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The Necrons rise

The Necrons are a race of mechanical warriors, created from the Necrontyr. They have lain dormant in their stasis-tombs for sixty million years.[8a] They are ancient beyond reckoning, pre-dating even the Eldar. At long last, however, they are beginning to awaken, seeking to reestablish the supremacy of the Necron Dynasties over the Galaxy once more.[4a] The domain of the Necrons is known to themselves as the Infinite Empire[17].

History

The Necrons' story is one of betrayal; Of and by themselves, and by the most ancient of beings - who by all rights should have known better.

In times ancient beyond belief, the Old Ones - one of the first sentient races - spread across the galaxy and gloried in their wonders; while The Necrontyr struggled to life under the harsh atomic winds and plasma storms of their native sun - a morbid people, with short lifetimes studded with constant loss. Yet they were a fierce species. They turned to science, to attempt to conquer the curse of their biology - but failed. Their progress wasn’t for nought, however. They ventured to the stars, entombed in stasis-crypts aboard slow-burning torch ships, setting out to colonise. It came to be that much of the galaxy was ruled by their Dynasties. It was sometime during this initial period of slow expansion that they came into contact with the long-lived Old Ones.[1a][4b]

As their great empire grew ever wider and more diverse, the unity that had made them strong was eroded and bitter rebellions known as the First Wars of Secession erupted as entire realms fought for independence. The Triarch - the ruling council of Necrontyr - realised that only the threat of an external enemy would bring unity once more and saw the Old Ones as the perfect subjects for the wrath of their race. Already jealous of the Old Ones' seemingly eternal life spans, the Necrontyr initiated hostilities - the separatists abandoned their rebellion, and the War in Heaven began.[4b]

Necron armies in the Age of the Dark Imperium[10]

The War in Heaven was one of the bloodiest wars in Galactic history, and it soon became apparent that the Necrontyr could never defeat the Old Ones and their mastery of the Warp despite their advanced technology. In a few short centuries, the Necrontyr were annihilated, left little more than an irritation, clinging to existence in the outer dark amongst the halo stars. The War in Heaven resulted in unspeakable loss of life over scores of generations: The unity of the Necrontyr began to fracture once more, resulting in the Second Wars of Secession. The Triarch again desperately searched for for a unifying force, and the Necrontyr searched for bitter centuries for some power to unleash upon the Old Ones - and their prayers were answered. There are conflicting accounts of how the godlike C’tan were first discovered - some archive say a chance probe, others say they were detected in their study of stars, and the Book of Mournful Night says the C’tan were drawn to the Necrontyr by the beacon of their raw hatred for the Old Ones. Seeking the aid of these all-powerful star gods, the Necrontyr sought the favour of the C'tan and constructed bodies of living metal to contain their essence. [1a][4b]

So it was that a C'tan known as the Deceiver came before Szarekh the Silent King, lord of the Triarch. Telling the Silent King that his kind had also fought and been defeated by the Old Ones and were now looking for vengeance. Promising them not only victory in the War in Heaven but also the immortality every Necrontyr craved, the Silent King and the Triarch eagerly agreed to an alliance, and so forever doomed their race. Beginning the great Biotransference, the weak flesh of the Necrontyr was replaced with immortal bodies of living metal in great biofurnances. The C'tan drank off the torrent of cast-off life and energy and grew stronger as Szarekh, now in a machine body himself, realised he had made a terrible mistake. The Necrontyr may now be immortal and unified, but they had lost their souls in the process - Only few of the very strongest retained their intellect. Thus the soulless machines known as the Necrons were born.[1b][4c]

And so the second part of the War in Heaven began. Armed with weapons of god-like power, ships that could cross the galaxy in the blink of an eye, and utter supremacy in the material universe, the C'tan and Necrons fought as one. The Old Ones were overwhelmed and defeated in a bloody slaughter of galactic scale that saw systems devoured by black holes and stars extinguished. With the assistance of Nyadra'zatha, the Necron managed to infiltrate the Webway and assail the Old Ones in their own realm. The Necrons burst into the Old Ones' strongest fortresses, overcoming their magics and technology. In desperation, the Old Ones seeded planets with life with ever-stronger links to the warp, to help fight the C'tan, including the Eldar, Orks, K'nib, Rashan, Jokaero and many others. This worked, for a time - the energies of the warp were anathema to the C’tan - but before the Necron and C’tan could respond, the desperation of the Old Ones became their undoing. The Sea of Souls mirrored the war, pain, and destruction of the materium and awash with the spirits of those consumed in the carnage, older warp entities became terrifying predators. Their intergalactic network shattered, their places of power overrun by horrors of their own devising, and their minions possessed by the Enslaver Plague, the Old Ones were scattered - their power utterly broken.[1b][4c]

Throughout the final stages of the War in Heaven, Szarekh bided his time, waiting for the moment where the C'tan would be most vulnerable. With the Old Ones finally defeated, the Silent King struck and led a Necron revolt against the arrogant C'tan. The Necrons focused the unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the C'tan to endure. The C'tan, almost impossible to destroy entirely due to their very nature, were instead shattered into shards. Yet even with the defeat of both the Old Ones and C'tan, the Silent King saw that the time of the Necrons was - for the moment - over. The mantle of galactic domination would soon pass to the Eldar, who had fought alongside the Old Ones in the War in Heaven. The Necrons, weakened by the War in Heaven and the revolt against the C'tan, could not stand against them. Yet the Silent King knew that the time of the Eldar would pass, as did the time of all flesh. So it was that the Silent King ordered the remaining Necron cities to be transformed into great tomb complexes threaded with stasis-crypts. The Necrons were laid to rest, ordered to sleep for sixty million years and then reawaken, ready to rebuild all that was lost and restore the dynasties to their former glory. Yet the Silent King did not join his subjects. Destroying the command protocols by which he had controlled his people, the Silent King left the Galaxy, there to find whatever measure of solace or penance he could.[4c]

Necrons battle the Ultramarines[5]

For sixty million years the Necrons remained in their deathless slumber in their tombs in what became known as the Great Sleep. As time passed, many Tomb Worlds fell prey to malfunction or ill-fortune. Some were destroyed by marauding Eldar. These failures destroyed millions, if not billions of dormant Necrons. But when the Tomb Worlds did begin to reawaken, it was not simultaneously. Some awoke to see the Great Crusade, others during the Age of Apostasy. Most, however, awoke during the later years of M41; but even still billions of Necrons lay dormant.[4d] What the Imperium cannot know is that, should the Necrons ever fully wake and unite, they would face a foe as numerous as themselves. For now, the Imperium has had but a taste of the Necrons’ might, and it is fortunate for Mankind that the Necrons remain divided by madness and conflicting agendas. However, these are but the first stumbling steps of a giant as it gathers pace, and even now powerful leaders like Anrakyr the Traveler, Imotekh the Stormlord and the Silent King are uniting their people under a common cause in order to resestablish the Infinite Empire.[8d]

In 783.M41, the Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Craftworld Ulthwé witnessed a vision where on the Dead World of Maedrex, an Imperial Explorator team would arrive and unwittingly awaken the Necrons on that planet. To prevent this, the Eldar struck quickly and destroyed the Imperial ships before descending onto the planet where they purged it of the Necron presence.[3] Later the first reported contact between the Necrons and the Imperium of Man came in 897.M41 during the raid on Sanctuary 101 which was garrisoned by the Adepta Sororitas. At the time, the invaders were identified as an unknown form of xenos species but later reported as being the first encounter with the awakening Necrons. Its also later reported that the invaders did not attack the colony but instead emerged from the ground itself.[3]

In 744.M41, the Silent King ended his self-imposed exile and returned to the galaxy after encounter with the Tyranids within the intergalactic void. He discovered the Tyranids were just one of many threats facing the Necrons. Other alien races had swarmed over their Tomb Worlds and the Warp now seeped across the Galaxy. He has begun a journey across the galaxy with a band of his loyal Triarch Praetorians to reawaken Tomb Worlds that still slumber so they may unite against the Tyranids. The returned Silent King is careful to not reveal his true identity, even to fellow Necrons. He works primarily through Triarch Praetorians or unwitting Crypteks and Necron Overlords to achieve his goal, and has steadily influenced the galaxy from one side to the other. Slowly, he has pursued his his great work from the shadows. He intends to unite the Necrons against the Tyranids while also manipulating the younger races to his own schemes.[11]

After the formation of the Great Rift, the Necrons accelerated their plans against the Immaterium by creating the Pariah Nexus.[14]

Physiology

Necron territory across the galaxy

In appearance, the Necrons are skeletal parodies of living beings with swirling green energies emanating from their mechanical limbs and baleful lifeless emerald eyes. Necrons bodies contain blood-like coolant to prevent overheating. Physically, Necrons are undying beings whose bodies exhibit superior strength and endurance to that of organics.[17]

Necrons have some robotic counterparts that are comparable to their past organic body parts. Eyes are substituted by oculars, ears by auditory transducers[17], skin by necrodermis, and their faces by faceplates[20a][20b] or death masks[17]. Ribcages remain with their name unchanged, except they now protect an internal energy reactor[21][17], rather than life-sustaining organs. Other parts of their bodies/armors include their shoulder plate[21] or shoulder guard[17b].

All Necrons possess sophisticated auto-repair systems throughout their exo-skeletal systems that can repair even the most crippling of damages. While this can keep them functioning constantly, should there be irreparable damage sustained, the Necron "phases out". Both their minds and their bodies are teleported to the nearest tomb complex where they either remain in storage until repairs are made or a new body is forged. This act does, however, come at a cost as each act of transference leads to a decay in the Necron's engrams. As such, those Necrons that have "died" and phased out hundreds of times suffer the most for they become little more than automatons who have lost the memory of the creature that they used to be in life.[2]

Necrons possess Chronosense, which allows them to adjust the speed of their perception of time.[17a]

Necron Tomb World hierarchy

Hierarchy

The Necrons inherited the same form of government as the Necrontyr. The highest political body of the Infinite Empire is the Triarchy, which consists of the Silent King and two high-ranking Phaerons.[4f] The agents of the Triarchy are the Triarch Praetorians, who enforce the Triarch's will upon the lower Dynasties.[4l]

During the Great Sleep the Silent King was on a self-imposed exile into the void between galaxies while the majority of the Necron race was still in hibernation. However at least 10,000 years before the 41st Millennium a number of Necrons had prematurely awoken. To prevent chaos until such a time the Silent King could be found, the Necrons operated the Awakened Council to settle inter-dynastic disputes.[17]

Necron Dynasties

The Infinite Empire itself is hierarchical. The highest of the Necrons are the Phaerons, the ruler of entire dynasties which comprise many worlds. Beneath these are the Overlords, who rule clusters of Tomb Worlds within their Phaeron's domain. Beneath the Overlords are the Lords, each overseeing a Tomb World. Phaerons and Overlords are served by a Royal Court of Necron Lords and Crypteks. The size of a Royal Court is not only prestigious, it is also an indication of that military power of the noble who rules it.[4f] Much like those of Humanity, Necron Courts are rife with webs of political intrigue. Below the Royal Court are the war-phalanxes of the Necrons, including Necron Warriors, Immortals, and war engines. Beneath these ranks are auxiliaries more akin to allies than true warriors. These include the Destroyer Cults and Flayed Ones. Supporting all this are vast swarms of fully autonomous Canoptek constructs. And it is at the bottom of this empire that the captive C'tan endure, shackled and used by their Necron overseers.[8d]

The goals and personality of Necron dynasties vary greatly. Some may be interested in conquest or extermination of lesser races, others may only act defensively if their territory is intruded upon. Others seek to reverse Biotransference by using a younger organic race as hosts.[9a] Others such as the Destroyer Cult have embraced their machine nature and seek to cleanse the galaxy of all life.[9b] It is also not uncommon for Dynasties to battle one another.[8d]

Many Necron Dynasties have not fully emerged from the Great Sleep, or were damaged during their millions of years in hibernation. The level of awakening of a Dynasty and how intact it endured its slumber often determines its strength and size. The Sautekh Dynasty for instance, widely regarded as the most powerful Necron Dynasty, emerged from the Great Sleep almost entirely intact.[8d]

Technology

The Necrons are the masters of Material technology, and their technological feats may seem magical to lesser races. Their technological masters, Crypteks, can manipulate matter at a fundamental level and wield such arcane concepts as phase-gates, subatomic infusion, and temporal looping. Several Necron super-weapons such as the World Engine and Celestial Orrery have galaxy-devastating capabilities. However it is Living Metal, or Necrodermis, which equips nearly all Necron technology. These billion-strong swarns of nano-Scarabs crawl under the skin of Necrons at a cellular level, allowing for self-repair and regeneration.[8c] Also, on particularly rare occasions, a super heavy Necron device called a Necron Pylon is seen. It is feared for its extreme power and ability to appear anywhere on the battlefield.[1]

Necron rank-and-file troops are equipped with a devastating array of armament, most notable Gauss Weapons which strip away a foes atoms layer by layer and give the Necrons a fearsome level of firepower. Their anti-grav warmachines are based around the art of invasion and terror, wielding horrifying energy weaponry and other esoteric abilities such as Worm Holes.[8c] The Necrons also wield large amounts of non-sentient Robots known as Canoptek constructs, which tended their Tomb Worlds during the Great Sleep.[8e]

The Necron fleet is a small but deadly force capable of destroying most ships very easily. They also don't make use of the same form of interstellar travel, the Warp, as other races do, making them difficult to intercept.[1] The Necron Fleet achieves FTL travel by a variety of means, such as Dolmen Gates[4d] and Inertialess Drive.

The Necrons are known for their Blackstone, a substance which can block the powers of the Warp. This makes the Necrons anathema to Chaos, and Blackstone has become a precious commodity across the Galaxy.[12] Blackstone most notably was used in the Cadian Pylons, which held back the power of the Eye of Terror.[13]

Notable Battles

Necrons battle the Eldar[9]
Necron constructs[10]
Necrons of the Szarekhan Dynasty[10]

Notable Necrons

Necron War Engines

Other information

Sources