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Warhammer Fantasy Battle Timeline

Disciple of Nagash

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This thread provides an overall timelines for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, primarily focused on the rise of Nagash, vampires and Tomb Kings.


A big thank you @Malisteen for providing the original content. Please feel free to ask any questions or point out anything we've got wrong
 
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Sception

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The Old World - Before Nehekhara

  • The Old Ones arrive on the World, establish massive warp gates in space above the planet's poles
  • The Old Ones create/import Slaan to terraform, lizardmen to serve & protect the Slaan
  • The Old Ones create/import a number of sentient races, including Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Greenskins
  • The Coming of Chaos - The northern warpgate explodes/crashes, unleashing a tide of uncontrolled magic and daemons across the world. The Old Ones disappear.
  • The established civilizations of Lizardmen, Elves, and Dwarves spend an age fighting the daemons, the younger humans mostly survive in hiding
  • The Elves perform a ritual creating a great vortex that draws most of the magic away from the world. What remains filters through as eight distinct winds rather than wild chaos magic The plague of demons ends. The winds of magic flowing over the world create a liminal 'spirit world' in between but distinct from both the physical world and the realm of chaos. Spirits and gods manifest in the spirit world in response to mortal faiths and emotions.
  • Elven Civil War, War of the Beard, and other disasters further weaken the civilizations of the elder races
 
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Sception

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The Old World - Nehekhara, the Reign of Settra

  • Nehekhara emerges, the first great human civilisation, appearing along the banks of the great river Vitae, which supplies the lands surrounding it with fertile soul for regular bountiful harvests and a means of trade and travel across great distances. The civilisation consists of a number of city-states each with their own variation on a shared culture, language, and trade, each protected and empowered by their gods in the spirit world.
  • Settra, King of the city-state of Khemri, conquers the other Nehekharan city-states using the strength of a new weapon of war - the chariot. Nehekhara is united into a single empire, with a single culture and pantheon in the process.
  • Blessed by the gods of Khemri, Settra leads an unnaturally long life, but wishes more, to escape death entirely. So he founds the Mortuary Cult, places them above the other priesthoods, and charges them with discovering the secret to immortality.
  • The mortuary cult discover ways to extend the human lifespan hundreds of years, but cannot prevent death. They are however able to bind the souls of the dead to their bodies so they do not disappear into the spirit world and preserve those bodies through mummification. By these processes they preserve Settra and subsequent Nehekharan kings, promising that they will be restored to life once the secret is discovered.
  • Based on these promises of eternal life, the mortuary cult spreads from Settra's capital of Khemri to every other city-state in Nehekhara, eventually usurping the political power of the other priesthoods.
  • Focusing more on this promised afterlife than their own lives and peoples, the rulers of Nehekhara spend increasing effort generation after generation building ever grander tombs for themselves, draining city coffers to entomb their riches with them. Death becomes an ever-greater focus of Nehekharan civilization and culture, as the Mortuary cult spreads and even the common people begin to devote their lives to preparing for an eventual eternal life to come.
  • Grand necropoli tended to by the wealthy and corrupt priests of the mortuary cult grow to dwarf the settlements of the living that built them.
 
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Sception

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The Old World - Nehekhara, the Reign of Nagash

  • Generations later, Nagash is born in the line of Khemri's kings, joining the mortuary cult instead of becoming king himself according to the order of his birth. Consumed by vanity and ambition, Nagash resents his brother and covets political power for himself, but settles for the arcane power of the priesthood for now.
  • Nagash rises to the rank of high priest, and is disgusted to learn that most of the mortuary cult rituals are empty displays and parlor tricks to fool the royalty and people of Nehekhara, and that the cult's actual arcane knowledge and abilities haven't developed much since the time of Settra. Furious, Nagash positions like-minded followers within the cult and orders them to begin actively searching for any source of magical knowledge.
  • The Mortuary Cult captures survivors from a wrecked Dark Elf ship, and they are handed over to Nagash. Through torture and coercion, Nagash is able to convince the Druchii to teach him the basics of Dark Magic. The captives agree in part because elven Dark Magic is incredibly destructive and dangerous, impossible for a human to safely channel, and so they believe their captor will only succeed in killing himself with the knowledge they give him.
  • The Dark Elves also teach Nagash about the history of the world, the nature of the warp and the Spirit World, and the existence of the Chaos Gods. Nagash learns that regardless of the petty human gods and the afterlives they carve out in the spirit world, eventually all mortal souls are doomed to return to the warp, where they will be torn apart by daemons or simply fade out of existence. Nagash swears that this will not be his fate - he will discover the secrets of immortality, and he will grow his power until he can tear down the Dark Gods themselves.
  • Nagash adapts the principles of dark magic, combining them with Mortuary Cult rituals to invent a variation of Dark Magic that humans can use to manipulate the bodies and souls of the dead. Thus Necromancy is invented. Nagash uses this power to kill the captives.
  • Nagash further develops the new art of Necromancy on his own, writing the first of his nine Books of Nagash, and creating an 'Elixir of Life' that permanently severs souls from the cycle of life and death, allowing for true immortality through undeath. Nagash shares the Elixer and his secrets with a coven of followers, including Arkhan the Black, creating the first liches.
  • Nagash kills his brother and declares himself both king and high priest of the Mortuary Cult, consolidating political power. and replacing the heads of other cults in Khemri with his followers.
  • Nagash constructs his Black Pyramid, which will collect dark magic, particularly from the wind of Shyish. Given enough centuries absorbing this magic, this pyramid could collect enough magic for Nagash to challenge the gods of chaos directly. Nagash also constructs a staff linked to the pyramid allowing him to tap into the energies stored there to cast spells of monstrous power and complication.
  • As word of the dark acts taking place in Khemri spreads, the kings of some of the other city-states and priests of some sects apart from the Mortuary Cult begin to speak out against Nagash. In response, Nagash conducts a blasphemous ritual to sever the Nehekharan people from their gods, drastically weakening any rival powers that might act against him.
  • This proves to be a step too far, and all the other city-states of Nehekhara ally against Nagash and Khemri.
  • Nagash is defeated, his followers destroyed or scattered, but the rulers of Lahmia secretly steal a number of his books as well as the body of Arkhan the Black.
 
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The Old World - Nehekhara, the Reign of Neferata

  • Neferata, Queen of the city-state of Lahmia, and her coven of followers use the tome to revive Arkhan, and with his help learn the secrets of Necromancy from the books. The formula for the Elixir of life, however, is incomplete. Neferata attempts to fill in the gaps to recreate it, but the result is imperfect, turning Neferata and her coven into the first vampires. Like Nagash's liches, they are ageless, undying, and possess innate power to raise and command lesser forms of undead. Unlike the first liches, they require a diet of human lifeblood to sustain their bodies and minds and are weak to sunlight.
  • Neferata uses her immortality to sell the narrative that Lahmia had managed to regain the blessings of the Nehekharan gods, and uses this in turn to increase her power and influence.
  • Neferata's cousin, Khalida, attempts to expose Neferata's secret but is killed in the attempt. Neferata tries to turn her into a vampire but is stopped by the intervention of the Nehekharan goddess Asaph.
  • After a few generations of increasing Lahmian power and prosperity, Neferata positions herself to wed Alcadizaar, the new king of Khemri, cementing her rule over all of Nehekhara
  • Alcadizaar discovers and reveals Neferata's true nature. Once more the other city-states rise up against and overthrow an undead monarch. The surviving original vampires scatter across the world, founding bloodlines of lesser - but still horrifically powerful - descendants.
 
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The Old World - Nehekhara, the Reign of Alcadizaar

  • Alcadizaar, praised as the hero who saved Nehekhara, becomes the new high king. It is said he will usher in a new golden age free from the taint of the undead.
  • Nagash discovers the source of the River Vitae and poisons it with dark magic and warpstone, converting it into the lifeless River Mortis
  • The cursed water spreads through Nehekhara, poisoning the land. Crops fail, plants die, plagues spread.
  • Those that can abandon Nehekhara, a mass migrations of refugees traveling North or East, carrying aspects of Nehekharan culture - and hidden cults of necromancers and vampires - with them, as well as legends of the great tombs of the kings full of their buried treasures and magical secrets.
  • Those that cannot leave die. Only Alcadizaar is spared Nagash's curse, and in a few short years, he is the last living thing in all of Nehekhara, the one-time hero wandering the empty halls of Khemri a broken man.
  • Nagash's servants bring Alcadizaar to Nagashizzar to witness the final fate of Nehekhara.
  • With his crown, his staff, huge quantities of warpstone, and all the dark magic his pyramid has been able to collect to this point, Nagash works an apocalyptic spell, animating every human being to have ever been entombed in Nehekhara according to the rituals of the mortuary cult, and bind them all to his will. Though now dead, Nehekhara had been among the largest civilizations the world had seen to this point and had existed for thousands of years, with the Mortuary Cult's burial practices holding sway for most of that time. Even many animals - especially chariot horses - had been buried according to the rights. This undead army is tens of millions strong, and by Nagash's will it prepares to march to the extinction of all life. Tired by the ritual, Nagash rests.
  • Throughout the world magic runs riot, storms of dark arcane power tearing at reality. Specters and corpses rise throughout the world. The civilizations of the elder races - elves, lizardmen, and dwarves - have no idea what has happened or what is coming.
  • The Skaven, who do know what's happening because they've been spying on Nagash ever since the uneasy peace between them, panic. Realizing they have no time, they put the finishing touches on a blade of pure warpstone infused the most terrible curses they can muster, a weapon they had been crafting specifically to kill Nagash, but so potent and palpable is its corruption that in all the Skaven empire there is no warrior mad enough to wield it. So instead it is locked in a heavy leaden box and entrusted to a group of infiltrators who free Alcadizaar and give him the blade.
  • Alcadizaar, protected by the combined arcane efforts of the Council of 13, makes his way to Nagash and strikes at him in his torpor, hacking the great necromancer to pieces before burning the remains in warpflame. Nagash fights back with his magic, but the blast is deflected just long enough by the Council of 13 who are watching remotely with magic, two of which were slain outright from the magical blacklash.
  • Alcadizaar takes Nagash's crown and disappears, never to be heard from again.
  • In honor of their skill and sacrifice, the dead souls of the Council of 13 that stopped Nagash are eventually fused by the Horned Rat into Skreech Verminking, the greatest of the Verminlords (and to this day I'm angry that Skreech and Nagash never got a proper moment together in the End Times campaign).
 
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The Old World - After Nehekhara

  • The Tomb Kings, left leaderless, and far too numerous to coexist in Nehekhara all at once, turn against each other in a great civil war. Eventually, Settra rises to power again, subjugating the rest and enforcing a system where the Tomb Kings spend most of their time asleep in their tombs while the Liche Priests of the Mortuary Cult must toil without rest until they find a way to reverse the curse of undeath and restore the kings to true life, only awakening the kings before then to defend their Necropoli from invaders.
  • Nagash, still Deathless, returns to the world many times, but without his crown, he is unable to compel the millions-strong legions of the Tomb Kings to serve him, and whenever he tries they unite under Settra to repel him. Additionally, the cursed Skaven weapon didn't just destroy Nagash's body, it also damaged his monstrous soul, such that when he does return it's weaker every time, his new bodies deteriorating faster and faster until eventually, he can barely sustain a physical body for a day at a time, with centuries between revivals.
  • During Nagash's increasingly long and frequent periods of senescence, Arkhan the Black continues to serve him loyally and to search for a way to restore his master to his original strength.
  • Vampires and Necromancers, spread to the far corners of the world after the fall of Nehekhara, working all sorts of mischief. In particular, in the Sigmarite Empire's province of Sylvania, the Von Carstein family of vampires takes root, and though their patriarch Vlad is destroyed, Vlad's more subtle heir Mannfred remains.
  • For all this time, the Black Pyramid remains in Khemri, slowly absorbing dark magic.
 
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The Old World - The End Times

  • Under Archaon's leadership, the unified forces of chaos prepare an apocalyptic assault on the world. If Nagash is going to make a move, it has to be now.
  • Through trickery, Arkhan the Black convinces Mannfred Von Carstein to help him revive Nagash, in a ritual that finally successfully restores the Great Necromancer to his full strength.
  • Nagash wages war on Settra, eventually making his way to the Black Pyramid where he absorbs enough power to finally assert his command over the Tomb Kings.
  • Nagash transports the Black Pyramid to Sylvania.
  • Nagash rips the wind of Shyish free from the great polar vortex and binds his soul to it.
  • Nagash consumes all rival Death Gods in the spirit realm and adds the spirits resting in their afterlives to his armies as a great spectral host.
  • Nagash retires to his pyramid to begin the process of absorbing an entire wind of magic into his person, which will make him strong enough to challenge the Chaos Gods directly. In the meantime, he invests a set of chosen champions - his Mortarchs - with a portion of his power and soul, so that they can stall the forces of chaos while he absorbs Shyish. These Mortarchs include Arkhan the Black, Mannfred Von Carstein, and Neferata among others.
  • Once again, Nagash's masterstroke is ruined by the Skaven, who blow up the Black Pyramid before Nagash can absorb all of Shyish. Though still incomprehensibly powerful by mortal standards, he no longer has any hope of personally overpowering the gods of chaos. For a moment Nagash considers siding with them since he is powerful enough to negotiate a handsome position serving them, particularly at the side of Tzeentch who by this point greatly respects both Nagash's arcane ingenuity and the ludicrous grandeur of his plots and schemes.
  • The High Elf Wizard Teclis unbinds the polar vortex of magic, attaching each wind - apart from Shyish, which Nagash already controls - to a mortal champion. Seeing a chance to hold back chaos long enough to come up with a new plan, Nagash sides with the incarnates, offering them his Mortarch Mannfred as a sacrifice to earn their begrudging trust.
  • The incarnates and their forces battle Archaon together, but at the last moment, an escaped Mannfred appears to foil their efforts out of spite.
 
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The Dark Gods' Banquet

  • The Old World is destroyed by a great rift, torn through like a person blasted through a tiny hole by explosive decompression. Millions die, their souls flooding into the warp to be ripped apart by daemons and consumed by the chaos gods in a great gluttonous feast.
  • The eight winds of magic blast through in a hurricane, expanding into violent swirling storms of magic. These eight distinct winds, more orderly than the wild magic of the warp, are seen as distasteful and useless by the chaos gods and left behind unconsumed.
  • Some fragments of the Old World - particularly those further from where the rift first appeared - are pulled along, hidden among the great swirling clouds of magic, and on these pieces, some tenacious survivors remain.
  • The last piece of the Old World to pass through is the molten core of the planet, which blasts through the rift in its final moments like a mighty comet, the Incarnate God-King Sigmar clutching to it, the wind of the Heavens dragged along behind.
  • The spirit of the incarnates remain bound to winds of magic they had claimed, scattered and subconscious, but still intact. Unable to consume them, like the winds themselves, the Gods paid no mind to these spirits, save but one, the one that had come closest to stopping them, the one that, by embracing the power of entropy and death, had threatened an end to all things, including Chaos itself. And so before they ended their feast and retreated to their realms to digest, the Chaos Gods scraped together the malign spirit of Nagash, anathema to all they were and represented, and sealed it within a great sarcophagus, to be forgotten until the end of time.
 
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