- Nagash bitching at Sigmar and co. for Stealing his Shit
"There will be no escape, no blessed oblivion. I can end your life as easily as I can extinguish a candle, and before your corpse is cold, I can reach out and grasp your soul. You will be my slave for all eternity, and I shall laugh at the depths of your pain. Such is the power of Nagash."
- – Nagash the Undying
"The only greatness for man is immortality."
- – James Dean
Nagash is the
first second Necromancer and arguably the second most evil character biggest asshole most evil badass evil asshole character to ever curse the Warhammer Fantasy world. Ever. After Drachenfels, of course (though in the End Times Drachenfels is forced to play second fiddle to Nagash after getting beaten by a playwright wielding the power of Sigmar).
He went into hand-to-hand combat with the likes of Sigmar, and has plans to kick Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Nurgle (as of Age of Sigmar, the Great Horned Rat as well) out of the Warp and become Chaos itself. Despite being the setting's main villain apart from Archaon and the Chaos Gods, he hasn't been directly involved in as much as you think. To be fair, he did destroy Nehekhara, nearly killed Sigmar (but successfully handicapped him until his ascension) and used his armies of undead to fight THE ENTIRE SKAVEN EMPIRE to a stalemate, but until the End Times (see below), his main mark on the setting was creating Necromancy and what his various fan-clubs and critics did with it. In Age of Sigmar, he is Sigmar's fav frenemy (something akin to Goku and Vegeta or Naruto and Sasuke) and leads Grand Alliance: Death.
Nagash was the firstborn son of King Khetep of Khemri. Unlike most places, in Nehekhara the firstborn sons of the royal family were given to the temples and the second sons would become kings. He joined the Nehekharan Mortuary Cult and quickly rose to become High Priest. Like all Mortuary Priests, he was searching for a means of achieving immortality; following the command of the by then (oh irony!) long-dead Settra the Imperishable. Despite his rank of High Priest in the Mortuary Cult, he coveted even greater power.
After the death of their father, Nagash's brother Thutep took to the throne, becoming the ruler of Khemri. Rather than mourn his father that had died gruesomely (which was the first red flag for the uninitiated that something was wrong with the guy), Nagash was more interested in what killed their father, for his corpse bore the marks of powerful dark magic. Unfortunately for the Khemrians and the world as a whole, he found the source of the magic. During a ceremony he got his hands on some Dark Elf sorcerers who'd been taken prisoner (back before Malekith forbade males from learning magic, as the group consisted of one man and two women). An interesting piece of trivia is that these trio of Dark Elves were the leaders of the covert-op unit that was killing Dwarf caravans to start the War of the Beard. So we can place Nagash in the timeline properly; the first Nagash novel occurs approximately just after the second War of Vengeance novel and demonstrates another way the Dark Elves have helped fuck up the world.
He trapped them in his father's pyramid, forcing them to barter their sorcerous knowledge for their freedom. Despite this, they were far from subdued, demanding whatever they could from Nagash, from silk pillows to books (particularly ones about tomb construction and architecture...). From them, Nagash learned of the Chaos Gate in the far north and the Winds of Magic that blew from it, and how they may be harnessed by a careful practitioner. Unlike the sorceries of Khemri, which relied on the intercession of gods, Nagash learned that mortals could manipulate magic for themselves. He learned of Dark Magic and of how it coagulated into warpstone. Although the Dark Elves withheld the full depths of their knowledge; Nagash, a twisted and brilliant genius in his own way, had become one of the few humans to truly master Dark Magic from what they had taught him.
Nagash was a very good student of the Dark Elves. When not learning from them he performed many experiments of his own (which involved mass human sacrifices) along with other evil magic-y things. When Nagash was done with the sorcerers he brutally killed them during an escape attempt and consumed their souls (you know that when someone can out-evil and out-betray Dark Elves, they're cold mothafuckas). Taking everything he’d learnt, Nagash created an elixir out of human blood which allowed him to stay alive through death (although the body degenerated, becoming essentially a lich without a Phylactery). He wandered the Necropolis of Khemri, summoning spirits of the departed and daemons with his new power, and learned great secrets. He penned nine different Necronomicon/Book of Vile Darkness books which contain all of his work and experiments (which nobody to date has ever managed to attain the same degree of working knowledge of; because Nagash took a leaf from Sauron and inscrolled part of himself in each of his artefacts so no one but him could master them). The books explain the details and use of Necromancy, a form of magic that Nagash had codified from Death magic along with the rituals of the Tomb Kings and the Dark Magic tidbits his Dark Elf tutors gave him (He was not the first to attempt this, but he was the first to be so unequivocally successful). Necromancy, although usable by the forces of Chaos, also repels it; in a way the Undead are artificial Daemons made of equal amount of magic and material which flips the middle finger at the laws of physics (as much as Chaos can be said to have such laws anyway) of both.
King of Khemri
During his studies Nagash also planned to overthrow his brother, scheming with several disgruntled military officers and nobles (including a certain wastrel who would go on to become his infamous right hand man). Initially his reasons were that he thought his brother, Thutep, was a weak king and that Khemri needed a stronger hand to rule it (his own) and that he REALLY had the hots for Thutep's wife, but couldn’t have her at the time due to the marriage and required celibacy of priests. When confronted over his experiments with dark magic, Nagash then killed his brother by entombing him alive in their father’s pyramid. The next morning, Nagash claimed the throne of Khemri for himself along with Thutep’s wife. To secure his throne he murdered her son/his nephew and used the elixir to make her his sort of undead sex-slave. Nagash contracted the services of the Skaven, and assembled the largest pyramid in Nehekhara (a big feat) made entirely out of black Warpstone. However doing so was so expensive, Nagash demanded such a large tribute of building materials and slaves that he nearly bankrupted Nehekhara; the fabulously wealthy kingdom became as poor as a wino in a war-torn city. During this time, his unholy work had become an open secret, and many others in Khemri flocked to his promise of immortality and power as well as a third of the Priests of Khemri.
However, the other Kings of Nehekhara were aghast at Nagash's reign of terror. Enraged at the corruption he had brought, and in fear of the wrath of the gods, the kings from seven other lesser cities formed an alliance to force Nagash from his throne. A powerful army was raised against Khemri.
Nagash, in turn, used the Black Pyramid to channel the energies of his Necromancy and raise an army of the undead; a horde of skeletons to destroy the attacking armies. Just as planned. Such a thing was unheard of, and in the death-obsessed culture of Nehekhara, it was recognized as the greatest of obscenities. Hundreds fled, terrified by the thoughts of battle versus the departed. Things got even worse when Nagash had his undead wife killed to break the covenant between the Nehekharans and their gods. However all was not lost. Although many did flee the sight of the dead army, the forces of the other kings rallied; Lybaras brought with them new technologies (including steam-powered hot air balloons) and Lahmia brought guns from Cathay. With the awesome new tech and the fact that though the priests no longer had the god's blessings they still had magic; they managed to push the undead back to Khemri and after a final battle defeat Nagash. He retreated to his sarcophagus in the Black Pyramid while Arkhan and an army of undead covered his retreat.
It was generally decided at that time that all that Nagash had wrought during his accursed reign should be destroyed: the cabal of twisted followers he had ensnared to his ghastly practices were put to the sword, and great fires consumed much of what Nagash had done and written—even his precious Nine tomes were believed to be among the ashes…
The Great Necromancer
Nagash had not been slain, but had fled into the desert, the Saharan style one with no water anywhere. He wandered through the desert, yelling and raging to scare off the hungry jackals that followed him until he got far enough into the desert that even they abandoned the chase. Without any of his elixir, he was doomed to perish in the wastes. One night, he did die. During this time his brother Thutep's soul found his and rightfully castigated Nagash over all of his evil. He pointed out that breaking the covenant with the gods had made it hard for the dead to find Nehekhara's version of heaven and that many vengeful dead wanted payback against Nagash. However, the next morning, Nagash returned to his body, got right back up and kept walking.
That's right, Nagash went "fuck this!" to being dead and just kept going. (Once again, another being who makes the Emprah look like a failure. It's sort of a theme in Fantasy though).
He eventually came upon a mountain inhabited by various tribes of humans. Taking the guise of one of their fell gods, he used his undead armies to conquer them and, with an army of living and undead, made a new domain for himself. He took the mountain and turned into a fortress-city to inspire terror and awe the world over - Nagashizzar. The mountain's highest peak was its tower. During his exile, Nagash learned how to manipulate the warpstone, and at Nagashizzar he forged many of his famed artifacts of power including his wretched sword Mortis (AKA Zebt-Nefar), his Crown of Sorcery, and his Black Armour (AKA Morikhaine). Prolonged exposure to the mutagenic warpstone twisted Nagash into a hideous monster, no longer recognizably human. It increased his size and his strength but left him little more than a walking skeleton.
Such a large amount of warpstone drew other creatures, namely Skaven, who fought a massive war against Nagash for control of Cripple Peak. The Skaven armies were vast, but Nagash's magic abilities were also massive, as were his armies of undead. After years of war led to a bitter stalemate, Nagash offered the Skaven a truce: he would give them warpstone if they would give him slaves in exchange. The Skaven, wary of his plans but coveting the warpstone, agreed; luring several Orc tribes into the pits beneath his fortress for Nagash to slaughter and feed his rituals.
When Nagash checked in on Nehekhara, he found that the folks in Lahmia had been up to mischief. For hundreds of years the kings continued to rule Nehekhara much as they had before. In Lahmia the reigning Queen Neferata had come across a copy of one of the Books of Nagash; they hadn’t been destroyed, but had been taken there by the Queen’s power-hungry brother. She was captivated by the dark lore contained within and begun studying Necromancy.
Finally driven by her quest for immortality to make a pact with Nagash, she took an elixir distilled from his own blood. The moment the elixir reached her lips, Neferata's fate was sealed. She had chosen damnation and exile: Her heart stopped beating, and she became something both more and less than human. She became the first true vampire. Nefereta gathered to her the eleven greatest minds and champions of Lahmia, and gave to them each a portion of this elixir. They were the Master Vampires, from whom all other vampires in the world are descended.
But Nagash had underestimated his former countrymen. Alcadizaar the Conqueror was the greatest general of his age (the 6th dynasty of Nehekhara) -- and some argue the greatest king to rule Khemri since Settra -- and led a unified army against the undead invaders. After many years of bloody war the hordes of Nagash were pushed back. After a night of dueling and namecalling the vampires made a run for it (other than W'soran's followers, most of whom refused to leave Nagash's burning library. For W'soran's part, he grabbed as many books as he could carry and made off into the night). As such the Master Vampires decided to flee, with only W'soran remaining at Nagash's side eager for more necromantic lore.
Nagash was so furious he cursed all vampire kind to burn in the rays of the sun and threw a tantrum for a fortnight. Once he stopped killing failed minions and wrecking things, he sat down and brooded. He decided that undeath was awesome and life was overrated. Nagash had gained knowledge of all of the Winds, including those that did not blow through Nehekhara, and became one of the only mortals to gain a grasp of understanding about the Chaos Gods without his mind breaking. Far from it in fact, he saw them as a goal; to become Chaos and rule over the material plane consisting only of the mindless Undead. His first targets were the Nehekharans. He paid the Skaven to poison the River Vitae and unleashed a magical plague to decimate every living thing in Nehekhara (ironic considering Nagash and Nurgle don't get along later). He then sent an undead army to Khemri to capture the current king, named Alcadizaar, and bring him to Nagash.
This was so Nagash could personally make an example of him and for the final phase of his omnicidal dream. Nagash used Alcadizaar to cast a ritual that would kill EVERYTHING in Nehekhara (making it a land with no water anywhere, no vegetation, no animals, nothing; just skeletons), then awaken all of the dead in Nehekhara into a gigantic undead army under Nagash's command. He would use this army to kill every living thing in the world get his kingdom of undeath where only he would rule for all eternity.
After the biggest summoning in history, Nagash was weakened so he needed to recuperate for the last part. He had Alcadizaar thrown into a dungeon for later torture and took a power nap on his throne. Fortunately for the rest of the world, Alcadizaar was spirited away by the VERY frightened Skaven (united for the first time in THEIR history in order to stop Nagash; should give you an idea how scary the bastard was at the apex of his power) into Nagash's throne room itself and given a sword made of pure Warpstone which was SO deadly, Alcadizaar only had a short amount of time to use it before he himself died just from touching it. So our "hero" was teleported straight to the big bad's throne room and chopped off Nagash’s hand before he could react. The only thing the Skaven DIDN'T do was actually physically do it, though the Council of Thirteen did use their magic to protect Alcadizaar from Nagash's magic even as it slowly killed them (the fact that SKAVEN were co-operating and knowingly risking their lives shows just how much shit had hit the fan).
Despite both being fatigued and weakened by their ordeals, the ensuing battle was titanic. The battle lasted for ages, for even in his weakened state, Nagash was a foe to be reckoned with. But finally it was Alcadizaar who emerged victorious. Flying into a rage, Alcadizaar flew at Nagash and hacked away at him until he was dead and his corpse left in many small pieces. Alcadizaar took his crown as a trophy and staggered off, with Skaven agents gathering all of Nagash's body parts (except for his right hand, which crawled away unnoticed after the fight...) and burning them in Warpstone fire. For Alcadizaar it was the ultimate sacrifice; killing Nagash cost Alcadizaar literally everything. His kingdom (the largest empire in the world) was killed to a man during the final battle, in which his family died which ended his line forever, his sanity was shattered, and the weapon he needed to use to kill Nagash was slowly killing him as well since he was too broken to even think of abandoning it (or maybe Alcadizaar wanted to die at that point). And it did; the Skaven got the Fellblade back when his lifeless body washed up on a coast, still clutching the deadly blade.
Nagash's nine books were lost, popping up in various times and places. Alcadizaar's body, bearing the Crown of Sorcery made by Nagash (which was actually a modified Phylactery) washed up on shore in the Old World along the Mediterranean equivalent, which gave rise to the Necromantic kingdom of Mourkain.
Nagash did not stay dead. Using the power of his Black Pyramid, he was able to knit his body back together, piece by tiny piece, over 1,111 years. The next time he rose, he found the lands of Nehekhara defended by many jealous undead kings with their combined armies of skeletons equal to anything he could muster. Nagash challenged the reigning king of Khemri, the first King Settra, for the rule of Nehekhara. Settra and the other Kings, furious at what Nagash had done, chased him from Nehekhara. They had no fear of his monstrous form or the undead hordes he commanded, for they commanded skeletal legions of their own and had become just as monstrous in appearance as him. And while powerful, Nagash no longer had the power to bend them all to his will, despite being their creator. He had lost too much, and the Tomb Kings had gained in power and independance while he regenerated.
Returning to his fortress, Nagash found the Skaven had mined most of the warpstone away. Nevertheless, in one night, he drove all the Skaven from Cripple Peak, venting his frustrations on the ratmen. The Skaven made many attempts at regaining Cripple Peak, but having been defeated by Arkhan who once again joined his master, they eventually decided that they had gathered enough of the warpstone, and left Cripple Peak for good.
After wiping out the Skaven who'd taken over his fortress, Nagash realised that he needed his old magical artefacts to reassert his power, including his stolen crown. So Nagash forged a new hand to replace his missing one out of a warpstone alloy. The crown had been taken north into the Badlands, where it fell into the hands of Orcs who raided across the Black Mountains and seemingly disappeared. Nagash led a great army into the nascent Empire to reclaim it. During the final battle he fought in a duel with Sigmar himelf and nearly defeated him. Sigmar, realizing what was at stake went on a Humanity Fuck Yeah! rampage and finally crushed Nagash's skull with his hammer. The spirit of Nagash fled the battlefield and went back to his fortress where he recovered, having learned that the world now has powers capable to match him. Even Sigmar at the height of his power only just managed to defeat Nagash, and even then only by wearing Nagash's own crown to protect him from Nagash's magic. A crown that had pretty much sent Sigmar insane the last time he wore it. Even then, fighting Nagash crippled Sigmar; while he still kicked a lot of ass he did not regain his full strength until much later.
Nagash did pop up a few times more after that, but each time he did, he was weaker than the time before; pre-retcon every time he died the ghosts of people he killed would gang up on him in the Afterlife and hurt him a bit more each time. Post-retcon the Fellblade was so deadly, its killing blow was continuing to eat away at Nagash's very spirit, slowly making him less and less with each incarnation. Nagash once again returned to life, 1,666 years after his death at the hands of Sigmar, in the night known as the Night of the Restless Dead, but was so weak he was only alive for a single night before his power weakened and he slipped back into the afterlife.
During the downtime, Nagash recruited a "young" Vampire named Mannfred von Carstein to serve him, and he worked with Nagash's servant Arkhan the Black to resurrect their master. Now the time has come...FOR GAMES WORKSHOP TO UNLEASH THEIR LATEST CASH COW IN THE NAME OF NAGASH!
In the Game (Old Times)
Nagash was actually a special character back when it was just Warhammer Armies: Undead and all the dead boys were united in one armybook. Despite being described as "a pale shadow of his former self" he was an unholy rapetrain - a statline with the lowest stats being 6's (init and attacks) and everything else being a 7. Add in a completely unmodifiable 4+ save against everything (including any and all spell effects), a sword that gives him +1 str and lets him use any wounds he causes to heal himself and being one of the most powerful mages in the game making him pretty much unstoppable. (
Unless you threw a High Mage at him with Drain Magic and Banishment which resulted in epic lulz. Foolish Elf. Nagash would take High Magic with his book just to prevent you to do that.)
It used to be speculated, before Games Workshop advanced their storyline with The End Times and Age of Sigmar, that Nagash getting off his bony arse and doing shit would be a game ender. There were only a handful of non-divine characters equal to or more powerful than him such as Sigmar [who'd beaten him once before], Kroak [though now he's much weaker as a ghost-Slann] and other First Spawning Slann who would simply think Nagash out of existence if they were still alive, arguably Morathi, Malekith, Aenarion, Teclis [is described as being if not his equal in magic, then close behind], and Archaon the Everchosen. It was even said that nothing short of the direct intervention of gods would stop him and even then, the world would be a graveyard.
In those days Games Workshop chose to give him what might very well be the single most derptastic model to ever blight a tabletop with its presence, an unholy abomination of fail so ridiculous that it makes the Tyranid Biovore look like a towering monument of awe and might in comparison. Even the beardiest of cheesemongers thought twice before fielding it, knowing all too well that they would pay for it not only in army points, but in dignity and self-respect. There was a running joke that the model was made stupid-looking to prevent people from using Nagash, therefore keeping him from changing the status quo.
Interesting, there could have been a chance to have a non-derpy Nagash model the whole time. The true reason for this terrible model was internal strife within the company. Years ago, when GW cared somewhat about the customers more than their money, the sculptor wanted Nagash to have more of a desiccated corpse look, while a skeletal look was being demanded from his superiors. In an attempt to force them to accept a resculpt with a non-skeletal face, he made Nagash's skull as stupid-looking as he could (oh, how he succeeded). Unfortunately, they decided to go with that sculpt instead of demand he redo it.
GUESS WHO'S BACK!!!!!!!
Nagash is back, with fuckawesome (and fuckexpensive) model (*It would be 100% if not for the derpy skull face on the staff - which can be solved by using the sword instead, the ridiculous skeleton pope hat that is the size of a man standing on another man's shoulders - though that is meant to evoke the Pschent crowns of real-life Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, the naughty tentacle spinal cords borrowed from Doctor Octopus, the buck-teeth on the ghosts and that long bone hanging between his legs - which is meant to be a loincloth made from a spine but it looks like something else...) and another storyline chapter that involves everyone this time.
His primary goal is to bring order to the world; with the dawn of the End Times we see the High Elves and Dark Elves getting railed by massive chaos incursions while the Wood Elves sit in their forest laughing about how everyone is gonna be speared on Slaanesh's dick but them. The Beastmen who are massing disagree with this assessment however. The Empire is currently taking it from behind by nearly every faction in the game (mainly the Warriors of Chaos lead by Archaon who is determined not to end up looking like a little shit this time) at the moment, with Kislev having been almost entirely wiped out (assuming this "End Times" is a wash like the last one they'll have rebuilt their green wood castles in a week, but still). Bretonnia was in flames as civil war tore through the country, but has mostly united now, even if 50% of the population died. The Orcs & Goblins have been decimated by the attacks of Eltharion against their race as WAAAGH!s that lasted since the dawn of time were obliterated with fire magic, leaving no spores to repopulate. The remainder of their race (barring individuals and their bands such as Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks and Grimgor Ironhide) are heading straight for eastern Ulthuan into a trap that could possibly work and wipe out most of the greenskins. The Skaven backstabbing and plotting against the world hasn't changed of course and are currently conquering the majority of the southern human nations with numbers that even vampires think is excessive. Lizardmen are under assault from Daemons, and Mazdamundi declares that the great plan has failed and that a great exodus must begin. Dwarfs have barricaded themselves in their holds, or else gone about trying to retake and rebuild the Eight Peaks thanks to being shunned by both the Empire and Tyrion when help was offered in their missions against the Undead (of course, thanks to the fact that Dwarfs will rather destroy their own race than let grudges go, it's unlikely that the Dwarfs will be around long after reunification and the chance to avenge themselves at each other with impunity).
Of course since this is Games Whiteshop, we wouldn't have heard about what's going on in the rest of the world with the browns and Asians... if not for Josh Reynolds. Cathay was embroiled in a civil war instigated by local Tzeentch worshippers along with them and everyone else being clusterfucked by Chaos, Skaven and/or Undead too.
In his own End Times book, after much scheming, magic and war from Arkhan and Mannfred, Nagash has risen again. By the way you can read the efforts of Arkhan and Mannfred to bring back Naggy in the "The Return of Nagash", brought to you by Black Library, among the highlights of the novel you get Count Nyktolos "Count Von Count", finally fulfilling the long time wish of /tg/ to get the old Sesame Street star as a vampire Count.
Once he came back he held up his hands for quiet, then told the assembled peoples of the world this; "Guys, I got a plan. Everyone just take off your skin and meat, and line up over there. Trust me guys, this'll work for sure." As one can imagine, that isn't going over so well. The first to get crushed was Settra the Imperishable, who united the Tomb Kings (and punished those who refused to kiss the ring and get in line by ordering their unliving skull by used as artillery ammunition) against just such a threat. The idea that anyone rule over SETTRA THE FUCKYOU was too much for the old man, but it turned out badly and his army (plus one of his gods) were destroyed/eaten by Nagash. Likewise, Archaon stopped his march into the Empire and instead followed a route that would lead him to the massive Undead fuckhead that DARED to take HIS rightful place as big-bad of the setting.
Following similar logic, Queen Neferata has gathered a massive army pulled from the Undead across the world, as well as the living armies whose leaders have been under her thumb since day one. But she has not yet decided who she'll follow; on one hand, serving Nagash would be beneficial as he's seeking to become the Chaos God of Undeath (replacing all four of the other Chaos Gods and BECOMING Chaos Undivided) which would make her ruler of all beneath him. On the other hand..."serving" isn't something she does, to the point that one of her earliest decisions after leaving his service originally involved pooling all the forces available to her to go fuck up one of her closest allies and his entire kingdom because he implied that he was better at ruling than her. If she DOES choose to serve however (as in, if the player who shells out $79 for her model fields her as a model in the Undead Legion army) she becomes known as the Mortarch of Blood and takes place in Nagash's trinity of servants.
But Nagash has planned for his return well. His first servant and first in the big three Mortarchs, Arkhan the Black, became known as the Mortarch of Sacrament. Arkhan leads Nagash's main army against the forces of the world. Meanwhile Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow, leads a detachment of Nagash's forces against Archaon's Chaos army to ensure that the
Nordic fuckup half-blooded EMPIRE Daemon Prince fuckup that got boo-ed offstage in Storm of Chaos doesn't interfere with Nagash's big moment in the spotlight. He even cemented power by entering the Afterlife, defeating and consuming the god of the dead for humanity Usirian (AKA Morr and all the other names humans have for their god of the dead in Warhammer Fantasy). He even tore Settra apart, though didn't kill him, and forced Settra to watch the destruction of Khemri. Nagash then went on to bitch-slap the Tomb Kings into submission, destroying the few that resisted and finally has his FUCKHEUG undead army to conquer the world, which he will use to ruin the day of Chaos' forces, he also has now a Necron Monolith his own Flying Black Pyramid.
Nagash landed the Black Pyramid in Sylvania, surrounded by a River Styx expy where the magic builds up, and spent the next three books chilling in a sarcophagus, slowly absorbing the wind of Death Magic. During that time Arkhan took a leaf from the Witch King and the Mouth of Sauron, keeping the undead legions in order. When Isabella and the turncoat Nameless lead a Nurglite host attack Sylvania, Arkhan arranged a battle plan. The undead hold them off but they force their way to the front, even slaying Krell and Arkhan. Just after Arkhan is killed by Isabella, Nagash wakes up and enters the battle, but while Isabella distracts Nagash by trolling him her Skaven allies destroy the Black Pyramid with warpstone bombs (the warpstone equivalent of nukes) placed by tunneling teams. Nagash gets pissed enough to impress an Angry Marine and destroys all the daemons, including a Great Unclean One, with a single blast of magic. After venting, Nagash took stock. Between that epic, magical temper tantrum and the Black Pyramid's destruction he can't reach godhood as he originally planned. After much introspection Nagash swallowed his pride and conceded that he would either have to serve the Chaos Gods or ally with the living to survive. He reluctantly chose the latter, bringing back Arkhan and Krell; despite his frustration over their failure, he needed loyal, intelligent servants.
He leaves Neferata to rule Sylvania and its undead legions before going to Athel Loren, sending Mannfred as a messenger to parley. During the meeting Nagash tries to engender goodwill by handing Mannfred to the elves as compensation for Aliathra's death, but he also taunts Alarielle and Tyrion about Aliathra's fate and withholds Arkhan's involvement because he's too useful (the only reason Nagash even did this was because Malekith had nearly convinced the other Incarnates that they didn't need Nagash and, combined, the six Incarnates present could have destroyed him). His army is ordered to stay out of Athel Loren, except for Vlad and Arkhan. Nagash and his accompanying two Mortarchs are escorted everywhere under heavy guard including at least two other Incarnates because (understandably) no-one trusts him. When the forces of Chaos arrive, Nagash goes "Bitch Please!" and gives a beatdown to anything thrown at him, from Beastmen warbands to monsters; he even solos A BLOODTHIRSTER... AND WINS! After being teleported to Middenheim with Arkhan, Krell, Vlad and part of his army he roftstomps his way through the Chaos forces occupying Middenheim until they get to the the excavation. Along the way he kills Chaos' prisoners, bringing back all the dead as zombies under his control. His forces do take losses, including Krell being killed by Sigvald. He then he meets Settra, who was restored by the Chaos Gods. He tells Nagash he was sent to kill him, before killing a daemon that was about to attack Nagash. Settra explains that NO ONE COMMANDS HIM, that he's going to take down the Chaos Gods for offering him rulership for service, then he'll come back and Nagash had either better bend the knee or be slain. Settra then goes off to fight the Chaos army, leaving Nagash to join with the others. Nagash gives Arkhan the remaining Morghasts and tells him to cover his retreat and hold the line until dead.
Nagash reaches the artifact with the other incarnates and tries to fight the forces of Chaos, providing a rearguard of zombies raised from the combined dead of Middenheim. He continues curbstomping anything that directly engages him, only fighting an opponent who can match him in the form of a stronger than average Bloodthirster, Ka'bandha.
After all the Chaos forces are defeated with Archaon MIA, the Old Ones artifact destabilizes, creating a magical rift that will consume the world. The surviving Incarnates and Teclis (who takes two winds of magic into himself) start to contain the Rift but fail when Mannfred disrupts the ritual by killing Balthazar. This led to Teclis' death as he tried to re-stabilize the magic by taking a third wind but the power is too much and he is disintegrated. Free of their control, the rift grows; when it touches the surviving Incarnates it sucks out all of their magic, including Nagash's. He is last seen collapsed and panicking while his body crumbles to dust.
Nagash is/was the hero the Warhammer World needed, and probably the one they deserved, but not the one that they wanted.
The Warp was affected with the essence of the Incarnates, giving rise to eight new gods; meaning Nagash has achieved godhood, but not on his terms and with others who can challenge him. Being Nagash, he was not content with this and proceeded to nom all the other gods of the Afterlife until he was the only one left, so all dead that don't go to another god, such as Sigmar, go to him. The new book revealed that Nagash really wanted aelf souls, as apparently they're more powerful than most others, so they give more when harvested or whatever. However he was unable to acquire them because of Slaanesh. Nagash sensed when Tyrion and Malerion captured Slaanesh, but he was unable to grab any aelf souls (and he was really steamed about it) and Tyrion and Malerion did not involve him.
More material of Black Library reveals that after the End Times Nagash was originally trapped by the Chaos Gods in "a crypt of forgotten moments, burying him in the weft of time itself", we still wonder how is that Sigmar managed to free him, maybe Azyr celestial mechanics magic or something?
For a while he was allied with the other incarnate gods in this new era, becoming bash bros with Sigmar (he remembers killing continent-sized monsters along with Sigmar) providing order and occasional undead reinforcements. Morathi eventually found her way to the pantheon in her aelven form and, as is her style, tried to seduce the other members. Sigmar ignored her so she focused her efforts on Nagash. Nagash responded with an epic pimp slap that struck Morathi down, revealing her true serpentine form, which caused Morathi to flee in humiliation and rage.
Soon the Incarnates went their separate ways. Surprisingly, he was the last one to abandon Sigmar and step out on his own. Unsurprisingly he did so in the most dickish way, kicking Sigmar's forces in the balls on the way out. This was the last straw, with Sigmar going back to being a barbarian god-king and roftstomping his way through Shyish to try and teach Nagash a lesson. They fought twice, with Nagash quitting the fight both times before Sigmar could finish him. After working out his rage, Sigmar finally bothered to check his inbox.... and found out that in his absence Chaos went "all your bases are belong to us!" on the realms. This made Sigmar head back and seal off his realm before working on his newest weapons.
To add insult to injury Nagash is the reason the Stormcast Eternals degrade with each death. Nagash thinks that the souls of all the dead belong to him and doesn't like that Sigmar is taking souls to make his Sigmarines. So Nagash sticks his skeletal fingers in Sigmar's pie to try and grab some each time; the bits of memory and personality that each Stormcast loses with each death and rebirth are the bits Nagash claims. It took awhile, but Sigmar eventually learnt of this soul-theft. In response, Sigmar has marshalled his forces and directed them to Shyish to find Nagash or liberate the souls.
The first expedition, led by Lord Celestant Tarsus Bullheart, found Nagash with predictable results. Nagash threw their message and Simgar's offer back in their faces, and then attacked (Nagash struck first). When the rest of the Stormcast attacked Nagash, he killed all but Tarsus. Tarsus gets up, noticing that the Stormcast's souls are being trapped by Nagash, unable to return to Azyrheim and Sigmar. He mocked Nagash and hit him with a bolt from of his cape hammers, hurting Nagash enough to distract him, the lapse in concentration allowing the Stormcasts' souls to escape. Livid, Nagash killed Tarsus with a wave of amethyst fire and imprisoned Tarsus soul, gloating to the imprisoned Stormcast about how he would torture Tarsus' soul and pry as many of Sigmar's secrets as he can from him.
Nagash's evil extends beyond his universe. Apparently, GW must have bribed Naggy with souls or whatever, because in the new Death Faction Nagash didn't see fit to bring back the Tomb Kings.
The coming campaign "Malign Portents" seems to be focused on him. He finally got his Black Pyramid repaired, and this time he took the precaution of making a bunch of extras that fly (thus making them Skaven-proof). He's planning to raise the dead everywhere, which causes almost all other factions to scramble to Shyish to stop him before he gets too far. While they do manage to handicap his plans, they accidentally upset the forces of magic, and magic gets even more powerful but harder to control. Upon learning about the soul harvesting of the Idoneth Deepkin, Nagash drained oceans in Shyish to hunt them down. Unfortuantely for Sigmar, Nagash even figured out how to permanently entrap the souls of Stormcast Eternals and is gaining more and more ground by the day.
Why Nagash is so evil
While most evil characters on the game have done their share of bad deeds, Nagash has a special place amongst them thanks to sheer volume and scope. The following lists illustrates how sick this fuck is:
- Entombed his own brother alive and stole his wife.
- Turned said wife into an agony-ridden walking corpse and kept her that way for centuries. The process he used to accomplish this involved tricking her into drinking the blood of her murdered son; who was also Nagash's nephew. Sadistically, the trick was based around a mocking promise he would never harm said nephew again.
- Usurped Nehekhara's throne; then his reign was responsible for the deaths of at least tens of thousands of people, and he nearly destroyed the kingdom's economy to build his Black Pyramid.
- Captured the spirits of his enemies and kept them in eternal torment.
- Started a war which destroyed many of the Nehekharan cities and killed even more of the population.
- Broke the covenant between the Nehekharan gods and their people, not only removing the divine powers of the Nehekharans but ensuring that after death they wouldn't be able to go to their gods and would have to stay in a nether dimension forever. Especially jarring if you remember that he used to be the High Priest of their Death Cult.
- Indirectly corrupted some of the nobility of Nehekhara, who became the first vampires.
- Turned a whole tribe of his followers into ghouls because they annoyed him several times by asking him to give them a promised reward.
- Used his loyal vassals as tools in a terrible incantation to make himself a magic set of armour and then, for the only time in any of his fluff, he does something nice for someone besides himself (he compliments them for exceeding his expectations). After complimenting them he devoured their souls anyway.
- Started a new war against Nehekhara which cost thousands more lives.
- Used a horrible plague spell to annihilate the entire Nehekharan civilization after losing the war against them; because on top of being a mad wizard and an immoral bastard, he's a sore loser.
- Raised the Nehekharan dead, turning them into millions of undead minions with the idea of annihilating all life in the world.
- Almost destroyed the Empire and nearly crippled Sigmar in a duel by using a poisoned blade.
- Cursed the Vampires with a vulnerability to Sigmar's power and other curses after the assholes were too self-absorbed to help Nagash out during the two major battles: war with the Empire and the Nehekhara war. This might seem like a good riddance because of Vampire's treachery dickish nature, the evil thing about these curses is that it prevents vampires from enjoying life with their new found immortality.
- Corrupted the dragon's graveyard and created the zombie dragons.
- The End Times adds killing several demigods, including Valaya, the ancestor goddess of the Dwarfs, while she slumbered and a god so he can take over from the Chaos Gods. (Although, from a certain point of view, this might not be as bad as it sounds...)
- Killing messengers from the Empire asking for his help when a 'no' would have been enough, then turning around and expecting to get help when he's forced to ask the living for it.
- Betrayed Sigmar and the forces of Order to become the supreme god, allowing Chaos to take over seven eighths of the realms, only to get beaten by Archaon.
- At some point while ruling his realm of Death, he punished the citizens of Shadespire for cheated death with the use of some magic mirror by throwing the entire fucking city into the void of between the realm of life and shadow, forcing them to live an eternity torment until the citizens were forced to vow to his will.
- The new campaign of GeeDubs has the quote "The Age of Hope is Dead", which may mean Nagash will manage to screw all over again all the victories obtained by the forces of Order, while simultaneously bringing back the GRIMDARK to the NOBLEBRIGHT Age of Sigmar setting.
While some of the deeds on this list may have been done by your average Skaven, Dark Elf or Chaos Lord there is a basic difference between them and Nagash, the former usually do this either to advance their entire race, clan, tribe or to appease and/or promote their gods; and no single member of those factions has done as much as Nagash, points of case, Thanquol at least respected and paid homage to the Horned Rat, Malus Darkblade actually cared up to a certain point for his own troops and Archaon was very protective of his family. Nagash on the other hand didn't care about anyone, despised the gods and had no empathy for his family and people. He fucked up his own nation and a large section of the world for his own personal gain and, so far as the fluff goes, he has never cared or done anything for anyone other than himself, with his ultimate plan being quite literally to turn everything into undead with no will under his command. To be fair, Nagash honestly believes this to be the best thing for the warhammer world, and he might be right. Chaos has a hard time corrupting the undead, and Nagash has already managed to steal one of Khorne's favoured champions (Krell). Though he is also a gigantic sociopath; sadistic, arrogant and with all the empathy of a brick to the dick. In the End Times, even Malekith considered Nagash too evil for him at first and wanted to destroy him. Black Library seems to share the idea, since a banner promoting the book "The Return of Nagash" names him as "The Greatest Villain in the Warhammer World". He also appears to have helped GW Squat the Tomb Kings. On a side note Nagash also enjoys the occasional orphanage being slaughtered as a snack, we wonder how is that Sigmar kept him in check during the entire Age of Myth, probably judicious application of Ghal Maraz to his frontal bone, or maybe the time off in that time crypt thingie cooled him enough to start behaving.
On The Tabletop
Nagash used to have a rather blocky-looking model back when Undead was one army, and had a statline so impressive that it took "Ward Save"'s Daemon wanking to make people forget it; the model we have now is very similar to the one that existed back then, including statline, with the main differences being he was just as a level 4 monster wizard with +1 to cast, he only knew 5 spells, his staff could only store 2 power dice/cards, and his sword did not have the D3 wounds special rule. He was removed with the modern editions, and lore referenced him as some vague force that was preparing to return to the world.
The End Times update brought Nagash back into the game as a powerhouse, boasting higher stats and better spellcasting than anything else in the entire game. In short he's a Level 5 Wizard with access to the Lores of Death, Light (he's Nehekharan, remember?), Vampires, Nehekhara, and a new Lore called "Undeath". He carries his nine books of Nagash which lets him carry NINE spells (total), one being "Ryze, the Grave Call", with the rest generated from any combination of the mentioned Lores, as he pleases (with the newest rules from the Khaine book, he will have ALL spells from all 5 of those lores, plus a special Summon Arcane Fulcrum spell, giving him 41 spells in total). But wait, there's more. He re-rolls any Miscast (but must accept the new result) and can store, at any time in the Magic Phase, up to four Power Dice for later, surpassing the six-dice-per spell... or to empower attacks adding the Heroic Killing Blow to his already powerful sword (+1 Strength and Multiple Wounds (D3), but only one die per attack has that rule) and being a Monster he also has the Thunderstomp Attack; this guy is a rape machine in close combat.
Thought that was bad? It gets worse; any Undead within 12" suffer two fewer wounds from Unstable, plus any other rule that stacks (for example, Battle Standard Bearer). And the cherry on this hell cake: each time he casts a summoning spell of Undeath the points summoned and the range are TRIPLED (e.g. Ryze, The Grave call he ALWAYS has: with difficulty 9+, anyone else can summon 50 points of troops within 12" or 100 at 14+. At best(16+) 150 points worth of Monstruous Infantry at the same range. Nagash summons 150, 300 and 450 respectively at 36"). This also includes Raise the Dead tokens, so spend five tokens and now Nagash can raise 600 points worth of models, whereas all other wizards can only raise 200.
Lastly he's 1000 points to field, which is fine because End Times came with a rule update allowing half your army points to be spent on Lords and Heroes, so fielding Nagash has to be at a 2000 point game at the minimum,
although you will have no other characters at all (including a Battle Standard Bearer and thankfully Lords and Heroes have a SEPARATE allowance, so if you get Nagash in a 2000 point game you cannot have any other lords(don't forget, he can summon characters with a base 195pt cost, not to mention any tokens he spends to up that total), but you can have plenty of heroes (which a BSB is). He costs a whopping $105 Ameribucks, although considering the size of his model it's not a terrible deal (for GW anyway). He also currently has the biggest hat in either Warhammer setting, proving that he's the single biggest force to be reckoned with.
Nagash can only be fielded with the Undead Legion, his own army that consists of everyone from Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings that he's brought under his rule. As a result there's no "wrong" way to field Nagash; everything you CAN field him with is supported in fluff. His army is even Neutral in alignment, meaning you can get in a 2v2 battle with any army in the game supporting any army in the game. Throwing an Empire army lead by Karl Franz on the field being BFFs with Nagash against Wood Elves and Ogre Kingdoms is completely copacetic in the fluff.
In Age of Sigmar he's a murderbeast in open play but in matched play... let's say he's a bit expensive. Brutal, but expensive.
It is possible, especially considering GW's love of basing things in both 40k and Fantasy on actual history, that Nagash's name and backstory come from a variety of sources. Most obviously, Nagash is Warhammer's answer to Vecna, being an evil man who invented necromancy, used it to decimate a kingdom, lost a hand that became a powerful magical artifact and could operate independantly and went on to become a god of undeath/death. There is also a fictional shout-out to the works of Lovecraft, as his backstory resembles that of Nephren-Ka from Yog-Sothothery (he was a tyrannical Pharaoh who set up an unholy cult, built a giant evil structure, and was overthrown by his people because of his tyranny; all evidence of his reign was purged and he became immortal after the defeat). His name could be derived from Nahash, which is both one of the names used for the serpent in the Abrahamic faiths that tempted Adam and Eve and later the name for a warlike king during Old Testament days.
Also, if you ever wondered about what would have happened if Nagash was a elf, check Mannimarco, the Worm King from the Elder Scrolls verse. Seriously, They are both badass, evil, awesome, FAKHIGNH OLD and both became gods of death through sheer evil.
|The Tomb Kings of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Settra the Imperishable - Queen Khalida - Nagash|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|