"This is no mere weapon. It is an expression of my right to rule, and the deliverer of my royal wrath. Together, we have scoured gods from heaven and shattered the power of the perfidious C’tan. Now it has come to accept your fealty, or grant your death. Which do you choose?"
- —Overlord Akanabeth to Iron Captain Grolvoch
A Warscythe is an energy-bladed battle stave commonly found in the armouries of Necron royals. The Warscythe has served as a traditional weapon of the Necron nobility and their elite bodyguards for many thousands of Terran years. A Warscythe is made from the same living metal as that which makes up all Necron bodies and vehicles, Necrodermis, and is fitted with a Phase Blade, whose edge is out of phase with the normal space-time continuum and thus can slip effortlessly through even the heaviest forms of armour. Because of the partially incorporeal nature of these blades, a Warscythe is capable of passing through defensive energy shields, such as those emitted by an Iron Halo, that would normally deflect almost any other form of attack. The entropic power field that also flickers about a Warscythe blade can disrupt almost any material known to man, leaving the victim’s underlying structure -- be it organic or inorganic -- vulnerable to the weapon’s cleaving impact.
However, a Warscythe is incredibly heavy and cumbersome. In the hands of a lesser creature, it would be of little threat; but when wielded by the tireless mechanical musculature of a Necron, it is a most formidable weapon that greatly augments the strength of the user. When combined with a Necron's prodigious strength, there is very little such a blade cannot penetrate.
A Warscythe is easily capable of slicing through infantry and heavy vehicle armour alike. It is common for a well-directed Warscythe to be able to cut the barrel from a Leman Russ Tank's Battle Cannon or carve a hole in the side of a bunker. Warscythes are most commonly found wielded by Necron Overlords and Necron Lords, along with their Lychguard protectors. Warscythes are also the favoured armament of Necron Destroyer Lords who relish the feeling of decapitating enemies as they glide by on their anti-gravitic skimmer chassis.
Like all Necron weaponry, the Warscythe is an expression of a science far beyond Mankind’s grasp. Nevertheless, there is nothing mystical or psychic about its function, as there is with some Eldar technology. It is composed of similar elements as the ubiquitous Power Weapons, though they are far more advanced and reliable. While there is no shortage of captured Necron weaponry within the Adeptus Mechanicus’ stasis vaults -- indeed, there is some suggestion that some such prizes have lain there for many thousands of standard years -- almost every attempt the Tech-priests have made to reverse-engineer the technology has ended in abject failure.
A curious side effect of a Warscythe’s power field is to render the weapon almost impossible to destroy. This is because the blade's power field grows in strength and magnitude to match whatever force is brought to bear upon it. There are several well-documented instances in the Imperium of Warscythes surviving direct hits from Lascannons, and even from Turbo-lasers, with little harm to show for it. Unfortunately, this protection does not extend to the wielder, and it is quite common for a Warscythe to survive a battle when its master does not.
There are two distinct classes of Warscythe. The first and most common is wielded exclusively by the Lychguard -- the incorruptible protectors of the Necron nobility. Their Warscythes are the most basic expressions of the artisan’s craft, with little effort given to aesthetic refinement or customisation. In a Lychguard’s hands, a Warscythe is little more than a brutal instrument of battle.
By contrast, the regal Warscythes wielded by the Necron nobility, such as Necron Lords, Nemesors, Thantars and Phaerons -- are as much sceptres of rule as they are implements of battle. Seldom are any two Warscythes wielded by Necron nobility exactly alike. Pride is a powerful emotion in those Necrons still capable of feeling it, and to possess weaponry identical to that of a rival would be interpreted as weakness, or possibly as an insult. If two regal Warscythes are identical, it is always through deliberate choice, whether this be as a mark of an alliance of brothers, or of dynastic houses declaring plainly the common cause between the wielders.
Regal Warscythes are masterpieces of workmanship, loving recreations of weapons long-lost to the entropic forces of the universe. Should such a weapon be forsaken upon the field of battle, or worse, stolen, then its owner will often go to great and violent lengths to recover it. Worlds have been laid waste and planetary systems brought under siege in this cause. Some Ordo Xenos Inquisitors point to this behaviour as an element of commonality between Mankind and Necron, for the Imperium’s forces often enter battle in order to recover an important relic, though this is untrue. Whereas the theft of an Imperial relic would provoke cultural outrage, the theft of a Warscythe is the theft of a personal possession whose thievery provokes a very personal ire. This is because a Necron Lord’s Warscythe is a tangible connection to the life he once knew; for those who desire to someday return to the flesh, it is a symbol of hope that such can be achieved.
Regardless of the wielder’s rank, a Warscythe’s blade and power core always blazes with the heraldic colour of his dynasty. Power signature colours are often shared by different dynasties. This is a throwback to the days before the Necrontyr's biotransference, and shows the state of alliance between the various dynasties of that time. Inevitably, the War in Heaven and the tumultuous aeons that followed have done much to shatter the alliances of old. The power signatures are now, therefore, more misleading than useful. A Phaeron could, of course, order the power signature of his forces changed at any time, but many present configurations have been established for so long that, for most Necron nobles, the notion of altering them is just as unthinkable as ordering that their dynastic glyphs be defaced. To Necrons, tradition is everything. Indeed, it can be argued that tradition is all that is left to them.
- Voidreaper - Legend has it that on the day the C'tan Aza’gorod the Nightbringer was sundered into shards, the Warscythe that would later become known as Voidreaper appeared in the armoury of the Nekthyst Dynasty’s crownworld. Its blade is a sliver of the void; when swung, it cuts through more than just mere physical forms. Its victims drop to the ground as husks, their souls torn from their bodies like tattered shrouds before dissipating with final screams of horror.
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 205, 215
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 35, 83, 89-90, 92
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pp. 14, 54
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Warscythes (Digital Edition)