"Your desires are irrelevant. This galaxy once knelt before us, and it will do so again."
- — Necron Overlord Akanabekh, Phaeron of the Kardenath Dynasty, Regent of Nagathar
A Necron Overlord is one of the greatest and most powerful leaders of the Necron species, and the ruler of many Tomb Worlds. More powerful than even a Necron Lord, at a Necron Overlord's command are uncountable legions of Necron Warriors, terrifying war machines, and a vast array of devastating weaponry.
Normally equipped with a Staff of Light, Necron Overlords are brilliant strategists, capable of calculating every possible outcome in the ensuing conflict and formulating strategies to ensure that everything goes to plan.
Only the most unlikely of tactical or strategic situations can baffle a Necron Overlord and only the most potent foes have any chance of beating one in combat.
Masterful generals and warriors, bedecked in ancient and powerful battle gear of such potency it might seem the product of magic rather than science, an Overlord's robotic body is the finest construct of its kind; armoured enough to withstand anti-tank weaponry and strong enough to crush the life from his foe with remorseless efficiency.
"It seems the galaxy has forgotten us, old friend. Ready my command barge; an example must be made of these interlopers."
- —Lord Iohketh, the Vindicator of Gralehk, to Vargard Cahleh'sti prior to the razing of Hive Ascalon
The nobles of the Necrontyr kingdoms emerged far better from the race's biotransference into their machine bodies than did the plebeian classes. At least as tall as an armoured Space Marine and broader than a Necron Warrior, the skeletal frames of Necron Lords and Overlords possess the strength to crush plasteel in their bare hands, and can easily resist damage that would even fell lesser Necrons.
Within the engrammic circuity housed within their new bodies, the Necron nobles retained their intellect and personality which was far more extensive than that granted to the lesser Necrontyr. Most Necrons emerge from the Great Sleep as dull-witted creatures, with little memory of the individual they once were.
Yet, unless they suffered damage during their long dormancy, Necron Lords and Overlords retain all the personal drives, obsessions and nuances of personality that they once possessed as organic beings.
A Necron Tomb World may be home to dozens, or even hundreds, of Necron nobles, but only one has the power of absolute rule. For most coreworlds and fringeworlds this individual is a Necron Lord, but Necron crownworlds and particularly important coreworlds will be ruled by Necron Overlords.
A particularly powerful Overlord, known as a "phaeron," will lay claim to, and rule, an entire Necron Dynasty. All Necron Lords and Overlords have royal courts made up of lesser nobles owing them fealty, Crypteks in their service, and, in some cases, trusted bodyguards.
These courts are commonly hotbeds of intrigue that would astound even the most conspiratorial of Imperial nobles. These royal courts often accompany their liege into battle, as well.
Amongst the Necron nobles of a Tomb World, political infighting is common and there are always countless schemes playing out, albeit at a glacial pace by the standards of other intelligent races. As a result of their android natures, all Necrons tend towards calculating behaviour and a pretender will rarely move openly against his opponent if the chance of success is outweighed by the high probability of failure.
At the same time, it is not unknown for a challenged Overlord to yield to a subordinate if there is no hope of immediate victory. They will choose to wait out the passing years and centuries at a lower rank, patiently anticipating an opportunity to reclaim the power that was lost.
But if the prize is large enough, such power struggles can erupt into open conflict. When this occurs, the remaining Tomb World nobles will align themselves according to their own loyalties and ambitions, though some will wait as long as possible to negotiate the price of their loyalty. These internal conflicts invariably follow the formalised codes that governed the ancient Necrontyr, leading to set piece battles with forces arranged and rules agreed to in advance by the competing nobles.
In the times before the biotransference, such civil wars led to the slaughter of countless millions in a matter of solar days or weeks. But nowadays, the Necrons' cybernetic ability to self-repair enables them to wage such conflicts for years or even centuries with no discernible victor. This is reason enough for all but the most desperate or power-hungry Necron nobles to avoid such an outcome.
For each of these battles fought amongst his own kind, a Necron Overlord will orchestrate hundreds of sprawling campaigns against those alien usurpers who squat amongst the remains of the Necron dynasties in the modern galaxy.
For many Nemesors, it is unthinkable to honour an alien enemy by following the traditional Necrontyr codes of battle. In their eyes, most intelligent races of the galaxy are little more than vermin to be exterminated with as much efficiency and as little of the ancient pomp of ceremony as possible.
Most of the more advanced races in the galaxy, such as the Aeldari, have proven themselves unworthy of being treated as equals. As a result, assassination and ambush -- forms of battle forbidden in wars between the ancient Necrontyr nobility -- are employed by the Necrons against outsiders with no reservations.
Yet no matter how underserving a Necron ruler considers his enemies to be, he always personally oversees his forces' battles whenever possible, leading his vassals into the thick of the fighting. In this way he proves his superiority and right to rule, both to his noble Necron peers and to his enemies across the galaxy.
When a Necron Overlord strides forth to war, only the strongest and wiliest of opponents have any hope of survival. His armoured form is impervious to even tank-busting weaponry and his robotic body provides him with the strength required to crush bones to dust.
At his command are all the armaments of the ancient Necron civilisation: Warscythes, Tachyon Arrows and the other extraordinary tools of destruction forged by Necrontyr science. Yet perhaps a Necron noble's most potent weapon remains his mind and the absolute determination that resides there to reforge the ancient Necron empire.
In battle, Necron nobles tend to favour weapons that speak to their status: staves, mighty Warscythes, and even heavy, ornate gauntlets that crackle with green flame.
Almost without exception, Necron Lords and Overlords are skilled warriors and commanders, completely capable of making split-second tactical decisions even as they cut their way through the enemy’s ranks.
In fact, the advanced technological minds of the Necron nobles are capable of evaluating possible outcomes and computing the most advantageous tactical decision with a speed and accuracy that even the most accomplished autosavant could not hope to match.
This powerful synthetic mind is at once both a great strength and, perhaps, the greatest weakness for many Necron rulers. The process of bio-transference and the long aeons have eroded the sanity of many Necron Lords and Overlords, whether by the sheer impossibility of a living mind preserved for eternity in an artificial brain, or due to simple mechanical faults. Despite the best efforts of their tomb guardians, the awakening from stasis is rarely flawless, save for the most fortunate of Tomb Worlds.
Even a minor glitch in the process can result in drastic changes to the personality of a Necron royal, or even its very perception of reality. In some cases, this serves to exaggerate the personality quirks a Lord possessed in life, while others result in bizarre, aberrant behaviour, or even severe delusions. Perhaps one of the more extreme cases of this madness can be found in the so-called Necron Destroyer Lords.
While Necron Lords and Overlords generally fight at the forefront of large armies of conquest, they are just as likely to take a personal hand in more delicate operations.
After all, few of their servants possess the intellect, let alone the initiative, to lead such missions, which could range from sabotaging a rival's own efforts, to infecting a nosy Inquisitor with Mindshackle Scarabs.
A phaeron is an especially powerful Necron Overlord, often the ruler of an entire Necron Dynasty, and thus are the true rulers of the Necron species.
A Necron Dynasty can include vast numbers of Tomb Worlds, while a Necron Overlord who has risen to the rank of phaeron rules over an entire sector and has a court of lesser Overlords to do their bidding.
As such, certain unusually powerful or large dynasties that spread across more than one sector can have multiple phaerons, who can be subordinate to a more powerful ruling phaeron, as in the Szarekhan Dynasty.
Perhaps the most well-known and accomplished phaeron in the 41st Millennium is Imotekh the Stormlord, who rules over the 80 Tomb Worlds that comprise the empire of the Sautekh Dynasty.
In truth, a phaeron has such force of will that they can infuse their nearby minions with a portion of their own burning determination to restore the Necron race to rulership over the galaxy, creating an unstoppable core of resistance to any enemy.
A female phaeron is known as a "phaerakh."
Notable Necron Overlords
- Ahhotekh - Overlord-Regent of the Suhbekhar Dynasty
- Ahmontekh - Known as the Crimson Scythe, Phaeron of the Suhbekhar Dynasty
- Akanabekh - Phaeron of the Kardenath Dynasty, Regent of Nagathar
- Anrakyr - Overlord
- Asmothep - Phaeron of the Szarekhan Dynasty. When the Silent King, Szarekh, chose to exile himself rather than undergo the Great Sleep, many Necrons felt he was fleeing the mistakes he had made in the War in Heaven. Asmothep, however, was among those phaerons who believed Szarekh had chosen to do so for a greater purpose that was unknown to the Necrons of that time.
- Atun - Phaeron of the Atun Dynasty
- Imotekh - Called the Stormlord, Phaeron of the Sautekh Dynasty
- Hapthatra - Hapthatra, also known as "Hapthatra the Radiant" and "Phaeron of the Stars," was the phaeron of the Szarekhan Dynasty and a member of the Silent King's Final Triarch. He was originally the phaeron of a lesser Necron dynasty when the Silent King Szarekh returned to the Necrons of the Milky Way Galaxy in 744.M41. Hapthatra and Phaeron Mesophet, also later of the Szarrekhan Dynasty, would go on to prove their loyalty to Szarekh through swift service, and were later chosen to join the Final Triarch. Upon their elevation each of their dynasties were subsumed into the Silent King's overall Szarekhan Dynasty and Hapthatra became known as the Phaeron of the Stars. He was then given the Staff of Stars to wield and both Hapthatra and Mesophet joined Szarekh upon the Dais of Dominion. From there, the two phaerons proclaim the Final Triarch's will. Some Necrons have noted changes about these phaerons' personalities since their ascension, including that Hapthatra and Mesophet are now thoroughly bound to the dais, speak nearly always with perfect synchronicity and their voices have taken on new tones of command. They also always seem to support Szarekh's plans without question, but these changes have been explained away as being a result of the phaerons' elevation to the Final Triarch. Such a high position was bound to effect changes upon them, and Szarekh's plans are millennia in the laying, after all; who could honestly suggest amendments to such a comprehensive scheme?
- Krispekh - Phaeron of the Nihilakh Dynasty
- Menkhaz the Unmortal - Phaeron of the Khenisi Dynasty.
- Mesophet - Mesophet, also known as "Mesophet of the Shadowed Hand" and "Phaeron of the Blades" was a phaeron of the Szarekhan Dynasty and a member of the Silent King's Final Triarch. He was originally the phaeron of a lesser Necron dynasty when the Silent King Szarekh returned to the Necrons of the Milky Way Galaxy in 744.M41. Mesophet and Phaeron Hapthatra, also later of the Szarrekhan Dynasty, would go on to prove their loyalty to Szarekh through swift service, and were later chosen to join the Final Triarch. Upon their elevation each of their dynasties were subsumed into the Silent King's overall Szarekhan Dynasty and Mesophetbecame known as the Phaeron of the Blades. Mesophet was then given the Scythe of Dust to wield and both Mesophet and Hapthatra joined Szarekh upon the Dais of Dominion. Some Necrons have noted changes about these phaerons' personalities since their ascension, including that Mesophet and Hapthatra are now thoroughly bound to the dais, speak nearly always with perfect synchronicity and their voices have taken on new tones of command. They also always seem to support Szarekh's plans without question, but these changes have been explained away as being a result of the phaerons' elevation to the Final Triarch.
- Naszar - Overlord in the service of the Sautekh Dynasty. Rules over the Sautekh client dynasty, the Sekemtar Dynasty.
- Ogdovakh - Overlord in the service of the Sautekh Dynasty. Rules over the Sautekh Fringe Worlds.
- Osokhor - Overlord from the Tomb World of Nekhsoss.
- Rakszan - Former Phaeron of the Khansu Dynasty
- Sarkoni Emperor - Overlord of the Empire of the Severed
- Szarekh - The last Silent King of the Triarch
- Szaron - Overlord of Somonor
- Thaszar - Phaeron of the Sarnekh Dynasty
- Trazyn the Infinite - Overlord of Solemnace
- Vitokh - Overlord in service of the Altymhor Dynasty who enslaved the Imperial world of Aryand
- Zahndrekh - Overlord of Gidrim and vassal of the Sautekh Dynasty.
- Ixatotekh - Jackal Regent of the Maynarkh Dynasty; Lord Hunter of the Void
- Korovoskh - Overlord of Sanctarro, of the Sautekh Dynasty
- Maktlan Kutlakh the World Killer - Nemesor of the Maynarkh Dynasty
- Tlazolt the Faceless - Nemesor of Tayroc of the Maynarkh Dynasty
- The Undying – Phaeron of Damnos, of the Sautekh Dynasty
- Xun'bakyr - Phaerakh of the Maynarkh Dynasty; Mother of Oblivion
- Zarathusa - Overlord of the Mephrit Dynasty
Ordo Xenos Analysis
++Information Clearance Ordo Xenos Umbra-VB-Omicron++ ++Alien Technology "Necrontyr" collation/presumptive -- Magos Trantor - Adeptus Mechanicus Emissary Xenologist++
The Necron Overlord represents the supreme ruling class of the Necron machine-xenoform on the battlefield. Acting in turn both as warlords, leading from the front lines of combat, and as field marshals, directing their phalanxes of Necron Warriors and war machines with exacting precision, they represent both the strategic mind and the motivating force of the Necron race.
In every major warzone and conflict where the Imperium has faced the Necrons, the Necron Overlords have been encountered, and by diligent sifting of after-action reports, mortis-cortical transcripts and cogitator analysis by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos, it has been possible to positively identify at least thirteen unique individuals of this rank who operated in the Orphean Sector alone during the Orphean War, with the strong implication of greater numbers than this in actuality.
All Necron Overlords (as with other types that have been identified by Imperial xeno-scholars as belonging to their complex ruling caste) are believed to fall within the bounds of distinct dynastic structures and identifiable noble "houses" -- powerful military and territorial factions within the Necron race.
Each Necron Overlord is a towering spectre of death graven in metal, eternal, indefatigable and utterly deadly. Just as each Overlord displays an idiosyncratic "personality" and style of warfare in battle -- which, however alien to the Human observer, clearly operates on an order of magnitude far above the rank and file of the Necrons under his rule -- so each distinct dynasty also displays an observable preference to a certain style of warfare.
At the world of Amarah and several other warzones in the sector, the Maynarkh Dynasty's Overlords were seen to display a directly aggressive strategy, preferring to attack at close quarters, and directing their forces from the front lines, favouring continuous attacking waves with coordinated close air support, and concentrated spearheads of war-constructs used so as to isolate and destroy any pocket of strong resistance when identified.
All numbers below refer to the schematic of an unidentified Maynarkh Dynasty Necron Overlord displayed above.
- Necron Exodermis (Necrodermis) - The materials and construction of the Necron Overlord's armoured robotic frame are currently beyond the comprehension and lore of the Adeptus Mechanicus or the Ordo Xenos to understand. Postulations by various authorities ascribe it to be, in part, the work of pure molecular synthesis and fabrication using non-Euclidean principles of elemental geometry and fabrication outside the realms of Imperial science past or present. Various functions and capacities have been ascribed to it, including durability that equals and, in the case of some individuals, far exceeds that of the composite ceramite Power Armour of the Adeptus Astartes, and may in fact prove superior even to that of Tactical Dreadnought Armour. Coupled to this is a phenomenal capacity for rapid self-repair, complete environmental protection and physical strength so great, such a machine-creature has been observed to be able to tear a Space Marine body limb-from-limb in single combat.
- Resurrection Orb - So entitled by the Adeptus Mechanicus for their observed ability to further amplify the regenerative and reanimatory systems of nearby Necrons, including the Necron Lord or Overlord carrying it, the Resurrection Orb is a powerful electromagnetic/temporal wave manipulator whose function, as with much of Necron technology, lies beyond Imperial understanding. With a gesture from the bearer, the glowing sphere focuses its energy into the regeneration circuits of the living metal bodies of surrounding Necrons, hastening their repair and causing the scattered remains of the bearer's destroyed warriors to crawl together before standing, ready to do battle once more. These strange devices, as observed, have only been seen in the hands of Necron nobles and their use is far from universal. This has led to the supposition that, even for the Necrons themselves, these devices may be difficult to construct and complex to use, requiring considerable concentration and perhaps force of will from the operator in order for it to correctly function on the battlefield. The Resurrection Orb creates a fusion reaction similar to a miniature sun. The Necrons feed off the solar radiation, enhancing their living metal's regenerative properties.
- Necron Warscythe - Favoured by many Necron ruling class machine-xenoforms, as well as factions of "elite" Necron troops, these weapons, designated as "Warscythes" by the Imperium, are among the most deadly personal arms ever encountered by Imperial forces in battle. Taking the shape of large (two to three metres long) polearms, they appear to incorporate an amplified destructive energy field analogous to the molecular disruption effect of Imperial Power Weapons, but operating on a far higher order of magnitude. This is used in conjunction with the weapon's fractal-edged blades which appear to "phase" through solid matter, catastrophically displacing it at a sub-atomic level. The resulting weapon is one to which no form of known defence provides certain protection and against which conventional personal and vehicle armour has proved utterly ineffective.
A Necron Overlord 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 green flame. The mechanisms are controlled with a series of submechanical filaments which allows the Overlord to wield control over the gauntlet as if it were his own hand.
- Hyperphase Sword - A Hyperphase Sword's energy blade vibrates across different dimensions. This allows it to cut through armour and flesh and easily sever vital organs.
- Rod of Night - A Rod of Night takes the form of a rod of black metal about one metre long, its surface inlaid with silver and gold hieroglyphs, and often topped with an emblem of the Necron dynasties. Much more than a status symbol, a Rod of Night is able to siphon energy from technological devices when striking them, pulling it through the air along invisible pathways and storing it to be expended at the desire of the Necron noble wielding the weapon.
- Staff of Light - The Staff of Light is both a weapon and a symbol of Necron authority wielded by Necron Overlords and Lords. Its haft is actually a disguised Power Generator Rod and the crest is a finely tuned focusing 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. 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.
A Necron Overlord can also be found carrying any of these pieces of Necron Wargear in addition to their primary armament:
- Mindshackle Scarabs - 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 his cerebral functions, turning the victim into little more than a puppet under the mental control of the scarabs' Necron master.
- Phase Shifter - A Phase Shifter can cause the bearer to flicker in and out of a phased state. If attacks are not timed properly, they will simply pass through empty air instead of striking the bearer of the Phase Shifter.
- Phylactery - A Phylactery is an inconspicuous charm that serves as a potent self-repair device containing tiny mechanical spider-like creatures that swarm over the bearer's body and repair his wounds.
- Resurrection Orb - A Resurrection Orb is a glowing sphere that focuses energy into Necron repair circuits. This allows them to regenerate and resurrect 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 - A Shadow Ankh is a defensive device that takes the 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.
- Tesseract Labyrinth - A Tesseract Labyrinth is the physical manifestation of a pocket-dimensional prison gateway. Once caught within its folds, there can be no escape.
- Apocalypse: War Zone Damnos, pg. 11
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 347
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 120-121
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 6, 10, 12, 13, 16, 22, 25, 52, 54-55, 60, 81-83, 89
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 35-37, 132
- Codex: Necrons (9th Edition), pp. 30-31
- Dawn of War: Tempest (Novel) by C.S. Goto, pg. 135
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 114-115, 120-121
- Imperial Armour - Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pp. 38-39, 92, 111
- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus (Campaign Supplement) (Digital Edition), pp. 94-95, 190
- The Infinite and the Divine (Novel) by Robert Rath, Ch. 4
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (7th Edition), pg. 116 (Digital Edition)
- White Dwarf 389 (US), "Tomb Worlds Unleashed", pg. 32
- Games Workshop - Necron Overlord