires, Nehekhara, and a new Lore called "Undeath". He carries his nine books of Nagash which lets him carry NINE spells (total), one being "Ryze, the Grave Call", with the rest generated from any combination of the mentioned Lores as he pleases (with the newest rules from the Khaine book, he will have ALL spells from all 5 of those lores, plus a special Summon Arcane Fulcrum spell, giving him 41 spells in total). But wait, there's more. He re-rolls any Miscast (but must accept the new result) and can store, at any time in the Magic Phase, up to four Power Dice for later, surpassing the six-dice-per-spell-limit; he can also empower attacks by adding the Heroic Killing Blow to his already powerful sword (+1 Strength and Multiple Wounds (D3), but only one die per attack has that rule), and being a Monster he also has the Thunderstomp Attack; this guy is a rape machine in close combat.
Thought that was bad? It gets worse; any Undead within 12" suffer two fewer wounds from Unstable, plus any other rule that stacks (for example, Battle Standard Bearer). And the cherry on this hell cake: each time he casts a summoning spell of Undeath the points summoned and the range are TRIPLED (e.g. Ryze, The Grave call he ALWAYS has: with difficulty 9+, anyone else can summon 50 points of troops within 12" or 100 at 14+. At best(16+) 150 points worth of Monstruous Infantry at the same range. Nagash summons 150, 300 and 450 respectively at 36"). This also includes Raise the Dead tokens, so spend five tokens and now Nagash can raise 600 points worth of models, whereas all other wizards can only raise 200.
Lastly he's 1000 points to field, which is fine because End Times came with a rule update allowing half your army points to be spent on Lords and Heroes, so fielding Nagash has to be at a 2000 point game at the minimum,
although you will have no other characters at all (including a Battle Standard Bearer and thankfully Lords and Heroes have a SEPARATE allowance, so if you get Nagash in a 2000 point game you cannot have any other lords (don't forget, he can summon characters with a base 195pt cost, not to mention any tokens he spends to up that total), but you can have plenty of heroes (which a BSB is). He costs a whopping $105 Ameribucks, although considering the size of his model it's not a terrible deal (for GW anyway). He also currently has the biggest hat in either Warhammer setting, proving that he's the single biggest force to be reckoned with.
Nagash can only be fielded with the Undead Legion, his own army that consists of everyone from Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings that he's brought under his rule. As a result there's no "wrong" way to field Nagash; everything you CAN field him with is supported in fluff. His army is even Neutral in alignment, meaning you can get in a 2v2 battle with any army in the game supporting any army in the game. Throwing an Empire army lead by Karl Franz on the field being BFFs with Nagash against Wood Elves and Ogre Kingdoms is completely copacetic in the fluff.
On the Tabletop (Age of Sigmar)Edit
Luckily on the Tabletop Nagash isn't the complete bitch he is in the lore. Not only does Nagash sport a whopping 16 Wounds with a 3+ Save, he hits really hard both with magic and with melee. He not only knows every spell known to all Death Wizards on the board, but by default he gets +3 to all his casting/unbinding rolls (which can be buffed further with his army rules/artefacts, provided he's near the ones who have them), while being able to cast/unbind 8(!) spells by himself at default. On top of this, he has one of the most notorious spells in the game, Hand of Dust, which can instantly kill any model in the game, no matter who they are or how well protected they are, unless they're like Archaon and have a rule that triggers once an enemy wizard uses a spell on them. For a laugh take 3 Warscroll Battalions and then use Arkhan's command ability for times to give the spell a 27" range, just to say 'fuck you' to your opponent's general right off the bat. He also has Soul Stealer, a spell that tests the units Bravery in a similar manner to a banshee, with them suffering D3 to D6 mortal wounds if they fail, and with Nagash regaining wounds that are successfully allocated.
In the combat phase he's no slouch either, boasting solid hits, rends and damages across the board, doing so much damage that most elite units will easily be ripped apart in only one round (provided he didn't get charged by something like a large group of blood/chaos knights or Morghasts), and his own Command Ablity further helps this, as well as his entire army by boosting hit and wound rolls.
Like many other monster Nagash has a wounds table, with his performance getting worse the more he is hurt. Thankfully it's relatively minor, not only can he heal himself, but the bonuses lost are just attacks with his sword and the number of bonus spells he can cast, as well as the extra amount he casts/unbinds with (which can be boosted through other means). Thankfully he also has a way to prevent his stats from dropping too fast due to mortal wounds, he wears armour that protects him on a 4+, with a 6+ reflecting the MW back to the unit that caused it.
Unfortunately Nagash still struggles somewhat against hordes. Despite doing a lot of damage, he can easily be brought down if he's charged and his (justifiably) high points cost mean your opponent can likely swamp him with models (if they're so inclined, and somehow you have let him get through your never ending hordes). While he's trying to deal with the major threats your opponent brought, they can surround him with clanrats, stormvermin or (ironically) zombies, all of which can pile on so many wounds and who have so many models to remove (especially since with a command point they auto-pass their bravery test) that his stats can be knocked down quick, causing him to do less damage and becoming a weaker spellcaster in general. Given he also has an ability to revive slain models and heal wounds dealt to units (healing 5 summonable units for D3 each) you should make sure that such units are only fighting the ones they should be up against (at least until you've whittled them down some), leaving Nagash free to take on the enemy's elite.
Nagash also has the exact same issue in this edition as he had in Warhammer Fantasy: Artillery. Cannons in general can royally fuck him over since each shot brings him down to a 5+ save and does D6 damage when he fails it. Rockets are even worse, their presence on the field virtually guarantees he's going to be having a very bad day. If you're going to use him, just be aware of his limitations, as well as what can bring him down quick as while he's certainly tough, he's not invincible.
Why Nagash is so evilEdit
While most evil characters on the game have done their share of bad deeds, Scumbag Nagash has a special place amongst them thanks to sheer volume and scope from the very personal like domestic abuse and rape to various genocides and mass slaughters. Also, unlike most of the poor bastards that live in a Warhammer setting, he doesn't do these for survival, being tricked into it or to seek the favor of a more powerful being. He does it because he is a fucking prick. The following lists illustrates how sick this fuck is:
- Started out learning magic through sacrificing people. Although it was due to Nehekhara's desert lacking much of the winds of magic and the people Nagash sacrificed were usually unwanted sons and daughters of nobles who were despair ridden from gambling and drinking. But the Nagash did not feel a pang of sympathy for them and was being taught by Dark Elves at the time, so it's not like he had a heart to begin with.
- Out Betrayed the Dark Elves, whom were one of the most evil creatures in the setting (besides the Skaven) and were far superior than the humans at that time (in terms of military, magic and economy).
- During his first and last violent encountered with his brother Thutep, Nagash used his followers as meatshield, having them killed by Thutep's much superior bodyguard then absorbed their souls as magic sources for his magic missiles. After all the bodyguards were dead, Nagash restrained his brother with magic, taunted him for his inability to move/use his Khopesh while sadistically watching his brother furiously trying to move his body, face red and tears flowing from his eyes.
- Entombed his own brother alive and stole his wife. Right before the entombment, Nagash even told Thutep about him stealing his wife just to watch his painful and tormented expression for extra sadism.
- After taking the throne, Nagash married Thutep's widow and was a cruel husband to her. Her handmaidens fled in fear when he entered their room and she got this look of stoic resignation (she even says to him "just get it over with" at one point, with it likely being sex); because on top of being a usurper and an evil wizard, he was a domestic abuser and a rapist.
- Turned said wife into an agony-ridden walking corpse and kept her that way for centuries. The process he used to accomplish this involved tricking her into drinking the blood of her murdered son; who was also Nagash's nephew. Sadistically, the trick was based around a mocking promise he would never harm said nephew again.
- His reign was responsible for the deaths of at least tens of thousands of people, and he even cancelled out his excuse of wanting the throne because he considered Thutep an ineffective king, since Nagash nearly destroyed Nehekhara's economy to build his Black Pyramid.
- Captured the spirits of his enemies and kept them in eternal torment.
- Started a war which destroyed many of the Nehekharan cities and killed even more of the population.
- Broke the covenant between the Nehekharan gods and their people, not only removing the divine powers of the Nehekharans but ensuring that after death they wouldn't be able to go to their gods and would have to stay in a nether dimension forever. Especially jarring if you remember that he used to be the High Priest of their Death Cult.
- Indirectly corrupted some of the nobility of Nehekhara, who became the first vampires.
- Also letting the Vampire spread their corruption and turned others into vampires. Nagash only sees humans as cattle while treating his vampire servants like pawns. To him, the only thing worth about the vampire is their ability to produce other vampires as well as creating other undead (because more undead things = more power for Nagash!). One of primary reason to keep them around despite their constant treachery.
- Turned a whole tribe of his followers into ghouls because they annoyed him several times by asking him to give them a promised reward.
- Used his loyal vassals as tools in a terrible incantation to make himself a magic set of armour and then, for the only time in any of his fluff, he does something nice for someone besides himself and he compliments them for exceeding his expectations. After complimenting them he devoured their souls anyway. Some of those souls were sent to the now destroyed afterlife where they will tell the dead Thutep and others that their vengeance will never come.
- Started a new war against Nehekhara which cost thousands more their lives.
- Used a horrible plague spell to annihilate the entire Nehekharan civilization after losing the war against them; because on top of being a mad wizard and an immoral bastard, he's a sore loser.
- Raised the Nehekharan dead, turning them into millions of undead minions with the idea of annihilating all life in the world.
- Almost destroyed the Empire and nearly crippled Sigmar in a duel by using a poisoned blade.
- Cursed the Vampires with a vulnerability to Sigmar's power and other curses after the assholes were too self-absorbed to help Nagash out during the two major battles: war with the Empire and the Nehekhara war. While this might seem like a good riddance because of Vampire's treacherous and dickish nature, the evil thing about these curses is that it prevents vampires from enjoying life with their new found immortality.
- The End Times adds killing several demigods, including Valaya, the ancestor goddess of the Dwarfs, while she slumbered and a god so he can take destroy the Chaos Gods (and then failing to do that).
- After defeating Settra and uniting nearly all of the Tomb Kings under his banner, he destroyed Nehekhara despite all the resources the nation held (not to mention depriving Neferata of ever going to Lahmia again).
- Killing messengers from the Empire asking for his help when a 'no' would have been enough, then turning around and expecting to get help when he's forced to ask the living for it.
- Mocked Tyrion and Alarielle about the fact that he was brought back to life by their daughter being sacrificed (notable because Nagash did so while he was asking for their help). The actual quote was something like "MY DESTRUCTION WILL NOT BRING HER BACK... THE SOUL (OF THE EVERCHILD) IS NOT MINE TO GIVE. LIKE ALL YOUR KIND, SHE IS ALREADY FODDER FOR THE DARK PRINCE!" Gotta hand it to Nagash for this one, since he clearly hasn't lost his funny bone despite being a cold-blooded lich who kill people as he pleases.
- Nagash's evil extends beyond his universe. Apparently, GW must have bribed Naggy with souls or whatever, because in the new Death Faction Nagash didn't see fit to bring back the Tomb Kings.
- Murdered even more death gods in order to take over the realm of Shyish.
- Betrayed Sigmar and the forces of Order to try to become the supreme god, which allowed Chaos to take over seven eighths of the realms while he got beaten down by Archaon.
- When a group of queens ruling island-nations, collective called the Skull Isles, offered themselves to Nagash if he would spare their people, Nagash claimed them for himself... then had their kingdoms destroyed by his undead armies (in that same audio drama, Nagash outright states he does not have mercy, honor or pity).
- At some point while ruling his realm of Death, he punished the citizens of Shadespire for cheating death with the use of some magic mirrors by throwing the entire fucking city into the void of between the realm of life and shadow, forcing them into an unlife of torment.
- When a necromancer and tribal leader named Tamra ven Drak begged for mercy after she released some spirits he imprisoned in order to save her people (who also happened to worship him) from a nurglite invasion. Nagash spared her... and then killed off her entire people and turned them into an undead army. He stated this preserved their souls for all eternity and is his idea of mercy (he did make her a Deathlord). He also only did so at the insistence of Arkhan and Neferata, who had to work together to convince Nagash she was more useful if he spared her.
- He never showed up during the siege of the Allpoints Shyishian Gate despite promising reinforcements in a supposedly renewed alliance, which meant not only making Sigmar lose (temporally) an entire army of Stormcasts, but allowing Archaon to keep a direct avenue of attack to his own realm.
- Attempted to enact a ritual that would raise all dead in the Mortal Realms in order to exterminate all life. This would also deprive all the other gods of their worshipers so they would have to bend the knee to him as well.
- About that ritual, he started it long before the Age of Chaos, which means he outright planned to betray Sigmar despite freeing him from the atemporal tomb.
- His Nighthaunt armies include Dreadscythe Harridans, spirits of healers who he has turned into tormented killing machines for the 'crime' of saving people from dying and thus preventing their souls from coming to Shyish even though this is temporary since mortals all die over time. He also enslaved the ghosts of betrayed people to the ones who killed them; these are two examples of his idea of "justice". Yes, he is so evil he can deny good people from going to their specific afterlife paradises, which actually do exist in the Age of Sigmar setting.
While some of the deeds on this list may have been done by your average Skaven, Dark Elf or Chaos Lord there is a basic difference between them and Nagash, the former usually do this either to advance their entire race, clan, tribe or to appease and/or promote their gods; and no single member of those factions has done as much as Nagash, points of case, Thanquol at least respected and paid homage to the Horned Rat, Malus Darkblade actually cared up to a certain point for his own troops and Archaon was very protective of his mentor and lover (the only people Archaon ever gave a shit about) before they died. Nagash on the other hand didn't care about anyone, despised the gods and had no empathy for his family and people. He fucked up his own nation and a large section of the world for his own personal gain and, so far as the fluff goes, he has never cared or done anything for anyone other than himself, with his ultimate plan being quite literally to turn everything into undead with no will under his command.
On one hand, Nagash honestly believed this to be the best thing for the warhammer world and had a point. Chaos had a hard time corrupting the undead, and Nagash had already managed to steal one of Khorne's favoured champions (Krell). On the other hand, undead are resistant to Chaos but can be corrupted by it. In the End Times, Chaos managed to steal two of Nagash's champions (Kemmler and Walach), not to mention Nagash himself briefly considered bending the knee to the Chaos Gods after the destruction of the Black Pyramid. And Nagash himself is already an omnicidal sociopath, even without Chaos corruption; Malekith called Nagash an evil monster who needed to be destroyed, the daemon Bea'lakor considered Nagash his equal in evil and Teclis - while using divine vision from Lileath - noted that Nagash's aura was only slightly less black than the invading Khorne daemons. Nagash is so evil he's considered only slightly less evil than daemons, which are literal embodiments of evil. In Age of Sigmar, Archaon actually managed to work on Nagash's vaingloriousness to make him betray Sigmar (more jarring when it was revealed they fought together to save the Mortal Realms from ancient abominations), and the vampire Vhordrai tried to betray Nagash to the Chaos Gods.
Black Library seemed to share the idea, since a banner promoting the book "The Return of Nagash" names him as "The Greatest Villain in the Warhammer World". He also appears to have helped GW Squat the Tomb Kings. On a side note Nagash also enjoys the occasional orphanage being slaughtered as a snack, we wonder how is that Sigmar kept him in check during the entire Age of Myth, probably judicious application of Ghal Maraz to the skull (cue squeaky toyhammer sounds).
- It is possible, especially considering GW's love of basing things in both 40k and Fantasy on actual history and famous works, that Nagash could have been inspired by a variety of sources:
- Most obviously, Nagash is Warhammer's answer to Vecna, being an evil man who invented necromancy, used it to decimate a kingdom, lost a hand that became a powerful magical artefact and could operate independently and went on to become a god of death and unliving. Amusingly, on the roleplaying show Critical Role the end of their first campaign involves a battle with Vecna, who is represented by a conversion of Nagash's model.
- There is also a fictional shout-out to the works of Lovecraft, as his backstory resembles that of Nephren-Ka from Yog-Sothothery (he was a tyrannical Pharaoh who set up an unholy cult, built a giant evil structure, and was overthrown by his people because of his tyranny; all evidence of his reign was purged and he became immortal after the defeat).
- His name could be derived from Nahash, which is both one of the names used for the serpent in the Abrahamic faiths that tempted Adam and Eve and is also the name for a warlike king during Old Testament days.
- If you ever wondered about what would have happened if Nagash was a elf, check Mannimarco, the Worm King from the Elder Scrolls verse. Seriously, They are both badass, evil, awesome, FAKHIGNH OLD and both became gods of death through sheer evil.
- Interestingly, there could have been a chance to have a non-derpy old-school Nagash model the whole time. The true reason for this terrible model was internal strife within the company. Years ago, when GW cared somewhat about the customers more than their money, the sculptor wanted Nagash to have more of a desiccated corpse look, while a skeletal look was being demanded from his superiors. In an attempt to force them to accept a resculpt with a non-skeletal face, he made Nagash's skull as stupid-looking as he could (oh, how he succeeded). Unfortunately, they decided to go with that sculpt instead of demand he redo it.
Old school Nagash art. (MG)
|The Tomb Kings of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Settra the Imperishable - Queen Khalida - Nagash|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Gods of the Age of Sigmar|
|Alarielle - Gorkamorka - Grimnir - Grungni - Malerion - Nagash - Sigmar - Teclis - Tyrion|