- Nagash bitching at Sigmar and co.
"There will be no escape, no blessed oblivion. I can end your life as easily as I can extinguish a candle, and before your corpse is cold, I can reach out and grasp your soul. You will be my slave for all eternity, and I shall laugh at the depths of your pain. Such is the power of Nagash."
- – Nagash the Undying
"Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now it is here. Or should I say, I am."
- – Thanos (MCU version)
"If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he's died, then maybe he was a great man. Immortality is the only true success."
- – James Dean
"King Kong ain’t got shit on me! That’s right, that’s right. Shit, I don’t, fuck. I’m winning anyway, I’m winning… I’m winning any motherfucking way. I can’t lose. Yeah, you can shoot me, but you can’t kill me."
- – Nagash shortly before getting rekt by rats. Again
Nagash the Undying, also known as kreekar-gan (translation; The Burning Man) by the Skaven, Skelepope and Big Bone Daddy, is the
god of overly giant hats first Necromancer and arguably the second most evil character biggest asshole most evil badass asshole character to ever curse the Warhammer Fantasy world. Ever. After Matthew Ward, of course.
Nagash has practically zero redeeming factors and was an obvious sociopath from day one (more on that below).
He went into hand-to-hand combat with the likes of Sigmar, and has plans to kick Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Nurgle (as of Age of Sigmar, the Great Horned Rat as well) out of the Warp and become Chaos itself. Despite being the setting's main villain apart from Archaon and the Chaos Gods, he hasn't been directly involved in as much as you think. To be fair, he did destroy Nehekhara, nearly killed Sigmar (but successfully handicapped him until his ascension) and used his armies of undead to fight THE ENTIRE SKAVEN EMPIRE to a stalemate, but until the End Times (see below), his main mark on the setting was creating Necromancy and what his various fan-clubs and critics did with it. In Age of Sigmar, he leads Grand Alliance: Death.
Nagash was the firstborn son of King Khetep of Khemri. Unlike most places, in Nehekhara the firstborn sons of the royal family were given to the temples and the second sons would become kings. Before he was forced to joined the Mortuary Cult, he led a military campaign against the Lizardmen who were attacking their allies living in the city of Lybaras. The army at the time was originally led by his father Khetep, but after falling ill during the campaign, Nagash ended up continuing where his father left off. Nagash continued his father's campaign until the Lizardmen leader was finally killed in action. After that, Nagash wounded up ruling the city of Rasetra (which Khetep had used as a strategic point against the Lizardmen) as a king for 6 months. After Khetep was cured, he left the city of Rasetra with a general of his and gives Nagash to the cult. Khetep even made sure to keep the details of Nagash's short "reign" forbidden from been discussed among his army, and removed it from history by calling Nagash a "brave warrior" and nothing more. It was the first time in his life that Nagash felt the glory to be a king, also the first time he felt to have his power removed from him.
He joined the Nehekharan Mortuary Cult and quickly rose to become High Priest. Like all Mortuary Priests, he was searching for a means of achieving immortality; following the command of the by then (oh irony!) long-dead Settra the Imperishable. Unlike most Mortuary Priests, Nagash really hated his job and wanted to be king instead (for obvious reasons), lamenting that in every other nation he knew of firstborn sons that took the throne. He also coveted even greater magical power. Then one day he saw the hot chick his brother was betrothed to; and sought to steal her from his brother and failed miserably in the process. At this point Nagash was sick to the back teeth of not only his brother getting a state appointed 9/10 GF just for being born second, but also with the strict policy of celibacy practiced within the Mortuary Cult. It was time to act (read: scheme)!
After their father, King Khetep, died horribly in battle against Zandri's army, Nagash's younger brother Thutep took the throne and became the ruler of Khemri. Nagash seethed, considering Thutep to be a weak king, a belief only reinforced by Thutep's diplomatic concessions. When tending to his father's body, instead of mourning his father's death (which was the first red flag for the uninitiated that something was wrong with the guy), Nagash became incredibly interested in what killed him, for his corpse bore the marks of powerful dark magic. To put it in detail, while extracting his dead father's organs to put them in a canopic jar, Nagash discovered that his father's inner belly organs had been blackened, twisted together by some unknown foul magic, a power that should not be possible for any Nehekharan mortuary cult priest to wield at that time.
Unfortunately for the Khemrians, and the world as a whole, Nagash found the source of this magic. During his father's burial ceremony, a Zandari diplomat had arrived and offered three unidentified humanoids with snow white hair, pale skin and pointy ears as sacrificial slaves. This immediately drew Nagash's attention, and he speculated that they may have been used by the Zandri army as slaves/mercenaries against his father, but had become so feared thanks to their dark magic that the Zandari chose to betray them. His suspicions were proven correct when he sensed a weak and cold power from one of the female captives, whom was quietly channeling her power (Note: the three of them were all drugged up to make them easier to subdue). Nagash, quick to seize opportunities when he saw one, ostensibly agreed and took custody of the three elves. Although they were supposed to be poisoned and entombed along with his father, he ordered his priest to drug them with sleeping medicines instead and had them imprisoned somewhere else.
This brings in two interesting pieces of trivia. The first that this 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. The second is that, before being put under, the male captive spoke to the Nehekharan crowd in their language saying that whoever killed them would have their flesh slough from their bones and their land would fall to ruin, which would come true, just not in the way anyone would've predicted.
Invention of Necromancy
But back to Nagash: he trapped the three magic-users in his father's pyramid full of lethal traps, and forced them to barter their sorcerous knowledge for him revealing what and where the traps were. Despite this, they were far from subdued, demanding whatever they could from Nagash, from silk pillows to books (particularly ones about tomb construction, architecture and escapology...). From the trio, Nagash learned of the Chaos Gate in the far north and the Winds of Magic that blew from it, and how they could be harnessed by a careful practitioner. Unlike the magics 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 their juiciest secrets, Nagash still managed to reach an unparalleled (in humans) mastery of dark magic, because he was still an extremely intelligent member of the Mortuary Cult. However, Nagash very quickly deduced that his very human nature limited his ability to draw and channel magical energy (the reason why Teclis would create the Imperial Schools of Magic drawing on a single aspect instead of the full raw power like High/Dark magic does). He performed many experiments of his own along with other evil magic-y things; combining what he could use of the Dark Elves' craft with ways to call upon power as a human (all of which invariably involved mass human sacrifices, which was how the Dark Elves showed him the limits of his power, but Nagash didn't give a single fuck about human life besides his own and only did the bare minimum to remain discreet).
Eventually the Dark Elves read enough Harry Houdini books to escape the tomb. Near the exit, they found Nagash standing in their path to freedom, who told them their freedom rested upon them beating him in a magical battle. Although the Dark Elves outnumbered Nagash, one had been crippled by a poison dart from the tomb's traps and the rest still underestimated Nagash, so he still ended up brutally killing them and consuming their souls (you know that when someone can out-evil and out-betray Dark Elves, they're cold mothafuckas).
Taking everything he’d learnt, Nagash created an elixir out of human blood which allowed him to stay alive through death (although the body degenerated, becoming essentially a lich without a Phylactery). He wandered the Necropolis of Khemri, summoning spirits of the departed and daemons with his new power, and learned great secrets. He penned nine different Necronomicons/Books of Vile Darkness which contain all of his work and experiments (which nobody to date has ever managed to attain the same degree of working knowledge of; because Nagash took a leaf from Sauron and infused 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 various 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 (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 called Arkhan who would go on to become his infamous right-hand man). He gave them all a sip of his elixir, with Arkhan being the first to take it. When Thutep learned (warned by his vizier) of Nagash's experiments with dark magic via investigating the disappearances of the people he sacrificed, he took some royal guards and confronted Nagash. While many of Nagash's followers died, his inner circle didn't and Nagash used his dark magic to kill all but Thutep. Nagash then killed his brother by entombing him alive in their father’s pyramid.
The next morning, Nagash claimed the throne of Khemri for himself along with Thutep’s wife, Neferem (finally gotten that squared away). Despite being the only woman he's ever been attracted to, Nagash was a terrible husband to her. It's all but stated he abused her, used her as a sex object with no care for her pleasure (she later then cut off his penis for revenge), her handmaidens were terrified of him and his murder of Thutep was about as secret as the incestuous habits of the Lannister twins. To secure his throne, he secretly murdered her son (also his nephew) and used his body and soul to make a variant of the elixir to make her his sort of undead sex-slave (bruh). Nagash assembled the largest pyramid in Nehekhara (a big feat) made entirely out of black marble. However, doing so was expensive, and Nagash demanded such a large tribute of building materials and slaves that he nearly bankrupted Nehekhara; the fabulously wealthy kingdom became as poor as Detroit. During this time, his unholy work had become an open secret, and many others in Khemri flocked to his promises of immortality and power as well as a third of the Priests of Khemri (the rest of the priests were killed when they rebelled).
However, the other Kings of Nehekhara were utterly appalled 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 recognised as the greatest of obscenities. Hundreds fled, terrified by the thoughts of battle versus the departed. Things got even worse when Nagash had his undead wife killed, ending her bloodline and breaking the covenant between the Nehekharans and their gods. However, all was not lost. Although many did flee the sight of the dead army, the forces of the other kings rallied; Lybaras brought with them new technologies (including steam-powered hot air balloons). Rasetra bought their Lizardmen mercenaries as well as their hardened soldiers that fights them on daily basis. The Lahmian, led by Lamashizzar, brought his famed Dragon Force soldiers who wields "dragon staff" (guns) that was bought from Cathay (which they made a deal with the Cathayan by giving them their city if they couldn't pay them). With the awesome new tech, they managed to push the undead back to Khemri and after a final battle at Maharak, they defeated Nagash.
There were TWO crucial detail about Nagash's defeat. One was that his undead army suffered months of attrition during the siege of Mahrak. The city of hope itself has the most powerful of the gods blessing for it has the most powerful Ushabti (not statue, actual demi-god soldiers) garrisoned in the city as well as magic defences like high temperature death field and force field that blocks catapult shots. By the time Nagash had figured out that killing Neferem was the only way to take away Nehekharan's blessing from the gods, his army was already in tatters. The second was the surprised attack from Lamashizzar's dragon staff troops. Lamashizzar had long desired for Nagash's elixir of longevity that he went to pledge Nagash his alliance prior the final siege. Little did Nagash knew Lamashizzar ended up betraying him just as Nagash reached the heart of the city where the many temples of the gods resides. The ranged firepower coming from Lamashizzar's Dragon Force mortally wounded Nagash and shattered his skeleton army. For some reasons, the gunfire left an incurable wound on his left shoulder which he was unable to regenerate, even with the power of his elixir or with the pyramid's power. He lost conscious from the injury that his followers, Arkhan and what remained of his undead army had to cover his retreat to his sarcophagus within the Black Pyramid.
After the battle, it was generally decided at that time that all that Nagash had wrought during his accursed reign should be destroyed: the cabal of twisted followers he had ensnared to his ghastly practices were put to the sword, Black Pyramid was sealed 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 destroyed, but had fled into the desert; the Saharan-style one with no water anywhere. He wandered through the desert, yelling and raging to scare off the hungry jackals that followed him, until he got far enough into the desert that even they abandoned the chase. Without any of his elixir, he was doomed to perish in the wastes.
One night, he did die. During this time his brother Thutep soul (as well as many others he had fucked over) found his and rightfully castigated Nagash over all of his evil. They pointed out that breaking the covenant with the gods had made it hard for the dead to find Nehekhara's version of heaven, and they wanted payback against Nagash. However, the next morning, Nagash returned to his body, got right back up and kept walking.
That's right, Nagash went "fuck this!" to being dead and just kept going. (Once again, another being who makes the Emprah look like a failure. It's sort of a theme in Fantasy though).
This is where he first encountered the Skaven. He was traveling towards the direction to the Sour Sea (the area on the upper right of the Nehekhara), sensing some sort of magical power from one of its "dark mountains". He saw four Skaven warpstone scavengers, and had an idea. Nagash, like a smooth undead assassin, pretended to be dead and when one of the rat hunters found and decided to eat him, Nagash surprised the rat with a bite to the neck. The others, except one that ran away, were killed and eaten by Nagash. In consuming them, he found that a mysterious power within the rat's blood gave him more replenishment compared to all the elixir he had consumed in the past. Then, a faintly glowing green light on one of the rat hunters' clothing caught Nagash's attention, and that's how he discovered warpstone.
As Nagash examined the rock, he found bite marks on it, prompting the assumption that it was not only edible, but also the source of power that he had felt when he consumed the rat. He then decided to eat the stone, the smallest piece out of the 3 he had smashed it into. The stone gave Nagash a painful sensation like never before, but gave him enough power to heal his incurable gunshot wounds from the war, popping the bullets from his body like some anime character, as well as energies needed to continue his search. Sadly, the stone also fucked up his vision and his sense of direction, forcing him to wander the wasteland for 139 fucking years.
After that embarrassing 139-years-warpstoned trip, Nagash came off his high and started to study (one of the only things he excels at) the warpstone for other purposes. Naming it Ab-ni'khat, Nagash learned warpstone pieces resonate near each other, which led him to start a warpstone hunt. Although he found some of them during his hunt, too many times for his liking he found the Skaven got the first and took all the warpstone, which made Nagash swear to kill and eat every ratman he came across. After that, he eventually decided to just rely on his instincts and head to the dark mountain. By the time he arrived, the mountainside was inhabited by a tribe of humans formed during the century he'd spent "stoned".
This barbarian tribe were called Yaghur. Unlike the Norscan barbarians, which Nagash knew only as slaves back in his days at Khemri, these barbarians' appearances had much more in common with Nehekharans, with a few mutations due to the warpstone's influence. While studying the daily lives and behavior of the Yaghur, he realized that while most of the tribesmen had a mutated appearance, a few of them, namely their "high priests" (who wore long robes and carried out funeral rites and other rituals) were not mutated due to their thorough understanding and control of the stones. These priests sat at the top of the barbarian hierarchy, and were in fact a type of necromancer who used the barbarians to harvest souls and dead bodies for their own means while chilling in the hilltop castle like the nobility they are.
In order to gain more power and information on warpstone, Nagash decided to take over the barbarian tribe. With some luck and his magic, he secretly resurrected the dead for his warpstone manual labor, and even gained a living follower after he "accidentally" spared him. He then used his undead armies and his magic power (amplified by the warpstone he had mined) to conquer them and, with an army of living and undead, made a new domain for himself. After 247 years of some fighting and slaving against the chaos worshipers living in the east at the plain of bones (the location where Vorag's fortress "will" be) led by a chieftain with 3 sorcerers, he began turning the mountain into a fortress-city to inspire terror and awe the world over - Nagashizzar.
Such a large amount of warpstone drew other creatures (helped along by a treacherous servant of Nagash), namely Skaven. Upon learning about the mountain full of warpstone, the Skaven councils began their usual backstabbing contest to see who gets the mountain, which laughably lasted for 25 years. They only stopped backstabbing each other when they remembered they'd miss out on the warpstone if they focused on infighting, thus they decided to form an alliance and created the biggest expedition in Skaven history. It was filled with a clusterfuck of rats from each clan, so big that the councils believed they'd conquer the mountain within a month. This expedition was led by Eekrit Backbiter, Warlord of Clan Rikek with his Chief assassin Eshreegar by his side and his idiotic assistant Lord Hiirc on the other.
When the Skaven began attacking the mining force, Nagash sensed the absence of his skeleton miners and initially believed to be the work of treacherous "living" barbarians among his army. When he actually saw an armored Skaven through the vision of one of his skeletons, Nagash's reaction was reasonably PISSED OFF. He hated the Skaven for being cowardly, coyote-like beasts who used any means to get their dirty little paws on his warpstone. He wasted no time and took control of his army, hoping he could find the rat hole they came from and erase their existence from the world for good.
The Skaven armies were vast, but Nagash's magic abilities were also great, as was his army of undead. At the time, the Skaven had a very old version of a warpfire thrower - a very large bronze device mounted on a wooden cart pushed by four ratmen - and it was powerful enough to melt some of Nagash's living servants. The warpfire thrower even almost killed Nagash himself. Though he raised corpses in front of him fast enough to avoid getting completely facefucked, and destroyed it with a magic missile to the back as the rats turned the weapon away, the warpfire left permanent damage to Nagash's body and weakened his powers.
At one point, Nagash launched a crucial battle against the skaven stronghold after extracting information from a Skaven chieftain's mind using a torture device of his own creation to discover its whereabouts. His battle plan was to ambush the Skaven from two sides using secret tunnels he had dug. The plan wasn't known to his servants because he believed there are traitors that could leak it to the Skaven. Still, his plan was known to the Skaven already and thus Nagash's invading forces in the tunnel are met with Skaven forces pushing them back. On the battlefield , Nagash hacked and slashed the ratmen using an obsidian blade he took from a certain northern barbarian's grave and buffed with his own spellwork (possibly Mortis aka Zefet-nebtar). His enemies were strong, led by Hiirc and an old as fuck Grey seer named Velsquee. Although Nagash's ambush plan failed, he was able to devastate the main Skaven army with him and his combined army of barbarians and undead skeletons alone while being bombarded by poison wind mortars.
He managed to get near of Hiirc and was going to kill him, only to be blasted my magic from his enslaved barbarian witch Akatha. She confirmed his prior suspicions by announcing she was the traitor who called the Skaven into the mountain and revealed his plans to the rats by telepathically sending messages to their Grey Seers. Nagash tried to retaliate, but his magic was depleted and Akatha's magical protection charm protected her, forcing Nagash to direct some of his undead troops to take it from her. Without her charm, the vulnerable Akatha had her soul joyfully devoured by Nagash with the mocking parting words of "darkness awaits you", leaving her dried body to be ripped apart by the undead Skaven.
Without the traitors' presence, Nagash uncovered his other hidden forces from the caves on top as well as scarab constructs he had created to fight the Skaven. He later fought the grey seer in a melee duel. Despite the rat's old age, he put up a decent fight against Nagash, even dealt a mutual wound that broke his horn but broke Nagash's skull in return. Still, the tide turned when Nagash destroyed the poison wind mortar team by throwing skaven slaves onto its ammunition, causing a chain explosion that spelled the doom to the weapon teams, as well as the main Skaven army that inhaled the poison wind. The Skaven had lost this important battle. Velsquee was wounded but survived, but Hiirc is met with a treacherous knife from Lord Eekrit after he was found near the ruins of his War Liter.
After this defeat, the Skaven forces were not only forced to abandon their previous conquered warpstone mine, the councils also dissolved the alliance of clans and disbanding the expeditionary force due to its war of attrition against Nagash. Lord Eekrik's forces were left with no reinforcement nor resources and Nagashizzar is now known infamous among the Skaven as The Cursed Pit. Although befret of a conquering army, the Skaven resort to futile guerrilla harassment against Nagash and his forces also depleted of manpower/corpses and warpstone. It was at that moment Nagash decided to send his servant to offer the Skaven a truce: he would give them some warpstone if they gave him slaves in exchange.
The Skaven, wary of his plans (due to being naturally untrusting and a prophecy foretold by the Grey Seer Qweeqwol), but coveting the warpstone, agreed. Although Lord Eekrit was disappointed and frustrated for failing to beat bone daddy, he had no choice for he has nowhere left to go (going back to Skavenblight would mean embarrassment and execution by a council assassin). Lord Eekrit grudgingly accepted the truce after hearing Lord Velsquee's suggestion (Eekrikt will take the deal and later kill Nagash at the right moment). Eekrit's forces lured several Savage Orc tribes into the pits beneath the fortress for Nagash to slaughter and use for his rituals. It wasn't profitable however, since the warpstones they received was about as much as they had mined during the war, and taking captives from orcs was difficult and dangerous. The large amount of souls from the captives allows Nagash to replenish him and strengthen his newly raised undead soldiers like never before. Having witness all this, Eekrit's resentment of the arrangement could only grow.
Having finally made a truce with the Skaven and gaining lots of useful materials from their trade, Nagash decided to further strengthen himself with a set of war gears. At The mountain's highest peak was its tower, Nagash and his three lieutenants forged his Black Armour (AKA Morikhane) in a long and painful ritual using Gromril (a known Dwarf favored mineral he got from the Skaven), obsidian, and some warpstone dust. Although Nagash had no idea how to into smithery, let alone work gromril, he did it nonetheless with the help of his three lieutenants and lots of magic. Obsidian and Gromril in the pot was mixed in with warpstone and fused onto Nagash's body, piece by piece through a long and complicated incantation he had though of. The armor was a success, offering powerful protection and undoing the damage the Skaven warpfire had wrought on his body. It is also at that time Arkhan the Black was brought back from the dead by Nagash and has been acting as a negotiator for the skaven as well as his spokesman for guests.
His three lieutenants, completely worn out and their flesh withered by the magics used in the forging, were complimented by Nagash for a job well done... then killed and sent to the "destroyed underworld" to deliver his hated foes (aka his brother and other people he fucked over) a message that their vengeance will never come. He then went to forge his Crown of Sorcery using the remaining materials in the pot. The crown was special however because it required an even longer and complicated incantation and had to be forged by Nagash alone, who -again - had never studied smithery in his life. As Nagash struck the metal with his hammer, he injects it with memories and experiences his living life; his hatred, lust, vengeance and all that edgy stuff went into the crown. The finished crown was ugly, but nonetheless a dangerous yet powerful artifact that made Nagash even stronger.
While forging the crown, Nagash was telepathically bothered by a nerdy bloodsucking fanboy of his who wished to summon him. Though magic or astronomy, Nagash had learned of the day where Sakhmet the green witch (aka Morrslieb) covered Neru (moon) and put that in one of his books. That book was stolen by Lamashizzar and found its way into W'soran's hands, who used it to find that exact time and use its power to summon Nagash. Not appreciating the interruption, Nagash took one look at W'soran with his green burning eyes then telepathically grasped him with his invisible hand, squeezed him like an insect then blots out the pathetic nerd's mind. W'soran will be staked in the heart and imprisoned soon after, but will be freed 22 years later where Lahmia will be besieged.
After Neferata and other well known Vampires failed defending Lahmia, the surviving vampires fled to other corners of the world like bitches. W'soran and his vampire followers too survived and made a long journey to Nagashizzar in order to pledge their allegiance to Nagash by offering his stolen book. Upon meeting W'soran, Nagash at first was about to devour W'soran until the vampire mentioned "a usurper" by the name Alcadizzar, a Rastraian who has claimed the throne of Khemri and even claimed himself to be one of Settra's descendants. Intrigued, Nagash spared W'soran, had him spill the beans and took in the Vampires as part of his invasion forces.
With W'soran and Arkhan leading his MASSIVE SKELETON LEGION including many deadly constructs and bone giants, Nagash was ready to destroy Nekehara!! Or so he thought. Alcadizzar, a Rastran prince and the new king of Khemri/Nehekhara has long since informed about Nagash's invasion and has been doing a fuck ton of homework and improvements to his military technology. Alcadizzar was not only a brilliant strategist, but also an innovator. Despite Nehekharans no longer being capable of using their gods' miracles, Alcadizzar built magic academies and created a fuck ton of ways to kill the undead (all without the help of some pointy ears, suck it Volan!). Limited magical rune weapons were produced at Ka-sabar and were distributed among the Nehekharan armies. They allow the Nehekharan soldiers to one-shot undead in combat (some serious power creep only the Empire wishes they could achieve). A telepathic communication (aka magic telephone) network was also established in order for Alcadizzar to track the undead armies' movement as well as allow him to make other improvements without the need to travel around the countryside.
Despite having a gigantic army and shared master, W'soran and Arkhan didn't get along. W'soran considered Arkhan a coward while Arkhan considered W'soran an arrogant fool. They suffered heavy casualties even against a typical Nehekharan army, now armed with magic arrows and weapons good for killing undead warriors. Arkhan found it annoying that his spells kept getting dispelled by the enemy casters, but they still destroyed them with their larger army. They managed to raze Maharak to the ground at least (as revenge from Nagash) since not only it is the closest Nehekharan city near Nagashizzar (Lahamia was the closest, but was razed in the aftermath of the Vampire war), it is also the home of those salty mortuary cult priests, a bunch of old folks who no longer had any power, were facing poverty, and were too stubborn to accept any improvement from Alcadizzar.
Arkhan and W'soran would face their utter defeat at the Valley of Kings (also known as Charnel Valley, as well as Queek Head-Taker's starting province in Mortal Empires). That valley path is a well known strategical location for the Nehekharans since the era of Settra. Alcadizzar carefully fortified its position, hid numerous traps and installed artillery such as flaming tar rock throwers against the undead legion. By the time the undead had breached all three sturdy walls and their defences, they suffered losses that halved their number. Alcadizzar and his armies then came at the right moment, just as the undead legion had arrived at the end of the valley, and dealt a swift blow against the undead forces. Arkhan was forced to retreat and W'soran escaped using some kind of scarab magic after all of his vampire servants were slain in battle. After this, the once mighty undead legion was merely a regular-sized army, forced into a fighting retreat against the Nehekharans. By the time Arkhan retreated back to Nagashizzar, only a tenth of the original legion remained.
Alcadizzar was going to chase after Nagash but gave up after he learned from his trusted prophetess that he would win such a fight but lose everything in winning, so he decided to enjoy the life he had always wanted with his family.
Nagash was so furious at his army's poor performance that he raged for 7 days and 7 nights. His voice trembled across the fortress and tunnels causing quakes and his magical power spikes to make his body light up the fortress like a lantern. Once he stopped killing failed minions and wrecking shit, he sat down and brooded. Nagash had gained knowledge of all of the Winds, including those that did not blow through Nehekhara, and became one of the only mortals to gain a grasp of understanding about the Chaos Gods without his mind breaking. Far from it in fact, he saw them as a goal; to become Chaos and rule over the material plane consisting only of the mindless Undead. His first targets were, naturally, the Nehekharans. He paid the Skaven to poison the Vitae Tarn (also known as Mortis Tarn after this incident), a lake that contributed the primary water source of the entire Nehekhara region and spread its corruption through every river it connects, including the crucial River Vitae (later known as the River Mortis after this incident) and unleashed a magical plague to decimate every living thing in Nehekhara (ironic, considering Nagash and Nurgle don't get along later). Note that the poison was warpstone disks with various rune carved on them, suggesting that it was actually warpstone particles that was flowing down the river which allowed Nagash to control whoever inhaled those particles. After the plague decimated over three quarters of the living population, Nagash sent an undead army to Khemri to slaughter the rare few who had survived the plague, except Alcadizaar, who was to be captured and brought to Nagash.
Nagash had a massive plan, and he had spared Alcadizzar for a reason, even made sure his magical plague wouldn't infect Alcadizzar no matter what. Nagash needed him as a focus for his new master plan: a massive spell that would kill EVERYTHING living in Nehekhara and render it a literal no-man's-land with no water, no vegetation, no animals, nothing; just skeletons up the ass which he would raise into a gigantic undead army under Nagash's command. By using Alcadizzar to represent the ruler of the entire Nehekhara, a powerful symbolic meaning in magic, every damn thing in Nehekhara would have their soul bound to their dead body and serve. Nagash would then use this army to kill every living thing in the world and turn it into a kingdom of undeath, where only he would rule for all eternity.
After the biggest summoning in history, Nagash was weakened so much 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 two VERY frightened Skaven, Lord Eekrit and Eshreegar, into Nagash's throne room itself and given a sword made of pure Warpstone which was SO deadly, Alcadizaar only had a short amount of time to use it before he himself died just from touching it. During this time, Nagash was confronted by the ghost of his ex-wife/brother's widow, who was enraged at all he did and subtly mocked him about the coming beatdown he was going to get. Cue our "hero" arriving in the big bad's throne room, where he charged in and chopped off Nagash’s hand before he could react. While the Skaven DIDN'T directly attack Nagash themselves, the Council of Thirteen did use their magic to protect Alcadizaar from Nagash's magic even as it slowly killed them; the fact that SKAVEN were co-operating with each other AND risking their lives to help a non-Skaven shows just how bad things had gotten.
Despite both being fatigued and weakened by their ordeals, the ensuing battle was titanic, for even in his weakened state, Nagash was a foe to be reckoned with. But finally, it was Alcadizaar who emerged victorious. Flying into a rage, Alcadizaar flew at Nagash and hacked away at him until he was dead and his corpse left in many small pieces. Alcadizaar took his crown as a trophy and staggered off, with Eekrit and Eshreegar gathering all of Nagash's body parts (except for his right hand, which crawled away unnoticed during the fight...) and burning them in Warpstone fire.
Nagash's nine books were lost, popping up in various times and places. Alcadizaar's body, bearing the Crown of Sorcery made by Nagash and still carrying the Fellblade, washed up on shore in the Old World along the Mediterranean equivalent. The Skaven tracked him down and took the Fellblade back from his lifeless body, but left the corpse and crown alone. Later the sorcerer Kadon found Alcadizzar's body and the crown. Taking both, he interred Alcadizzar's body in a cairn and used the crown which gave rise to the Necromantic kingdom of Mourkain.
Nagash did not stay dead. Using the power of his Black Pyramid, he was able to knit his body back together, piece by tiny piece, over 1,111 years minus the severed hand. The next time he rose, he found the lands of Nehekhara defended by many jealous undead kings with their combined armies of skeletons equal to anything he could muster. Nagash challenged the reigning king of Khemri, the first King Settra, for the rule of Nehekhara. Settra and the other Kings, furious at what Nagash had done, chased him from Nehekhara. They had no fear of his monstrous form or the undead hordes he commanded, for they commanded skeletal legions of their own and had become just as ghastly 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 grew in power and independance while he regenerated.
Returning to his fortress, Nagash found the Skaven had mined most of the warpstone away. Nevertheless, he took command of a horde of Ghouls, and in one night they drove all the Skaven from Cripple Peak, venting his frustrations on the ratmen. The Skaven made many attempts at regaining Cripple Peak, but after being defeated by Arkhan who once again joined his master, they eventually decided that they had gathered enough of the warpstone, and left Cripple Peak for good.
After wiping out the Skaven who'd taken over his fortress, Nagash realized that he needed his old magical artefacts to reassert his power, including his stolen crown. So Nagash forged a new hand to replace his missing one out of a warpstone alloy. The crown had been taken north into the Badlands, where it fell into the hands of Orcs who raided across the Black Mountains and seemingly disappeared. Nagash led a great army into the nascent Empire to reclaim it. During the final battle he fought in a duel with Sigmar himself and nearly defeated him. Sigmar, realizing what was at stake went on a Humanity Fuck Yeah! (Though Nagash was also a (undead) human, so how does it apply here? Who cares? Its awesome from both perspectives) 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 powerful with each incarnation. Nagash once again returned to life, 1,666 years after his death at the hands of Sigmar, in the night known as the Night of the Restless Dead because his return prompted undead to awaken across the world, but was so weak he was only alive for a single night before his power weakened and he slipped back into the afterlife. Between this and knowledge of the Chaos Gods, he made a plan to come back for good and be free of what the Fellblade did to him. To this end, he charged Arkhan with working to restore him.
During the downtime, Nagash recruited a "young" Vampire named Mannfred von Carstein to serve him, and teamed him up with Arkhan the Black to resurrect their master. Now the time has come... FOR GAMES WORKSHOP TO UNLEASH THEIR LATEST CASH COW IN THE NAME OF NAGASH!
GUESS WHO'S BACK!!!!!!!
Nagash is back, with fuckawesome (and fuckexpensive) model (*It would be 100% if not for the derpy skull face on the staff - which can be solved by using the sword instead, the ridiculous skeleton pope hat that is the size of a man standing on another man's shoulders - though that is meant to evoke the Pschent crowns of real-life Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, the naughty tentacle spinal cords borrowed from Doctor Octopus, the buck-teeth on the ghosts and that long bone hanging between his legs - which is meant to be a loincloth made from a spine but it looks like something else...) and another storyline chapter that involves everyone this time.
His primary goal is to bring order to the world; with the dawn of the End Times we see the High Elves and Dark Elves getting railed by massive chaos incursions while the Wood Elves sit in their forest laughing about how everyone is gonna be speared on Slaanesh's dick but them. The Beastmen who are massing disagree with this assessment however. The Empire is currently taking it from behind by nearly every faction in the game (mainly the Warriors of Chaos lead by Archaon who is determined not to end up looking like a little shit this time) at the moment, with Kislev having been almost entirely wiped out (assuming this "End Times" is a wash like the last one they'll have rebuilt their green wood castles in a week, but still). Bretonnia was in flames as civil war tore through the country, but has mostly united now, even if 50% of the population died. The Orcs & Goblins have been decimated by the attacks of Eltharion against their race as WAAAGH!s that lasted since the dawn of time were obliterated with fire magic, leaving no spores to repopulate. The remainder of their race (barring individuals and their bands such as Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks and Grimgor Ironhide) are heading straight for eastern Ulthuan into a trap that could possibly work and wipe out most of the greenskins. The Skaven backstabbing and plotting against the world hasn't changed of course and are currently conquering the majority of the southern human nations with numbers that even vampires think is excessive.Lizardmen are under assault from Daemons, and Mazdamundi declares that the great plan has failed and that a great exodus must begin. Dwarfs have barricaded themselves in their holds, or else gone about trying to retake and rebuild the Eight Peaks thanks to being shunned by both the Empire and Tyrion when help was offered in their missions against the Undead (of course, thanks to the fact that Dwarfs will rather destroy their own race than let grudges go, it's unlikely that the Dwarfs will be around long after reunification and the chance to avenge themselves at each other with impunity).
Just before the End Times, Teclis managed to contact Nagash with an offer of gaining the Wind of Shyish and forming an anti-Chaos alliance with the living. Nagash, being Nagash, threw Teclis' offer back in his face. However, he secretly co-opted Teclis' plan with a few alterations: harness the Wind of Shyish to control all Death magic (something even Nagash himself hadn't thought of and grudgingly commended Teclis for), overthrow the Chaos Gods and become the only god of a world of undead. To this end, Nagash had Arkhan fast-track his resurrection plan. In his own End Times book, after much scheming, magic and war from Arkhan and Mannfred, Nagash has risen again. By the way you can read the efforts of Arkhan and Mannfred to bring back Naggy in the "The Return of Nagash", brought to you by Black Library, among the highlights of the novel you get Count Nyktolos "Count Von Count", finally fulfilling the long time wish of /tg/ to get the old Sesame Street star as a vampire Count.
Once he came back he held up his hands for quiet, then told the assembled peoples of the world this; "Guys, I got a plan. Everyone just take off your skin and meat, and line up over there. Trust me guys, this'll work for sure." As one can imagine, that isn't going over so well. The first to get crushed was Settra the Imperishable, who united the Tomb Kings (and punished those who refused to kiss the ring and get in line by ordering their unliving skull by used as artillery ammunition) against just such a threat. The idea that anyone rule over SETTRA THE FUCKYOU was too much for the old man, but it turned out badly and his army (plus one of his gods) were destroyed/eaten by Nagash. Likewise, Archaon stopped his march into the Empire and instead followed a route that would lead him to the massive Undead fuckhead that DARED to take HIS rightful place as big-bad of the setting.
Following similar logic, Queen Neferata has gathered a massive army pulled from the Undead across the world, as well as the living armies whose leaders have been under her thumb since day one. But she has not yet decided who she'll follow; on one hand, serving Nagash would be beneficial as he's seeking to become the Chaos God of Undeath (replacing all four of the other Chaos Gods and BECOMING Chaos Undivided) which would make her ruler of all beneath him. On the other hand..."serving" isn't something she does, to the point that one of her earliest decisions after leaving his service originally involved pooling all the forces available to her to go fuck up one of her closest allies and his entire kingdom because he implied that he was better at ruling than her. If she DOES choose to serve however (as in, if the player who shells out $79 for her model fields her as a model in the Undead Legion army) she becomes known as the Mortarch of Blood and takes place in Nagash's trinity of servants.
But Nagash has planned for his return well. His first servant and first in the big three Mortarchs, Arkhan the Black, became known as the Mortarch of Sacrament. Arkhan leads Nagash's main army against the forces of the world. Meanwhile Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow, leads a detachment of Nagash's forces against Archaon's Chaos army to ensure that the
Nordic fuckup half-blooded EMPIRE Daemon Prince fuckup that got boo-ed offstage in Storm of Chaos doesn't interfere with Nagash's big moment in the spotlight. He even cemented power by entering the Afterlife, defeating and consuming the god of the dead for humanity Usirian (AKA Morr and all the other names humans have for their god of the dead in Warhammer Fantasy). He even tore Settra apart, though didn't kill him, and forced Settra to watch the destruction of Khemri. Nagash then went on to bitch-slap the Tomb Kings into submission, destroying the few that resisted and finally has his FUCKHEUG undead army to conquer the world, which he will use to ruin the day of Chaos' forces, he also has now a Necron Monolith his own Flying Black Pyramid.
Nagash landed the Black Pyramid in Sylvania, surrounded by a River Styx expy where the magic builds up, and spent the next three books chilling in a sarcophagus, slowly absorbing the wind of Death Magic. During that time Arkhan took a leaf from the Witch King and the Mouth of Sauron, keeping the undead legions in order. When Isabella and the turncoat Nameless lead a Nurglite host attack Sylvania, Arkhan arranged a battle plan. The undead hold them off but they force their way to the front, even slaying Krell and Arkhan. Just after Arkhan is killed by Isabella, Nagash wakes up and enters the battle, but while Isabella distracts Nagash by trolling him her Skaven allies destroy the Black Pyramid with warpstone bombs (the warpstone equivalent of nukes) placed by tunneling teams. Nagash gets pissed enough to impress an Angry Marine and destroys all the daemons, including a Great Unclean One, with a single blast of magic. After venting, Nagash took stock. Between that epic, magical temper tantrum and the Black Pyramid's destruction he can't reach godhood as he originally planned. After much introspection Nagash swallowed his pride and conceded that he would either have to serve the Chaos Gods or ally with the living to survive. He reluctantly chose the latter, bringing back Arkhan and Krell; despite his frustration over their failure, he needed loyal, intelligent servants.
He leaves Neferata to rule Sylvania and its undead legions before going to Athel Loren, sending Mannfred as a messenger to parley. During the meeting Nagash tries to engender goodwill by handing Mannfred to the elves as compensation for Aliathra's death, but he also taunts Alarielle and Tyrion about Aliathra's fate and withholds Arkhan's involvement because he's too useful (the only reason Nagash even did this was because Malekith had nearly convinced the other Incarnates that they didn't need Nagash and, combined, the six Incarnates present could have destroyed him). His army is ordered to stay out of Athel Loren, except for Vlad and Arkhan. Nagash and his accompanying two Mortarchs are escorted everywhere under heavy guard including at least two other Incarnates because (understandably) no-one trusts him. When the forces of Chaos arrive, Nagash goes "Bitch Please!" and gives a beatdown to anything thrown at him, from Beastmen warbands to monsters; he even solos A BLOODTHIRSTER... AND WINS! After being teleported to Middenheim with Arkhan, Krell, Vlad and part of his army he roftstomps his way through the Chaos forces occupying Middenheim until they get to the the excavation. Along the way he kills Chaos' prisoners, bringing back all the dead as zombies under his control. His forces do take losses, including Krell being killed by Sigvald. He then he meets Settra, who was restored by the Chaos Gods. He tells Nagash he was sent to kill him, before killing a daemon that was about to attack Nagash. Settra explains that NO ONE COMMANDS HIM, that he's going to take down the Chaos Gods for offering him rulership for service, then he'll come back and Nagash had either better bend the knee or be slain. Settra then goes off to fight the Chaos army, leaving Nagash to join with the others. Nagash gives Arkhan the remaining Morghasts and tells him to cover his retreat and hold the line until dead.
Nagash reaches the artefact with the other incarnates and tries to fight the forces of Chaos, providing a rearguard of zombies raised from the combined dead of Middenheim. He continues curbstomping anything that directly engages him, only fighting an opponent who can match him in the form of a stronger than average Bloodthirster, Ka'bandha.
After all the Chaos forces are defeated with Archaon MIA, the Old Ones artefact destabilizes, creating a magical rift that will consume the world. The surviving Incarnates and Teclis (who takes two winds of magic into himself) start to contain the Rift but fail when Mannfred disrupts the ritual by killing Balthazar. This led to Teclis' death as he tried to re-stabilize the magic by taking a third wind but the power is too much and he is disintegrated. Free of their control, the rift grows; when it touches the surviving Incarnates it sucks out all of their magic, including Nagash's. He is last seen collapsed and panicking while his body crumbles to dust.
In the new setting Nagash has achieved godhood, but not on his terms and with others who can challenge him. According to Black Library, after the End Times Nagash was originally trapped by the Chaos Gods in "a crypt of forgotten moments, burying him in the weft of time itself"; we still wonder how is that Sigmar managed to free him, as well as why he freed him as it's obvious that apart from GW favouritism, there's no possible reason that Sigmar could've had that would justify all the shit that Nagash could (and did) do later. Once freed (and being the asshole that he is), he immediately set up shop in the realm of Shyish, declared himself its king and tried claiming ownership of everyone who died (despite not running the place or providing its afterlives, just being the biggest kid on the playground). He also planned to betray all of the other gods in the setting (who are at this point his allies), with his reasoning being that they were probably going to betray him sooner or later so he might as well be the first to do it. Given what happens later, it's not really a surprise so many races chose to ignore his (unsubstantiated) claim to their people's souls.
For a while he was allied with the other incarnate gods in this new era, mutually tolerating Sigmar (not counting his planned betrayal) and providing order and occasional undead reinforcements. Morathi eventually found her way to the pantheon in her aelven form and, as is her style, tried to seduce the other members. Sigmar ignored her so she focused her efforts on Nagash. Nagash responded with an epic pimp slap that struck Morathi down, revealing her true serpentine form, which caused Morathi to flee in humiliation and rage. At one point Alarielle, now the ruler of Ghyran, managed to strike a bargain with him to deal with some rampaging undead in the Realm of Life; Nagash could consider the undead-infested part of Ghyran his sovereign territory, in exchange he kept the undead contained to it. Nagash agreed to Alarielle's terms, likely with his finger bones crossed behind his back.
When the Age of Chaos rolled in Nagash found that his territory was already rife with well established chaos cults. This was completely shocking to him, and only him because the evil fuck was so terrible of a ruler that the onset of chaos was seen as an improvement by many of his subjects (and they're probably right). How the fuck he missed all of these cults and had no clue there were Chaos worshipers in his realm is also a mystery, until you remember that he really is just that stupid.
When things were looking bleak, the various gods started going their separate ways to defend their own lands. Surprisingly, Nagash was the last one to abandon Sigmar and step out on his own. Unsurprisingly he did so in the most dickish way, kicking Sigmar's forces in the balls on the way out (and fucking over any hope the pantheon had of holding Chaos in check, meaning he also fucked himself over). This was the last straw, with Sigmar going back to being a barbarian god-king and roflstomping his way through Shyish to try and teach Nagash a lesson. They 'fought' twice, with Nagash running like a bitch both times before Sigmar could finish him. After working out his rage, Sigmar finally bothered to check his inbox... and found out that in his absence Chaos went "all your bases are belong to us!" on the realms. This made Sigmar head back and seal off his realm before working on his newest weapons. Nagash on the other hand tried fighting off the forces of Chaos (barely even having recovered from Sigmar's invasions), only to get his shit kicked in by Archaon (who destroyed his body). His armies were crushed, his territory was claimed by Chaos and without Arkhan he might've died permanently (which probably would've been better for everyone in the setting). From this point on, instead of trying to fight Chaos in any way Nagash just gave up and waited for somebody else to do it, only stepping back into the fray when Sigmar showed up with the Stormcast Eternals. This time he rejected Sigmar's request to team up against Chaos, figuring he can do just fine against them on his own, because that worked out so fucking well for him last time. He also later had a rematch against Archaon where he once again lost, his army was destroyed a second time, but instead of getting his body obliterated he chose to run like a bitch.
Unsurprisingly Nagash didn't take kindly to Sigmar keeping the souls of his dead to remake into Stormcast Eternals; he claimed he'd never forgive Sigmar for his 'soul-theft' and whined that he'd been betrayed (ignoring that he'd planned well before this to betray everyone else and that the souls don't technically belong to him). He began plans to fight Sigmar's forces and take back what he saw as his, because that worked so fucking well the last two times he got his ass kicked by Sigmar, who at the time didn't have superhumans helping him. To add insult to injury Nagash is the reason the Stormcast Eternals degrade with each death, whenever they die Nagash sticks his skeletal fingers in Sigmar's pie to try and grab some each time; the bits of memory and personality that each Stormcast loses with each death and rebirth are the bits Nagash claims. It took a while, but Sigmar eventually learnt of this (actual) soul-theft. In response, Sigmar marshaled his forces and directed them to Shyish to find Nagash and/or liberate the souls.
The first expedition, led by Lord Celestant Tarsus Bullheart, found Nagash with predictable results. Nagash threw their message and Sigmar's offer back in their faces, and then attacked (Nagash struck first). When the rest of the Stormcast attacked Nagash, he killed all but Tarsus. Tarsus got up and noticed that the Stormcast's souls were being trapped by Nagash and that he was unable to return to Azyrheim and Sigmar. He mocked Nagash and hit him with a bolt from of his cape hammers, which hurt Nagash enough to distract him, the lapse in concentration allowing the Stormcasts' souls to escape. Livid, Nagash killed Tarsus with a wave of amethyst fire and imprisoned Tarsus soul, gloating to the imprisoned Stormcast about how he would torture Tarsus' soul and pry as many of Sigmar's secrets as he can from him.
Sigmar isn't the only one who pissed Nagash off however, the new book revealed that Nagash really wants aelf souls, as they can be manipulated more than most others, being more easily used in more complicated craftings like weapons of war, rather than just becoming more undead servants. He was unable to acquire them however, thanks to Slaanesh eating them all. Furthermore, when Tyrion and Malerion cut Slaanesh open Nagash sensed the souls spilling out, though once again (and perhaps, unsurprisingly) he wasn't able to get any; he was really steamed about that. He's also equally pissed at the Idoneth Deepkin who steal the souls of their victims, though he hasn't been able to catch them either. Furthermore there's a number of other factions who do whatever they want to their souls and the souls of their dead, and unless Nagash or his forces show up in person there's fuck-all he can do about it. When he does show up though, he makes sure to let everyone know it by punishing those who keep their souls in as dickish a manner he possibly can, although sometimes it fucks him over too (since Nagash is just the king of foresight), like altering a city so that the souls of anyone in it can't leave the city and preventing him from doing anything with them (Other than creating more Nighthaunt).
Nagash still likes his black pyramids, so much so he built many of them, turned them upside down (because why not) and made them all fly, in theory making them Skaven-proof although in practice they definitely are not. He also managed to get some use out of them, in the Malign Portents campaign he built a new inverted black pyramid and surrounded it with realmstone, think crystals that are literally magic in solid form. His plan was to cause all the magic in the realm to coalesce into the center, where he'd absorb it all to become the true master of death, giving him control over all the dead in all the realms, because that worked so fucking well the last time he tried it. Unsurprisingly he got the exact same fucking outcome as last time, drawing all the magic to himself, finding he's not as awesome as he thinks he is, because just like last time, the ritual is corrupted (this time by the Skaven, who could have predicted they'd fuck him over) and having the magic spill back into the land, fucking things up for everyone in the setting (while his pyramid started spinning and accidentally burrowed into the ground). During this ritual the Chaos Gods themselves show up to first get laughed at by Nagash, then laugh at Nagash, then get laughed at by Nagash again, who viewed his failure as success. As a by-product, souls everywhere coalesced into the Nighthaunt, under the dictations of Nagash's ironic sense of justice. The sudden influx of spooky ghosts resulted in Sigmar having to open up his special mage chamber, the ones formerly guarding his anvil-of-apotheosis. The failures in Sigmar's reforging process have become more common because of the Necroquake, making him more desperate to fix the flaw of reforging.
Out of all the deities in the setting, Nagash is easily the most impotent. While Nagash claims every soul for himself, and every soul has to travel to the Shyish underworlds, many of the other Deities do what they will with the souls of their people and don't give a shit about what he thinks. Necromancers are likewise free to do as they please because unless Nagash happens to be right there, he's not going to be affecting shit amd seems unable to enforce anything from afar. He still sticks his bony fingers into everything he pretends is his, see Shadespire, where they cheated death using shadeglass and Nagash weaved a great ritual to trap their souls in a prison of eternal torment.
Among other things, Shyish consists of afterlives that are created by the beliefs of mortals of what happens after they die. Most people who die go to one of these places, where they remain until those places fade away (if the civilization they're from is destroyed) upon which they can just go elsewhere - except, since the Necroquake, many of those underworlds are being dragged to the epicenter of the ritual and are ripped apart into more raw magic, and more nighthaunt. Additionally, since Nagash has claimed dominion over Syhish, many of those underworlds have been twisted by his presence - pyramids, obelisks, and other monuments to his vainglory dot the various landscapes.
He might as well be a cartoon villain given how often he tries to repeat past events while forgetting their outcomes. Each and every time he seems surprised he's getting exactly the same results and then he holds a grudge because he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling Skaven/Chaos gods/Sigmar/Archaon. Luckily this never gets him down, since Nagash sees negatives as positives, his cowardice during the Age of Chaos was just him biding his time, his petty and unreasonable grudges are him punishing thieves who are stealing his (unjust) due. His planned betrayals of his closest allies were just him demonstrating how much foresight he has (aka, none) and his routine failures have just instilled in him the confidence that he is never to blame for any of his mistakes, so he carries no doubt in his unbeating heart that he will, one day, rule over everything.
Incidentally Sigmar considered Nagash his closest ally back in the 'good old days', in fact, they initially went on a super smash bros tour cleaning the still forming Mortal Realms from eldritch abominations which would have given even Chaos a run for his money. Arkhan the Black even believed that the two need to be reunited in order to beat back Chaos. Neither of the two gods seem keen on that idea, in Sigmar's case he gave up on forming an alliance after getting betrayed again by having an entire army of Stormcasts get wiped out during the Allpoints' Shyish gate siege because Nagash never sent the promised reinforcements, and in Nagash's case, he's a fucking moron.
Recently it's been retconned that when Nagash was helping create Sigmar's cities, he built secret underground tombs beneath them that nobody noticed in however long it's been from the age of myth until now. How the fuck they went undetected, even by the race that literally burrows up into areas exactly like these has gone unanswered, but it's probably fair to blame shitty writing. In these crypts were super-skeletons made from several bodies, in effect being the prototype versions of one Nagash's designs that he'd later call the Ossiarch Bonereapers. This means that he planned to betray Sigmar twice when they were still working together, but don't think this means he's not still upset at imaginary betrayals against him. After the necroquake, Nagash would summon all of the undead in the crypts beneath the cities, and apparently, they all made their way to back to the realm of death, making one wonder what the point of building the crypts was in the first place. After they arrived he spent time perfecting his design, working them into their current appearances and distilling souls to ensure that the beings housing them were free of all negative traits (those being any he doesn't like), and once satisfied with the result he then unleashed them to collect more bones for him so that they can build him fancy bone cities and bone statues.
The latest development in Nagash's story comes courtesy of the second book of the Broken Realms saga, Broken Realms Teclis. In it, Nagash, buoyed by the power boost he got from the Necroquake and backed by all the undead raised in its wake sets his eyes on the realm of Hysh and sends an army of Nighthaunts there to try and conquer the joint human-aelf town of Settler's Gain only for Teclis to appear and spank the army good and hard and send the survivors running back to Nagash. A furious Teclis then astrally projects into Nagash's throneroom and tells him to knock his bullshit off, only for Nagash to tell Teclis "bitch I do what I want!" and dispel the projection. He then orders his three OG Mortarch's (the newer ones being off fighting Archaon in the Eightpoints) to seal many of the realm gates leading directly into Shyish to slow or stop any Hyshian retaliation, before sending them out through some one-way realm gates leading out into other realms with the intention of corrupting them on the other side into what are essentially black hole generators that will suck the other realms into the Shysian Nadir. Unfortunately for Nagash, his plans go wrong pretty damn fast. First Neferata's scheme in Chamon is accidentally uncovered by a random Kharadron Airship captain who manages to warn the rest of her people who then promptly launch an assault on Neferata's operation and force her to retreat. Then Arkhan fails not once but twice at his attempts to corrupt some Hyshian realm gates and gets stabbed and temporarily killed by a vengeful Eltharion for his trouble. As for Mannfred, his attempts in Ghyran also fail when his army gets too spread out dealing with a bunch of Nurgle troops and the combination of the fighting and the energy from the corruption ritual ends up alerting Alarielle and the local Sylvaneth to what's going on. Alarielle and company then fight their way through the two opposing armies and shut the ritual down, though Mannfred's internal monologue as he retreats reveals he knew his plan was doomed from the beginning meaning he's been playing everyone in this whole mess for his own unknown gains.
Meanwhile, while this was going on Teclis uses a hidden Realmgate into Shyish that Nagash was unaware of to launch a series of retaliatory strikes with the goal of showing Nagash wasn't as all-powerful as he made himself out to be and thus not only bring hope to the inhabitants of the realm of Shyish but hopefully spark a rebellion against the Necromancer god. Although the campaign turns out to be more difficult than expected Teclis succeeds in destroying the Ossiarch fortress known as the Triptych, purifying the land around it and freeing several of Nagash's cities from Ossiarch control before calling it a day and heading back home. Understandably enraged by all this, Nagash orders the remnants of Arkhan's Ossiarch forces in Hysh to destroy one of the local flesh-eater court enclaves so as to have bodies to rebuild their armies with. Nagash then wraps himself in captured Aelf spirits to shield himself from direct attack before personally accompanying more of his Ossiarchs (their numbers grown swollen with the dead of the invading force) to Hysh to link up with Arkhan's former forces before they all head over to Ymmetria to corrupt the great mountain spirit Avelanor, the greatest of his kind, and thus give the magical equivalent of a giant middle finger to the Lumineth. Teclis hears about this and backed by the moon spirit Celennar, an army of Lumineth, nature spirits, and other allies he heads to the mountain to intercept Nagash. After arriving at the chosen battlefield and throwing insults at each other for a bit Teclis and Nagash then throw down in an intense battle that leaves neither god unscathed with Nagash's Nine books incinerated and all his trapped souls (including the ones he claimed in the world that was) being blasted away by Teclis' magic, while Teclis ends up cut up by Nagash's blade and cursed by death magic. In the end, it is the Lumineth who claim victory though as the Lumineth manage to wear down the Ossiarch forces enough to leave Nagash vulnerable to a barrage from some magical laser artillery brought courtesy of the allied human mages of Settler's Gain. Teclis then magically chains Nagash against Avalenor's slopes before the entire Lumineth army dogpiles Nagash and beats the tar out of him until his physical form is destroyed and his spirit retreats to Shyish where he discovers he has been magically bound so that he can't leave Nagashizzar. Teclis then uses the last of his strength before passing out to carve a magical banishment rune in the sky of Hysh that's so powerful it not only banishes all traces of the Undead and their magic from the realm of Hysh it also ends up reverberating through the fabric of the Mortal realms itself and ends up finally quelling the power of the Necroquake.
As a result, Nagash is left without a body like he was during the Age of Chaos, but now he doesn't have his books. Though he can still directly interact with his Mortarchs, Morghasts and Vokmortion, he's gotten a bit scatterbrained, occasionally forgetting that Arkhan fell in Hysh. But he remembers what Teclis did -destroying his books, helping destroy his body and undoing the Necroquake, and he's REALLY mad at Teclis. There's going to be big changes when Nagash puts himself back together.
On The Tabletop (Warhammer Fantasy)
Nagash was actually a special character back when it was just Warhammer Armies: Undead and all the dead boys were united in one armybook. Despite being described as "a pale shadow of his former self" he was an unholy rapetrain - a statline with the lowest stats being 6's (init and attacks) and everything else being a 7. Add in a completely unmodifiable 4+ save against everything (including any and all spell effects), a sword that gives him +1 str and lets him use any wounds he causes to heal himself and being one of the most powerful mages in the game making him pretty much unstoppable. (
Unless you threw a High Mage at him with Drain Magic and Banishment which resulted in epic lulz. Foolish Elf. Nagash would take High Magic with his book just to prevent you from doing that.)
It used to be speculated, before Games Workshop advanced their storyline with The End Times and Age of Sigmar, that Nagash getting off his bony ass and doing shit would be a game ender. There were only a handful of non-divine characters equal to or more powerful than him such as Sigmar (who'd beaten him once before), Kroak (though now he's much weaker as a ghost-Slann) and other First Spawning Slann who would simply think Nagash out of existence if they were still alive. Arguably Morathi, Malekith and Aenarion could stand up to him, Teclis is described as being if not his equal in magic, then close behind, and Archaon the Everchosen would be a fine matchup.
In those days Games Workshop chose to give him what might very well be the single most derptastic model to ever blight a tabletop with its presence, an unholy abomination of fail so ridiculous that it makes the Tyranid Biovore look like a towering monument of awe and might in comparison. Even the beardiest of cheesemongers thought twice before fielding it, knowing all too well that they would pay for it not only in army points, but in dignity and self-respect. There was a running joke that the model was made stupid-looking to prevent people from using Nagash, therefore keeping him from changing the status quo (see "trivia" below for the true reason behind the derpy model).
Then the End Time rolled around.
The End Times update brought Nagash back into the game as a powerhouse, boasting higher stats and better spellcasting than anything else in the entire game. In short he's a Level 5 Wizard with access to the Lores of Death, Light (he's Nehekharan, remember?), Vampires, Nehekhara, and a new Lore called "Undeath". He carries his nine books of Nagash which lets him carry NINE spells (total), one being "Ryze, the Grave Call", with the rest generated from any combination of the mentioned Lores as he pleases (with the newest rules from the Khaine book, he will have ALL spells from all 5 of those lores, plus a special Summon Arcane Fulcrum spell, giving him 41 spells in total). But wait, there's more. He re-rolls any Miscast (but must accept the new result) and can store, at any time in the Magic Phase, up to four Power Dice for later, surpassing the six-dice-per-spell-limit; he can also empower attacks by adding the Heroic Killing Blow to his already powerful sword (+1 Strength and Multiple Wounds (D3), but only one die per attack has that rule), and being a Monster he also has the Thunderstomp Attack; this guy is a rape machine in close combat.
Thought that was bad? It gets worse; any Undead within 12" suffer two fewer wounds from Unstable, plus any other rule that stacks (for example, Battle Standard Bearer). And the cherry on this hell cake: each time he casts a summoning spell of Undeath the points summoned and the range are TRIPLED (e.g. Ryze, The Grave call he ALWAYS has: with difficulty 9+, anyone else can summon 50 points of troops within 12" or 100 at 14+. At best(16+) 150 points worth of Monstruous Infantry at the same range. Nagash summons 150, 300 and 450 respectively at 36"). This also includes Raise the Dead tokens, so spend five tokens and now Nagash can raise 600 points worth of models, whereas all other wizards can only raise 200.
Lastly he's 1000 points to field, which is fine because End Times came with a rule update allowing half your army points to be spent on Lords and Heroes, so fielding Nagash has to be at a 2000 point game at the minimum,
although you will have no other characters at all (including a Battle Standard Bearer and thankfully Lords and Heroes have a SEPARATE allowance, so if you get Nagash in a 2000 point game you cannot have any other lords (don't forget, he can summon characters with a base 195pt cost, not to mention any tokens he spends to up that total), but you can have plenty of heroes (which a BSB is). He costs a whopping $105 Ameribucks, although considering the size of his model it's not a terrible deal (for GW anyway). He also currently has the biggest hat in either Warhammer setting, proving that he's the single biggest force to be reckoned with.
Nagash can only be fielded with the Undead Legion, his own army that consists of everyone from Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings that he's brought under his rule. As a result there's no "wrong" way to field Nagash; everything you CAN field him with is supported in fluff. His army is even Neutral in alignment, meaning you can get in a 2v2 battle with any army in the game supporting any army in the game. Throwing an Empire army lead by Karl Franz on the field being BFFs with Nagash against Wood Elves and Ogre Kingdoms is completely copacetic in the fluff.
On the Tabletop (Age of Sigmar)
Luckily on the Tabletop Nagash isn't the complete bitch he is in the lore. Not only does Nagash sport a whopping 16 Wounds with a 3+ Save, he hits really hard both with magic and with melee. He not only knows every spell known to all Death Wizards on the board, but by default he gets +3 to all his casting/unbinding rolls (which can be buffed further with his army rules/artefacts, provided he's near the ones who have them), while being able to cast/unbind 8(!) spells by himself at default. On top of this, he has one of the most notorious spells in the game, Hand of Dust, which can instantly kill any model in the game, no matter who they are or how well protected they are, unless they're like Archaon or Gotrek and have a rule that triggers once an enemy wizard uses a spell on them. For a laugh take 3 Warscroll Battalions and then use Arkhan's command ability for times to give the spell a 27" range, just to say 'fuck you' to your opponent's general right off the bat. He also has Soul Stealer, a spell that tests the units Bravery in a similar manner to a banshee, with them suffering D3 to D6 mortal wounds if they fail, and with Nagash regaining wounds that are successfully allocated.
In the combat phase he's no slouch either, boasting solid hits, rends and damages across the board, doing so much damage that most elite units will easily be ripped apart in only one round (provided he didn't get charged by something like a large group of blood/chaos knights or Morghasts), and his own Command Ablity further helps this, as well as his entire army by boosting hit and wound rolls.
Like many other monster Nagash has a wounds table, with his performance getting worse the more he is hurt. Thankfully it's relatively minor, not only can he heal himself, but the bonuses lost are just attacks with his sword and the number of bonus spells he can cast, as well as the extra amount he casts/unbinds with (which can be boosted through other means). Thankfully he also has a way to prevent his stats from dropping too fast due to mortal wounds, he wears armour that protects him on a 4+, with a 6+ reflecting the MW back to the unit that caused it.
Unfortunately Nagash still struggles somewhat against hordes. Despite doing a lot of damage, he can easily be brought down if he's charged and his (justifiably) high points cost mean your opponent can likely swamp him with models (if they're so inclined, and somehow you have let him get through your never ending hordes). While he's trying to deal with the major threats your opponent brought, they can surround him with clanrats, stormvermin or (ironically) zombies, all of which can pile on so many wounds and who have so many models to remove (especially since with a command point they auto-pass their bravery test) that his stats can be knocked down quick, causing him to do less damage and becoming a weaker spellcaster in general. Given he also has an ability to revive slain models and heal wounds dealt to units (healing 5 summonable units for D3 each) you should make sure that such units are only fighting the ones they should be up against (at least until you've whittled them down some), leaving Nagash free to take on the enemy's elite.
Nagash also has the exact same issue in this edition as he had in Warhammer Fantasy: Artillery. Cannons in general can royally fuck him over since each shot brings him down to a 5+ save and does D6 damage when he fails it. Rockets are even worse, their presence on the field virtually guarantees he's going to be having a very bad day. If you're going to use him, just be aware of his limitations, as well as what can bring him down quick as while he's certainly tough, he's not invincible.
Why Nagash is so evil
While most evil characters on the game have done their share of bad deeds, Scumbag Nagash has a special place amongst them thanks to sheer volume and scope from the very personal like domestic abuse and rape to various genocides and mass slaughters. Also, unlike most of the poor bastards that live in a Warhammer setting, he doesn't do these for survival, being tricked into it or to seek the favor of a more powerful being. He does it because he is a fucking prick. The following list illustrates how sick this fuck is:
- Started out learning magic through sacrificing people. Although it was due to Nehekhara's desert lacking much of the winds of magic and the people Nagash sacrificed were usually unwanted sons and daughters of nobles, who were despair ridden from gambling and drinking. Still, Nagash did not feel a pang of sympathy for them and was being taught by Dark Elves at the time, in the most sadistic evil way possible, by torturing the sacrificial victim with pain for hours or so before slitting their throat. Then again, it's not like he had a heart to begin with.
- In order to dethrone his brother, Nagash made his city suffer by unleashing his magic to afflict the nobles with a plague, secretly disrupted the market price and used his servants to spread lies that these were punishments from the gods. When Nagash took the throne, he got rid of the plague and made the market prices go back to normal in a selfish publicity stunt.
- Out Betrayed the Dark Elves, whom were one of the most evil creatures in the setting (besides the Skaven) and were far superior than the humans at that time (in terms of military, magic and economy). In details, the three dark elves were figuring out how to escape the pyramid Nagash had them trapped in, using the various books and knowledge they extorted from Nagash, while Nagash had to learn magic from them as soon as possible before the Dark Elves made their escape. Not only did Nagash manage to master his own dark magic on a time crunch, he even caught up to the three dark elves at the pyramid exit, killing them in a heated magic duel. It was no easy task for Nagash at the time since the dark elves had withheld some of their arcane knowledge from Nagash, but Nagash still did it, the absolute mad man!
- During his first and last violent encounter with his brother Thutep, Nagash used his followers as meatshields, having them killed by Thutep's much superior bodyguard only to use their souls to power up his spell and cast on the guards in return. After all the bodyguards were dead, Nagash restrained his brother with magic, taunted him for his inability to move/use his Khopesh while sadistically watching his brother furiously trying to move his body, face red and tears flowing from his eyes. Note that this battle took place after Nagash had defeated his three Dark Elf mentors, which means he was exhausted in the aftermath and was still able to destroy his brother's forces, much respect.
- Entombed his own brother alive and stole his wife, Neferem. Right before the entombment, Nagash even told Thutep about him claiming Neferem just to watch his painful and tormented expression for extra sadism. A century after when his skull was dug up, it's jaw position suggests Thutep died a painful yet slow death while screaming in agony.
- Nagash has always hated his father's Vizier: Ghazid, a wise man well known for his two watchful blue eyes, which he continued to serve Thutep with the same remarkable ability. The fact Khetep prevented him from being entombed beside him made it all the for unfortunate for the poor old man. Nagash had spared Ghazid after Thutep's death just so he could get kicked around by his underlings. Years of torment from Nagash's cruelty combining with aging has turned the once wiseman into a childlike senile old man. Having witnessed Sukhet's death and kept alive by the elixir (just a reminder it is made out of human blood and dark magic by the way), he continued to suffer while accompanying the equally tormented Neferem as living corpses until both finally died in Mahrak.
- After taking the throne, Nagash married Neferem and was a cruel husband to her. Her handmaidens fled in fear when he entered their room and at one point she got a look of stoic resignation and said "just get it over with", with it likely being sex. Her son Sukhet; who was also Nagash's nephew was poorly treated as well. He was to be kept locked in a dirty storage room under the palace with the former Vizier Ghazid, separated from his mother. Because on top of being a kinslayer, a usurper and an evil wizard, he was a domestic abuser and a rapist.
- At a court meeting with Lahmian King Lamasheptra (the brother of Neferem), Nagash shamelessly used Neferem and her son as hostages in order to demand more slaves (1,000 slaves per month!) for his literally goddamned pyramid in exchange for a short meeting with one of them at a time. Unfortunately for Nagash, his scheme failed when both of them came from the dark and met each other for the first time in 10 years in front of various great city ambassadors. Their meeting moved Lamasheptra and other guests, but not a cold motherfucker like Nagash, who then proceed to murdered Sukhet out of anger as well as to secure his throne from any potential heir and made an elixir out of him, then tricked Neferem to drink it after he made a mocking promise to never harm Sukhet again.
- Upon realized the of priests of Khemri and their covenant, his first servant Khefru and Neferem has started a coup against him, Nagash immediately use his pyramid's power to darken the entirely of Nehekhara and KILLED every priests that has touched its darkness. Doing so however greatly used up pyramid's power and it only killed thousands of priests that were not inside a room. Still, only a evil super villain like him could own a superweapon powered by dead soul and shadow-kill anyone in an area of a fucking continent.
- To punish his first servant Khefru, Nagash had his soul bind to him so he could serve him for all eternity. Arkhan will soon suffer the same fate. Such is the fate of those who serves Nagash.
- After survived the said coup, he revealed to Neferem the elixir she had drunk was in fact made from her son's blood, then turned the said wife into an agony-ridden walking corpse and kept her that way for centuries.
- At a court meeting with Lahmian King Lamasheptra (the brother of Neferem), Nagash shamelessly used Neferem and her son as hostages in order to demand more slaves (1,000 slaves per month!) for his literally goddamned pyramid in exchange for a short meeting with one of them at a time. Unfortunately for Nagash, his scheme failed when both of them came from the dark and met each other for the first time in 10 years in front of various great city ambassadors. Their meeting moved Lamasheptra and other guests, but not a cold motherfucker like Nagash, who then proceed to murdered Sukhet out of anger as well as to secure his throne from any potential heir and made an elixir out of him, then tricked Neferem to drink it after he made a mocking promise to never harm Sukhet again.
- Started a war which destroyed many of the Nehekharan cities and killed even more of the population.
- Brutally sacked the city of Zandri and destroy the Zandri army lead by its king with his own dark magic. While slavery and raiding weren't uncommon in any Nehekharan military campaign, Nagash made it extra evil with the introduction of his elixir, made from the blood of innocents captured from Zandri, which is then drunk by Nagash and his servants to power them up. Note that Nagash created its elixir based on the concept where Nehekharan warlord would drink the blood of sacrificed before battle (Note: In an earlier chapter of the novel, there was a scene where the Nehekharan nobles were drinking the blood of a sacrificed cow blessed by Geheb just before the battle. No human slaves were sacrificed.). Nagash won by using his magic to mentally tormenting Zandari's Norscan slave soldiers into rebellion. Oh and despite Zandri's king being responsible for the death of Nagash's father Khetep, Nagash didn't destroy them to avenge his dad, but for his own ego and greed. After the battle, the Zandari army is not only forced to surrender without any negotiation, the surviving soldiers were then forced into slavery and its king were stripped of any valuables like crowns and clothing. The king is forced to return to his sacked city wearing only ragged clothing while riding a flea ridden donkey.
- Apparently, the tomb of Zandri contain ancient blue prints of many terrible engines of war, which Nagash has sent an engineer to study its knowledge. As a reward for learning all this knowledge, Nagash had the engineer's tongue cut just he couldn't share it with anyone.
- His reign was responsible for the deaths of at least tens of thousands of people, and he even cancelled out his excuse of wanting the throne because he considered Thutep an ineffective king, since Nagash nearly destroyed Nehekhara's economy to build his Black Pyramid. He is so dissatisfying with the amount of time that is required to build his pyramid (at least 200 to 250 years according to his calculation) that he forbid any other constructions in Khemri to be permitted until his Pyramid is complete. To further speed up the progress, he forced prisoners and even regular non-slave civilians into building the damned thing, alongside the aforementioned Zandri POW as well as barbarian slaves from the north, all while they were suffering from disease and famine (priests won't help curing the disease because they are mad at Nagash for holding Neferem hostage as well as defying the ancient treaty). Nagash, being an edgy evil tyrant, specifically ordered the dead workers' bodies to be used as a foundation of the pyramid or to have their bones used as carving tools. The details of how the workers to do these things is not important to him, so long their death could offer something to the pyramid's construction. The construction killed so many people that all their souls combined generated enough energies to be stored in the pyramid and used by Nagash for his various horrifying spells.
- When Nagash was confronted with news about dissatisfying citizens in Khemri, his solution to restore the order was to sent his immortal generals and a handful of soldiers to kill every man, woman and children they've found in that quarter, then impale them on a spike for their corpses and screams to serve as a reminder. It was probably at that time Arkhan began to question his master's twisted morality, calling his method counterproductive to the construction of black pyramid (because the high mortality rate in the construction has shrinking its labour pool in an incredible pace). And when the pyramid's architect (old and withered, unlike Nagash and his immortals) informed his master of the pyramid's completion, his throat was slit immediately, and his blood feast upon by the immortals.
- Captured the spirits of his enemies and kept them in eternal torment.
- When Bhagar opposed the rule of Nagash from Khemri, Arkhan the Black lead a punitive expedition that enslaved most of the Bhagarites and killed/extinct all of their prized god given horse herds (Arkhan made it extra evil by having the horses slaughtered in front of the Bhagarites). The slaves were then used to build the black tower of Arkhan and sacrificed on an altar, having its soul sent back to Nagash's pyramid. Bhagarites' loss has to do with their leader Shahid ben Alcazzar surrendered, doing so broke the ancient oath they've made to Settra and Khsar the god of desert, whom the later took no pity, dried up their well and erase their desert safety route, forcing the Bhagarites to live like a nomadic tribe for the rest of their days.
- Using the death energies from the aforementioned massacre, Nagash called upon rain of blood on the city of Quatar. The rain unleashed a plague that droves both livestock and man mad, forcing them to tear each others out and then died of fever. Everyone that wasn't hiding inside the magic proof white palace of Quatar died within a week.
- When Arkhan the Black has failed to take down the priest king of Rastraen: Rakh-Amn-Hotep (also Alcadizzar's grandfather) in Quatar, Nagash harshly punishes Arkhan by commanding a swarm of tomb beetles to chew on Arkhan's already rotten skin. Since Arkhan has achieved immortality through Nagash's elixir, he was unable to be freed from his punishment through death and had to endure for hours, as he squirm on the floor in his own meat fluid chewed up by the beetles. And whenever Arkhan tries to scream, beetles immediately swarm into his mouth, choking him and tearing out his organ from inside out. To Nagash's rest of immortal champions that was observing, it is a cruel reminder of their fate if they ever failed, and not even immortality could save them from such torments. The vassal kings of Nagash in observation experiences far worse that they fainted and hopelessly consumes a lot of wine and black lotus afterwards (which still doesn't help them).
- Tainted a god given spring just to deny his enemy from replenishment. To emphasis the detail of its sickness, the observer at that time: Hekhmenukep and Rakh-amn-hotep were on their sky boat, where they overlooked Nagash's work and trembling in disgust. The Spring used to be a beautiful greenish oasis with many pools of silvery water, that's is until Nagash's underling defied it with corpses and blood. Aside from its new grotesque scenery, it reeks of dry dead air that stings the eye and now house a swarm of a blackened pool of cannibalistic insects that could reach even the king's sky boat. Both of them were so sickened and afraid (for the first time in their life even, one was even a warrior king) of such a thing, they dreaded monsters like Nagash and his men who were capable of such evil.
- Nagash broke the covenant between the Nehekharan gods and their people by finally killing Neferem (who is the daughter of Ptra from the bloodline that formed the pact between the gods and Nehekharans), 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. In all honesty, Nagash hadn't thought of killing her until he was trying to breach the gate of Mahrak, the city of hope that is built with magical defenses made by the priests themselves (from magic force field, high temperature death field and LIVING SPHINX GUARDIAN). After her death, all the priests lost their power and every Ushabti (just god blessed elite troops, not even constructs at that time) lost their strength and went mad.
- Everything Nagash had done above has effectively ended Nehekharan's golden age. Many Great Cites were either unable to recover like Bhagar (most of its population enslaved then sacrificed. The rest turned into banditry, living in the life style of clannish nomads) or left in ruins like Khemri (which was ruled by Nagash himself and had suffered total loss of life due to the said bastard's need for his pyramid and human sacrifice for his dark magic). The most important thing Nagash took away has to be Neheharan's pact with their god, which robbed them of god blessed power ranger, magic and other important relics. The Great Cities were stuck in an hiatus of recovery for 540 years (mostly due to Neferata manipulating the Great Cities into warring among themselves) until Alcadizzar took down the said bitchy vampire and took the throne of Khemri (fixing Nehekhara's economy took him 37 years). Did I mentioned all these tragedies happened because Nagash was salty at the gods for not letting him rule?
- Indirectly corrupted some of the nobility of Nehekhara, who became the first vampires. This is partly thanks to Lamashizzar's greed for Nagash's knowledge that instead of destroying them, he bought one of the tome as well as Arkhan as a hostage to his city, beginning a series of event that led to Neferata becoming the first vampire and doomed Lahmia as well as the rest of Nehekhara.
- Letting the Vampires spread their corruptions by turning others into vampires. Nagash only sees humans as cattle while treating his vampire servants like pawns. To him, the only thing worth about the vampire is their ability to produce other vampires as well as creating other undead (because more undead things = more power for Nagash!). One of the primary reason to keep them around despite their constant treachery.
- After he reached the mountain that contains the warpstone mine, he discovered a tribe living nearby. Upon making first contact with the first four villagers he encountered, instead of trying to making any communication with them, he decided to just kill and dissect them in order to learn about their biology like some fucking monster (which he already is in appearance due to the inhuman side effect from the life elixir, warpstone and the wounds he received from the war).
- During his time in the waste, he created a technique that allows him to rip and eat the memory of a person's soul in order to absorb their knowledge. His victims at that time were mostly barbarians and Nagash, being the typical Nehekharan tyrant, viewed them as inferior beings and callously discarded most of their memories as garbage, effectively erasing the individuality of their souls.
- Turned a whole tribe of his followers into ghouls because they annoyed him several times by asking him to give them a promised reward. In truth, Nagash was helping the tribe after he posed as their god to fight against their northern chaos worshiping tribe. Before the battle, Nagash promised them a secret that made the northern tribe strong, but is actually just simple smithing technology as well as useful fighting technique the Nehekharans used. However, they incompetent, for these assholes alerting the enemies with their war cries while fucking off the entire time, looting the enemies' belonging instead of fighting them. Nagash never had any high expectation for them, viewing them as unbefitting for any profession, even as slaves in Nehekhara, which their behavior on the battle has made him realized in fact that these barbarians were too fucking stupid to see any value in the knowledges he was planning to teach them, and might in fact expecting some kind of fucking miracles like turning them into superman or something. Being the rational person he is, Nagash had his servant to convince them into cannibalism by claiming they could gain the strength of their foes by ingesting their flesh. The servant was horrified to deliver such message, but he still did so and the entire tribe were dumb enough to follow Nagash's cruel sense of humor, becoming the only ghoul "Yaghur" (also their tribe's name) in the setting, creatures of hairless, naked ape like monster that eats humans (preferably woman and children). To this day, the Yaghurs hunts for the flesh of any living being as well as their own in the area around the shore of Soul Sea, probably killed some Dwarf thus earned some grudges and fought some orcs by either ate them, got krumped by them or ate each other like a dumb ass lovers.
- After Nagash finally conquered the northern tribe (he did so by forcing his enemy to starvation by denying them from farming, and his undead army do not need to eat, nor does his ghouls who eats their enemies flesh), he had every "heretical priests" of the tribe burned alive while chained on a totem of their four faced god. Nagash was having a blast where he sadistically insulted their god(s) in front of their cult's leader. Nagash then rounded up every tribesman and subjected them to his EXTREME undead-feudalism, where women are to be treated like a cattle, continue to giving birth so the children would grow up to either become his slave warriors, slave miners, or died in the process while being either of them, then raised back as undead to repeat their slavery in life. Still, Nagash is at least reasonable (and may be kind for the first time in his life) allowing them to farm and eat so long as they serve him, and even reward them nobility and other good shit if they were smarter and more capable, even if he wished to use them as pawns to destroy his homeland. However, those who opposed his treaty are met with death, having them, as well as their family's (from women to children) flesh devoured by his aforementioned cannibal followers. Anyone foolish enough to rebel are to be punished by their undead ancestors, raised from their graves that were just so happened to entombed outside their village's surrounding.
- Despite having studied architecture in Khemri for 20 years, the buildings he designed are grim, dull, dangerous and scary. His black pyramid, unlike other tomb kings white marble pyramid is pitch black as fuck (since is made out of black marble, with its purpose being some kind of magical super weapon and power storage, but not for preservation and honoring gods). His Nagashizzar is even more frightened with its green flame torches and poison gas coming out of warpstone mine like some fucking death metal album. When Nagash and his newly slaved barbarian followers arrived at its front gate, the view traumatized his battle-hardened forces. Some of his constructs are function from using human tendon (in case you are wondering, making constructs (robots) is part of Nehekharan's architecture studies).
- While ruling Nagashizzar, he had a constant urge to kill his "living" followers out of thoughtless paranoia (a frustrating experience he had learned from his betrayal in the past). When Braghad, one of Nagash's top living servants, criticized him for not protecting Braghad's village, Nagash telepathically rebuked him by saying that they're his tools for all eternity (because they have drunk the life elixir and are now Nagash's BITCH). Nagash followed up by spitefully choking his barbarian witch servant for criticizing Nagash's callousness with the lives her warriors. So in short, Nagash is a self-obsessed, paranoid, greedy, power-hungry, murderous, selfish being that loves warpstone; does that seem-sound familiar?
- He used his loyal vassals as tools in a terrible incantation to make himself a magic set of amour and then, for the only time in any of his fluff, he does something nice for someone besides himself by complimenting them for exceeding his expectations. After complimenting them, he sent them to the now destroyed afterlife where they will tell the dead Thutep and others that their vengeance will never come.
- Started a new war against Nehekhara. Managed to destroy Maharak as a revenge, but that was it since Nehekharans were too well prepared under Alcadizzar's guidance.
- Employed the Skaven to taint the river of his own birth land and unleash a horrible plague 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. The plague makes any normal being rot from their inside out, slowly torment them with pain, finally drove them to madness then die. Despite Alcadizzar's effort, the entire Nehekaran society crumbled within a year. All food prices suddenly spike up, forcing many plague bearing citizens resort to violence and thievery for food and clean water. This ultimately destroyed everything Alcadizzar worked for and killed his two sons and wife. By the time the undead legion launched their second invasion, Alcadizzar's consists of merely a thousand plague weakened soldiers, wearing little to no armor while wielding farming tools (because armor and other good weapons are too heavy for the sick).
- Bonus evil point that the plague killed animals and plants too; wild or domesticated. All lifeforms were targeted by this plague just like how he tainted the god given lake in life. Nagash's crime against nature makes any modern corporation's illegal chemical dumping practice look like a child's play.
- After capturing Alcadizzar and subjecting him to harsh captivity on the trip to Nagashizzar, Nagash taunted Alcadizzar, asking him how it feels to watch his people and loved one die. He then explained why'd spared Alcadizzar and how the entirety of Nehekhara's souls will be enslaved by using him as the key, and using the legion of the dead that is worth of every dynasty combined as the ultimate army of the dead to annihilate all life in the world. Nagash capped this off by telling Alcadizzar how he's going to take Alcadizzar's (un)dead wife as his consort if he likes her enough - similar to what Nagash did to his brother Thutep before entombing him... except Nagash genuinely lusted after Neferem, while this he just said that to taunt Alcadizzar.
- Said ritual also used up a lot of captured Savage Orcs' souls, because even they deserved to die fightin' in a WAAAGH than being sacrificed to some ded humies' borin' magic.
- Almost destroyed the Empire and nearly crippled Sigmar in a duel by using a poisoned blade.
- Cursed the Vampires with a vulnerability to Sigmar's power and other curses after the assholes were too self-absorbed to help Nagash out during the two major battles: war with the Empire and the Nehekhara war. While this might seem like good riddance because of the vampires' treacherous and dickish nature, the evil thing about these curses is that it prevents vampires from enjoying life with their new found immortality and it also applied to the vampires who were loyal to him.
- The End Times adds killing several demigods, including Valaya, the ancestor goddess of the Dwarfs, while she slumbered and Usirian, the Nehekharan's chief god of death, so he can take destroy the Chaos Gods (and then failing to do that).
- After defeating Settra and uniting nearly all of the Tomb Kings under his banner, he destroyed Nehekhara despite all the resources the nation held (not to mention depriving Neferata of ever going to Lahmia again).
- Killing messengers from the Empire asking for his help when a 'no' would have been enough, then turning around and expecting to get help when he's forced to ask the living for it.
- Mocked Tyrion and Alarielle about the fact that he was brought back to life by their daughter being sacrificed (notable because Nagash did so while he was asking for their help). The actual quote was something like "MY DESTRUCTION WILL NOT BRING HER BACK... THE SOUL OF THE EVERCHILD IS NOT MINE TO GIVE. LIKE ALL YOUR KIND, SHE IS ALREADY FODDER FOR THE DARK PRINCE!" Gotta hand it to Nagash for this one, since he clearly hasn't lost his funny bone despite being a cold-blooded lich who kill people as he pleases.
- When invading a Chaos-controlled Middenheim to stop Archaon, Nagash and his forces encountered captive soldiers and civilians of the Empire. Arkhan suggested freeing them to use as extra fighters (while privately thinking to use this as a goodwill gesture for their living allies), but Nagash decided to kill them, turn them into a zombie army, and joked about how they're now free and how he plans to "free" the forces of Chaos.
- In the aforementioned invasion, Nagash had Throgg by the throat but was told by him, a fucking troll of any living being that serving Chaos is better than serving Nagash while making a reasonable statement, comparing Nagash's virgin undying, static, slavering servitude to their chad adaptable, occasionally rewarding servitude. Throgg was turned into dust afterwards.
- Nagash's evil extends beyond his universe. Apparently, GW must have bribed Naggy with souls or whatever, because in the new Death Faction Nagash didn't see fit to bring back the Tomb Kings.
- Murdered even more death gods in order to take over the realm of Shyish.
- Started hiding undead armies, who would go on to become the Ossiarch Bonereapers, beneath cities of the forces of Order for when he would make his bid for power.
- Betrayed Sigmar and the forces of Order to try to become the supreme god, which allowed Chaos to take over seven eighths of the realms while he got beaten down by Archaon. Notable because it began with Nagash's undead army turning on Sigmar's forces during a crucial battle against Chaos.
- When a group of queens ruling island-nations, collectively called the Skull Isles, offered themselves to Nagash if he would spare their people, Nagash claimed them for himself... then had their kingdoms destroyed by his undead armies (in that same audio drama, Nagash outright states he does not have mercy, honor or pity).
- At some point while ruling his realm of Death, he punished the citizens of Shadespire for cheating death with the use of some magic mirrors by throwing the entire fucking city into the void of between the realm of life and shadow, forcing them into an unlife of torment.
- As a revenge for destroying Krell (wait, Nagash actually care about something other than himself? or is it because Krell was one of his favourite toy?), Nagash trapped Sigvald's fractured soul inside a Shadespire mirror and cursed it so that viewers will only see idealized version of themselves instead of Sigvald. The mirror was then throw into the direction where Shadespire suppose to be just so it could flung inside one of its many pocket dimensions inside any mirrors of the cities, trapped inside them for eternity. Thankfully it did not worked out for Nagash and the mirror was flung to Slaanesh's prison instead and Sigvald became a demon prince because of this.
- A necromancer and tribal leader named Tamra ven Drak released some spirits he'd imprisoned in order to save her people from a Nurglite invasion; Tamra and her people were devout worshippers of Nagash. When Nagash confronted Tamra, she begged for mercy for her people. Nagash killed them all right down to the last child and turned them into an undead army, stating this preserved their souls forever, put them under her charge and said this was what he calls mercy. While Nagash did make Tamra a Deathlord, he only did so because Arkhan and Neferata insisted and they had to work together to convince Nagash Tamra would be more useful if he spared her.
- He never showed up during the siege of the Allpoints Shyishian Gate despite promising reinforcements in a supposedly renewed alliance, which meant not only making Sigmar lose (temporally) an entire army of Stormcasts, but allowing Archaon to keep a direct avenue of attack to his own realm.
- Attempted to enact a ritual that would raise all dead in the Mortal Realms in order to exterminate all life. This would also deprive all the other gods of their worshipers, so they would have to bend the knee.
- About that ritual, he started it long before the Age of Chaos, which means he outright planned to betray Sigmar, despite Sigmar freeing him from the atemporal tomb.
- His Nighthaunt armies include Dreadscythe Harridans, spirits of healers who he has turned into tormented killing machines for the 'crime' of saving people from dying and thus preventing their souls from coming to Shyish even though this is temporary since mortals all die over time. Other examples are enslaving the ghosts of betrayed people to the ones who killed them (Lord Executioners) and forcing ghosts into servitude because they didn't pray to Nagash to free them when they were still alive (Bladegheists and Chainrasps). He considers this "justice", even calling himself "...a just god, if nothing else". Yes, he is so evil he can deny good people from going to their specific afterlife paradises, which actually do exist in the Age of Sigmar setting.
TL;DR He was a spiteful person who blamed the gods and everyone else in his homeland for denying his throne, which got worse overtime where he is tormented by his own failures, then his inhumane undead transformation through warpstone, dark magic and life elixir, further made him spiteful at all living life.
While some of the deeds on this list may have been done by your average Skaven, Dark Elf or Chaos Lord there is a big difference between them and Nagash. The former usually do this either to advance a group they're part of or to appease their gods, and no single member of those factions has done as much as Nagash. Points of case; Thanquol at least respects and pays homage to the Horned Rat, Malus Darkblade actually cared up to a certain point for his own troops while loving his mother and his pet/steed Spite, and Archaon was very protective of his adopted father and lover (the only people Archaon had ever gave a shit about) before they died. Nagash on the other hand didn't care about anyone, despised the gods and had no empathy for anyone besides himself. He killed off his remaining family, fucked up his own nation and a large section of the world for selfish 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 to literally turn everything into undead with no will under his command.
On one hand, Nagash honestly believed this to be the best thing for the Warhammer world and had a point. Chaos has a hard time corrupting the undead, and Nagash had already managed to steal one of Khorne's favoured champions (Krell). On the other hand, undead are resistant to Chaos but can be corrupted by it. In the End Times, Chaos managed to steal two of Nagash's champions (Kemmler and Walach), not to mention Nagash himself briefly considered bending the knee to the Chaos Gods after the destruction of the Black Pyramid. And Nagash himself is already an omnicidal sociopath, even without Chaos corruption; Malekith called Nagash an evil monster who needed to be destroyed, the once-human daemon Bea'lakor considered Nagash his equal in evil and Teclis - while using divine vision from Lileath - noted that Nagash's aura was only slightly less black than the invading Khorne daemons. Nagash is so evil he's considered only slightly less evil than daemons, which are literal embodiments of evil. In Age of Sigmar, Archaon actually managed to work on Nagash's vaingloriousness to make him betray Sigmar (more jarring when it was revealed they fought together to save the Mortal Realms from ancient abominations), and the vampire Vhordrai tried to betray Nagash to the Chaos Gods.
Black Library seemed to share the idea, since a banner promoting the book "The Return of Nagash" names him as "The Greatest Villain in the Warhammer World". He also appears to have helped GW Squat the Tomb Kings. On a side note Nagash also enjoys the occasional orphanage being slaughtered as a snack, we wonder how is that Sigmar kept him in check during the entire Age of Myth, probably judicious application of Ghal Maraz to the skull (cue squeaky toy hammer sounds).
- It is possible, especially considering GW's love of basing things in both 40k and Fantasy on actual history and famous works, that Nagash could have been inspired by a variety of sources:
- Most obviously, Nagash is Warhammer's answer to Vecna, being an evil man who invented necromancy, used it to decimate a kingdom, lost a hand that became a powerful magical artefact and could operate independently and went on to become a god of death and unliving. Amusingly, on the roleplaying show Critical Role the end of their first campaign involves a battle with Vecna, who is represented by a conversion of Nagash's model. (And they're helped by a character named Arkhan)
- There is also a fictional shout-out to the works of Lovecraft, as his backstory resembles that of Nephren-Ka from Yog-Sothothery (he was a tyrannical Pharaoh who set up an unholy cult, built a giant evil structure, and was overthrown by his people because of his tyranny; all evidence of his reign was purged and he became immortal after the defeat).
- His name could be derived from Nahash, which is both one of the names used for the serpent in the Abrahamic faiths that tempted Adam and Eve and is also the name for a warlike king during Old Testament days.
- If you ever wondered about what would have happened if Nagash was a elf, check Mannimarco, the Worm King from the Elder Scrolls verse. Seriously, They are both badass, evil, awesome, FAKHIGNH OLD and both became gods of death through sheer evil.
- Interestingly, there could have been a chance to have a non-derpy old-school Nagash model the whole time. The true reason for this terrible model was a design disagreement between departments. Years ago, when GW cared somewhat about the customers more than their money, the sculptor wanted Nagash to have more of a desiccated corpse look, while a skeletal look was being demanded from his superiors. In an attempt to force them to accept a resculpt with a non-skeletal face, he made Nagash's skull as stupid-looking as he could (oh, how he succeeded). Unfortunately, they decided to go with that sculpt instead of demand he redo it.
Old school Nagash art. (MG)
|The Tomb Kings of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Settra the Imperishable - Queen Khalida - Arkhan the Black - Nagash|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Gods of the Age of Sigmar|
|Alarielle - Gorkamorka (Gork + Mork) - Grimnir - Grungni - Malerion - Nagash - Sigmar - Teclis - Tyrion - Kragnos|