Land of the Dead Overview
"They say it was once a paradise, as green and as plentiful as Caledor. To look on Nehekhara now, I can hardly believe such claims. What was it that brought such a great empire to ruin? What brought its walls crumbling down, decimated its people, and made its rulers the mockeries of life that they have become? And might such a fate be visited upon our world?"
-- Loradian, Scholar of Saphery
"A dry, dry place! Hot wif sun 'n not a mushroom innit! No proppa place fer a Waaagh! if ya ask me. Oh, I knows ya ain't asked me, boss! I's just givin' out, dat's all!"
-- Razza, Goblin, Zandri Expedition
The Land of the Dead is a vast realm of lifeless deserts and barren landscapes. Nehekhara, as this wasted territory was known in antiquity, consists of countless necropolises that lie sprawling where great and powerful cities once stood. Sand-scoured monuments, hypostyles, and mastabas, crumbling with the passage of eons, mark the final resting places of powerful kings, princes, and lords. Though their citizens died long ago, these forsaken necropolises are far from lifeless.
This is the land of the Tomb Kings: great monarchs of a bygone age who sought to cheat death and live as immortals in the bejeweled kingdoms they had wrought in life. Long did their Liche-Priests toil in search a solution to the enigmas of death, but an ultimate solution eluded them. In lieu of directly extending the lives of their kings, the Liche Priests chose to prepare their kings' remains for the time when they would rise from the dead into an eternal paradise as immortal beings.
Centuries passed and countless kings and princes were embalmed, sanctified, and entombed upon their deaths. When the time of their immortality came, they discovered that the world they knew in life had been laid to waste, its people decimated and its cities crumbling. Instead of the eternal paradise promised them by the Liche Priests, the Tomb Kings awoke to an everlasting Land of the Dead.
The Necropolis of Zandri
"It is here, in this city of the dead, that we must secure victory against the wretches that assail us. The clues are there, beneath the sands. If we are to emerge victorious, we must find them, pull them from the dunes, and solve the puzzle before our enemies do. The solution is here, within the halls and mastabas of Zandri."
-- Vanden Lightwind, Archmage of Hoeth
"Do they know why we have come here? Why we have diverted precious resources to this lifeless place? They must, for they are not fools! Why else would they match us pawn for pawn, knight for knight? They want the Casket of Souls as much as we do, though I dare say they haven't the stomach to use it."
-- Xalyn Eboneye, Bride of Khaine
Zandri, which exists near the northern coast of the Land of the Dead, was the greatest of Nehekhara's northern cities. Like much of Nehekhara, it is now a vast and sprawling ruin. It is this zone, known as the Necropolis, which is fraught with danger and rife with conflict. It presents players with their initial challenges in the Land of the Dead.
Though much of the Necropolis' vestiges have been lost to time or remain buried beneath the dunes, a number of landmarks remain. Central to these is the Library of Zandri, which Amenemhetum filled with written knowledge from every corner of his once-extensive empire. The Hall of the Heavens, too, was once consulted by the priests of the Vulture Lord's mortuary cult, for knowledge and prophecy can be found in the circling stars.
These places of power, amongst others, are kept safe by Amenemhetum's trusted generals: Tomb Princes and Liche Priests who would face death a second time rather than fail their unforgiving master. Such is his pride that King Amenemhetum the Vulture Lord, ruling from his great pyramid, would see these monuments reduced to dust and ashes before his enemies could claim them.
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The Tomb of the Vulture Lord
"You better make sure you use your people right, even if it means playing them off one against the other. E very great ruler does it. Hells, I'd wager even Karl Franz does it, though I don't mean any disrespect in saying so. Mark my words: The re isn't a better motivation than spite to fuel a man's hunger for power!"
-- Desmond Koehler, Bright Wizard of the Empire
"That's the sweet scent of ambition, my friend. I can taste it each time the eastward wind blows a gust of sand and gravel across the camp. It comes from the pyramid, or I'll blind myself with a raven's claw. There's more than just the Tomb King in that place craving more than what they've already got. It's a nest of scorpions in there, and I mean that i n more ways than just the one."
-- Kavina the Stormrider, Magus of Tzeentch
With the dangers of the Necropolis zone behind them, players will face Zandri's true challenge: the Tomb of the Vulture Lord.
The Tomb, within Zandri's great pyramid, is a necropolis in its own right. After defeating the Necropolis' challenges and solving the necessary puzzles, players can gain access to the Vulture Lord's tomb. Not only will players need to contend with the Tomb King's undead minions, they must also survive several deadly traps constructed to keep both enemies and tomb robbers at bay. The Tomb is the unassailable seat of Amenemhetum's power, and none can hope to defile it.
Highest among Amenemhetum's servants within the pyramid are his Hierophant, Eutrata, and Herakh, High Priest of Ualatp. Even without these capable servants, the Vulture Lord is a powerful and immortal foe who possesses many ancient relics. Of these, the most-feared and coveted is his Casket of Souls, which contains the spirits of Amenemhetum's gravest enemies. Each is bound for eternity within the ghastly artifact, freed briefly when the Vulture Lord unleashes their captive souls upon his enemies.
King Amenemhetum is not unfamiliar with the forces that Order and Destruction have arrayed against him. In the distant past of his living rule, his fleets crossed prows with Malekith's ships in the seas east of Ulthuan, and his soldiers took the field against the Dwarfs of old. Though enraged by their audacity at invading his homeland, the Vulture Lord is quietly pleased by the sudden call to war and relishes putting his enemies to their final test.
Read more about the Tomb of the Vulture Lord ►
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In a special podcast this month, Gabe Amatangelo and Jeff Skalski introduce the Land of the Dead. Watch at your own risk....
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In a special podcast this month, Gabe Amatangelo and Jeff Skalski continue to cover the Land of the Dead. This time, the Necropolis. Watch at your own risk....
Download the Video in High Res (61.0 MB)
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In the third and final portion of our special Land o f the Dead podcast series, Jeff Skalski and Gabe Ametangelo cover the perils that await on the Tomb of the Vulture Lord.
Watch at your own risk ....
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