- This article is about the location. For the 5-man instanced dungeon of the same name, see Azjol-Nerub (instance). For the nerubian organization, see Azjol-Nerub (kingdom).
|Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom (5)|
Azjol-Nerub (pronounced "ah-ZHOL nuh-ROOB") is a vast underground region that stretches beneath half the breadth of Northrend. It is inhabited by the arachnid-like nerubians. The Argent Crusade built the Crusaders' Coliseum above its northern reaches. The entrance to the spider kingdom can be found in the Pit of Narjun in the Dragonblight. Before its destruction by the Scourge, Azjol-Nerub contained huge libraries of literature, philosophy, and arcane lore.
In Wrath of the Lich King, Azjol-Nerub can be visited through two 5-man dungeons: Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. Anub'arak, the former king of Azjol-Nerub, is the final boss of the first dungeon.
The ancient kingdom of Azjol-Nerub was built after members of the aqir race fled to Northrend, overthrowing the tol'vir living there and adapting their architecture for their own purposes. The Gurubashi and Amani troll empires managed to split the kingdom of Azj'Aqir into three nations: Azjol-Nerub to the north, Ahn'Qiraj in the southwest, and the Mantid Empire to the far south. Over the millennia, Azjol-Nerub became the center of nerubian civilization.
War of the Spider
- Main article: War of the Spider
That was all before the creation of the Lich King by the Burning Legion. He saw immediately that the nerubians posed a major threat. None of the other races in Northrend had their numbers, their organization, or their discipline. In fact, the nerubians rarely ventured above-ground, but he couldn't risk that chance. The Lich King eventually attacked; he chose to swarm the underground kingdom and wiped it clean during the War of the Spider. It was long and hard, and the nerubians almost won — They may prefer thought and art but they're fearsome foes when roused. Unfortunately, the Scourge had an endless supply of warriors and every dead nerubian potentially added to its ranks. In the end, the Scourge's numbers prevailed, and the implacable undead swept through Azjol-Nerub and emptied its tunnels of defenders. The Lich King defeated the nerubians, killing most of them in the process and converting many of the survivors into crypt fiends and other undead. Those who could fled his touch. The Lich King conquered, and the nerubian civilization all but died. Now most of Azjol-Nerub lies in ruins. It's still a fascinating place, and many of its murals, frescoes and columns stand intact. The Scourge doesn't care about riches, material or scholarly, and rich tapestries still hang on the walls while impressive tomes line bookcases. One could spend months roaming the tunnels and still never see all of the great kingdom.
The Frozen Throne
Arthas Menethil and the mighty Anub'arak traveled through the Shadow Web Caverns, and the Old and Upper Kingdoms on their way to the Frozen Throne. They had to fight Baelgun Flamebeard and his dwarven forces, some still-living nerubians and other creatures. It once held a powerful and advanced civilization, and many of its treasures still rest there undamaged. Great riches litter the lower halls, not only gems and magic items but art and literature and scholarly tomes. The Scourge infests this place, and forgotten ones seethe below, eager to return to the world above.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
Despite the Lich King's victory over the Spider Kingdom, numerous pockets of nerubians remain, evading the wrath of the Lich King, while at the same time coordinating hit-and-run strikes against the forces of the Scourge led by Kilix the Unraveler. Scarred by years of war and abandonment, this vast domain is now occupied on two fronts.
In the Upper Kingdom, undead nerubians patrol the ruins of their homeland, guarding clutches of eggs that will one day bring forth a new generation of Scourge warriors. Meanwhile, in the depths of the Old Kingdom, Ahn'kahet, another enemy stirs: the faceless ones. Little is known of these horrifying creatures, but rumor has it that they answer to an evil power lurking beneath Northrend. Destroying the undead nerubians and their tainted eggs will deal a great blow to the Lich King, but eliminating the mysterious faceless ones is also crucial to reclaiming the fallen empire.
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
It is revealed that the nerubians have an enormous secret stash of their own eggs safely hidden away; with the extermination of the Scourge and the faceless ones plaguing Azjol-Nerub, they can begin repopulating under the leadership of Seer Ixit.
Maps and subregions
|Name||Level range||Group size||Approximate run time|
|Azjol-Nerub||60 - 80||5-man||Unknown|
|Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom||61 - 80||5-man||Unknown|
|This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.|
Azjol-Nerub as a zone
Azjol-Nerub was going to be World of Warcraft's first subterranean zone. "Buildings, temples -- a look and feel very similar to Naxxramas, since the nerubians are where the Scourge stole that architecture from", said Stockton of Blizzard. Wall-climbing mounts were planned for it according to Alexander Brazie. That plan was dropped and developers split the zone into two dungeon instances, Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom.
Ghostcrawler said in an interview about the dropped Abyssal Maw instance: "the zone I am personally saddest about cancelling is not Abyssal Maw; it was the Azjol-Nerub quest zone in Wrath of the Lich King."
In the RPG
Azjol-Nerub is the vast subterranean kingdom of the nerubians located beneath the frozen continent of Northrend, and was once the center of nerubian civilization. It is not known if they began here, but certainly most, if not their entire race, dwelled here. They left the rest of the world in peace and pursued their interests beneath the ground. Then the Lich King attacked and defeated them, killing most of the nerubians in the process and converting many of the survivors into crypt fiends and other undead, including the former nerubian king, the crypt lord Anub'arak. But there were also those who fled his touch. After that, most of Azjol-Nerub was and still lies in ruins. It is still a fascinating place though, and many of its murals and frescoes and columns stand intact. The Scourge does not care about riches, material or scholarly, and rich tapestries still hang on the walls while impressive tomes line bookcases.
Azjol-Nerub is not a safe place, for several reasons. First, of course, the Scourge controls it. Second, creatures live below, including the strange faceless ones: ancient monsters long imprisoned beneath the ice and recently loosed again. Yet even uninhabited, this kingdom would be dangerous. The nerubians set all manner of traps here, including circular doors that must be moved just so to avoid them crashing down on you, statues that release streams of frost at intruders and pits hidden beneath seemingly normal floor tiles. Many adventurers have ventured into this place, hoping for gold and other treasures, and found death instead.
20 years ago the nerubian civilization was still alive and strong. Azjol-Nerub was their kingdom, and the spider-men controlled all of its tunnels. Their culture is almost as old as the dwarven, and every bit is attuned to life underground. The biggest difference is that nerubians focus more on the cerebral and less on the physical — their society had more scholars and artists and fewer smiths and miners. That was all before the Lich King, of course.
He saw immediately that the nerubians posed a major threat. None of the other races on Northrend had their numbers, their organization, or their discipline. True, the nerubians rarely ventured aboveground, but he could not take that chance. He decided to swarm the underground kingdom and wipe it clean in an event known as the War of the Spider. It was long and hard, and the nerubians almost won — they may prefer thought and art but they are fearsome foes when roused. Unfortunately, the Scourge had an endless supply of warriors and every dead nerubian potentially added to its ranks. In the end, the Scourge's numbers prevailed, and the implacable undead swept through Azjol-Nerub and emptied its tunnels of defenders. The Lich King conquered, and the nerubian civilization all but died, leaving the kingdom in utter ruin.
A group of Ironforge dwarves staked out an area right by the main entrance to the kingdom and built a camp known as Doorward. They are the remnants of Muradin Bronzebeard's party, the Bronzebeard Expedition, and Baelgun Flamebeard leads them. He keeps his men hidden from the Scourge, and in the meantime they keep watch on the doors behind the camp constantly as they know what lies deep beneath the earth here, having vowed to stop such evils, the faceless ones, from escaping to the surface.
Baelgun thought the blood-red door behind his camp was the only way out of the Old Kingdom. Not long ago, a second passage was discovered and the Scourge is preparing to enter the tunnel and explore the region below. Baelgun knows the faceless ones there will overpower even the undead and then be free to escape into Northrend proper, and so he and the other dwarves decided to stop them. Yet he cannot leave the first door unattended, so he asked the heroes to follow the new passage in his stead, making sure no one releases the horrors below.
People and culture
There are not many people left in Azjol-Nerub. Not many living ones, anyway. The place is overrun with Scourge creatures and the undead stalk up and down the corridors and through the tunnels, carrying and hammering and digging. It is best to stay out of their way if possible. Some Scourge creatures walk right by you, oblivious, completely focused on their current task, but others drop everything in order to kill you and reanimate you as one of them. You can't tell beforehand which approach a creature will take, so you are better off ducking when you see them coming.
The living nerubians have not completely abandoned their kingdom and there are several here and there. You might even be able talk to a few of them, especially if you are near Baelgun's camp. Most of the nerubians died in the War of the Spider, though, and few remain. The survivors are scattered throughout the tunnels, hiding alone or in small groups, destroying Scourge creatures whenever possible but keeping hidden at all costs. Others form larger bands plotting rebellion, but there is only so much you can do when you are outnumbered hundreds to one.
Baelgun Flamebeard leads a group of dwarves here. They have good hardy souls, but they are no match for the Scourge, and they might not be able to even stop the nerubians, particularly the larger rebel bands. Fortunately the nerubians are cordial and as it is, they leave Baelgun's crew alone, and sometimes stop by to exchange information or trade found items for food.
The only other residents of Azjol-Nerub are monsters — most mysterious creatures called faceless ones. Tales say they lived here long before the Scourge came, dwelling too deep for the nerubians to hunt them. Its these horrors Baelgun has vowed to stop.
Azjol-Nerub is entirely underground. It is a fascinating place that stretches for miles and it would not be a surprise if it lies beneath most or all of Northrend. The rock here is predominately granite, mixed with some igneous stone where volcanoes once rose and where magma from deep beneath bubbled up long ago. The nerubians were thorough artisans and left nary a corner untouched — every edge is smooth and faceted, every corridor planed and polished. They preserved the odd angles created by nature but straightened and widened tunnels into corridors and vaulted ceilings.
Little lives down here, especially now. Various lichen and fungi grow in corners and along the walls — the nerubians evidently nurtured certain phosphorescent and luminescent varieties to provide light, and these have since grown unchecked. Bats perch on doorframes and columns, as do spiders of varying size. Underground lakes teem with blind, silvery-white fish, and insects and worms crawl through the soft dirt alongside. Monsters prowl the deeper caves, and the less said about these the better.
The underground region has no separate settlements as it once was a single unified kingdom. Now it is a shadow of its former self, controlled by the Scourge except where pockets of nerubian resistance lurk or where the dwarves hunker down or where even darker creatures roam unopposed.
- Many scholars believe that all spiders trace their roots back to the ancient kingdom of Azjol-Nerub.
- The sacrificial pits of Azjol-Nerub were used long ago to sacrifice enemy forces in exchange for success in battle.
- Warcraft III
- World of Warcraft
The gate to Ahn'kahet.
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, pg. 40
- ^ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
- ^ The Twin Empires
- ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns (WC3 Undead)
- ^ The Forgotten Ones (WC3 Undead)
- ^ Ascent to the Upper Kingdom (WC3 Undead)
- ^ Azjol-Nerub
- ^ http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=1&cId=3163178
- ^ John Staats AMA, author of 'The World of Warcraft Diary'Also participating: Bo Bell, Alexander Brazie, and Sam Lantinga
- ^ Abyssal Maw (instance)#Ghostcrawler about the instance
- ^ a b Lands of Mystery, pg.91
- ^ a b c d Lands of Mystery, pg.88
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg.143
- ^ a b c d e Lands of Mystery, pg.90
- ^ a b Lands of Mystery, pg.89
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 88.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 44.