- "There is a terrible darkness descending upon the galaxy, and we shall not see it ended in our lifetimes."
The Necrons are a mysterious race of robotic skeletal warriors that have lain dormant in their stasis-tombs for more than 60 million Terran years and who are the soulless creations and former servants of the ancient C'tan, the terrible Star Gods of Eldar myth. The Necrons are ancient beyond reckoning, predating even the birth of the Eldar. At long last, however, they are beginning to awaken from their Tomb Worlds, for the galaxy is ripe for conquest and the restoration of the Necron Empire since the disappearance of the Old Ones more than 60 million standard years ago. The Necrons are a completely robotic humanoid species whose technological prowess is probably unmatched by any of the other intelligent species of the galaxy. Yet out of a desire for vengeance against the more fortunate long-lived ancient xenos race called the Old Ones, and the trickery of the godlike intelligences known as the C'tan, the Necrons shed their original organic forms and lost all forms of compassion and empathy, becoming ruthless, undying killing machines who are determined to exert their mastery over the galaxy once more.
Across the galaxy, an ancient and terrible race is stirring back to life. Entombed in stasis-crypts for millions of Terran years, they have slumbered through the aeons, waiting for the galaxy to heal from the wounds of a long and bloody war. Now, after sixty million years of dormancy, a great purpose begins. On desolate worlds thought long-bereft of all life, ancient machineries wake into grim purpose, commencing the slow process of revivification that will see those entombed within freed to stride across the stars once again. The implacable, undying Necron legions are rising. let the galaxy beware.
All Necrons, from the lowliest of warriors to the most regal of lords, are driven by one ultimate goal, to restore their ancient ruling dynasties to glory and to bring the galaxy under their rule once more, as it was in ancient days. Such was the edict long ago encoded into the Necrons' minds, and it is a command so fundamental to their being that it cannot be denied. yet it is no small task, for the Necrons are awakening from their Tomb Worlds to find the galaxy of the late 41st Millennium as recorded by the Imperial Calendar much changed. Many Tomb Worlds are no more, destroyed by cosmic disaster or alien invasion. Others are damaged, their entombed legions afflicted by slow madness or worn to dust by entropy's irresistible onset. Degenerate alien races squat amongst the ruins of those Necron Tomb Worlds that remain, little aware of the greatness they defile with their upstart presence. Yet there is no salvation to be found in such ignorance. The undying have come to reclaim their lands, and the living shall be swept aside.
Yet if billions of Necrons have been destroyed by the passage of eternity, countless billions more remain to see their dominion reborn. They are not creatures of flesh and blood, these Necrons, but android warriors whose immortal forms are forged from living metal. As such, they are almost impervious to destruction, and their mechanical bodies are swift to heal even the gravest wounds. Given time, severed limbs reattach, armour plating reknits and shattered mechanical organs are rebuilt. The only way, then, to assure a Necron's destruction is to overwhelm its ability to self-repair, to inflict such massive damage that its ancient regenerative systems cannot keep pace. Even then, should irreparable damage occur, the Necron will often simply "phase out" -- an automated viridian teleportation beam returning it to the safety of the stasis-crypts, where it remains in storage until such time as repairs can be carried out.
The sciences by which such feats are achieved remain a mystery to outsiders, for the Necrons do not share their secrets with lesser races and have set contingencies to prevent their supreme technologies from falling into the wrong hands. Should a fallen Necron warrior fail to phase out, it self-destructs and is consumed in a blaze of emerald light. Outwardly, this appears little different to the glow of teleportation, leaving the foe to wonder whether the Necron has finally been destroyed or has merely retreated to its tomb. Victory over the Necrons is therefore always a tenuous thing, and a hard-won battle grants little surety of ultimate victory. For the Necrons, defeats are minor inconveniences -- the preludes to future triumphs, nothing more. Immortality has brought patience; the perils that the Necrons survived in ancient times carry the lesson their race can overcome any opposition, if they have but the will to try. And if the Necrons possess only a single trait, it is a will as unbending as adamantium.
Only one hope can now preserve the other intelligent races of the galaxy from the Necrons' implacable advance, from the endless legions of silent and deathless warriors rising from long-forgotten tombs. If the Necrons can be prevented from waking to their full glory, if the scattered Tomb Worlds can be prevented from unifying, then there is a chance of survival. If not, then the great powers of the galaxy will surely fall, and the Necrons shall rule supreme for all eternity -- undying, cruel and utterly implacable.
The Old Ones
Just as the stars gave birth to their children so the planets of the newborn galaxy eventually gave birth to lifeforms composed of matter which began the long evolutionary climb to self-awareness. The first sentient beings of the Milky Way Galaxy known to have developed a civilisation technologically advanced enough to cross the stars was a reptilian race of beings called the Old Ones by the Eldar, who knew them best. They possessed a slow, cold-blooded, but still deep wisdom, having long studied the stars and raised astronomy and physics to such a level that their science and technology appear to humanity like an arcane art. Their understanding of the workings of the universe were such that they could manipulate alternate dimensions and undertake great works of psychic engineering. Their science allowed them to cross the vast gulfs of space with only a single step through the myriad Warp Gates they built to connect the worlds of the galaxy in a vast network much like the Eldar Webway of today, though on a much larger scale. The Old Ones spread their spawn to many places in the galaxy, but they also knew that all life was precious. Where they passed, they seeded new intelligent species and reshaped thousands of worlds to make them their own according to their predetermined environmental and geographic criteria. It is believed by some in the Adeptus Mechanicus that even Terra felt the Old Ones' touch long before humanity's rise to self-awareness, though this notion is considered heretical at best by the Ecclesiarchy, as the Imperial Creed teaches that Mankind was made in the image of the God-Emperor before his spirit was incarnated in physical flesh millennia ago.
The Old Ones' civilisation reached its height in excess of 60 million years ago. The Old Ones were responsible for the creation or genetic advancement of most of the currently active intelligent species of the galaxy, including the Eldar, the Krork (the Orks' precursors), the Slann and the Jokaero, though it is unknown if they played any role in the evolution of humanity. The Old Ones were potent psychics who routinely used the powers of the Warp for a wide variety of technological applications. The Old Ones constructed a system of instantaneous faster-than-light portals through Warpspace that were ultimately adapted to create the Eldar's Webway (and was its more advanced precursor). These portals connected all of the Old Ones' colony worlds across vast swathes of interstellar space.
Birth of the Star Gods
The birth of the entities known as the Star Gods occurred at the same time as the moment of Creation itself, as they formed from the vast, insensate energies first unleashed by that churning mass of cataclysmic force. In that anarchic interweaving of matter and energy, the sea of stars began to swirl into existence and for an eon the universe was nothing more than hot hydrogen gas and light elemental dust ruled over by the gravitic force of billions of newborn suns. Long before the first planets had formed and cooled, the very first truly self-aware beings emerged, their thoughts encased within the lines of force produced by the plasma and electromagnetic flares of the stars themselves. In later times, these entities would become known as the C'tan, but early in their existence they were nothing like the malevolent beings they would eventually become. They were little more than monstrous energy parasites that suckled upon the solar energies of the stars that had brought them into existence, shortening the lives of otherwise main-sequence stars by millions of standard years. In time, these star vampires learned to move on the diaphanous wings of the universe's electromagnetic flux, leaving their birthplaces to drift through the cosmic ether to new stellar feeding grounds and begin their cycle of stellar destruction once more. Beings of pure energy, they paid no mind to the hunks of solid matter they passed in the vacuum of space, the blazing geothermal fires and weak geomagnetic fields of these nascent planets insufficient to be worth feeding even their ravenous hunger.
The Necrontyr and the Wars of Secession
The humanoid species that would become the Necrons began their existence under a fearsome, scourging star in the far reaches of the galaxy known as the Halo Stars region, billions of standard years before Mankind evolved on Terra. Assailed at every moment by ionising solar winds and intense radiation storms, the flesh and blood Necrontyr became a morbid people whose precarious life spans were riven by constant loss. What little information the Imperium of Man has recovered on the Necrontyr tells that their lives were short and uncertain, their bodies blighted and consumed at an early age by the terrible cancers and other illnesses linked to the high levels of ionising radiation given off by their sun. Necrontyr cities were built in anticipation of their inhabitants' early demise, as the living were only brief residents living in the shadow of the vast sepulchres and tombs of their ancestors. Likewise, their ruling dynasties were founded on the anticipation of demise, and the living were thought of as no more than temporary residents hurrying through the more permanent and lasting structures raised to honour the dead. On the Necrontyr homeworld, the greatest monuments were always built for the dead, never the living. Driven by necessity, the Necrontyr escaped their crucible-prison and struck out for the stars, hopeful of carving an empire in which they could realise their species' potential free from the lethal energies of their birth star.
Unable to find peace on their own world, the Necrontyr blindly groped outward into the universe to explore other stars. Using stasis crypts and slow-moving antimatter-powered torch-ships that were clad in the living metal known as necrodermis to resist the millennia-long jounreys through the void, the Necrontry began to colonise distant worlds. Little by little, the Necrontyr dynasties spread ever further, until much of the ancient galaxy answered to their rule. From the earliest days, the rulers of individual Necrontyr dynasties were themselves governed by the Triarch, a council composed of three Phaerons. The head of the Triarch was known as the Silent King, for he addressed his subjects only through the other two Phaerons who ruled alongside him. Nominally a hereditary position, the uncertain life spans of the Necrontyr ensured that the title of Silent King nonetheless passed from one royal dynsaty to another many times. The final days of the Necrontyr Empire occurred in the reign of Szarekh, the last of the Silent Kings.
Sometime during their slow expansion, the Necrontyr encountered an ancient species far older than any other in existence in the known galaxy. Collectively, these beings were known as the Old Ones, and they were absolute masters of forms of energy the Necrontyr could not even conceive of, yet alone wield. The Old Ones had long ago conquered the secrets of immortality, yet they refused to share the gift of eternal life with the Necrontyr, who yet bore the curse of the bitter star they had been born under. The colonisation of much of the galaxy by the reptilian mystics had been immeasurably swifter and more expansive than that of the Necrontyr because of their Warp Gates and mastery of the Immaterium. That, and the Old Ones' incredibly long, if not downright immortal lifespans, kindled a burning, jealous rage in the Necrontyr, which ate at their culture spiritually as much as their physical cancers consumed their bodies. The Necrontyr were astonished to learn that another intelligent species enjoyed such long lives while their own were cut so brutally short.
But as time wore on, further strife came to the Necrontyr. Each dynasty of the Necrontyr sought to claim its own destiny and soon the great houses were engaged in all-out conflicts known as the Wars of Secession. Had circumstances remained as they were for but a generation more, it is possible that the Necrontyr would have wiped themselves out, as so many species had before them and shall do in the future. As their territory grew ever wider and more diverse, the unity that had made them strong was eroded, and bitter wars were waged as entire realms fought to win independence. Ultimately, the Triach -- the ruling council of the Necrontyr Empire-- realised that the only hope of unity lay in conflict with an external enemy, but there were few who could prove a credible threat. Only the Old Ones, the first of all the galaxy's known sentient species, were a prospective foe powerful enough to bind the feuding Necrontyr dynasties to a common cause. Such a war was simplicity itself to justify, for the Necrontyr had ever rankled at the Old Ones' refusal to share the secrets of eternal life. So did the Triarch declare war on the Old Ones. At the same time, they offered amnesty to any secessionist dynasties wjo willingly returned to the fold. Thus lured by the spoils of victory and the promise of immortality, the separatist Necrontyr realms abandoned their Wars of Secession and the War in Heaven began.
It was the last of the Silent Kings who headed the Triarch of the Necrontyr Empire, Szarekh, who formulated the plan that would change everything forever and have consequences that would echo through history for countless millions of years. In a typically bitter act of jealousy and resentment for the Necrontyr race, it was the Silent King who used the Old Ones' refusal to share the secret of immortality as a pretext for war, forcibly uniting the entire Necrontyr species beneath the rule of the Triarch against their common foe. War erupted across the stars, yet while the Silent King succeeded in uniting his hateful people, it was a war the Necrontyr could not win. Not on their own.
The War in Heaven
The terrible wars between the Old Ones and the Necrontyr that followed, known later in Eldar myth as the War in Heaven, would fill a library in their own right, but the Necrontyr could never win. Their superior technology was consistently outmanoeuvred by the Old Ones thanks to their mastery of the Webway portals and Warp Gates. The Necrontyr were pushed back until they were little more than an irritation to the Old Ones' dominance of the galaxy, a quiescent threat clinging to their irradiated world among the Halo Stars, exiled and forgotten. The Necrontyr's fury was cooled by their long milllennia of imprisonment on their homeworld, slowly transforming into an utter hatred towards all other forms of intelligent life and an implacable determination to avenge themselves upon their seemingly invincible enemies.
But in the face of defeat, the always fragile unity of the Necrontyr began to fracture once more. No longer did the prospect of a common enemy have any hold over the disparate dynasties. Scores of generations had now lived and died in the service of an unwinnable war, and many Necrontyr dynasties would have gladly sued for peace with the Old Ones if the ruling Triarch had permitted it.
Thus began the second iteration of the Wars of Secession, more widespread and ruinous than any that had come before. So fractured has the Necrontyr dynasties become by then that, had the Old Ones been so inclined, they could have wiped out their foes with ease. Faced with the total collapse of their rule, the Triarch searched desperately for a means of restoring order. In this, theur prayers were answered,though the price for their species would be incalculably high.
It was during the reign of the Silent King Szarekh that the godlike energy beings known as the C'tan first blighted the Necrontyr. It is impossible to say for certain how the Necrontyr first made contact with the C'tan though many misleading, contradictory and one-sided accounts of these events exist. The dusty archives of Solemnace claim it was but an accident, a chance discovery made by a stellar prove during the investigation of a dying star. The Book of Mournful Night, held under close guard in the Black Library's innermost sanctum, tells rather that the raw hatred that the Necrontyr held as a race for the Old Ones sang out across space, acting as a beacon that the C'tan could not ignore.
Another account claims that from the earliest days of their civilisation, Necrontyr scientists had been deeply engaged in stellar studies to try to understand and protect themselves from their own sun's baleful energies. After long, bitter centuries of searching for some power to unleash upon the Old Ones, the Necrontyr researchers used stellar probes to discover unusual electrodynamic anomalies in the oldest, dying stars of the galaxy. In the complex skeins of the energetic plasma of these suns, the Necrontyr found a sentience that was more ancient than that of any of the corporeal species in Creation, including the Old Ones, entities of pure energy that had spawned during the birth of the stars eons before. These entities had little conception of what the rest of the universe entailed when the Necrontyr first found them, feeding upon the solar flares and magnetic storms of these bloated red giants. Here was the weapon the Necrontyr had long sought to bring about the downfall of the Old Ones, beings they believed were the progeny of the death-god they worshipped. Howsoever first contact occurred, the shadow of the C'tan fell over the oldest Necrontyr dynasties first.
The power of these star-born creatures was incredible, the raw energy of the stars made animate, and the Necrontyr called them the C'tan or "Star Gods" in their own tongue. The C'tan were dispersed across areas larger than whole planets, their consciousnesses too vast for humanoids to comprehend. How the Necrontyr ever managed to communicate with them is unknown to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Understanding that such diffuse minds could never perceive the material universe without manifesting themselves in a material form, some necrontyr actively sought the C'tan's favour and oversaw the forging of physical shells for the C'tan to occupy, cast from the living metal called necrodermis that they had once used for their colony torch-ships. Fragmentary Eldar legends tell of translucent streamers of electromagnetic force shifting across space as the star vampires coiled into their new bodies in the physical realm across an incorporeal bridge of starlight. Thus clad, the C'tan took the shapes of the Necrontyr's half-forgotten gods, hiding their own desires beneath cloaks of obsequious subservience.
Incomprehensible forces were compressed into the living metal of the necrodermis bodies which the Necrontyr had forged as the full power of the C'tan at last found form. As the C'tan focused their consciousnesses and became ever more aware of their new mode of existence, they came to appreciate the pleasures available to beings of matter and the other realities of corporeal life. The deliciously focused trickles of electromagnetic energy given off by the physical bodies of the Necrontyr all about them awakened a new hunger in the C'tan very unlike the one they had once sated using the nourishing but essentially tasteless energies of the stars.
So it was that one of the C'tan came before the Silent King Szarekh, acting as forerunner to the coming of his brothers. Amongst its own kind, this C'tan was known as the Deceiver, for it was wilfully treacherous. Yet the Silent King knew not the C'tan's true nature, and instead granted the creature an audience. The Deceiver spoke of a war, fought long before the birth of the Necrontyr, between the C'tan and the Old Ones. It was a war, he said, that the C'tan had lost. In the aftermath, and fearing the venegeance of the Old Ones, he and his brothers had hidden themselves away, hoping one day to find allies with whom they could finally bring the Old Ones to account. In return for this aid, the Deceiver assured, he and his brothers would deliver everything that the Necrontyr craved. Unity could be theirs once again, and the immortality that they had sought for so long would finally be within their grasp. No price would their be for these great gifts, the Deceiver insisted, for they were but boons to be bestowed upon valued allies.
Thus did the Deceiver speak, and who ca say how much of his tale was truth? It is doubtful whether even the Deceiver knew, for trickery had become so much a part of his existence that even he could no longer divine its root. Yet his words held sway over Szarekh who, like his ancestors before him, despaired of the divisions that were tearing his people apart. For long months he debated the matter with the others Phaerons of the Triarch and the nobles of his Royal Court. Through it all, the only dissenting voice was that of orikan, the court astrologer, who foretold that the alliance between the necrontyr and the C'tan would bring about a renaissance of glory, but destroy forever the soul of the Necrontyr people. Yet desire and ambition swiftly overrode caution, and Orikan's prophecy was dismissed. A Necrontyr year after the Deceiver had presented his proposition, the Triarch agreed to the alliance, and so forever doomed their race.
For their part, the Necrontyr soon fell into awe of their discoveries and the C'tan moved to take control over their benefactors. The powers of the C'tan manifested in the physical world were indeed almost god-like and it was not long before the C'tan were being worshiped as the Star Gods the Necrontyr had named them. Perhaps they had been tainted by the material universe they had become a part of, or perhaps this had always been their nature even when they were bound to the suns they fed upon, but the C'tan proved to be as cruel and capricious as the stars from which they had been born. They soon revelled in the worship of the Necrontyr and feasted upon the life energies of countless mortal slaves.
Biotransference and the Rise of the Necrons
- "When the Silent King saw what had been done, he knew at last the true nature of the C'tan, and of the doom they had wrought in his name."
- —excerpt from the Book of Mournful Night
Armed with weapons of god-like power and starships that could cross the galaxy in the blink of an eye through the use of quantum phase technology, the Necrontyr stood ready to begin their war against the Old Ones anew. But the C'tan had another gift for their mortal subjects. They offered the Necrontyr a path to immortality and the physical stability their race had always craved. Their diseased flesh would be replaced with the living metal of necrodermis that made up their Star Gods' own physical forms. Their discarded organic husks would be consumed and their cold, metal forms would then be free to pursue their great vengeance against the Old Ones and the rest of a hateful universe, freed forever from the weaknesses of their hated flesh.
With the pact between Necrontyr and C'tan sealed, the Star Gods revealed the form that immortality would take for the Necrontyr, and the great biotransference process began. Colossal bio-furnaces built by Necrontyr artifice roared day and night, consuming weak-bodied flesh and replacing it with enduring machine forms of living metal, much like the C'tan themselves. As the cyclopean machines clamoured, the C'tan swarmed about the biotransference sites, drinking in the torrent of cast-off life energy and growing ever stronger.
Whether the Necrontyr actually realised the price they would actually pay for accepting this pact with the C'tan is not known. The immortality the C'tan promised would be delivered unto the Necrontyr by way of the arcane and terrible process of bio-transference. Vast bio-foundries were constructed, and into these the Silent King's peoples marched according to the terms of the pact he had made with the C'tan. What blasphemous procedures the Necrontyr were subjected to within the raging bio-furnaces cannot be known, but certainly, each was stripped of flesh and of soul, his body replaced by a shell of living metal animated by what remained of his guttering self. Above each furnace swooped and dove the ethereal true-forms of the C'tan as they glutted themselves on the spiritual detritus of an entire species. It was only when the Silent King himself emerged from the bio-transference process and looked upon what had become of his people that he saw the awful truth of the pact he had made. Though immortality and nigh godlike strength and vigour were his, it had come at the cost of his soul, the effluvial remains of which had already been sucked down the gullet of a circling C'tan.
As Szarekh watched the C'tan feast on the life essence of his people, he realised the terrible depth of his mistake. In many ways, he felt better that he had in decades, the countless aches and uncertainties of organic life now behind him. His new machine body was far mightier than the frail form he had tolerated for so long, and his thoughts were swifter and clearer than they had ever been. yet there was an emptiness gnawing at his mind, an inexpressible hollowness of spirit that defied rational explanation. In that moment, he knew with cold certainty that the price of physical immortality had been the loss of his soul. With great sorrow the Silent King beheld the fate he had brought upon his people: the Necrontyr were not but a memory, and the soulless, undying Necrons had been reborn in their place.
Yet if the price had been steep, biotransference had fulfilled all of the promises that the C'tan had made. Even the lowliest of the Necrontyr was now blessed with immortality -- age and hard radiation could little erode their new mechanical bodies, and only the most terrible of injuries could destroy them utterly. Likewise, the Necrons now enjoyed a unity that the Necrontyr had never known, though it was achieved through tyranny and the complete loss of individuality and emotion rather than by consent. The biotransference process had embedded command protocols in every Necron mind, granting Szarekh the unswerving loyalty of his subjects. At first, the Silent King embraced this unanimity, for it was a welcome reprieve from the chaos that had consumed the Necrontyr Empire in recent years. However, as time wore on he grew weary of his burden but dared not sever the command protocols, lest his subjects turn on him seeking vengeance for the terrible curse he ahd visited upon them.
Thus the Necrontyr became the Necrons, cursed to the eternal servitude of their Star Gods. The C'tan feasted upon the entire Necrontyr race's life energies even as they made the transfers, leaving behind only the ghostly echoes of the Necrontyr's consciousnesses. Only a few of the most strong-willed Necrontyr retained their intellect and self-awareness and even they were but shadows of their former selves. They had been purged of so much of what had made them unique individuals. The Necrons cared not at all for their loss; all that mattered to them was that they would live forever without disease or death as their Star Gods had promised. Nevertheless, the Necrontyr species was united as never before. The process imbued in every one of the Silent King's subjects the command protocols with which he would rule over them with an iron hand. The entire species was his to command, and so it fell upon the Necrons to honour their side of their terrible bargain. Renewed by their devouring of the souls of an entire species, the C'tan were unstoppable, and with the legions of the Necrons marching in their wake, the Old Ones were doomed. Only one thing truly remained of the old Necrontyr -- their burning hatred for all the other living, intelligent species of the universe. Legions of the undying living metal warriors set out into the galaxy in their Tomb Ships and the stars burned in their wake. The Old Ones' mastery of the Warp was now countered by the C'tan's supremacy over the physical universe and the ancient enemies of the Necrons suffered greatly in the interstellar slaughter that followed.
The Necrons Ascendant
With the C'tan and the Necrons fighting as one, the Old Ones were now doomed to defeat. Glutted on the life force of the Necrontyr, the empowered C'tan were night unstoppable and unleashed forces beyond comprehension. Planets were razed, suns extinguished and who star systems devoured by black holes called into being by the reality-warping powers of the Star Gods. Necron legions finally breached the Webway and assailed the Old Ones in every corner of the galaxy. They brought under siege the fortresses of the Old Ones' many allies amongst the younger intelligent races of the galaxy, harvesting the life force of the defenders to feed their voracious C'tan masters.
In the closing years of the War in heaven, one of the primary factors that led to the Necrons' ascendancy was their ability to finally gain access to the Old Ones' Webway. The C'tan known as Nyadra'zath, the Burning One, had long desired to carry his eldritch fires into that space beyond space, and so showed the Necrons how to breach its boundaries. Through a series of living stone portals known as the Dolmen Gates, the Necrons were finally able to turn the Old Ones' greatest weapon against them, vastly accelerating the ultimate end of the War in Heaven.
The portals offered by the Dolmen Gates are neither so stable, nor so controllable as the naturally occurring entrances to the Webway scattered across the galaxy. Indeed, in some curious fashion, the Webway can detect when its environs have neen breached by a Dolmen Gate and its arcane mechanisms swiftly attempt to seal off the infected spur from the rest of the Labyrinthine Dimension until the danger to its integrity has passed. Thus, Necrons entering the Webway must reach their intended destination through its shifting extradimensional corridors quickly, lest the network itself bring about their destruction.
Of course, in the present age, aeons have passed since the Necrons used the Dolmen Gates to assault their archenemies. The Old Ones are gone, and the Webway itself has become a tangled and broken labyrinth. Many Dolmen Gates were lost of abandoned during the time of the Necrons' Great Sleep, and many more were destroyed by the Eldar, the Old Ones' successors as the guardians of the Webway. Those that remain grant access to but a small portion of the immense maze that is the Webway, much of that voluntarily sealed off by the Eldar to prevent further contamination. Yet the Webway is immeasurably vast, and even these sundered skeins allow the Necrons a mode of travel that far outpaces those of the younger races. It is well that this is so. As a race bereft of psykers as a result of their loss of their souls during the biotransference process, the Necrons are also incapable of Warp travel, and without access to the Webway, they would be forces to rely once more on slow-voyaging stasis-ships, dooming them to interstellar isolation.
In the wake of these victories, the C'tan and their undying Necron servants now dominated the galaxy. The last planetary bastions of the Old Ones were besieged and the intelligent races they had once nurtured became cattle for the obscene hunger of the C'tan. To the younger sentient species of the galaxy, the Necrons and their Star Gods were cruel masters, callously harvesting their populations at will to feed the C'tan's ceaseless hunger. The C'tan were figures of terror who demanded their adoration and fear in equal measure. For unknown reasons, but probably because their individual hungers for mortal life energies knew no bounds, the C'tan ultimately began to fight amongst themselves for both sport and out of spite as they unleashed destructive forces beyond mortal comprehension. Among the Eldar, an ancient myth holds that their Laughing God tricked the C'tan known as the Outsider into turning on its brothers and beginning their long war for ascendancy. In the course of the C'tan's struggle against one another, whole planets were razed, stars were extinguished and whole solar systems were devoured by unleashed black holes. New cities were built by the efforts of millions and then smashed down once more. As the "red harvests" of the C'tan and their Necron servants grew thin, C'tan eventually devoured C'tan, until only a few were left in the universe and they competed amongst themselves for a long age.
Eventually, even the Old Ones, who had once been defined by their patience and unstoppable will, became desperate in the face of the Necron assault. They used their great scientific skills to genetically engineer intelligent beings with an even stronger psychic link to the Warp, hoping to create servants with the capability of channeling psychic power to defend themselves. They nurtured many potential warrior races, among which are believed to be the earliest members of the Eldar species and many other xenos races, including the Rashan, the K'nib, the Krork and many others. Millennia passed as the Old Ones' creations finally bore fruit and the C'tan and their Necron servants continued to extinguish life across the galaxy.
The Tide Turns
The Old Ones' psychically-empowered servant races spread across the galaxy, battling the advanced Necron technology with the psychic power of their Warp-spawned sorcery. Facing this new onslaught, the C'tan's empire was shattered, as the psychic forces of the Immaterium were anathema to soulless entities whose existence was wholly contained within purely physical paterns of electromagnetic force. For all the destruction they could unleash, they were unable to stop the Old Ones and the younger races' relentless advance across the stars.
The C'tan, unified by this great threat for the first time in millions of years, sought a way to defeat the soul-fuelled energies of the younger species. They initiated a great warding, a plan to forever defeat the psychic sorceries of the Old Ones by sealing off the material universe from the Warp, a plan whose first fruits can still be found on the Imperial Fortress World of Cadia in the form of the great pylons that litter the surface of that world in intricate networks and create the area of space-time stability near the Eye of Terror known as the Cadian Gate. With their god-like powers, it was only a matter of time until the C'tan succeeded and the greatest work of the C'tan was begun. But before it was complete, the seeds of destruction the Old Ones had planted millennia before brought about an unforeseen cataclysm. The growing pains and collective psychic flaws of the younger races threw the untapped psychically reactive energies of the Immaterium into disorder. War, pain and destruction were mirrored in the bottomless depth of the Sea of Souls that was the Warp. The maelstroms of souls unleashed into the Immaterium by the carnage of the War in Heaven coalesced in the previously formless energies of the Warp. Older entities that had existed within the Immaterium transformed into terrifying psychic predators, tearing at the souls of vulnerable psykers as their own environment was torn apart and reforged into the Realm of Chaos.
The Enslaver Plague
The denizens of the Warp clustered voraciously at the cracks between the Immaterium and the material universe, seeking new ways to enter the physical realm. The Old Ones brought forth new genetically-engineered warrior races to defend their last strongholds, including the technology-mimicking Jokaero and the formidable, green-skinned Krork who were the ancestors of the present day Orks, but it was already too late. The Old Ones' intergalactic Webway network was breached from the Immaterium and lost to them, several of their Warp Gates were destroyed by their own hands to prevent the entities of the Warp from spreading to uncorrupted worlds and Old Ones' greatest works and places of power were overrun by the horrors their own creations had unleashed. The most terrifying of these horrors were the Enslavers, Warp entities whose ability to dominate the minds of the younger races and create their own portals into the material realm using transmuted possessed psykers brought them forth in ever greater numbers. For the Old Ones, this was the final disaster as the Enslavers took control of their servants. The Pandora's Box unleashed by the creation of the younger races finally scattered the last of the Old Ones and broke their power over the galaxy once and for all. Life had stood at the edge of an apocalypse during the War in Heaven between the Old Ones and the C'tan. Now as the Enslavers breached the Immaterium in epidemic proportions, the survivors looked doomed.
Ultimately, beset by the implacable onset of the C'tan and the calamitous Warp-spawned perils they had themselves mistakenly unleashed, the Old Ones were defeated, scattered and finally destroyed. Whether the species went extinct or simply fled the galaxy to seek a new haven elsewhere is unknown.
The Silent King's Betrayal
Throughout the final stages of the War in heaven, Szarekh bided his time, waiting for the moment in which the C'tan would prove vulnerable. Though the entire Necron race was now his to command, he could not hope to oppose the C'tan at the height of their power, and even if he did and met with success, the Necrons would then have to finish the War in Heaven against the Old Ones and their increasingly potent allies alone. No, the Old Ones had to be completely and utterly defeated before the C'tan could be brought to account for the horror they had wrought. And so, when the C'tan finally won their great war, their triumph proved short-lived. With one hated enemy finally defeated, and the other spend from hard-fought victory, the Silent King at last led the Necrons in revolt against the C'tan masters.
In their arrogance, the C'tan did not realise their danger until it was too late. The Necrons focussed the unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the Star Gods to endure. Alas, the C'tan were immortal star-spawn, part of the fundamental fabric of reality and therefore nigh impossible to destroy. So was each C'tan instead sundered into thousands of smaller and less powerful fragments with a similar energy signature. yet this was sufficient to the Silent King's goals. Indeed, he had known the C'tan's ultimate destruction to be impossible and had drawn his plans accordingly; each C'tan Shard was bound within a multidimensional Tesseract Labyrinth, as tramelled and secured as a Terran djinn trapped in a bottle. Though the cost of victory was high -- millions of Necrons had been destroyed as a consequence of the rebellion, including all of the members of the Triarch save the Silent King himself -- the Necrons were once more in command of their own destiny.
The Great Sleep
The Necrons had been vindicated in their pursuit only of science and control over the material realm and certainly took pleasure in seeing the Old Ones' civilisation collapse as a result of their over-indulgence of psychic power and the end of the C'tan's domination over their race. Yet even with the defeat of the Old Ones and the C'tan alike, the Silent King saw that the time of the Necrons in the galaxy was over -- for the moment, at least. They would allow the Enslavers to take what was left of the sentient life in the galaxy and let it become an interstellar wasteland; the psyker swarm would then die away and in time the galaxy would evolve new lifeforms who would be less sophisticated and easier to dominate. In addition, the Necrons understood that the mantle of galactic dominion was soon to pass to the Eldar, one of the psychically-potent races that had fought alongside the Old Ones throughout the War in Heaven and had thus come to hate the Necrons and all their works with the burning passion that is the defining characteristic of that species. The Eldar had survived where the Old Ones had not and the Necrons, weakened by their expenditure of lives and resources in overthrowing the rule of the C'tan, could not stand against them. Yet the Silent King knew that the time of the Eldar would eventually pass, as it must pass for all those beings still cloaked in the flesh. It would take millions of Terran years for the Eldar's power to fade, but what mattered is that the Necrons would be there to take advantage of it.
So it was that the Silent King ordered the remaining Necron cities to be transformed into great tomb complexes threaded with stasis-crypts. Let the Eldar shape the galaxy for a time -- they were but ephemeral, whilst the Necrons were undying and eternal. The Silent King's final command to his people was that they must sleep for the equivalent of 60 million standard years but awake ready to rebuild all that they had lost, to restore the Necron dynasties to their former glory. This was the Silent King's final order, and as the last Tomb World sealed its subterranean vaults, Szarekh destroyed the command protocols by which he had controlled his people for so long, for he had failed them utterly. Without a backward glance, Szarekh, the last of the Silent Kings of the Triarch, took ship into the starless void of intergalactic space, there to find whatever measure of solace or penance he could.
meanwhile, aeons passed and the Necrons slept on, their machine slaves and constructs guarding them while they slept on Tomb Worlds that had been purged of all life to keep the Enslavers from their door. This plan worked with an amazing degree of success until the Necrons were awakened by the forces of the Imperium of Man in the late 41st Millennium to plague the galaxy once more. They discovered a new and unexpected age of interstellar civilisation and war much like the one they had left behind 60 million years before. The galaxy is blossoming with life once more but is still overrun with latent psykers and worshippers of the infernal Chaotic Warp energies unleashed during the War in Heaven. It will take time and a great many machinations for the Necron dynasties to regain their rightful place as the rulers of the galaxy; the agents of Chaos must be overthrown; the dangerous Eldar, inheritors of the Old Ones' mantle, eliminated; Mankind subjugated and the great work cutting off the material universe from the Warp completed before a new age of Necron dominion can truly begin. But the Necrons are ageless and undying, their technology is still unmatched by any of the younger races. And time is always on their side...
The Great Awakening
- "Adversary, know that your squalid colony rests upon a rightful crown world of the Novokh Dynasty. Know also that whilst your presence cannot be tolerated, we are bound by code of honour to allow you opportunity to withdraw. You are therefore granted one solar month, commencing at termination of this transmission, to remove all trace of your presence. If you fail to accept this generous offer, my armies shall conclude these negotiations. We advise you not to mistake honourable warning for lack of resolve."
Having slumbered in dusty stasis crypts scattered across the galaxy, the Necrons have been slowly awakening, one Tomb World at a time, for several millennia. The process is far from stable, however, for the legions have lain immobile and undreaming for 60 million years. It is a staggering feat of science that any Tomb Worlds have survived at all, and many have fallen prey to corruption in their arcane systems, planetary upheaval, and the actions of other species, most of them in ignorance but a few very deliberate indeed. Throughout the long aeons of slumber, the tomb worlds' systems have worked tirelessly to maintain these vast structures and to defend them against the intrusions of the lesser species. It is not known exactly when the first Tomb World initiated its revivification protocols, and it is quite possible that some did so in error well before the ordained time. Only now, as more and more Tomb Worlds awaken, is a pattern becoming visible to those whose mission it is to stand watch upon the trackless reaches of the galaxy and beyond. Piecing together scattered accounts of skull-faced reaper-machines rising from the dust of Dead Worlds the length and breadth of the galaxy, the xenos-savants of the Inquisition are faced with a stark realisation. What at first appeared to be unrelated alien raids serving no overall purpose were, in fact, the heralds of a disaster of galactic proportions.
Having slept so still and for so long, it is not possible for a Tomb World to awaken quickly into a fully alert state. While dormant, each is controlled by a master artificial intelligence program that oversees its essential maintenance and defence, mobilising what resources it judges appropriate to any given situation or threat. As the long awaited time of awakening nears, as best can be judged by the master program, more of its systems are brought online and more of the interred revived. Often, it is the lower order of Necrons, the Necron Warriors and Immortals, that are awakened in the initial phases. These nearly mindless automatons following their lifeless protocols are brought online first, so that the way might be prepared for the more senior members of the dynasty. As each tier in the Necron dynasty's hierarchy is revived, each more intelligent and bearing more individuality than the last, the whole process gradually begins to appear more like the workings of an ancient civilisation and less like that of some great machine. At the allotted time, a Necron Overlord is awakened, and upon his full revival the master program cedes power to its creators. From that point onward, a truly ancient mind leads the Tomb World, and what happens next depends entirely upon his character and ambition.
Some Overlords are cunning and patient, seeking to muster every resource at their disposal before launching the legions into the void to fulfil the destiny of the lost Necron Empire. Others are bellicose and impatient, launching a string of attacks before those other starfaring races settled in the region discover the Tomb World's awakening. While most are likely to assault nearby worlds occupied by sapient races, some have been known to offer such worlds an ultimatum -- serve the Necrons, or die. The process of awakening presents a massive danger to a Tomb World. If anything other than miniscule numbers of Necrons are revivified at once, a staggering amount of energy is unleashed, which can be detected within light years and inevitably leads to investigation by ignorant and curious mortal species. Thus, should a Tomb World awaken to find itself lying near (or even beneath!) the territory of a younger species, the massive energy spike might draw such attention that it is overwhelmed before its warriors are able to respond.
Having been awakened and control turned over to an Overlord, the Tomb World must in time take its place in the domains of the Necron dynasty that created it. While many dynasties have never awakened and, due to a variety of disasters never will, many are slowly piecing together their former domains. One world at a time, empires that vanished aeons ago are being rebuilt and long dormant hierarchies are reasserting themselves once more. At the centre of each of these risen empires is a crown world, the glorious capital and seat of the Phaeron of an entire dynasty. Below it are numerous lesser Tomb Worlds and other holdings, though rarely are these anywhere near as extensive as they were in their full glory 60 million years ago.
Necrons in the 41st Millennium
The Necrons are still a shadowy presence rather than a full-fledged force in the galaxy of the present time. They strike out of nowhere without warning, wreak havoc and leave before any major reinforcements can arrive. The origins of these various attacks and their motives are unknown, though it is known that the current Necron forces in the galaxy are only soul harvesters, not the full-fledged fighting machines of the C'tan.
They seem to attack from nowhere often simply appearing at nearly any location in the galaxy, no matter how well-defended. Once in the recent past they touched down on Mars, simply passing by the Imperial Navy fleets protecting the Sol System unnoticed, and ultimately casting doubt on the impregnable status of Terra itself. The Necrons reached the Red Planet's surface and explored its subterranean Noctis Labyrinthus, perhaps in search of one of their C'tan masters, believed to be the Dragon of Mars, before being destroyed by the agents of the Imperium. This incident, however, is a heavily guarded secret within the Imperium of Man, which greatly fears that the Necrons may awaken the C'tan known as the Void Dragon which inhabits a stasis tomb beneath the sands of Mars. At the same time, the Imperium has been unable to capture a Necron in an attempt to learn their secrets; entire Necron forces simply vanish into thin air using their phase technology -- and they always take their "dead" with them.
The Necron forces come from Tomb Worlds as yet uncharted by the Imperium. Their phase technology allows them to deploy anywhere in the galaxy, almost instantaneously through unknown means, since the Necrons are incapable of entering the Warp. In defeat, they "phase-out" and return to their associated tomb-world for repairs. Any Necrons that have fallen in battle can be repaired there and re-animated so their losses thus far have been minimal. Should a Necron be totally annihilated in battle, then they are truly beyond phase-out or repair, but again, often so little survives that Imperial or Tau scientists (the only two races that want to know more about these deadly enemies) have nothing to study.
The Necrons may have infiltrated the Imperium to an extent. Their elite anti-psyker troops, the Pariah, are an unholy cross of human mutant and Necron technology. It is as yet unknown if the Necrons developed the Pariahs by themselves or with the help of Imperial traitors (or possibly even the deviant members of the Adeptus Mechanicus who worship the Void Dragon as their Omnissiah). But it is believed by Mechanicus savants that the C'tan had the Pariah Gene engineered into what became the human gene pool over 65 million Terran years ago. This gene has since manifested itself in the agents of the Culexus Temple, the specialized anti-psyker assassins of the Officio Assassinorum.
Necron Combat Doctrine
Hibernating deep within the hearts of their Tomb Worlds, the Necrons have been dormant for more than 60 million Terran years. Scattered Necron raiding parties heralded the undying race's awakening to full activity once more in the late 41st Millennium, but now as their thirsty Star Gods, the C'tan, rise to a hungry wakefulness for life energy, the dreaded Necrontyr have returned to claim the galaxy for their own.
Every Necron Tomb World has been constructed to accord to a complex template that was devised by the Necrontyr at the height of their civilisation. Utilising physical principles and technology that have not been rediscovered by any other intelligent species since they began their long sleep, the Necrons created immense subterranean warehouses to store their race for the millions of years they would spend inactive. Using their mastery of advanced interdimensional geometry, the Necrons built massive chambers that could house tens of thousands of their kind in a space seemingly larger on the inside than without. Deep beneath these pyramidal structures, the Necrons stored their horrific weaponry and erected powerful temporal stabilisers that would shield these warriors and their savage weapons from the ravages of time much like a stasis field.
Each Tomb World, once it has been reactivated, awakens its sleepers in a rigid and predictable algorithmic sequence that is as inevitable as the dying of the stars. First, the Tomb World releases swarms of robotic Scarab and Tomb Spyder constructs to attend to the rudimentary needs of the stasis tombs. Soon after the Necron Warriors are reawakened and begin reconnaissance patrols of the region of the world surrounding their tombs. Using the information gained by these Necron Warriors' scouting missions, the Tomb World's automated systems assess the current circumstances that dominate its environment. According to ancient, pre-determined algorithms, the stasis tombs then bring on-line other Necron machineries and weapons as the circumstances warrant. The Necron Lord or Lords present on the Tomb World are encoded with this information and the data necessary to form artificial personalities so that when they awaken they can embody the singular purpose of the Tomb World and make independent decisions.
A large population centre of one of the galaxy's younger races, usually Mankind, may have been settled unwittingly on what is actually a Necron Tomb World. When this situation is encountered, the Tomb World's encoded programming reacts extremely aggressively to defend its hibernating charges. These Tomb Worlds are the ones that have activated the most rapidly during the current awakening of the Necrons and are now hives of activity for the undying race. As their automated systems delve ever deeper into their existing archives of data and storehouses of units and weapons, the Tomb Worlds whose areas of influence have been "invaded" by the younger races are gearing up to begin what will eventually become a full-scale retaliatory action against the Imperium of Man and any other organised force that stands in the Necrons' way. This is a programmed behaviour pattern that Imperial savants have dubbed "the Harvest." When it comes to pass, it will be a genocidal-level event on a par with the War in Heaven against the Old Ones millions of years ago.
Necron Tomb Worlds appear to have no permanent organisation or command structure, nor is the interaction of the various forces altogether clear to the savants of the Imperium. The Necrons' form of warfare could best be described as a continuous process of causality, as each battle, campaign and Harvest produces preordained responses from the controlling program of the Tomb World. This evolving structure is made possible by a system similar to that used in the most complex assemblies of the Adeptus Mechanicus, which is known as Nodal Command. Nodal Command organisation allocates a strict hierarchy to all of the elements within it. This system grants greater operational and decision-making capacity to certain "nodes" whilst slaving the rest of the system to these nodes' autonomous command decisions. Necron Lords form the nodes of the command structure, allowing each Lord an allocated hierarchical value at any given time. Though the Adeptus Mechanicus can only guess at how this Nodal Command system truly operates, they have determined that there are at least four levels of hierarchy within the Nodal Command, which the Tech-priests have designated Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels, in ascending order of command priority. The Nodal Command system is also a communications structure and forms the basis for how intelligence information is gathered and orders issued to the necessary Necron units. The system is often likened to the ancient flow charts once used to design Cogitator algorithms during the Dark Age of Technology.
The decisions taken by a higher-level Necron Lord (such as a Gold-level), give a single, quick response. All relevant data and orders are then automatically disseminated to any subservient Lords -- the Silver-and Bronze-level Lords slaved to the Gold-level commander. In situations where speed is less important than processing all of the relevant information, decision-making defers across several Bronze or Silver-level Lords, and can even devolve down to the individual Necron Warriors at specific times during combat. This system allows for a great deal of coordination when required, but also still leaves room for independent action by distant combat groups should the need arise. A Platinum-level Necron Lord, also known as a Necron Overlord, has not yet been encountered by Imperial forces. Savant speculation indicates that this level of Necron Lord would command massive Necron fleets intended to Harvest entire swathes of the galaxy. Such a Necron force might prove unstoppable.
After multiple encounters with the Necrons, it has become obvious to Imperial savants that as a conflict worsens, a Tomb World will temporarily withdraw its existing forces from combat before releasing a new, more potent army led by an extended Nodal Command. Essentially, the more a foe escalates its response to Necron forces, the more devastating will become the Necron offensive. In most situations, only a few Necron Warriors and specialist support units like Destroyers or Wraiths are deployed to defeat an emerging threat. But as resistance grows, so does the strength of the forces that will be released by the Tomb World's autonomic systems to the Nodal Command structure for use by the commanding Necron Lord or Lords.
Combat escalation with the Necrons of a specific Tomb World will grow in this exponential fashion until the forces that are capable of being deployed by the Necrons represent a level of destructive power that can surpass that of any other enemy Mankind has ever faced, including the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos. Seemingly endless ranks of Necron Warriors will be transported into combat by armadas of newly-awakened Monoliths, while Immortals and Destroyers by the hundreds will be released in relentless waves against enemy troops. Scores of horrific Flayed Ones and Wraiths will terrorise civilian populations and destroy morale behind the front lines. It is believed by many Imperial savants that some Tomb Worlds still maintain a wide variety of units more powerful and destructive than the massed phalanxes of Necron Warriors and Monoliths that have been encountered by the defenders of the Imperium to date. All that is required for these unseen units to be committed to the fight is for the combat to escalate to a level that has not yet been attained. The mind reels from imagining what kinds of horrific machines the Necrons may yet unleash upon an unsuspecting galaxy when this unknown line is finally crossed in the not-too-distant future. The Dead Worlds that have been found close to many present Tomb Worlds scoured of all life are perhaps testaments to the true fate of those who oppose the undying Necrons.
Tomb World Nodal Command Stages
- Primary Awakeners - The first elements activated by a Tomb World's autonomic systems once the outside environment has been judged to be receptive to the hibernating Necrons' awakening are the Tomb Spyders. These robotic custodians begin the initial tasks of opening and performing basic maintenance to the Necron stasis tombs. Embued with the powers of Necron resurrection, the Tomb Spyders activate the Tomb World's initial reconnaissance forces, known as Raiders. Meanwhile, the second group of Primary Awakeners, the smaller robotic constructs called Scarabs, secure the interior of the stasis tombs. In massive swarms numbering in the thousands, Scarabs seek out intruders and carry out any remaining essential maintenance on the stasis tombs' defence systems.
- Raider Force - Made up of a small number of Necron Warriors and Scarabs, the Raider forces emerge into the outside environment with complete autonomy to carry out their mission as they see fit within the limits of their programming. The Raiders' purpose is to scout the surface of the Tomb World and any nearby star systems, seeking data on the location and status of the galaxy's other intelligent races. The destruction of a Raider force will produce one of two outcomes: the Tomb World may despatch a second Raider force to determine what happened to the first or the Tomb World may proceed immediately to the second stage of activation if a threat has been identified.
- Reserve Command - After the initial data gathered by the Raiders has been received by the Tomb World, the command of all Raider forces is subsumed under the Nodal Command of a Necron Lord, usually one tasked with a Silver-level of priority. When required, the Reserve Command will enter combat led by this Necron Lord, who also serves as a reserve commander who can take control of any already-deployed Necron forces should their primary Necron Lord be destroyed or incapacitated.
- Necron Line Formations - The majority of the units that make up a Necron field army are placed under this extension of the Nodal Command. Led by up to 4 Bronze-level Necron Lords, the Line Formations are made up of a wide variety of Necron fighting units. Ground forces are organised into units called phalanxes, which are made up of a core of Necron Warriors transported by Monoliths and supported by secondary fire support units like Destroyers, Immortals and so on. These phalanxes are often accompanied by units comprised of more specialised Necron troop types known as cohorts. The Necron Lords of the Line Formations serve as a battlefield command circuit that is able to pass data between themselves, upload data to the Platinum-level Necron Overlord or call upon the Reserve Command for reinforcements or a more in-depth analysis of tactical information. Each Tomb World may have dozens of full Line Formations, which are activated as needed by Tomb Spyders and inserted into or removed from the Nodal Command as the flow of combat dictates.
- Priority Command - Three Gold-level Necron Lords form the highest Necron command structure yet encountered by the forces of the Imperium on the battlefield. These Necron Lords are responsible for all strategic deciion-making and can override the command and communications of Bronze or Silver-level Necron Lords. They are also capable of committing and commanding the most powerful Necron units known to exist to combat, including the Pariahs, larger war machines like Tomb Stalkers, aerial forces and starships.
- Platinum-level Commander - No Platinum-level Necron Lord, known as a Necron Overlord, has yet been encountered by the Imperium and their existence has only so far been hypothesized from observing the actions of the Gold-level Necron Lords. It is still speculation amongst the few Imperial savants who have been trusted with data about the Necrons whether the Platinum-level Nodal Command is still hidden on a Tomb World or might perhaps even be the Tomb World itself. The Adeptus Mechanicus' Tech-priests, however, are quite confident that the Platinum-level Necron Overlord is not the C'tan, who do not interact with the Nodal Command structure in any obvious way.
Forces of the Necrons
Most Necrons are tall, skeletal figures made of a living metal called Necrodermis that provides excellent protection in battle. It also has the special self-repair effect, which means even heavily damaged Necrons can quickly return to the battle. This ability seems to only work when the Necron is in the vicinity of other Necrons of the same type since the repairing Necron needs a "template" on which to re-create himself.
Another interesting phenomenon of the Necrons is that when a battle has turned strongly against them, the entire army will simply vanish from the battlefield using their unknown phase technology. This includes even 'dead' Necrons (those who have not yet repaired themselves) and those already engaged in close combat. Because of this, enemy forces like the Imperium have had great difficulty in obtaining Necron artifacts or "corpses" to study.
It should be noted that the terms for the weapons and Necrons that follow are given to them by their opponents, not the Necrons themselves. Aside from the C'tan known as the Deceiver, the Necrons never communicate with non-Necrons; and even then the Deceiver has only been observed communicating with non-Necrons rarely at best.
The C'tan or Necron "Star Gods", known in the Eldar Lexicon as the Yngir, are said to be the oldest intelligent beings in existence in the Milky Way Galaxy. It is said that they were created at the very beginning of the universe, spawned from swirling gases and enormous amounts of energy, and as such are etheric creatures by nature. In their natural form they are vast beings and spread themselves over the surface of a star, absorbing its solar energy to feed themselves. After a time, they learned to use diaphanous wings to travel to other stars to continue their consumption when their host star died. The matter around them was so insignificant that it did not register on their voracious appetite. They are able to interact with the physical world thanks to the technology of the Necrontyr which transferred their consciousnesses into robotic bodies made of the living metal called necrodermis. The C'tan used the hatred of the Necrontyr towards the ancient species called the Old Ones to help them gather the more appetizing energy of living beings that they came to crave. The C'tan hate the Warp and its psychic energies (even as they crave the living energies of organic beings) and have thus had the Necrons construct a series of pylons on the world of Cadia and other planets across several Sectors in the Segmentum Obscurus which, when completed, will close off the Warp from the material universe entirely, utterly destroying any living creatures with a soul, leaving all other life in the galaxy as nourishment for the C'tan.
- The Nightbringer - Aza'gorod, the Nightbringer has impressed its image as that of the grim reaper itself on the psyche of the younger races, apart from the Orks (since they do not fear death). Upon entering stasis it was almost destroyed and starved but was released accidentally by the Space Marines in the 41st Millennium, which caused the Necrons to begin to awaken from their ancient sleep.
- The Deceiver - Mephet'ran, the Deceiver came out of stasis an unknown time ago and has been weaving plots ever since, including the destruction of the ancient Old Ones weapons the Eldar call the Talismans of Vaul and the Imperium knows as the Blackstone Fortresses which were designed to destroy the C'tan on their emergence.
- The Void Dragon - Mag'ladroth, the Void Dragon is the most powerful C'tan and still resides in stasis, theorised to be located beneath Mars in the Noctis Labrynthus. The Void Dragon is believed by some Tech-priests to be the actual Machine God venerated by the Cult of the Machine of the Adeptus Mechanicus. A master of the material realm, this particular C'tan was a figure of oblivion, devastation and wanton destruction and it's warriors were nigh invincible.
- The Burning One - Since the ancient race known as the Necrons have awakened from their millennia-long slumber, the C'tan known as Nyadra'zatha, the Burning One, who has long desired to carry his eldritch fires into the Webway and beyond, has finally enabled the Necrons to gain access to the Labyrinthine Dimension of the Webway, showing the Necrons how to breach its boundaries. Through a series of living stone portals known as Dolmen Gates, the Necrons have finally been able to turn the Old Ones' greatest weapon against them, vastly accelerating the end of the Necrons' long War in Heaven. As a race bereft of psykers, the Necrons are incapable of Warp travel, and without access to the Webway, they would be forced to rely once more on slow-voyaging stasis-ships, dooming them to isolation within the galaxy.
Four other C'tan are known to have existed:
- Kalugara - A piece of an ancient god trapped in a body of living metal, the C'tan Shard is a horrific engine of destruction. This particular C'tan Shard was entombed on Kalugura aeons ago, possibly at the command of the Silent King, then the supreme overlord of the Necron race.
- Og'driada, the Arisen
- The Outsider - Tsara'noga, the Outsider became insane due to its consumption of other C'tan, a trick played on it by Cegorach, the Eldar Laughing God. It is currently imprisoned in a Dyson Sphere beneath the galactic plane. The Eldar Harlequins (followers of the Laughing God) whisper that "one dark night, it shall return."
- Yggra'nya, the Shaper
Of all the Necron Lords, the Necron Overlord is by far the most powerful and dangerous. At his command are uncountable legions of Necron Warriors, terrifying war machines and a vast array of devastating weaponry that could shatter entire worlds given half the chance. When he marches to war, the Necron Overlord does so with the surety of victory -- he has cogitated and calculated every possible outcome in the ensuing conflict and formulated strategies to ensure that everything goes to plan. Only the most unlikely situations can outfox him and only the most potent foes have any chance of beating him in combat. Weapons glance off his armour or simply pass straight through him as he shifts in and out of reality using the Necrons phase shifting technology. In return, his own attacks are brutally meticulous as he severs heads, shatters armour and pulverises his foes with every swing of his ancient blade. Should a Necron Overlord rise to the position of Phaeron, and ruler of an entire sector, then few will have the strength to stand before his might.
A Necron Lord is one of the most sophisticated of the C'tan's Necron servants. A Necron Lord serves as the commander and energy loci for the much larger Necron armies composed of the standard Necron Warriors. When the Necrontyr gave up their organic bodies to serve their Star Gods, they transferred their consciousnesses into bodies made of the living metal necrodermis. However, they soon discovered that over an extended period of time, their new robotic bodies dulled their minds and their ability to feel any type of emotion or pleasure. Over many millennia, the ultimate outcome of this process of gradual desensitization was that the Necrons became little more than the soulless warrior-slaves of the C'tan, harvesting intelligent life from across the galaxy to feed these souls to their insatiable masters. Only the most powerful and strong-willed of the Necrons, referred to as Necron Lords, managed to maintain their full sentience in the face of the growing dullness of their minds. Clad in crumbling vestments and wielding an ancient, arcane staff weapon known as a Staff of Light, the Necron Lord is a chilling sight to behold on the battlefield as they direct their Necron Warriors in unnatural silence. Their ancient metallic bodies are marred by the patina of age and they wear the accumulated power of millennia like a robe. With every silent gesture, glittering arcs of viridian energy surround them as their empty eye sockets burn with soulless fire. The Necron Destroyer Lord is an alternate form for a Necron Lord where the Lord's torso is mounted on a Necron Destroyer's anti-gravitic platform, allowing it to rise over the battlefield and dive down with frightening speed to destroy its enemies.
A Cryptek is one of the technologists and engineers of the Necron race, and they are responsible for studying and maintaining the technology of the Necron dynasties. A Cryptek's powers mirror that of the psykers found amongst the other intelligent species of the galaxy. However, while psykers channel the energies of the Warp to accomplish their seemingly supernatural feats, a Cryptek uses his highly advanced knowledge of science and technology to manipulate the universe's fundamental forces and produce many of the same seemingly magical effects. They are masters of dimensional dissonance, singularity manipulation, atomic transmutation, elemental transmogrification and countless other reason-defying technologies. What a Cryptek often accomplishes with his technology is nothing short of magical to the eyes of the lesser intelligent races. With his knowledge of arcane sciences, a Cryptek can transmute a foe into liquid adamantium, turn him into a speck of dwarf star matter, set the air ablaze, call down eldritch bolts of lightning and other equally impressive feats of technological arcana. Such technological aptitude and power is highly sought after by Necron Overlords, who will meet whatever demands are made by the Crypteks in exchange for their services.
Necron Deathmarks are one of the highly-skilled snipers and assassins of the Necron forces, appearing from apparently nowhere and striking with terrible precision. The name is fitting: once given the "hunter's mark", a Deathmark's targets are almost certain to meet their deaths scant moments later. Like most Necrons, the Deathmarks' technology lies far beyond the realm of human comprehension and they can effectively phase in and out of normal space-time at will. Their victims will assume that they have been ambushed, that the Deathmarks teleported onto the battlefield. The reality is that they were already there, waiting out of phase for just the right moment to slaughter their victims. Few enemy commanders encounter Deathmarks and live to tell the tale. In appearance, Deathmarks are more akin to Necron Immortals in the craftsmanship of their mechanical bodies. They are distinguished by a single, large green-glowing eye and the arcane orbs projecting from their spines. These orbs flare with an unnatural light as a Deathmark utilises its occult powers. In keeping with their role, Deathmarks display a propensity for stealth that is all but unique amongst the Necron ranks. Moving as they do with the eerie silence that is the hallmark of the Necron legions, Deathmarks can be surprisingly stealthy for their slow, deliberate movements.
Triarch Praetorians hold a great responsibility -- to ensure that the ruling Necron dynasties never fall. The Praetorians held the responsibility of maintaining the Triarch's rule, to ensure that wars and politics alike were pursued according to ancient codes. As such, they acted outside the political structures, and held both the right and the means to enforce their will should a Lord, Overlord or even a Phaeron's behaviour contravene the edicts of old. During the War in Heaven the Triarch Praetorians fought at the forefront of that cataclysm, but their efforts were all for naught. When the Necron race entered hibernation after the end of the War in Heaven over 60 million Terran years ago, the Triarch Praetorians chose to remain awake. Now, as the Necrons awaken once more into a strife-torn galaxy, the Triarch Praetorians have also re-emerged to serve the Necron Lords' dynastic legions. They will rarely join a battle immediately, preferring to hover above the fray on Gravity Displacement Packs before launching themselves right into the heart of the enemy army. With the devastating weapon known as a Rod of Covenant at their disposal there is very little that can survive the assault of a Triarch Praetorian.
The Necron Lychguard are the elite protectors and emissaries of the Necron nobility. In order to serve as a bulwark against those who would harm their charge, Lychguards were gifted with the highest quality of living metal bodies, equal in resilience and power to those inhabited by the Lords and Overlords they protect. In addition to serving as wardens, Lychguards often act as messengers and envoys for their masters. In order to better serve in this capacity, the personality and intellect of the Lychguards was preserved through the process of bio-transference to a much greater extent than the rank and file. As with other Necrons, Lychguards fulfil the same roles in undeath as they did in life, and, as with other Necrons, the capability for disobedience has been removed. The Necron Lords and Overlords of the 41st millennium need never worry about a treacherous knife in the back from a supposedly loyal guardian, making the Lychguards the last defence against the machinations of rival nobles. Owing to their powerful frames, Lychguards are taller and broader than Necron Warriors, with broad shoulder blades and a pronounced spine that extends above their heads. Reflecting their status and, perhaps, their individual preferences, Lychguards are often adorned with decorative headgear and segmented metal tabards. Lychguards are typically armed with warscythes, massive polearms with blades sheathed in a highly advanced and devastating power field. Backed up by the formidable strength of a Lychguard, a warscythe can split even an armoured warrior of the Adeptus Astartes nearly in two. Some will also carry Hyperphase Swords and Dispersion Shields, which are marginally less powerful, but offer increased protection.
Necron Warriors are the primary infantry troops of the soulless, robotic Necrons. They were created from the majority of the Necrontyr people who agreed to be bound to the will of their Star Gods, the terrible entities known as the C'tan. The Necrontyr's consciousnesses were transferred into robotic bodies made of the living metal called Necrodermis. Over a long period of time, the new unliving bodies dulled the Necrontyr's minds and their abilities to feel emotion or pleasure. Over many millennia, the ultimate outcome of this process of gradual desensitization was that the Necrontyr became little more than souless automatons, the warrior-slaves of the C'tan who scour the galaxy for souls to feed their insatiable masters' appetities for living energy. In battle, their massive numbers and superior firepower overwhelm their enemies before they retreat back to their Tomb complexes, awaiting the next call to battle from their Necron Lord. The skeletal forms of Necron Warriors are a spine-chilling sight to behold; kinetic projectiles and lasblasts bounce harmlessly from their metallic limbs. The Gauss Flayer which they wield is no less terrifying, as it strips its targets to atoms, dissolving skin and muscle in a heartbeat and then disintegrating bone until nothing remains.
Note: This unit was once considered canon but its canonicity is now questionable.
Pariahs are crafted from a terrible symbiosis of Necron technology and human evolution. They are created from human victims abducted by the Necrons who bear the "Pariah Gene" that severs the bearer's psyche completely from the Warp, effectively making them both soulless creatures and immune to the effects of all psychic abilities. However, despite this psychic immunity, Pariahs tend to not live long as the feelings of hatred and distaste they generate among others due to their soulless state means they have few friends and many enemies. Pariahs are very rare in the galaxy since perhaps only one person on an entire world will be a carrier of the gene in every human generation. Pariahs are often used by the Inquisition and the Ordo Hereticus against the witches and renegade psykers. Also, due to their soullessness, human Pariahs are completely without fear. Necron Pariahs are former human bearers of the Pariah gene who have been encased within new cybernetic bodies forged from the living metal called necrodermis by the Necrons and their minds are soon enslaved to the will of the Necron noble caste in a manner similar to the standard Necron Warriors as their new bodies drain their abilities to feel any emotion or pleasure. The Pariah Gene is extremely rare and confined solely to Mankind, meaning that Pariahs are quite rare in the galaxy, and there are very few even amongst the Necrons. Pariahs have an extreme detrimental effect on the psychic powers of any psykers they come into contact with. Pariahs wield spear-like Warscythes that are also outfitted with built-in Gauss Blasters that make them extremely dangerous opponents. Pariahs also radiate an unnatural aura as a result of their soullessness that has a terribly unnerving effect upon their enemies, but especially for psykers who can become incapacitated by their sheer presence.
The Necron Immortals are those favoured Necrontyr who were among the first to give up their flesh and embrace the necrodermis and their C'tan gods. For this, they were rewarded by being turned into Immortals. In life, Immortals were the professional soldiery of the Necrontyr empire. In death, they surpass the Warriors in nearly every way. Possessed of even more resilient frames, Necron Immortals prove almost impervious to small arms. Their training and experience in combat survived the process of bio-transference undiminished, and Immortals seem to have retained a brighter spark of intellect than their less favoured brethren, although only in regard to the practice of war. Outside of combat, Immortals display about as much personality as a monotask servitor. Immortals are typically armed with gauss blasters, weapons even deadlier than the gauss flayers used by Warriors.
Flayed Ones are twisted and ghoulish terrors afflicted by an ancient infection that act as specialised close combat troops who appear from an unknown pocket dimension of their hideous kind to join the Necron armies in battle, though never by invitation from the Necrons themselves. These loathsome creatures were once Necrontyr who managed to retain some of their original consciousness when they were transferred into their living metallic bodies of necrodermis, but were cursed with a terrible disease, manifesting a hunger for flesh that cannot be satisfied and that eventually drove them to madness. Advancing before a Necron force, these stooped yet terrifyingly agile automatons excel at infiltrating and spreading terror like a plague within the ranks of their foes. They are quite capable melee fighters, and make use of flensing blades that extend from their fingers and can flay a man alive in seconds. Thin and wiry, they habitually adorn themselves with the still-wet pieces of skin and hide they have stripped from their victims, leaving behind the skinned corpses to sow fear and confusion. In such a state they are a terrifying sight to behold, so much so that enemy combatants lose their nerve when they see pieces of old squadmates hanging from the undying machines approaching their lines. In addition to their wicked claws, some Flayed Ones utilise Necron Disruption Field technology that allows them to rip even armoured vehicles apart.
A Wraith is one of the more sophisticated units employed by the forces of the Necrons. Wraiths prowl the corridors of slumbering tombs of a Necron Tomb World, gliding silently through the cyclopean corridors, guarding against intrusion and ensuring the safety of its slumbering occupants. These grotesque floating killers lack legs or body except for a serpentine spinal column, and float over the battlefield using anti-gravity technology like ghosts. Their wide, hunched shoulders support a leering, skull face and long, whip-like arms that wield Necrodermis scalpel blades for fingers and a nightmare array of surgical implements. Moving with unnatural fluidity, Wraiths are fearsome in close combat, but what makes a Wraith such a fearful combatant, however, is the advanced phase shifter housed within its durable frame. This dimensional destabilisation matrix allows a Wraith to selectively phase parts of itself, whether that be momentarily phasing its body to avoid a strike, or even phasing its vicious claws in order to bypass armour and rip into the flesh of enemies. Thus, they have been granted the Imperial sobriquet of "Wraiths". This phase shifting ability which is based on the standard Necron phasing technology that they use to travel across the galaxy allows Wraiths to avoid physical damage from weapons or to even move through solid objects. It has been suggested by certain Imperial savants that in ancient days before the War in Heaven the Wraiths were once Necrontyr murderers and psychopaths before their eternal entombment within their cold, metallic husks.
Necron Destroyers are deranged agents of annhilation whose sole reason for existence is centred around an unshakeable yearning to quench the flames of life. A Destroyer cares not for borders or dynasty allegiance, nor does he maje any distinction between the innocent and the damned -- all life is his enemy, and all living creatures are his prey. A Destroyer is a heavily altered variant of the Necron Immortal. Their torso is fused to a skimming anti-gravity flyer that enables them to attack faster and further than the standard Immortals. Destroyers are equally broad with a more pronounced spine from which their terrible weapons draw their power. Ferociously quick, the most common use for Destroyers is as mobile fire support platforms. Remaining at the forefront of the Necron force's bloody harvest, they reap a heavy toll on the enemy, the speed and ferocity of their attacks undiminished by their antiquity. Destroyers are equipped with a Gauss Cannon that reaps a heavy toll on their enemies and is especially effective against light infantry forces. Destroyers are even capable of reliably damaging light armoured vehicles. With their superior anti-gravity technology their mobility equals that of an Eldar Jetbike.
A Necron Destroyer Lord is a sentient member of the Necron elite, a former Necron Lord or Overlord, who has fallen prey to the madness of the Necron Destroyers. Even the Necron nobility are not safe from the madness that consumes the Destroyers. When a Necron Lord or Overlord succumbs, a great threat to all life is born. Ironically, the only reason the Imperium is not aware of the extent of this threat is precisely because these Destroyer Lords are so aptly named. No one has borne witness to the atrocities committed by these steel harbingers of apocalypse and lived, and so it can only be guessed at the threat stirring on barren worlds scattered across the galaxy.
While many Necron Lords and Overlords are afflicted by "eccentricities," the insanity that consumes the mind of a Destroyer Lord is something else entirely. Like other Destroyers, Destroyer Lords modify their bodies and minds, so that they might be better suited to their overarching purpose, to cleanse the stars of all life. While this most often includes the attachment of an anti-gravitic suspensor platform in place of legs, Destroyer Lords tend to forgo the ranged weaponry favoured by other Destroyers in favour of melee weapons. The Warscythe is a particular favourite, as a Destroyer Lord hovering above the heads of his enemies can take full advantage of the reach afforded by these massive melee weapons. Curiously, Destroyer Lords forgo the decorative finery commonly worn by Necron royalty. Whether this is representative of their single-minded obsession, an intentional statement, or a simple matter of practicality, none can say, for the Destroyer Lords are avoided by their former peers as much as the other Destroyers, and are not keen to engage in conversation (except to learn the location of potential targets).
A Canoptek Wraith serves as the eyes and ears of the central operating systems of any Tomb World, patrolling for intruders and inspecting the Necron sanctuary's ancient systems for signs of damage and decay. Its primary weapon is its Phase Shifter, a dimensional destabilisation matrix. This is an advanced Necron technology that allows the Wraith to phase in and out of synch with the normal space-time continuum, and which was originally designed to allow a Canoptek Wraith to reach into and repair solid machinery, though it is equally effective when used to deal with intruders who have breached the protections of a subterranean Necron stasis facility. A Canoptek Wraith can phase its claws and tendrils inside an opponent, and resolidify them to sever arteries, nerve clusters and other vital pathways without leaving an external mark of what caused the victim's death.
Canoptek Spyders are huge metal constructs, their immense weight effortlessly propelled by sophisticated anti-gravitic engines. Their bodies are large and rounded in order to accommodate the internal systems that construct the smaller constructs known as Canoptek Scarabs as needed. This, combined with their multiple limbs and compound visual sensors, give an arachnoid aspect that enhances the fearful appearance of these monstrous robots. The fabricator claws that allow Canoptek Spyders to effect repairs on nearly any of the tomb's systems also make for frighteningly destructive weapons, and they sometimes sport additional weaponry. When the Necrons do rise from their crypts, Canoptek Spyders often accompany them in battle, both for their combat abilities and their capability for repairing damage that is beyond even the abilities of their Necron masters' advanced systems.
The Tomb Stalker is a massive Necron construct that serves as a guardian on Necron Tomb Worlds. The Tomb Stalker is the Necron equivalent of a small Imperial Battle Titan. During their long periods of dormancy the Necrons left their sepulchres guarded by silent, tireless machines. Of these powerful constructs, the most fearsome known to Mankind is the Tomb Stalker. The Tomb Stalker is an enormous mass of living-metal carapace teeming with flashing legs and possessed of a murderous will. Easily the size of a dozen men, this centipede-like robotic construct makes use of arcane Phase Generators, allowing it to stalk the Tomb World of its slumbering Necron lords, burrowing through solid ground. It uses its powerful senses to trail its prey from miles away and can sense the frenzied rhythm of a panicked man's heartbeat through hundreds of metres of solid stone. The Stalker's immense size combined with its natural capacity for regeneration as a result of its Necrodermis carapace creates a nearly indestructible creature. Even beyond the more common warriors of the undying Necron legions, these insectoid constructs continue to thrash and fight with deadly ferocity despite damage or dismemberment. The individual segments of the insect-like machine seem drawn to one another and will reconstitute themselves to reform the whole mechanical nightmare should they come back into contact.
While Necron forces are usually land-based, Necron space vessels are not unheard of, and they are quite possibly much more common than people realize, and simply not seen. This is supported by the Necrons' terrifying ability to appear anywhere using their phase technology. There are more than two dozen records of Necron contacts in space in Imperial archives, and accounts of other intelligent races like the Orks, Eldar and Tau battling Necron fleets also exist. Necron technology is beyond anything the galaxy has ever seen, surpassing even that of the highly advanced Eldar. Their voidships are stunningly fast and agile, equipped with propulsion systems which are capable of traveling interstellar distances without entering the Warp. This is achieved, as far as is known, by somehow making their ships unbound by inertia or mass, allowing them to accelerate almost instantly and infinitely, which explains why Necron voidships are often seen to be visibly decelerating upon reaching the site of battle. This also protects them from many of the practical problems and dangers of Warp travel. All Necron starships are well-armored in necrodermis, equipped with self-repair systems and utilize some sort of advanced stealth technology which makes them difficult to detect for enemy targeting systems, granting Necron vessels surprising staying power. Although still devastating, Necron naval weaponry does not seem to match the raw power of some Imperial designs. However, the Necrons weaponry is known to bypass many conventional defense systems, such as void shields and even Eldar holofields, and strike with an unearthly accuracy.
In every battle so far the Necrons could only be defeated by superior numbers, and engaging Necrons on even terms proved to be suicidal. Fortunately, all of the Necron fleets encountered so far were small task forces that usually disengaged and phased out like their land-based counterparts, rather than putting up a full fight. But their frequency seems to be increasing and the possibility of a massive Necron attack is dreaded by the Imperium as well as other sentient races. Even as a raiding force, they are a serious threat because they are fully capable of outmaneuvering most other fleets (probably with the exception of the Eldar and their dark kin) to pick fights on an even footing. This often leads to catastrophic losses for enemy fleets and forces them to somehow stall with an utterly inferior fighting force for overwhelming reinforcements to arrive, at which point the Necrons simply disengage and phase away.
Necrodermis is the xenos material created millions of years ago by the Necrontyr species that is often described as "living metal." Literally, the name means "corpse skin" (from Greek νεκρος and δερμις, or dermis). It was originally used by the Necrontyr to construct their massive sub-light starships that explored and settled the Milky Way Galaxy millions of years ago. It was later adapted to create the robotic bodies possessed by the C'tan and inhabited by the Necrontyr after they agreed to have their consciousnesses transferred from their short-lived organic forms. This process transformed the Necrontyr into the undying Necrons.
Necrodermis is a material of unknown origin and chemical or molecular structure that possesses the extraordinary ability to regenerate almost all damage instantaneously, "flowing" back together as if it were a liquid while closing bullet holes, mending gashes and tears, or even reattaching severed pieces with little delay. The material is also adaptive in some unknown fashion and can learn to repair itself given enough time from nearly any form of damage, even a blast powerful enough to reduce it to its constituent molecules or atoms. In addition to the bodies of the C'tan and the Necrons themselves, all Necron vehicles and starships are made from Necrodermis, including Monoliths and Necron Pylons. The Imperium's C'tan Phase Weapons are also crafted from Necrodermis. It should be noted that Necrodermis is not an alloy of other metals but a fundamentally new material created by the Necrontyr. Necrodermis is unbelievably resilient, and can absorb incredible amounts of damage and then reform all tears or punctures over a period of time.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 343, 368-371
- Black Crusade: The Hand of Corruption (RPG), pp. 79-139
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 107-122
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition)
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition)
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 100-144
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pp. 162-163
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike (5th Edition), pg. 55
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 210
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 126, 128, 179
- White Dwarf 383 (UK), "Rise of the Necrons," "Building the Machines," "'Eavy Metal: Necrons," and "The Rulers of War," pp. 2-16, 24-29, 30-35, 36-39, 40-43
- White Dwarf 287 (UK), "The Firebrands"
- White Dwarf 272 (UK), "Nightbringer and Living Metal: Necron Monolith"
- White Dwarf 271 (UK), "Index Xenos – Necrons"
- White Dwarf 230 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Necrons"
- White Dwarf 218 (UK), "Necron Onslaught"
- White Dwarf 217 (UK), "Necron Raiders Background and Rules"
- Games Workshop Article, "The Necrons Return"