"The horror, The horror..."
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."
- – Friedrich Nietzsche
"Know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me: I cut off his hands. He offends me: I cut out his tongue. He rises against me: I cut off his head, stick it on a pike. Raise it high up so all in the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear."
- – Bill the Butcher, Gangs of New York
Konrad Curze was the Primarch of the Night Lords Legion (his @ was Night Haunter). A Psyker (albeit a latent one), Curze was also 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 (hence the "was" earlier). This was only because he let her kill him, for what he had done, and what he became. He is probably the most badass primarch in terms of getting shit done, especially compared to these buffoons.
Equal parts upstanding vigilante and psychosis-wracked terrorist, Curze's schtick was obedience through fear. To wit, if you're sat behind locked doors shitting yourself in terror for the majority of your existence, you're probably going to struggle to lead a life of crime. And if that logic doesn't make you reconsider your wayward ways, perhaps being skinned alive, then disembowelled and finally crucified will be the wake up call you need. Either way, Curze cut a somewhat tragic figure; he foresaw the events of the heresy only to be stitched up and censured by his arsehole brothers, possibly due to the fact he made for a nightmarish poker opponent. Of course, having a personality and approach that can be accurately summarized as "some unholy Batman-Punisher-Vlad the Impaler-Predator-Santa-Cassandra hybrid" didn't win him many fans amongst his brothers, either.
His name is an oblique reference to Heart of Darkness.
Curze wound up on the eternally-dark world of Nostramo after the Primarchs were scattered by Chaos. From the moment he landed Curze got fucked over as, unlike the usual stasis-pod-descending-from-a-beam-of-light type landing his brothers made, Konrad punched through the crust of the planet (the entire planet was made of adamantium, though...) and had to crawl his ass out from the core, all while being a TODDLER. Even after somehow surviving making an asteroid level impact, Curze's life somehow got worse as, again, unlike his brothers, he wound up with no one to take care of him. Konrad was forced to raise himself on this lawless hell-hole, where violence and cruelty was rampant (although there was no crime, of course, there not being any laws to break) and usually went unpunished, the rich openly exploited the poor, and depression and the inability to escape one's social standing were also rampant, leading to the population being largely kept down not through any fancy measures, but instead by suicide. As he grew older, Curze became more and more enraged by how this panned out, and eventually decided to take matters 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 administration buildings and horribly mutilated, though their faces were often untouched so people would instantly recognize the victim. Notorious "criminals" (as defined by Konrad) were found out in the streets, eviscerated or impaled and left to die on the spires of manufactorum rooftops. The blood of those who had committed "crimes" flowed in the streets, with body parts stopping up storm drains.
But apparently Konrad still saw possible Noblebright futures of victims if he showed mercy. But he *knew* what his order demanded and killed them anyway. And apparently even saw suicide as a crime, and would show up to the person's apartment before hand. Not to talk them out of it. Just to make it painful and an example for others not to do it as well. What the fuck.
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 a massive upheaval and curfews were imposed to minimize the casualties from Space Marine Batman. Note that this was due to the fact that Nostramo was just that bad. Mothers began to threaten their kids that if they continued to misbehave, the Night Haunter would come for them.
Curze became convinced of his choices being the right and just 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). Seizing the 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 his rule, or die. One or two protested that he had imposed an order based on fear, but it made no difference. Curze, the Night Haunter, was made the ruler of Nostramo.
To the surprise of most, Curze proved to be a fairly capable ruler, surprisingly just and temperate. He made strong attempts to educate himself on absolutely everything he could learn, and was noted for his skills as an adjudicator, 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 contrasted by jaw-dropping levels of violence beyond that of an Eversor ushered in a new era of efficiency and honesty across Nostramo on a planetary scale, mainly as an act of capitulation in order to keep the Night Haunter from their doors. Needless to say, this peace did not come with a contentedness like some of his brothers achieved. Had he ever learned how to delegate to minions made up of the local populace, he might have been more effective, but alas. Or if he had followed the visions of noblebright if shown mercy he had of some of his victims.
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 bring about 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. He saw the fate of each of his brothers and his own death; he saw blood spurting from his own neck and no matter what he did he couldn't stop it. He would have succeeded in clawing his own eyes out if the Emperor hadn't stopped him. 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 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. Later it was revealed that during his training under Fulgrim, Curze had had one of his visions, this one about the Horus Heresy. While he told Fulgrim this in confidence, he would later learn that one flaw Fulgrim had (beside dressing like a peacock) was that Fulgrim didn't know the meaning of the word confidential or that the notion of what was told to him was done so in sacred trust between himself and his favored brother. Well, the joke seemed to be on Curze, as no sooner had he told Fulgrim about the vision than Fulgrim had run over to Rogal Dorn and told him everything. Rogal Dorn comforted Curze and he got better.
Though Curze and his legion excelled in many different hot-zones 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. Or maybe "force" is the wrong word; they didn't battle so much as terrify their enemies into submission. The Night Lords quickly adapted to Curze's combat and tactical ethos, becoming one of the most brutally effective, if not ruthless, legions in the Imperium. In one notorious example, one Night Lord recalls dealing with a non compliant planetary governor; Curze murdered the man and then broadcast the screams of the man’s daughter across an entire city for 3 HOURS to frighten the remaining rebels into submission. 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. Nostramo had no police force due to Curze insisting on being all of law enforcement by himself, which has all of the obvious problems. 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. Despite all the Space Marines indoctrination, ruthless psychopaths tend to make for poor soldiers. Insubordination to Curze's orders became more frequent and he began having to deal with his own measure of "fixing" things with the criminal scum that were inducted into his forces. Making matters worse, his visions continued to increase in both frequency and graphic severity.
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, instead of listening to him and trying to help, bitched him out and said that it wasn't their problem.
The straw that would finally break the camel's back was during a joint operation between The Night Lords and the Imperial Fists.
Rogal Dorn had confronted Curze where he was overseeing the process of a long line of prisoners of war who were to be executed as a punitive action, where Dorn had taken issue with Curze's way of doing things, saying that peace through fear was not what the Emperor of mankind had intended. Konrad Curze decided to prove his point to Dorn; that without the fear of consequences people wouldn't stay loyal. To illustrate this, Curze gave one of the prisoners a gun and then ordered his men not to kill him, no matter what might happen. Curze pointed the gun in the prisoner's hand right under his chin, saying "Go ahead, kill me." The prisoner refused, to which Curze stated his Astartes would not kill him. The prisoner, now confident that the Night Lords wouldn't shoot him and when Curze turned his back to him, immediately raised the gun, but Curze killed him before the prisoner could fire at him. Using intimidation and the predictable reaction to it, Curze "proved" his point: once the fear of consequence has been removed, people will feel no loyalty. Of course, he actually completely failed to do this, as he did not choose a loyal test subject to begin with, but Curze had never been one to understand the difference between a friend and an enemy.
Now, if Rogal Dorn had been better with people, he would just have left well enough alone, or perhaps sensibly told Curze that while fear was capable of enforcing obedience it could never create loyalty; and that his inability to differentiate the two was what was causing his problems. But as established before, the Emperor hadn't exactly designed the Primarchs with brains in mind. So in an effort to win the argument, Rogal revealed what Fulgrim had said to him about Curze's vision. (In all fairness, Dorn didn't know Fulgrim had broken his word by revealing him this. Still could have handled it better, though...) Angry at the betrayal of trust while in the grip of one of his visions, Curze attacked Dorn with his lightning claws, mauling him so badly that if he hadn't been a Primarch he would have died from his wounds.
As it was, Curze was just put on house arrest/grounded until the matter of an unsanctioned attack (read two missing primarchs) by one Primarch on another could be resolved. Curze, however, after reading a special batch of Nostraman tarot cards, said "Screw you guys, we're going home". After killing the Imperial Fists and Emperor's Children who were guarding him grimdark Batman-style, he and the Night Lords set course towards Nostramo. Curze tried to salvage things while on his homeworld, but the Emperor's arrival had removed the one last barrier the people of Nostramo had between themselves and utter despair: ignorance.
Of course, as the "Prince of Crows" heavily hints at, Curze didn't do anything other than horrifically kill people and incite fear by doing so. No improving the infrastructure, setting up a police force, or anything. And Curze refused to see this as a problem. This could only have lasted so long. In all actuality, 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 many in the Imperium had massively improved their lives and that Nostramo had been trading its adamantium to several other human star systems long before the Imperium arrived (though "Prince of Crows" shows that this was because Curze made it so to ensure that there was nothing to do on Nostramo besides "behave and slowly die in an adamantium foundry" or "become a criminal and die either slowly or quickly (depending on Curze's mood)"), 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, whose corruption-heavy regime more-or-less plunged the entire planet into the same shit that had given 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 lance batteries of Curze's fleet put an end to the nightmare that the planet's inhabitants had found themselves in - the only way he knew how: remorseless mass murder. Curze destroyed the planet with sustained orbital fire to the fissures his own arrival created.
According to Curze's recollection/opinion exterminating Nostramo was to test the Night Lords themselves. Had they stopped Curze it would have proven that at least some of them were worth something in Curze's goal: to use fear to create a true order. But even Sevatar (whom Curze favored) simply followed orders. Ironically Curze's other equerry (who Curze thought was an ass kiss,) begged Sevatar to talk Konrad out of it. There were some Night Lords who did refuse to aid in Nostramo's destruction, but they got put down pretty quickly.
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 his actions and that of his legion.
This was 20 years before the Horus Heresy mind you, and it is very likely that the Imperium thought he had gone rogue at that point, or at the very least, completely unhinged for blowing up his homeworld, especially since they had been recalled to account for their terror campaigns and war crimes. So it's a bit bizarre that the loyalists thought it was a good thing that the Night Lords showed up to support them at Isstvan and didn't see a double-cross coming. Probably didn't mind because the Night Lords have A talent for Murder.
When Horus turned against the Emperor with Fulgrim, Curze was quick to throw in his lot behind the brothers he had actually been able to relate to as opposed to the fucking asshole. He even ended up saving Lorgar from Corvus Corax (although after seeing the Gal Vorbak, the very first squad of Possessed Marines, he felt it was a mistake). Said intervention also shook Corax himself to his very soul, as he saw in Konrad the very thing he might have become, had he fallen to Chaos and possibly adopted a different view on disemboweling innocent civilians.
The Night Lords remained impious, siding with none of the Chaos Gods and instead using them as mere tools 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 invited Lion El'Jonson to a dead planet (future place of his new palace and his own death...) to deliver a message from Horus, which actually predicted the Dark Angels' fate of everyone hating their guts for not being on Terra because Curze had lead them all over the Eastern Fringe (HAR HAR HAR).
The Lion, who has zero tolerance for insults, proceeded to attack Curze and got a fantastic one-shot off on him, though that was all he'd get and the two descended into a brawl which had to be ended with the brothers getting pulled off of each other and dragged back to their respective fleets.
The Dark Angels would eventually get the upper hand, presumably because Curze was partly pre-occupied by his "guest" (see below) and because the Lion would start using a powerful and sentient warp engine that allowed him to out maneuver the Night Lords and capture Curze temporarily, essentially breaking the back of the Night Lords Legion. Strangely enough, the most (or second most) brilliant strategist of the entire universe couldnt crack a thing or two when dealing with this one-trick
pony batman psychopath, but had to rely on plot-device to bend his brother over (although the Thramas campaign was going to obviously end one way or the other and with the shit the DA can pull, not to mention their numbers probably meant that Lion could've fucked Curze up the ass without the warp engine). Anyway, with Curze out of the picture Sevatar took over the Legion. Read that as murderfucked most of the leading captains and told the fleet to disperse and do whatever it was they wanted.
Vulkan became Konrad's prisoner after Isstvan V. Unfortunately, Vulkan is immortal or some shit, so he kept coming back from the dead. This pissed the shit out of Curze, who decided to torture him instead (well actually his failure to kill Vulkan for good increasingly "frustrated" him so he started to get "creative"). Vulkan 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.
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
Vulkan ended up in a maze built by Perturabo, 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, "It's also 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, I'M VULKAN! So MY teleporters 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 role-played a combination of every slasher movie killer and went with whatever felt natural; his ire got worse, however, when he went after big Bobby G's mother. He tried his usual shtick of freaking her out with how much of a creepy bastard he was. It worked for five seconds before she told him to piss off and die. He would have killed the Lion AND Roboute with a powerful explosion (he had set the chapel of Hera to explode with them in it) if it hadn't been for the power of friendship. Seriously...friendship truly is magi-*BLAM*.
After having a running battle with Vulkan through the streets of Macragge in which he ended up killing Vulkan several times, taking a morbid delight in seeing how long it would take for him to revive after every kill, he ended up being jumped by a bottled demon and briefly being dragged into the warp. Curze managed to kill (as in completely, not just banishing) the demon, and was dumped back onto Macragge. He had yet to reappear but had the entire planet on curfew while he was still (theoretically) around.
After spending some time terrifying the locals, he eventually snuck into Sanguinius’s throne room. After talking for a while about how “It’s all daddy’s fault”, Curze and Sanguinius ended up fighting each other. Despite Curze outmatching Sanguinius - as he was fully armed and armoured, and Sanguinius was not - he was also fully aware that he could not kill Sanguinius (even if he wanted to) due to the fact his destiny was to be eventually killed at Horus’s hands. Both Primarchs had visions of what could happen during the fight and were evenly matched due to their precognition (ie, this fight had more slow motion action visions than a Zhang Yimou film). They eventually separated and Curze gave Sanguinius the chance to kill him, but Sanguinius stopped the blow in mid-air out of pity. Curze then proceeded to mutilate Azkaellon before blowing up a whole lot of Sanguinary Guard, threw what remained of Azkaellon off a cliff, and disappeared.
Despite having the resources of almost 3 full legions, the rulers of Imperium Secundus had great difficulty tracking Curze down. When it was revealed that Curze had never ever even left Macragge once in the years since his arrival, the Lion put the planet under almost total martial law and brought in his official Overkill brigade to deal with him. Curze had been fomenting rebellion amongst the Illyrians, a part of Macragge that had never really accepted the civilisation of Konor and Guilliman. After the Dark Angels massacred an entire nation in response, Curze laid his final endgame in a mountain fortress. The Lion, in response, broke his word to Guilliman, and contrived a devastating (and forbidden) orbital bombardment using droppods and assault rams converted into barrage bombs and torpedoes. When the smoke cleared, the Lion went solo hunting again, walking into the trap Curze had set for him. Unfortunately, for a precog, Curze hadn't anticipated that the Lion had already cleared all the traps set for him and he was captured after a duel (the Lion cheated by calling in Fire Raptors to prevent Curze from escaping). The Lion is considered to be the most brilliant tactician of the Primarchs for a reason.
Despite being finally caught, Curze had both the penultimate and last laugh. He managed to do what the Word Bearers, World Eaters, and Night Lords legion had not managed to do with soldiers and fleets, and broke the Imperium Secundus. His official court trial had barely started when he told Guilliman that that the Lion had broken his word by staging an ersatz orbital bombardment. Guilliman, having finally lost his patience with the Lion, snapped the Lion's sword in two and Sanguinius told him and his legion to GTFO of Imperium Secundus (because sending a legion into what he thinks is certain death by Warpstorm for the crime of shooting the bad guy and not even hurting anything but the damn fortress is a brilliant decision). However, just as the Lion was about to leave the system, he remembered Curze's words of prophecy, that his back, the Lion's sword, and word would be broken (as well as Curze's proclamation that he would be killed by an assassin sent by the Emperor). The Lion teleported back to Macragge, just as Curze was about to be executed and explained the situation. Guilliman had a mini breakdown over everything he had done on the premise the greater Imperium had fallen and Curze laughed himself into an aneurysm at the whole situation.
He would remain in custody throughout the journey back to Terra, initially kept under lock and key by the Dark Angels, but was later "broken free" by Sanguinius, who dragged him down to Davin so that they could possibly change their destinies together. This frightened the absolute crap out of Curze, not least because of the potential fact that if Sanguinius could change his destiny to die by Horus' hands, then that would mean that Curze could avoid his own assassination later on, which in turn would make all of his life meaningless because he was such an evil bastard based on his absolute certainty of how events would unfold.
However, this would not be, as Sanguinius realised that to make the change in his fate, he would need to become something worse than even Horus, so he allowed fate to continue on course. What's worse is that although Sanguinius accepted his own fate, he threatened Curze with the possibility that the Emperor could even forgive him for all of his crimes, pushing Curze into silent horror at the thought that his universe was not what he thought it was. But in a cruel twist, Sanguinius decided to leave his brother to his destiny, while also pointing out that while he could pin down the actual time and location of his death to the bridge of the Vengeful Spirit at the Siege of Terra; Curze's assassination might not actually occur for millennia, and thus he promptly jettisoned his brother's stasis coffin into space.
These interactions firmly establish Sanguinius as a foil to ol' Konrad, in the sense that both were cursed from birth with precognitive abilities that would shape their personalities and ultimately their fates. Sanguinius believed it possible to avert and alter the path of his future, but accepted it instead upon realizing that doing so would entail becoming something even worse in the progress; Konrad actively rejected even the possibility of doing so, as he considered his fate to be set in stone, to the point he'd lived his whole life based on that notion. And as he had just discovered, Sanguinius was also a scary motherfucker in his own way.
"You think it's over just because I am dead, but the games have just begun."
- – Jigsaw
After being jettisoned into space, Curze's stasis coffin was picked up by a freighter. The future victims were eager to sell his coffin for a big payday instead of being smart and chucking it into a sun, so naturally Konrad escaped. When Curze got out Horus was long dead and took a moment to ask a crew member the date. Guess what Curze did to the crew. Please, fucking guess.
After the battle was lost, they fled back to Tsagualsa with what was left of the Legion. The Emperor, however, wishing to stop the Night Lords forevermore, dispatched an Officio Assassinorum operative from the Callidus Temple to kill him.
Curze spent his last hours crafting a statue of Big E to whine about how daddy never loved him, and how his ways were necessary. By the way the statue was made of human flesh.
When his confession was done, he burned the corpse-statue of the Corpse-Emperor and walked in his corpse-fortress and put on his armor, told his Legion to fuck off his damn corpse-lawn, and sat down to wait for his corpse-mama to come.
Curze had foreseen everything, or had chosen a fate believing the future was set, just as Sanguinius had. With his final prediction coming true, Curze waited for his just punishment.
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 (no connection to Martin Sheen, none at all) 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 a heroic Space Marine Batman who lived long enough to become the villain.
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. Konrad claims to have seen a good and bad future at times, but always chose the grimdark future.
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 latter'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. Why he simply did not start training him will probably forever remain a mystery. He must have been the legion's only psyker or there is no rationale explaining why Sevatar was not just passed over to the Night Lord's Librarius for training his abilities. (The Night Lords Trilogy explains this by an incompatibility between the gene-seed and the host, the visions being a 'side-effect' of that struggle as it grows worse over time.)
As the Primarch of the VIII Legion, Konrad had a servant throughout the Great Crusade named Ekra Trez (who bore the title of "Sin-Eater"). Trez 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. Trez 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 Trez may have played in the Primarch's psychic development - if any.
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 41st 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. Not that they wouldn't BLAM you for heresy if you said that to their faces though.
Within the Night Lords, Curze and the Night Haunter each left their own legacy, which caused no small amount of schism. Officially, Curze appointed Zso Sahaal as his successor and Talonmaster, because Sahaal understood that a true warrior is more than just a murder machine. A true warrior has focus. As you can probably predict, every other Night Lord captain decided that they were more deserving of being Curze's successor and tried to get Sahaal dethroned for being "weak" or whatever. Their logic was that Curze wasn't in charge, the Night Haunter was, and the Night Haunter was supposed to choose the true successor. After Sahaal became lost in the Warp, captain Krieg Acerbus "the Axemaster" slowly but surely took over huge swathes of the Night Lords and led them to become Chaos Undivided followers. Ironically, the Night Haunter had no intention of ever choosing a successor as he would have preferred that his legion die out completely for becoming everything he personally despised.
Even after Curze caused so much carnage, particularly to Ultramar and Macragge, it's interesting to note that Guilliman seems to still pity him. During the Plague Wars, Guilliman admits to an associate that, out of the whole fucked up Primarch family, only "poor Konrad" truly saw the Heresy coming, and that if he hadn't been insane, it all might've been avoided.
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 Lord 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 signs of other mental instability, such as when he has a bit of a manic episode and forgets that his First Captain died several years ago, indicating dementia or schizophrenia; 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. Other books have inverted the relationship, suggesting that the Night Haunter was the "honest" monster that was needed to do the terrible things required, whilst Curze was the fallible human who fell to his own weaknesses.
Another thing perhaps tied with his Multiple Personality Disorder is that Konrad Curze towards the end had ended up hating his own legion. In a conversation with First Captain Sevatar, Konrad mentioned that he had spoken with Angron and Lorgar following the Istvaan III purge. Cleansing the untrustworthy elements of the World Eaters and the Word Bearers. The sheer absurdity of the idea was laughable to the Night Haunter, for his brothers knew exactly when to stop the killing of the weak, the treacherous and the corrupt within their bloodlines. He had no idea where to begin culling the Night Lords' ranks. His sons were no longer cast in his image. Less than a decade after he had departed Nostramo that world had sent him nothing but filth to integrate into the VIII Legion as Neophytes; the disgusting dregs of humanity his own Apothecaries had infused with his genetic material and reforged into transhumans. The VIII Legion had become poisoned by their presence. The VIII Legion was now composed of warriors who were murderers in the Primarch's own image, yet devoid of his conviction (which does not make any sense at all because, see above:
Every Space Marine is massively brain-washed during their ascension, and in the 41st millenium chapters even preferentially recruit from either backwater worlds - where killing someone because he has more shiny bling than you is still acceptable - or hive gangers over aristocrats on more developed worlds, simply because they are more likely to survive the transformation process.. Just think of the "blood games" many chapters perform to determine the most fitting candidates "hey, lets see who can work together and kill as many of the other aspirants as possible" Extensive hypno-indoctrination only really became a thing AFTER the Heresy, specifically as a reaction to it to help ensure the loyalty of future marines. How much good it's done is debatable. During the Great Crusade and Heresy, they were churning out marines at a breakneck pace to keep up all those fuckhueg legion numbers, so a marine's personality remained much intact.). The Night Lords had become nothing more than killers and abusers, bleeding the weak for their own amusements because they enjoyed it as good sport. Fear became an end unto itself, and its propagation was all the Night Lords desired as they fed upon it.
According to his novel Curze was tremendously crazy by the time of his death. He crafted a flesh golem of the Emperor to state his case to it. Soon after Curze heard a voice in his head that Curze might have thought was his statue. He thought Sevatar was still alive at the time, though Sevatar's death hasn't been confirmed yet. An important detail no one mentioned is that the Night Lords are the Eighth Legion. Section Eight is a military discharge for basically being crazy.
This was made even more clear by what Curze told Talos before he and the Assassin gotten it on:
- "Many will claim to lead our Legion in the years after I am gone. Many will claim that they - and they alone - are my appointed successor. I hate this Legion, Talos. I destroyed its world to stem the flow of poison. I will be vindicated soon, and the truest lesson of the Night Lords will be taught. Do you truly believe I care what happens to any of you after my death?"
Now some might say he was overreacting a bit, but still, given how the criminal overlords he had spent most of his life on Nostramo eradicating, took over again as soon as he had left the planet and started sending their henchmen to be turned into Space Marines, it might be understandable. It was not for nothing that Horus had cause to muse that his generals were psychopaths while the Emperor's were noble, statuesque leaders of men.
The Final Battle between Curze and the Night Haunter?
On his way to the chamber where he will meet the assassin, this happens:
- "I am free. I am not free. I am free. I am not free." ‘Stop it!’ he hissed to himself, losing for a moment his regal posture and becoming again the hunched beast. His warriors looked silently at him, and what had been a feeling of delicious vindication turned sour.
Was the Night Haunter trying to stop Curze? The description of him briefly becoming the "beast" instead of the regal primarch, before forcing himself back under control makes it seem so.
- He rallied himself, and began again his slow progress. Very well: if fate were not locked in iron, he willingly chose this death. Let this act be his and his alone, when so much of his life had been beyond his control.
Did his decision to willingly go to his death, not because "fate demanded it", but of his own volition allow him the strength to finally force the beast back into it's cage?
- In pride of place, at a table by his side, sat the battered deck of cards he had consulted so many times. He meant their presence to be his last comment on fortune’s cruel grip. But the cards dragged at his attention, forcing him to reappraise them as a tool of his delusion.
The real Konrad Curze finally regained his sanity?
What sort of seals it is Konrad Curze's final words to M'shen, the assassin who came to end him.:
- 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.
His statement as only "punishing those who had wronged" simply isn't true, if it was really Curze who had willingly killed so many innocent people just for the fun of it. However, if you read it as Curze and the Night Haunter as separate people, it makes perfect sense. Curze had only ever punished those who had wronged, but the Night Haunter killed for fun. And by forcing himself to hold still, so that the assassin could kill him, Curze was finally punishing the Night Haunter. Curze was finally taking control back from whatever the Night Haunter was. The vindication wasn't for his actions (or the Night Haunter's actions). The vindication is that even the Night Haunter is not beyond his judgement.
For so long, people feared that the Night Haunter would come for them, but now Konrad Curze had come for the Night Haunter.
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 Lords (those who already have Fear 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, and he may elect to have the first turn of any game have the Night Fighting rule, giving his sons 4+ cover in the open. 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 when he charges, it grants him hit and run and Hammer of Wrath special rules (inflicting d3 HoW hits instead of the usual one).
Due to the combination of being Jump Infantry and his variety of Fear-based shenanigans, Curze is one of the easier Primarchs to use. The ability to ensure Night Fighting helps your force close to melee where it belongs, and Fear makes it more effective once you get there. He can Hit and Run, butchering high-value targets and making enemies who see piss themselves in terror and flee. The real genius of his rules is that, like Mortarion, he's primed to annihilate a certain kind of unit and has the mobility to chase it down, while also making your legion better at what it already does well. That said, he doesn't provide any sort of morale bonus to the Night Lords, who desperately need one, and it's fucking embarassing that he can't even hurt AV13.
Best of all, his ranged weapon proves definitely that Konrad Curze is Batman. He figuratively uses Batarangs during the shooting phase. His ranged attack is called a "Widowmaker Volley", which is essentially 3 bolt pistol shots with a special rules that makes 4+ to hit precision shots: 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 micro-serrated throwing knives utilized for signature-kills by Nostraman assassin-cults, Curze favored the use of these vicious, yet highly precise weapons over more conventional firearms in battle, using them to disable and maim as he wished."
Konrad Curze VS other Primarchs:
Primarch fighting, while fun to see, isn't a very competitive thing to do as it'll usually tie up both Primarchs for the entire game without either of them dying. With that in mind this section is about how Konrad Curze fares against other Primarchs Mathhammer wise. Please note that all the various abilities are taken into accounts when possible and the match-ups assume the Primarchs are the only ones involved in the fighting, so various abilities like Angron's "The Butcher's Nails" and Rampage do not provide any bonuses. In essence, the fights are supposed to happen in a "Vacuum" for simplicity, but notes are added to make things clearer in particular instances. Also all of the Primarch use their most powerful weapons (because why have a contest if you don't do your best?).
- Konrad Curze VS Horus
- Horus hits 3 times (Talon), wounds 2.667 times, 1.333 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 0.75 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417.
- Konrad loses (not a big surprise) and as always Horus uses his Talons 'cause, even though he would do more damage with Worldbreaker, the Talon allows him to make his opponent basically harmless after a couple of wounds.
- Konrad Curze VS Angron
- Angron Round 1: hits 5.333 times, wounds 4.444 times, 2.222 after saves, and IWND take it down to 1.889.
- Angron Round 2 and thereafter: hits 4 times, wounds 3.333 times, 1.667 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.333 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times (0.75 of which causes ID), 1 wounds after saves and FNP and IWND will take that down to 0.667 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Angron easily wins, doing a lot more damage and receiving less in turn.
- Note: Curze can Hit & Run, but by doing so he would only gain one more attack, while allowing Angron to reset his Hatred, thus actually making himself die even faster. However he would be a much better fight: Konrad on the Charge would do 2.625 wounds (0.875 with ID) which become 1.168, plus 0.1389 for HoW and 0,359 for the Widowmakers, for a total of 1,666 wounds, or 1.333 after IWND. This, thanks to the -1 wound of Angron, actually means that they would kill each other on the fifth assault, at the same initiative step. Provided that Konrad always succeed in his escape, that is.
- Konrad Curze vs Mortarion
- Mortarion hits 2.5 times, wounds 1.667 times, 0.833 wounds after saves and 0.5 wounds after IWND.
- Curze hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 1.11 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.555 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze loses as even though he does more damage, Mortarion has 1 more wound that will make him outlast the Night Haunter.
- Note: with the Hit & Run tactics Konrad would actually win, thanks to the +1 attack on the charge, HoW and the knives, butchering Mortarion in 9 rounds while Mortarion would need 11 (counting Overwatch).
- Konrad Curze vs Fulgrim
- Fulgrim hits 3.5 times, wounds 2.333 times, 1.167 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.833 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 0.75 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Easy win for Fulgrim. Even with Hit & Run, Konrad would not win this fight. Still, he would outdamage Fulgrim on the charge (1.472 wounds after all saves, 1.139 after IWND) and he would lose only thanks to the superior initiative of the Phoenician, coming extremely close to claiming a surprising draw.
- Konrad Curze vs Ferrus Manus
- Ferrus hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 1.042 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.709 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Ferrus win.
- Note: Even though with Hit & Run Konrad could close the gap and do almost the same exact damage as Ferrus over the course of the fight, mathematically winning thanks to his superior initiative, this tactics is not reliable against the Gorgon thanks to the Concussive & Strikedown of Forgebreaker.
- Konrad Curze VS Vulkan
- Vulkan hits 2 times, wounds 1.666 times, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.741 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.185 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Vulkan is just too tanky for Konrad.
- Note: with the usual tactic of Hit & Run Curze would outdamage Vulkan, but this is hindered by the fact that Dawnbringer has Concussive, making it difficult to foresee: it could go either way. (Because it's also a Hammer.)
- Konrad Curze VS Lorgar
- Lorgar hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.0833 times,1.042 after saves and IWND will take that to 0.708 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze Round 1: hits 3.555 times, wounds 2.369 times, 1.184 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.851 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze Round 2: hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1.5 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad wins.
- Note: as always, psychic powers not included. You know how it would end anyway...
- Konrad Curze VS Perturabo
- Perturabo hits 2 times, wounds 1.667, 0.833 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.5 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 0.75 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad loses as Perturabo does marginally more damage.
- Note: With Hit & Run Konrad would win, but the chance he is not concussed in the round he wants to escape are pretty slim, meaning that Perturabo has still the edge in this fight.
- Konrad Curze VS Alpharius
- Alpharius hits 2.92 times and wounds 1.701 times, 0.851 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.517 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1.5 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad wins.
- Konrad Curze VS Rogal Dorn
- Dorn hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.75 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.417 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 1.125 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.792 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad wins thanks to his superior number of attacks.
- Konrad Curze VS Corvus Corax
- Corvus hits 4 times (Scourge)/3 times (Shadow-walk), wounds 3 times (Scourge)/2.25 times (Shadow-walk), 1.5 wounds (Scourge)/1.125 wounds (Shadow-walk) after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.167/0.792 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Curze hits 4 times/3 times, wounds 3 times/2.25 times, 2 wounds/1.5 after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.667/1.167 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad wins.
- Note: even though they both got Hit & Run, Konrad doesn't get +1 attack to charge Corax, 'cause he has Shroud Bombs, and also doesn't get +1 S ans I, making Corax considerably stronger when he charge all things considered. All in all, a pretty balanced fight, even if the stats don't say so. Corax doesn't have Widowmakers, though...
- Roboute Guilliman (with the Hand of Domination) VS Konrad Curze
- Curze Round 1: hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1.5 times after the Invuln, 1.286 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.953 at the start of the next turn.
- Curze Round 2 and thereafter: hits 3 times, wounds 2.25 times, 1.125 times after the Invuln, 0.911 times after the re-roll and IWND will take that down to 0.578 at the start of the next turn
- Guilliman Round 1/2: hits 2.5 times, wounds 2.083 times, 1.0416 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.7083 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman Round 3 and thereafter: hits 3.333 times, wounds 2.778 times, 1.339 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 1.055 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Guilliman easily wins this fight... theoritically
- Note: As usual, Konrad should attempt to even the odds with Hit and Run, negating Preternatural Strategy while gaining the +1 attack for the charge (and sniping some wounds with his knives). Even with Guilliman using the Hand of Domination, there is a chance Curze doesn't suffer any damage from it (31% when Guilliman is WS7/8 and 20% when he is WS9) so he will actually negate Preternatural Strategy between 37% and 31% of the time, which is enough to give Rob a run for his money or even kill him if the Widowmakers score more than a single wound.
- Konrad Curze VS Leman Russ
- Russ hits 4 times, wounds 3 times, 1.5 time after saves, plus 0.583 wounds from Sever Life for a whole 2.083 wounds and IWND will take that down to 1.75 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Konrad Round 1: hits 2 times, wounds 1.5 times, 0.75 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.427.
- Konrad Round 2 and thereafter: hits 1 times, wounds 0.75 times, 0.375 times after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.042.
- Konrad gets wrecked.
- Note : Nothing will save Konrad from the Wolf King, but as always the Widowmakers can prove themselves a tricky surprise and Hit & Run mitigates the impact of the exothermic bullshit, making Curze one of the few primarchs who can die to Russ with a bit of dignity.
- Konrad Curze VS Jaghatai Khan
- Jaghatai hits 4 times, wounds 2 times, 1 wound after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.666
- Curze hits 4 times, wounds 2.222 times, 0.740 wounds after saves and IWND will take that down to 0.407 wounds at the start of the next turn.
- Jaghatai wins, thanks to his high number of attacks. Curze could use Hit-and-Run to try to even the odds and give himself charge bonuses, but the Khan could do the same.
- TL;DR version: Even though he does a lot of damage, Konrad is not really suited for Primarch vs Primarch fights. Do not misunderstand: he is a real beast when he can make use of Hit & Run and the Widowmakers are extremely good, especially against Primarchs with strong invulnerable saves. Still, you have to consider that all of his special rules are primary designed to scare his opponents and make them flee, but since all Primarchs are Fearless he can't use them. Despite this, he can win some fights and, when he struggles, he can still significantly cripple even some of the strongest Primarchs, leaving them weak and vulnerable. But you are arguably best served to employ his mobility to evade them (instead of fighting) and charge something he could actually butcher in a single round, to make the most of his King of Terror special rule. Make their allies flee in panic and then destroy them when they are alone and surrounded...
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