Konrad Curze was the Primarch of the Night Lords Legion, sometimes known as
Dracula Batman the Night Haunter. A Psyker, Curze is well-known for the fact that he was plagued from the moment of his awakening by visions of the most horrific future imaginable, terrifying waking dreams that would follow him from cradle to grave. Whilst /tg/ has joked that he suffered the lamest death in history due to falling to a Callidus Assassin's blade, he remains a complete bad-ass compared to these faggots.
He's widely considered the Chaos-aligned counterpart of Corax. The two probably would've gotten along pretty well had they been in the same sector during the great crusade. His name is an oblique reference to Heart of Darkness.
The Night Haunter
Curze wound up on the eternally-dark world of
Nostromo Nostramo after the Primarchs were scattered by Chaos. Unlike most Primarchs, no one took Curze in, and he had to raise himself. It should also be noted that while the other Primarchs landed in style with awesome stasis pods like God descending from Heaven, Curze ended up punching through the Adamantium crust of Nostramo and embedded himself into the core. Where he decided it kinda sucked and dug himself out back where he wouldn't have to worry about temperature hot enough to fuck Vulcan up the ass as an infant. Nostramo was a lawless hell-hole, where crime was rampant and usually went unpunished, the rich openly exploited the poor, depression and the inability to escape one's social standing was rampant, and the population was largely kept down not through any fancy measures, but suicide. Curze was enraged by how this panned out and as he grew he decided to take manners into his own hands.
Stalking the eternally-dark streets as a sort of Space Marine Batman, Curze began hunting down heretics and those who had been responsible for turning Nostramo into the cesspit it had become. Leaders of the corrupt administration disappeared, only to be found later hung from Imperial administration buildings and
beaten into unrecognizable messes that couldn't be identified without DNA testing mutilated, though their faces were often untouched so people would instantly recognize the victim. Notorious criminals were found out in the streets, eviscerated or impaled and left to die on the spires of manufactorum rooftops. Blood of those who had committed crimes flowed in the streets, with body parts stopping up storm drains.
The really scary part? It worked. Within a year, Curze had killed so fucking many dicks that the crime-rate of Nostramo reached damned-near zero. Society went through massive upheaval and curfews were imposed to minimize the casualties from Space Marine Batman. Mothers began to threaten their kids that if they continued to misbehave, the Night Haunter would come for them - a story that came into common use on Nostramo, describing Curze, who stalked through the city, ready to disembowel any heretic or criminal foolish or bold enough to cross his path with anything on hand. His favored weapons of 'Lightning Claws' weren't used until he was found by the Emperor and united with his legion and armor and weapons were made for him.
Curze became convinced of his choices being the right ones when he saw that the people of this world started to have hope again - he had become the only thing on the entire planet that people truly feared (and hated). Seeing his moment, Curze appeared before the few remaining nobles that had survived his vigilantist purges - the only ones who basically weren't complete assholes, and gave them a choice: Obey or be killed.
Curze the Night Haunter was then made the ruler of Nostramo.
To the surprise of most, Curze proved to be a fairly capable ruler and surprisingly fair and temperate. He made strong attempts to educate himself on absolutely everything he could learn, and was noted for his moderacy in resolving disputes, worthy of a Reasonable Marine. This was, of course, until word of an injustice reached Curze's ears - at which point he would hunt down the transgressor himself, wearing them down, and killing them horribly. His unpredictable pattern of benevolence and wisdom followed by jaw-dropping levels of violence worthy of an Eversor ushered in a new level of efficiency and honesty on Nostramo, and the rest of the planet soon fell in line in an attempt to keep the Night Haunter from their doors.
The Great Crusade
Soon after Curze took over and began ruling the planet, the Emperor's Great Crusade reached Nostramo; the coming of the Emperor of Man was an event long prophesied in Nostramo's history - an event which would eventually usher in the apocalypse. The Emperor and his delegation (which consisted of Rogal Dorn, Ferrus Manus, Lorgar Aurelian, Fulgrim, and their respective Legiones Astartes) proceeded to the Palace on foot, his radiance blinding the adapted-to-darkness onlookers and mesmerizing those who did not look directly at him.
At the end of the road leading to his Palace, Curze stood, waiting for the delegation when he had one of his visions - this one so potent, and so horrifying, that he tried to claw his own eyes out to blind himself to what he had seen. He and the Emperor then had this badass exchange:
"Konrad Curze, be at peace, for I have arrived and intend to take you home."
"That is not my name, Father. I am Night Haunter, and I know full well what you intend for me."
Awesome. Curze began training under Fulgrim, who taught him of the Adeptus Astartes combat doctrines and began molding him to be a suitable leader for his role as the leader of the Eighth Space Marine Legion - the Night Lords. Though Curze and his legion excelled in many different hotzones throughout the Great Crusade, a disturbing tendency arose in short order: The Night Lords would never use anything other than total, decisive force to achieve their goals. The Night Lords quickly adapted Curze's combat and tactical ethos, becoming one of the most brutally effective if ruthless legions in the Imperium. The Night Lords decorated their armor with iconography designed to inspire terror in the enemy - a tactic that proved incredibly effective. Unsurprising considering how terrifying Space Marines are without it. Where they struck, the Night Lords left examples - grim reminders of the price for disobeying the Imperium. In time it became so that even the mere mention of the Night Lords' approach would cause a system to pay all outstanding tithes, cease all illegal activities, stop downloading torrents of Blossom, and put to death any mutants or heretics. In hindsight, though, we here on /tg/ can't really be all that surprised by their brutality when we remember it was Fulgrim who tutored the VIII Legion's primarch. How else would the Night Haunter interpret the Phoenician's excessive battlefield perfectionism than a need for excessive violence?
Problems arose, however, as the Great Crusade dragged on - reinforcements to replace the Night Lords that fell in battle were, as was the case of the other Legions, selected from the population of Curze's homeworld, Nostramo. Unfortunately in Curze's absence, the population collapsed into the same corruption, criminality, and despair that had ruled the roost before his arrival (which, given the strong Imperial presence on the world, especially since it was literally made out of ridiculously rare adamantium, makes no sense at all). The most ruthless of the criminals were the only ones healthy and strong enough - and these were the most common replacement recruits for the Night Lords. Insubordination to Curze's orders became more frequent and he began having to deal with his own measure of "fixing" things on the criminal scum that were inducted into his forces. Making matters worse, his visions continued to worsen, increasing in frequency and in their detail.
Finally it reached the point where Curze had no choice but to deal with the problem of his recruiting world turning into a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but Fulgrim, the only Primarch Curze had any real connection with, was largely unavailable, and the other Primarchs, Rogal Dorn, instead of listening to him and trying to help, bitched him out and said that it wasn't their problem. Curze responded by punching Dorn in the nuts and taking what forces remained loyal to him and returning to Nostramo. Curze tried to salvage things, but the Emperor's arrival had removed the one last barrier the people of Nostramo had between themselves and utter despair: ignorance.
Of course "Prince of Crows" heavy hinted, Curze didn't do anything other than kill people and incite fear, by killing people. No improving the infrastructure, or setting up a police force, or anything. And Curze refused to see this as a problem this could have only lasted so long, really the Emperor's arrival just sped things up. It wasn't the other Primarchs problem, it was Konrad's mess and his one trick wasn't working anymore.
The knowledge of other worlds beyond Nostramo inflicted a hopelessness that guaranteed that nothing on Nostramo could ever change (which makes no sense given both the fact that the Imperium had massively improved their lives and the fact that Nostramo had been trading its adamantium to several other human star systems long before the Imperium arrived,), leaving the world to fester in corruption and depravity like a metastasized tumor. This was made worse by the Imperial Governor appointed to rule Nostramo in Curze's absence, who's corruption-heavy regime more-or-less plunged the entire planet into the same shit that gave birth to the Night Haunter in the first place. Needless to say, Curze was absolutely pissed at his planet and his work going back to square one.
Imperial Pursuit craft, determined to stop Curze for abandoning the Great Crusade and checking on his homeworld, arrived just in time to see the lascannon batteries of Curze's fleet end the endless nightmare the planet's inhabitants had found themselves in - the only way he knew how, destroying the planet with sustained orbital fire.
Curze's actions caused him to be especially vulnerable to the whispers of Chaos. The campaigns of the Night Lords became harder and harder to justify - terror campaigns leaving a trail of devastated worlds across the breadth of the galaxy. Curze abandoned his devotion to the Emperor, instead fighting only to spread death and fear. Eventually it got so bad that the Emperor recalled the Night Lords and prepared to call Curze to task for the actions of he and his men.
Unfortunately, before Curze could be called in to answer for his crimes, the shit hit the fan over on Istvaan.
When Horus turned against the Emperor with Fulgrim, Curze was quick to throw his lot in behind the brothers he had actually been able to relate to as opposed to the fucking assholes. He even ended up saving Lorgar from Corvus Corax (although after seeing the Gal Vorbak, the very first squad of Possessed Marines, felt it was a mistake). The Night Lords remained impious, siding with none of the Chaos Gods and instead using them as mere tools to utilize in their terror campaigns. Almost entirely populated by criminals and murderers, the Night Lords led the Dark Angels and the Lion all over the eastern fringe. The insanity doesn't end there. In the middle of dicking with the Angels, he invites Lion El'Jonson to a dead planet (Future place of palace and his own death...) to deliver a message from Horus. (Which actually predicts the Dark Angels fate of everyone hating their guts for not being on Terra because Curze has lead them all over the eastern fringe HAR HAR HAR) The Lion, who's has zero tolerance for insults, proceeds to attack Curze.
They got there late to the party but still got shit done, inflicting considerable morale damage on the loyalists. The Emperor however, wishing to stop the Night Lords forevermore, dispatched an Officio Assassinorum operative from the Callidus Temple to kill him.
Curze had foreseen this, however - and he allowed it. He allowed her into his palace and the Callidus encountered no guards between herself and his throne room. Confronted with the Callidus Assassin M'Shen, it is believed that Curze proceeded to make jokes about how she had butt-sex with Macha before getting down to brass tacks and explaining why he'd allowed her in so easily:
"Your presence does not surprise me, Assassin. I have known of you ever since your craft entered the Eastern Fringes. Why did I not have you killed? Because your mission and the act you are about to commit proves the truth of all I have ever said or done. I merely punished those who had wronged, just as your false Emperor now seeks to punish me. Death is nothing compared to vindication."
Whilst it's never been confirmed who came out on top (or whether or not the Callidus and he engaged in hardcore ball-busting sex), it is believed by many that Curze allowed himself to be killed, having given explicit orders to the Night Lords to allow M'Shen to escape. Only one Night Lord, Apothecary Talos Valcoran of the 10th Company, pursued her out of vengeance (the Night Lords did eventually join in pursuit, but that was only after the senior Captains realized that M'Shen had looted Curze of all his bling, which they wanted for themselves). It is believed that Curze had come to see himself as a murderous and corrupt villain - the very thing he had sought out to destroy (or perhaps he wished to prove that his decision to destroy Nostramo and join Horus was justified, as the Emperor had become one more tyrant who had to be slain). Maybe he was the hero who lived long enough to become the villian (Space Marine Batman). We may never know the full story behind his actions, and his final words are considered one of the most bizarre enigmas in the Imperium's history.
Although knowledge of his gifts apparently were not widespread amongst the ranks of his brother Primarchs, Curze was capable of mild feats of psychic display. This was first evidenced by what he would come to call his "affliction" or "curse". Namely, that Konrad was often wracked by horrible visions, likened to waking nightmares, of how people would die. He was no exception; as stated above, the Night Haunter had foreseen his own death from the moment he awoke on Nostramo. These visions also occasionally extended to those he would lay eyes upon. This included his brother Primarchs, and explained his fondness for Fulgrim - the one person who Konrad had not seen suffer a terrible death upon first meeting him. In fact, Konrad's vision after laying eyes on Fulgrim was often described as hazy or lacking in some quality. What was apparent was that Fulgrim somehow found a way to cheat death. It was when he laid eyes on Ferrus Manus, immediately after, that he was shown Fulgrim would somehow be present at the site of Ferrus' demise. Despite this, he was the one primarch whom Konrad didn't foresee a misfortunate or ghastly future. It was this closeness that eventually led Konrad to confess to Fulgrim the nature of the visions he had received, as detailed in the popular duology of Black Library short stories The Dark King and The Lightning Tower
The Night Haunter also displayed a few other feats of psychic development, such as telekinetically destroying a series of lights to aid in his escape from a VII Legion detention chamber, and psychically conversing with Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion. Sevatar, a latent psyker, was exploring Konrad's psyche during the later's unconsciousness resulting from wounds inflicted by the Lion El'Jonson during the Thramas Crusade. Apparently the Night Haunter had a role in helping to suppress Sevatar's psychic potential, as revealed in the conversation between them - and that, because Sevatar was not trained in their use, those psychic abilities would be increasingly self-destructive.
As the Primarch of the VIII Legion, Konrad had an equerry throughout the Great Crusade named Sheng (who, sadly, could use more background). Sheng was tasked with keeping a record of the Night Haunter's pre-cognitive visions in a massive tome, and would often make note of which ones had been proven correct or false. Sheng was also more than aware of Sevatar's psychic ability, leaving some readers of the Black Library's Horus Heresy novels curious as to what role Sheng may have played in the Primarch's psychic development.
The Night Haunter, in his death, may have continued to leave a lasting impression upon the Imperium as inspiration for one of it's many institutions. Although his legion continues to sow fear and discord amongst the stars, Konrad Curze's legacy of weaponized fear lives on within the Imperium through the Emperor's Holy Ordos of the Inquisition. Like the inquisitors of the 41'st Millennium, Konrad brought loyal citizens into compliance through fear and threats of death/torture beyond imagining to those who weren't sure where their allegiances lay. Those who failed to comply were guaranteed either a swift death at the hands of his legion, or a slow death at the tender mercies of his legion's most depraved souls. Lastly, if those comparisons weren't enough, look at the fate of Nostramo - Konrad essentially carried out an act of Exterminatus. Just as Lorgar's teachings on the Emperor's divinity would later lay the foundation for the Imperial Creed of the Ecclesiarchy, the Night Haunter could effectively be treated as the first author of the Inquisition's playbook.
In the book Vulkan Lives,by Nick Kyme ,Vulkan becomes Konrad's prisoner. Unfortunately, Vulkan is immortal or some shit, so he keeps coming back from the dead. This pissed the shit out of Curze, who decided to torture him instead. He had to do all kinds of shit, including being forced to kill his own Salamanders, watch prisoners starve themselves, and fight Corax in a dream. In the end though, Curze couldn't bring Vulkan down to his level, causing massive amounts of rage. *SPOILER ALERT* Vulkan ended up in a maze, with his hammer at the end of it. Vulkan had a teleporter in his hammer, which he figured Curze didn't know about, which made him hopeful. He couldn't navigate the maze worth shit though, and he was pretty much fucked, but after a couple of days, he pissed off Curze, who then led him to the center so they could fight. Curze was all "fuck you, teleporters don't work here", to which Vulkan replied, "O rly bitch? I still have a hammer". Vulkan then proceeded to beat the shit out of Curze, but didn't kill him (Because that would be stooping to his level, apparently). When he was done, Vulkan said (essentially) "Fuck you Curze, teleporters do work here. I just wanted to beat the shit out of you". He then escaped, leaving Curze more emo, depressed, and filled with more RAGE than ever before. Not that this mattered because Curze subsequently went on to take out his considerable ire against the entire Dark Angels Legion, leading to an impressively murderous trip to Macragge where he roleplayed a combination of every slasher movie killer and went with whatever felt natural. And he would have killed the Lion AND Roboute if it hadn't been for the power of friendship. Seriously..
On the tabletop, Curze has the basic Primarch statline plus Shrouded and Stealth. He has several fear based abilities, such as granting fear to all Night Lord (those who already have impose a -1 on the leadership test), fear tests when in combat with him are taken at -3LD, and if he kills a unit in close combat any unit subject to fear within 12' and line of sight must take a leadership test or fall back. Sire of the Night Lords also grants him the Acute Senses and Night Vision USR (not likely to ever come in play as his Widowmakers are only 12" in range and he doesn't have outflank) and he may elect to have the first turn of any game have the Night Fighting rule. His weapons are 2 Lightning Claws called Mercy and Forgiveness which have AP 2, the murderous strike rule and grants +1 attack (Paired) and his armour, the Nightmare Mantle, provides 2+ armour save and 4+ invulnerable save (like most Primarch Armour), plus it grants him hit and run and hammer of wrath special rules (inflicting d3 HoW hits instead of the usual one).
Best of all, his ranged weapon proves definitely that Konrad Curze is Batman. He literally uses Batarangs during the shooting phase. His ranged attack is called a "Widowmaker Volley", which is essentially 3 bolt pistol profile shots with a special rule that makes 6s to wound ignore both armor AND invulnerable saves. You can't save against the God-Damned Bat Man. The best part is the actual description of the weapons in the Horus Heresy rulebook: "The Widowmakers. Based on the
shuriken throwing stars MICRO-SERRATED THROWING BLADES utilized for signature-kills by the League of Shadows CERTAIN NOSTRAMAN ASSASSIN-CULTS, Curze favored the use of these vicious, yet highly precise weapons over more conventional firearms in battle, using them for non-lethal takedowns TO DISABLE AND MAIM AS HE WILLED."
Multiple Personality Disorder?
Now, we all know the Black Library can range from the godly to the Goto. So this must be taken with a grain of salt. But Lords of the Night implies that Curze suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder, such that he and the Night Haunter were two different people, Konrad the just leader of men, and the Night Haunter the murderous vigilante. 'Blood Reaver' also implies it (a Night Lords sorcerer talking about how at one moment he was trying to teach his long-dead father some idealistic lesson, while at another he was only concerned about eating some slave's heart.) and shows it outright (when he has a bit of a manic episode and forgets that his First Captain died several years ago.) 'Blood Reaver' also suggests that the Emprah's DNA may not have entirely settled in Curze's body, explaining why he was so batshit crazy by the time of his death, not to mention the corpse like appearance he was sporting near the end.
The upshot of this is that only the Night Haunter fell to Chaos, while Curze remained clean. Which one got the other killed is unknown.
Christ that looks epic. Even if it's on graph paper.
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim - Horus
Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo