- This article is about the history and lore of Karazhan. For the 10-man raid instance, see Karazhan (raid). For the 5-man dungeon, see Karazhan (dungeon). For the film universe version, see Karazhan (film universe). For the Warcraft: Orcs & Humans Human campaign mission at the same location, see Medivh (WC1 Human).
Southern Deadwind Pass
Karazhan (a.k.a. Medivh's Tower, Ivory Tower of Karazhan, or Ivory Spire of Karazhan) is an abandoned citadel (or castle) located on a nexus of ley lines in southern Deadwind Pass. The tower is best known for its last known occupant — Medivh, the last Guardian of Tirisfal. After Medivh was killed by Khadgar, Lothar and Garona, the tower sealed itself off from the rest of the world. But recently, Karazhan has reawakened — an evil presence has taken the tower as its own, its halls crawling with spirits and demons, and Medivh's presence is still alive and well, even decades after his death.
Karazhan, as a level 70 ten-man raid instance, was opened in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. The instance is huge, scripted, and non-winged, containing twelve boss encounters, with 22 different NPCs.
The Last Guardian
The land which the tower sits on "was similar in shape to a human skull. Many had noted it over the years, though only a few had been sufficiently brave, or powerful, or tactless to mention it to the property's owner".
Karazhan's history begins with an explosion that carved out Deadwind Pass and weakened the fabric of reality in the region. The tower was built in secret by the Guardian Aegwynn around 600 years before the First War, after she grew increasingly paranoid and hostile to her fellow members in the Council of Tirisfal — a result of the dark influence that the spirit of Sargeras was exerting over her. The tower acted both as a refuge from the council and as a conduit for the potent ley lines in the region, through which Aegwynn could siphon power as needed. Aegwynn's son Medivh eventually took up residence in Karazhan, but mused that the explosion and the construction only happened because he would eventually arrive.
During the First War, the tower was inhabited by Medivh, his steward Moroes, his cook named Cook, and his then-apprentice Khadgar. Though Medivh was the greatest wizard of his day (and humanity's intended custodian) Medivh was secretly possessed by the dark spirit of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. Through Medivh, Sargeras opened the Dark Portal and allowed the orcs to wage war upon the kingdoms of Azeroth. Garona Halforcen also resided here as an emissary in the same time of Khadgar's apprenticeship. Sargeras allowed Medivh to freely explore Karazhan. As a result of the region's weakened reality, many strange and disturbing visions lurked within the tower, and Moroes was known for wearing blinders to avoid seeing them. The visions were ultimately ended when most of Karazhan's ambient magical power was absorbed by the resurrected Medivh, reducing it to "a pile of stone in the remote reaches", its power taken to serve the Prophet.
As the war progressed, Medivh fought against Sargeras' control. The raging conflict within him finally drove the wizard irrevocably insane, until his childhood friend, Anduin Lothar, aided Medivh's young apprentice, Khadgar, in storming Karazhan and slaying their former comrade. Since that day, a terrible curse has pervaded both the tower and the lands around it - casting a dark pall over Deadwind Pass and the region that is now known as Duskwood.
After the fall of Karazhan, the Kirin Tor dispatched an assembly of mages to search the tower and seize all items of import for the purposes of "research." It was then that Atiesh was discovered and brought back to Dalaran.
After the Second War an area, which would later be known as Duskwood and the town of Grand Hamlet (later known as Darkshire), became darkened and surrounded by dark creatures. The people of Grand Hamlet thought the evil was caused by the tower of Karazhan. Several townsfolk ventured there to investigate the tower but they did not return. A paladin named Dougan along his friends Kardan and Voldana entered the tower but the raid failed and resulted in the death of Dougan. While there, time seemed to unfold in strange ways for the trio.
Kardan and Voldana managed to escape, but Dougan did not and was killed inside. He would later discover that anyone who dies inside Karazhan will have their spirit trapped there, unable to escape.
Years later, Dougan's daughters, Lieren and Loania teleported into the tower only to find the horrors of its curse. Having escaped from Moroes, they found the killer of their father, satyr Terestian Illhoof. They killed him but Loania was hurt. As they were trying to leave they found the ghost of Nielas Aran who tried to kill them. Loania summoned Dougan who protected them while the horrors went after them. The twins teleported out of the Karazhan, leaving Dougan still trapped there.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
In recent years, nobles of Darkshire ventured into Deadwind Pass to investigate the blight that had settled over the region. None who entered the dark tower ever emerged.
Recently, despite Medivh's absence and the draining of magic, a new power seems to have made its home in Karazhan. The Black Riders of Deadwind Pass, though rarely seen, have a connection to Karazhan. However, no one knows who their master is. One recent sighting is cause for concern — the Black Riders seek the , a powerful artifact with the ability to summon the vile Worgen into this world.
Worldofwarcraft.com says the following about Karazhan:
The decrepit tower of Karazhan once housed one of the greatest powers Azeroth has ever known: the sorcerer Medivh. Since his death, a terrible curse has pervaded the tower and the surrounding lands. The spirits of nobles from nearby Darkshire reportedly walk its halls, suffering a fate worse than death for their curiosity. More dangerous spirits wait within Medivh's study, for it was there that he summoned demonic entities to do his bidding. However, the brave and foolish are still relentlessly drawn to Karazhan, tempted by rumors of unspeakable secrets and powerful treasures. Forge a group of ten stalwart heroes, and journey to the tower in Deadwind Pass — but be warned that only those who have achieved level 70 should dare enter.
The Burning Crusade
At some point, the tower of Karazhan had sealed itself and several agents of the Eye were trapped there. Mages of The Violet Eye has been guarding and examining the tower and its secrets. Before the closing, demonic agents of the Burning Legion arrived to Karazhan as it is a portal to the Nether.
With Khadgar's help, the mages unlocked Karazhan and the adventurers of the Horde and Alliance raided the tower, defeating its ghost inhabitants.
Around the time of Shattering, a group of soldiers from the Night Watch militia led by Althea Ebonlocke along with Karlain, Mardigan, Revil Kost and Brink attacked the Dark Riders in Duskwood only to be teleported to Karazhan by one of the Black Riders. While Karlain and Mardigan were watching a cursed vision in the Opera House, the rest battled against the Curator. Brink then found an amulet which he used to return their enemies and the Night Watch back in time preventing the events leading them to engage in battle. Brink and Revil then regrouped with Karlain and Mardigan in the Opera House, witnessing the true vision of Aredhel's death. After this, they teleported out of the cursed tower.
This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.
After learning of the Pillars of Creation from Magni Bronzebeard in Ulduar, Khadgar returns to Karazhan with an adventurer to find their location, as knowledge of the pillars had been entrusted to the Guardian of Tirisfal. But Khadgar's reminiscing about his apprenticeship years ago is interrupted when an echo of Medivh himself interferes and brings down Khadgar's wards around the tower, allowing the Burning Legion to invade and try to stop them from finding the Pillars' location. Khadgar is able to alter the tower's defenders to fight off the Burning Legion while he and the adventurer retrieve a book authored by Alodi, the first Guardian, which contains information on the Pillars of Creation.
Some time later, Moroes has been overlooking the neighborhood of Karazhan, and noticed the forces of Burning Legion marching towards Karazhan, which he saw as an omen heralding the return of Medivh. He invited them into the tower.
In The Last Guardian, Karazhan is described as being an isolated tower, no mention of any village around the tower's base. Quite the contrary in fact. Medivh is described as a hermit, rarely taking visitors into Karazhan, yet in World of Warcraft, it seems he held a banquet with many, many guests who, at some point, became undead. It also seems contrary to Medivh's character to have a harem inside Karazhan, yet that's exactly what we find in the Maiden of Virtue's area. We can only assume they were not undead and demons all along. It is possible Prince Malchezaar brought them with him in order to keep Moroes busy and unaware of what was going on, but it seems an odd thing to do. Another possibility is that an unknown tenant of Karazhan, or even the original builder or owner, made use of these features as there is a vision mentioned in the book of drunk people sitting around a table. Also, Karazhan included a bailey which may have had enough room for a small village.
- The tower of Karazhan contains horse head animal motifs in various ornamentation as a reference to Anduin Lothar and the Brotherhood of the Horse.
- When Karazhan was first announced, there were rumors that an upside-down version of the tower existed, extending down from the bottom floor, deep underground. Whether or not Blizzard actually plans to implement this "Lower Karazhan" remains unknown.
- It is likely that this is a reference to The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb, a novel which details the last weeks of (living) activity within the tower. Several references are made to an "inverse" of Karazhan which begins at the lowest level and works its way downward, with Medivh's secret chambers lying at the very bottom.
- It is also possible that this rumor was a nod to the Konami game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, wherein players could fight through an upside-down version of Dracula's Castle after completing the regular version.
- There exists a building behind the nearby graveyard in which there is a stair downward towards a locked gate. One could (but no longer) go through this gate as a ghost and explore the large area beyond. This is likely to play a part in the future of Karazhan.
- A curious easter egg is hidden below the tower outside the instance. If you can get under it, you can find a Smiley face on the ground.
- Karazhan was originally planned to play a role in the event preceding the release of Warlords of Draenor, with a phased scenario taking place inside Karazhan. Players would have been sent to Karazhan to investigate its links to the destruction of the Dark Portal. However, this plan was scrapped before the expansion's beta.
Karazhan gryphon roost
The Karazhan gryphon roost is left over from the planning phase of Karazhan. Before the teleport to Aran's room was implemented, the original plan was to have a flight path that connected to the top of Karazhan for the convenience of groups who had already cleared most of the instance. With the ability to fly in Azeroth it is now possible to reach the ledge, but the portal is still blocked. It is notable that a skeletal gryphon can be seen flying around the tower too.
In The Last Guardian, Medivh and Khadgar used the gryphons to reach Stormwind and the Black Morass.
- In The Last Guardian, Medivh theorized that the arcane explosion that formed the crater and the building of Karazhan itself only happened because some day he would come to live there. With the revelation in Chronicle that Aegwynn built the tower and was at least partially manipulated by Sargeras within her, it's possible the construction was all a plan of Sargeras' to eventually use as his base while possessing Medivh. In addition, Sargeras also sent the necrolyte Satiel to turn Deadwind Pass into a magical nexus in the first place, which was the reason it was chosen as Karazhan's location.
- It is likely that the inhabitants of the tower are not permanently killed after their defeat. It is supported by the returns of the Curator and Terestian Illhoof.
- ^ Lands of Conflict, 44.
- ^ The Last Guardian, 195, 250.
- ^ The Last Guardian, 2
- ^ The Last Guardian, 89.
- ^ Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 152
- ^ a b The Last Guardian, 91-2
- ^ The Last Guardian, 306-8.
- ^ Archmage Angela Dosantos#Quote
- ^ Warrior: Divided
- ^ Warrior: United
- ^ Zones - Karazhan
- ^ Archmage Alturus#Quotes
- ^ The Comic: Hard Choices
- ^ Dark Riders
- ^ New York Times article
- ^ Warlords of Draenor Dev Interviews, Proving Grounds Requirement in WoD, Blue Tweets (2014-02-23).
- ^ WoW Insider, 2008-02-17.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ Legion: Warlock Artifact Reveal