C'tan

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The infamous Nightbringer

That is not dead which can eternal lie; And with strange aeons even death may die. - H.P. Lovecraft

The C'tan (pronounced "Kit-tAhhhh n N n n n" not "kitten") are like the 40k's weaker and more diet-lite version of Galactus: ancient and powerful Star Gods capable of warping reality when they're recently full from a buffet of planets inhabited by life.

They were given physical bodies by the ancient Necrontyr. They are often called Star Vampires due to their feeding habits, as they are capable of 'nomming entire stars with ease, but soon they found living planets to taste better. Their vast power, however, is limited to the Materium; the Warp is anathema to them, as they cannot control or enter it, and being big babies decided if they can't play in Hyperspace-Hell nobody can which probably makes them good guys in a sense though. Before the concept was retconned, the C'tan tampered with humanity to inject the anti-psyker Pariah gene and probably built the Cadian Pylons that created the Cadian gate by forming a bubble of normality that cuts into the Eye of Terror. In 4th edition they were responsible for massive amounts of just as planned.

C'tan in a Tesseract. Your only way of surviving this is to run and order Exterminatus.

And now they are shards. Pokemon.

(They are reforming however.)

History

The first C'tan was found "succ ing" the energies of the Necrontyr planet's sun, the same sun that gave off enough hard radiation to make the short proto-Necrontyr life short, nasty, short, brutish, and short.

The Necrontyr formed a necrodermis body and coaxed the star-sucker to inhabit it. This C'tan was later named The Nightbringer. When the Nightbringer awoke in the new body, it noticed the Necrontyr for the first time and discovered they were like Chinese take-out: really yummy and spicy, more so than bland stars, but you could eat a few thousand and still feel hungry an hour later. It took a while and much slaughter before the Necrontyr could convince the Nightbringer that they were more useful in servitude, and there were other yummy lifeforces to be eaten instead out there.

Other C'tan gods were discovered feeding on stars, but the most significant of these was named The Deceiver (not that other Deceiver). Weaker than the others, The Deceiver is better at leveraging other entities to do what it wants. After inhabiting a necrodermis body, it adapted to the material world quickly and became very popular with the Necrontyr by means of cunning and guile - mind you, back then he was known simply as the Messenger. It was The Deceiver that convinced the Necrontyr they could escape their short lifespans and succeed in their battles against Old Ones by inhabiting necrodermis bodies themselves. The Deceiver neglected to mention that these new Necrons would be insensate, dull-witted and easily manipulated by the C'tan.

During the Necrons' war against the Old Ones, the C'tan also fought amongst themselves, destroying the necrodermis bodies they used to have an effect on the material world. After the Old Ones were rendered extinct, the Necrons turned on the few surviving, weakened C'tan, and tore them into a fuck-ton of shards which they then imprisoned in Tesseract Labyrinths. While those shards are like nine million times weaker than full-strength C'tan, they are still rape machines of death and destruction, and some Necron Overlords are arrogant enough to release them on their enemies like giant grimdark Pokemon. Still, some of the shards managed to escape and even merge to regain part of their godlike power, some can even have their own mindless Necron slaves to justify some of the old fluff. Of course, the final goal of each unchained shard is to free all other shards of his kind and merge with them to form a god of pure murder and rape, capable of tearing apart entire sectors single-handedly. Though the Necrons are ever vigilant and constantly hunting the escaped shards.

tl/dr: They were once an energy based race of star-vampires, were then turned into metal gods of death, and are now slave warriors and hunted runaways trying to regain their former glory. Oh, how the mighty fall...

Some have, for varying reasons, considered the C'tan to have been gratuitously shoehorned into the setting, and claim that with the 5th edition Necron Codex they were put in their place. Make of that what you will. Generally speaking the reason is more practical. Oldcron C'tan were suppose to rival the Chaos Gods yet they weren't all the hard to table, making them look weak, and GW isn't all that into removing stuff with models, so they just claim there are weakened enslaved avatars.

Transcendent C'Tan Shard

A Transcendent C'Tan Shard, introduced in Apocalypse, is a C'tan Shard that has eaten/merged with/subsumed a large number of other Shards (between twelve and several hundred), becoming scary powerful in the process. In fact, it's so powerful, it's an Apocalypse-only Gargantuan creature as powerful as a Titan a Monstrous Creature with a power equivalent to a 6th edition Wraithknight (he had that nerf coming), all in a package the size of a regular C'tan.

One of the most terrifying things is that a Transcendent Shard "calls" other shards of the same C'tan, hoping to absorb them and increase its own power in the process. Eventually, a loose Transcendent C'tan will reunite all loose Shards, becoming the original, nigh-on unkillable, godlike C'tan, which will no doubt be very angry at the Necrons for double-crossing them. Grimdark enough for you? No? Well, what if we told you there are ALREADY C'tan Shards on the loose? Some of them can even think for themselves. Remember the Nightbringer of Pavonis or the "golden-skinned" being who guided Abaddon to Drach'Nyen? Or maybe a Dragon sleeping on Mars?

Very few Necron dynasties have one, because it's very hard to keep something that powerful in check. It requires a massive Tesseract Vault to keep it barely contained. Despite this, there have been reports of particularly powerful/desperate/fucking stupid dynasties using the Transcendent shards without a Vault when the need arises, but only if said Shard is not yet powerful enough (which is why they are "only" MC compared to the Vault, that is a Super-heavy Flyer vehicle with upgraded C'Tan powers). In this state, the risk of the Shard going rogue increases a thousandfold, so even Assholetep thinks twice about releasing such power, because if the Transcendent Shard escapes and reunites with the other Shards of itself, the full-fledged C'tan will return. Let's leave to the reader's imagination what would happen then... After all, the Silent King had to basically sucker-punch the C'tan with a reality breaking superweapon, while they were tired and distracted, to shatter them in the first place. Even if the Necrons still had that weapon, it probably wouldn't work again.

Known C'tan

Aza'Gorod, The Nightbringer

These Space Marines are already dead, they just don't know it yet.

Here to fuck your shit up. The first C'tan revealed to inhabit realspace. Scared the crap out of a race/culture that was a threat to the race/culture that created all the other races in WH40K. Likes killing, killing and, well, killing. In short: batshit insane though in a different way than the Outsider. Ate most of the other C'tan along with the Outsider, though he was convinced into doing so by the Deceiver while the Outsider was convinced by Cegorach, and is therefore known among his brethren as a team killing fucktard. Pretty much a giant, mechanical, space Grim Reaper that shoots lightning. He once battled the Eldar war god Khaela Mensha Khaine and lost (though he managed to give Khaine a black eye on the way out), after which he was imprisoned for millennia.

He was freed by Uriel Ventris and the Ultramarines 4th Company. And yes, that does mean the Ultrasmurfs have fucked over the entire galaxy on a scale not seen since the Eldar sexed Slaanesh into existence, but lets not get into that. The (Intelligent) Necrons under his authority tend to be the "silent, kill-every-living-thing" type with all the subtlety of an Angry Marine. In fact, they hate life so much that even bacteria and archaea are purged from any active Tomb World they inhabit.

(On a sidenote, the edit squabbles between the Necron-affiliated neckbeards and the Chaos-affiliated neckbeards over what basically amounted to a "who would win in a fight?" discussion about him and Khorne was hilarious for the unaffiliated to watch.)

Mephet'ran, The Deceiver

Mind-rapist extraordinaire.

Mass dickery on a galactic scale that only Tzeentch could rival. Got the bright idea of convincing the Necrontyr to turn themselves into the zombie-mummy-skeleton-robots known as Tomb Kings Necrons. Rumored to have implanted the Pariah Gene into humans to help combat the forces of the Warp. Spends his days taking part in "Just as planned" contests with Tzeentch, The Emprah, Cegorach the Laughing God, and maybe/probably Alpharius, which no one really wins in the end as everything they do results in a paradox. The Eldar refer to the Deceiver as "The Jackal God", because they apparently had jackals in outer space millions of years ago, and just happened to identify them with the exact same trickster label we did (Or maybe it's a "meaning" translation); The Necrontyr, however, called him Mephet'Ran, or "the messenger", making him the Necrontyr equivalent of Hermes or Thoth (or Nyarlathotep if we want to go Lovecraft) hence his golden six-pack. The (Intelligent) Necrons under his command tend to be sneaky and manipulative bastards with many of the Necron Lords under his command occupying many important positions in the Imperium of man and are the type of Necrons most likely to stop and chat with you, the second most common type. One of them infiltrated the Inquisition and set himself up as Inquisitor Raleigh of the Ordos Xenos in Xenology as part of a plot to learn humanity's greatest weakness, which turned out to be knowledge since humans are insatiably curious fucks which isn't actually that far from the truth. The Deceiver may have given Failbaddon his beloved daemon sword Drach'nyen in an almost Tzeentchian scheme to reduce Abby's WS to 1 . This would, as stated above, make Abaddon too powerful to be killed and replaced as Warmaster, and therefore ensure that only Abaddon (and his massive degrees of incompetence not really, see the Black Legion supplement) would ever be at the head of the Traitor Legions. In the old fluff, it is confirmed that the Deceiver DID give the armless Despoiler two Blackstone Fortresses. These are gigantic Eldar spaceships that can destroy stars and can kill a C'tan because it is essentially a massive Distort weapon floating in space, and as the C'Tan cannot exist within or interact with the warp, a Distort weapon will kill them instantly as anything caught in its radius is torn between the warp and realspace, potentially even sucking them in entirely. This more than anything is what has probably kept Abaddon in power. The Deceiver would also much rather they were owned by people that didn't know what they truly are rather than the Eldar or anyone affiliated with them who could reactivate and utilize the Distort weapon.

Little known fact is that The Man With No Name was the Deceiver. Seriously.

Also seeing how he gave the Silent King full control of both his mind and total control of the Necron Forces, it implies he knew the Silent King was going to turn on the C'tan, and seeing how most free Shards seem to be the Deceiver it would imply he's running around trolling others all over the place, like SG-1's Baal with all his clones.

Mag'ladroth, The Void Dragon

Nobody actually knows how it looks like, except the Emperor himself and the Guardians of the Dragon.

The Void Dragon can exert control over any machine, making him the most influential C'tan when at full power. It has been theorized that the Emperor battled the Void Dragon and successfully managed to put it to sleep under Mars. He didn't kill the Dragon, instead using its influence to give humanity mastery over machines. Extended from this theory, it is believed by some that the Omnissiah fervently worshiped by the Adeptus Mechanicus is actually the Void Dragon, as he's supposedly the entity that causes the ramshackle excuse for technology the Imperium has to work properly. There's also an Eldar legend of their forge god Vaul failing to destroy the Dragon, only managing to force its hibernation in the so-called "Vaul Moon," although that could, in fact, be Mars itself. In case you're wondering how powerful he is, note that he was once shot at by multiple Blackstone Fortresses simultaneously (keeping in mind that even a single Blackstone Fortress can destroy a planet Death Star-style); all this managed to do was make him sleepy. Vaul, meanwhile, allegedly attacked the Dragon with an army at his back and was never heard from again. This is probably the only reason the Emperor was able to defeat the Dragon; it was just tired from his previous scuffle. In short, powerful as FUCK. The Necrons under his command are probably massive technophiles with a raging hard-on for machines... then again, they're already machines, so that would be expected, but they're probably even bigger technophiles than their fellows and emphasize their mechanicalness over their undeadness. Could be argued that he's the only C'tan who's whole, given that he was shot by the Blackstone Fortresses and went to have a little sleepy, meaning he could avoided the Silent King's master ball.

If the Void Dragon were to ever wake up, its possible that the tenuous grip on technology the Mechanicum still had could be lost entirely. Those of the Mechanicum would be affected the worst- in an old 3rd Ed Necron codex tale, one such techpriest who discovered the truth of the Dragon tore every last implant from his body in a fearful insanity. Their incredibly strange relationship with technology sees them both venerating it, entrusting themselves to it blindly while also understanding little of it, shunning technology like that of AI in the wake of the Men of Iron. Wholly dependent and wholly ignorant of their tech, the Imperium's biggest threat lurks right under their noses- under their very skin, in some literal cases. In short, any human society that isn't still wearing loincloths and banging rocks together is going to have a really bad day. The Necrons themselves seem to be aware of this too. On one occasion, a Necron force took the World Engine for a joyride and divebombed Mars. It wasn't exactly successful (meaning it was completly destoryed by the Solar Garrison), but they got robo-boots on the ground, and the fact that they were able to do it at all shook up things up for the High Lords. The question is why exactly they did this, given the old and new fluff for the 'Crons gives them dramatically different relationships with the C'Tan. In the case of the latter, it might arguably be even worse for the Necrons then the Imperium. Necron suicide cult anyone?

May or may not be related to T'Otheron, Dragon King of Mars from Girl Genius.

Or, just read "The Horus Heresy: Mechanicum". Because, yeah...

Tsara'noga, The Outsider

Ate at the same C'tan-cannibalism salad bar as the Nightbringer but did so due to the dickery of Cegorach the Laughing God instead of the dickery of the Deceiver, but feels bad about it; blames Eldar gods for his bad eating habits. Decided to say "screw you guys, I'm taking my ball and leaving," and currently lives in a Dyson (vacumn cleaner) Sphere outside the galaxy. A hive fleet of Tyranids decided to go AROUND this place, not just ignore it like Tyranids do with Necron tomb-worlds. Were the Tyranids scared? Dunno, it's safer to lick a bandsaw than stop to ask a Tyranid. Other beings prefer to blow their own brains out rather then look at the Outsider when he's in town. Grimdark. The (intelligent) Necrons under his command are probably batshit insane. Also to note, it is theorized HE IS THE HIVEMIND of the Tyranids, needless to say, if this is true the galaxy is screwed (But not the Blood Angels. They're good friends with the Necrons.

You do not mess with The Outsider. Given that he went off to sulk about being a greedy little cannibal the Outsider might be fine and dandy and not in the Silent Kings battle box in case he ever has to face a Charizard

Nyadra'zatha, The Burning One

Gee, I bet you can't guess what his shtick is. Hint: it involves Webway gates. Wait, what? Yeah, apparently the Burning One was the C'tan that told the Necrons how to break into the Dolmen Gates and troll the Old Ones on their own turf. He was implemented to give more background to the "Lord of Fire" ability, but many neckbeards believe that Games Workshop added him specifically to make us argue about whether or not he's Khaine. Whether or not this is true, you should absolutely use an Avatar of Khaine to represent a C'tan Shard with Lord of Fire and laugh when your opponent's Fire Dragon Exarch's meltagun blows up in his face.

  • Oh, and in case you didn't get it: he's a pyromaniac asshole. The only reason he wanted to go into the Webway was to burn the fuck out of it.

Recently had his own rules in both Champions of Fenris and Shield of Baal: Exterminatus. All his attacks have Soul Blaze and has a special power of S5 AP4 assault 2D6 ignores cover soul blaze and the special rule Wall of Fire which means all the attacks auto-hit including flyers and models blocked by line of sight.

These were for special missions however and not a special character that any army could take. Instead there is a formation in Exterminatus to represent the Burning One, which is squad consisting of a single shard and two Crypteks, where the whole unit uses the Toughness of the Shard and it also gets Feel No Pain. Despite its name, the formation could easily apply to any other C'Tan as well.

Iash'uddra, The Endless Swarm

Nothing is known about this guy but his name. Contrary to some fa/tg/uys belief, he is not a reference to Tau Quest, but rather to the old fan theory in which the Tyranids were led by a C'tan. Again, GW is actively trying to make us argue and fanwank, the trollan fucks.

Of course if you don't want to subscribe to GW's fuckery it could be where the Scarabs come from, since they are, arguably, a huge swarm of mechanical undead bugs.

Llandu'gor, The Flayer

Llandu'Gor is responsible for the Flayed Ones. The Necrons sharded him so hard he completely died, but he managed to infect thousands of Necrons with his hunger as a final dick move, turning them into warped ghouls with a gore fetish and teleportation powers. Which basically means that he has millions of Necrons under his influence, and that this number is continuously growing, because the Flayer Curse is contagious.

The exact wording of the curse is as follows:

"To those who have turned their faces away. To those who are faithless and wretched in their jealousies. To those who have denied us. To those who have denied me. I will wreak vengeance. I will wrench your souls and break your bones. I will cast hunger through your accursed existence. Down the eons, you will not forget. I will grant you this gift from love turned aside and make you like me, break you in my image as you have broken me. I shall cast the fear of myself into you and all of your kind. I am Llandu’gor. I am the hunger. I am the flayer, and from this moment, you shall be too."

Apparently named after a Welsh village.

Yggra’nya, The Worldmaker

Yggra’nya was the C'tan responsible for the creation of the World Engine, known as Borsis to the Necrons. After getting sharded and imprisoned on Borsis, let's just say he wasn't all that fond of the folks who took over the place in his absence. So when the Astral Knights came down for their suicide attack on the planet, he convinced them to free him and promptly proceeded to fuck up the ruling Overlord and every power generator on the planet, opening up the World Engine for bombardment from the Imperial Fleet.

After that he hightailed it out of there and probably went off into another galaxy to fuck around with like he said he would. Or not, considering he seemed to have Deceiver levels of dickery.

Gallery

If someone actually fields these miniatures on the table, you're getting screwed. Unless you manage to bring up an equivalent (or play Dark Eldar, in which case it falls to two Venoms), in which case, get some Meatbread and enjoy yourself!

Forces of the Necrons
Command: Cryptek - Destroyer Lord - Necron Lord - Necron Overlord - Phaeron
Troops: C'tan Shards - Deathmarks - Destroyers - Flayed Ones
Heavy Destroyers - Immortals - Lychguards
Triarch Praetorians - Warriors
Constructs: Canoptek Spyder - Canoptek Wraith - Crypt Stalker
Scarab - Tomb Sentinel - Tomb Stalker
Vehicles: Annihilation Barge - Catacomb Command Barge - Doomsday Ark
Ghost Ark - Monolith - Sentry Pylon - Triarch Stalker - Tesseract Ark
Tomb Blades
Flyers: Canoptek Acanthrite - Doom Scythe - Night Scythe - Night Shroud
Super-Heavy
Vehicles:
Abattoir - Æonic Orb - Doomsday Monolith - Megalith
Necron Pylon - Obelisk - Tesseract Vault