"I acknowledge no master, save for the almighty spectre of death. In its name, I will reap all signs of life from this galaxy, leaving nothing but a barren monument to timeless inevitability. Call it what you will, but this is the pursuit of nothing less than perfection. Those who cannot understand its necessity are clearly flawed, but they should not despair -- I will ensure that they do not live to see the final stage of the work completed."
- — Executioner Ezandrakh of the Mephrit Dynasty, Herald of the Red Harvest
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).
Not all Necrons awaken from the great sleep as hale as was intended. Some suffer physical damage in the intervening millennia; usually faulty stasis-crypts bring on a slow decay that rots the mechanical Necrodermis body and erodes engrammic pathways and synapses. Others become infected by the Flayer virus and devolve into creatures whose reason is subsumed by an unnatural taste for flesh. Yet there are also those Necrons who awaken from their long slumber with their physical form intact but their psyche torn beyond recovery. Angered and despairing of their soulless existence, these Necrons turn to nihilism. They no longer seek redemption or repatriation with the flesh that was so long lost to them. They wish only to drive all other living things into death's welcoming embrace. These then, are the Destroyers, the self-appointed heralds of oblivion.
Destroyer Lords are the most maniacal of their warped kind. This is chiefly because they retain far more intellect than baseline Destroyers, and can bring all of this fearsome intelligence to bear in their pursuit of galactic conquests. This efficiency is all the more murderous for the Destroyer Lord's complete lack of empathy. Whilst few Necrons retain any instinctive comprehension of pity and mercy, the cleverest amongst them can at least still grasp such concepts intellectually, if they remain incapable of feeling them emotionally. Not so the Destroyer Lords -- they have long ago discarded any ability to empathise with other living creatures. If a Destroyer Lord takes prisoners, it is not out of honour or pity, but simple efficiency. There are a thousand ways in which captives can be used as lures for other fleshlings, and Destroyer Lords are conversant with every last one. Indeed, in a galaxy full to overspilling with genocidal tyrants, Destroyer Lords remain worthy of mention as something truly horrific. Where others kill for pleasure, or in service to some malignant god, Destroyer Lords pursue their bloody crusade simply because it is their chosen destiny. By their calculation, joy is just one more pointless organic emotion, and the favour of gods is naught but a crutch to support the endless frailties of the flesh.
In truth, even Necron Overlords find the Destroyer Lords somewhat disconcerting, believing them to have too willingly embraced the machine. Most also hold the lingering suspicion that when all organic life in the galaxy has been eliminated, their nihilistic brethren will then turn on their own kind. As a result, many Destroyer Lords are outcasts and pariahs amongst the Necron dynasties. Stripped of title and rank, they are forced to dwell on the periphery of Necron civilisation, lest their madness prove infectious.
Destroyer Lords are formidable combatants, for their physical might equals that of the mightiest Overlords. Most favour Warscythes or Voidblades over ranged tools of war. In his horrific way, a Destroyer Lords is a craftsman, and the fruits of his bloody labours are far more easily tallied in the thick of the fighting. There is no artistry or grace to a Destroyer Lord's blows -- each swing of his blade is driven only by the desire for optimum efficiency. Oddly, this often means a Destroyer Lord's attacks are unintentionally spectacular. If he calculates that three enemies can be slain swifter with one blow than three individual strikes, then a single blow is all that will be made. A lesser creature would perhaps balk at the risk this entails, but for a Destroyer Lord, who has calculated success down to a degree impossible for an organic mind, there is no risk remaining -- only a certainty as pure as death itself.
Destroyer Lords tend to forgo the ranged Gauss Weapons favoured by other Destroyers in favour of melee weapons. As such, they can usually be found armed with one of the following:
- Gauntlet of Fire - A Gauntlet of Fire consists of a glove and vambrace whose length crackles and flows with viridian flame. The mechanisms are controlled with a series of submechanical filaments which allows the Destroyer Lord to wield control over the gauntlet as if it were his own hand.
- Staff of Light - The Staff of Light is both a weapon and a symbol of Necron authority wielded by Necron Destroyer Lords. Its haft is actually a disguised Power Generator Rod and the crest is a finely tuned focussing device which allows the wielder to unleash searing green bolts of Gauss energy at his foes.
- Voidblade - The blade of a Voidblade phases in and out of existence in normal space-time. This allows it to easily slice through molecular bonds and disintegrate foes where they stand.
- Warscythe - A Warscythe is an energy-bladed battle stave that has been the favoured weapon of Necron nobility and their bodyguards for millions of Terran years. To lesser creatures, they are heavy and cumbersome, but can be wielded to great efficiency by the mechanical hands of a Necron. 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.
A Necron Destroyer Lord can also be found carrying any of these pieces of Necron wargear in addition to their primary armament:
- Mindshackle Scarab - Mindshackle Scarabs are one of the Necrons' primary means for controlling alien species. At the bearer's command, tiny mechanical scarabs bury into the victim's mind and bypass cerebral functions, turning the victim into little more than a puppet under the mental control of the scarabs' master.
- Resurrection Orb - A Resurrection Orb is a glowing sphere that focuses energy into Necron repair circuits. This allows them to regenerate at a rate faster than normal.
- Sempiternal Weave - The Sempiternal Weave is an enhancement of a Necron Overlord's exoskeleton in which filaments of phase-hardened Amaranthine and Adamantium are threaded throughout the Necrodermis, strengthening it.
- Shadow Ankh - Shadow Ankhs take form of a heavy amulet emblazoned with the Ankh of the Triarch. Much more than a sign of status, Shadow Ankhs contain a small but powerful null-field generator, far more sophisticated than those fashioned by the Adeptus Mechanicus. This is able to nullify the effects of Warp-spawned powers and sever the connection that Daemons and psykers have to the Immaterium through unknown arcane technologies.
- Tachyon Arrow - A Tachyon Arrow is an intricately crafted wrist-mounted energy caster consisting of a sliver of inert metal. When activated, the metal transmutes into an unstoppable thunderbolt of pure green energy that can pierce the heart of a mountain.
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pg. 121
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 31, 89
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 135-136
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reaches (RPG), pp. 135-136