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- This article is about the undead Forsaken lore. For the playable race, see Undead (playable). For more information on the living dead in general, see Undead. For the in-game reputation faction, see Undercity (faction).
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- “Those who do not stand with the Forsaken stand against them. And those who stand against the Forsaken will not stand long.”
The undead Forsaken or simply the Forsaken and Undead are a race and a faction of intelligent undead who broke away from the Scourge and took control of much of the kingdom of Lordaeron, destroyed during the Third War by the death knight Arthas. The Forsaken are led by their Banshee Queen, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas. Their capital is the Undercity, in the royal catacombs beneath the ruins of the capital city of Lordaeron.
While comprised vastly of undead humans, the Forsaken are a diverse faction that include several different races at their biological core. However, they have all assumed their racial identity as "Forsaken," due to their shared goals and loyalties.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 History
- 3 Culture and people
- 4 Military
- 5 Mounts and pets
- 6 Biology
- 7 In the RPG
- 8 In the TCG
- 9 Trivia
- 10 See also
- 11 References
When the Lich King's grasp on his vast armies faltered after the Third War, a contingent of undead broke free of their master's iron will. Although this freedom seemed to be a blessing at first, these former humans were soon tormented by memories of the unspeakable horrors that they had committed as mindless Scourge agents. Those who did not descend into madness were faced with a chilling realization: the entirety of Azeroth sought their destruction.
In their darkest hour, the renegade undead were rallied together by the former ranger-general of Quel'Thalas, Sylvanas Windrunner. Defeated during an attack on her kingdom and transformed into a powerful Scourge banshee, Sylvanas had also regained her freedom from the Lich King. Under their new queen's guidance, the independent undead – known as Forsaken – established the Undercity beneath the ruins of Lordaeron's capital. While some Forsaken feared Sylvanas, others valued the security she provided. Many of the free-willed undead, however, found a purpose to their cursed existence through the banshee queen's burning desire to destroy the Lich King.
Despite not being affiliated with the Scourge, the Forsaken came under threat from humans who were dedicated to eradicating all undead. As a means to further her own goals and protect her budding nation, Sylvanas sent emissaries to various factions in search of allies. The kind-hearted tauren of Thunder Bluff proved to be the most promising contact. Specifically, Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem saw the potential for redemption in Sylvanas' people, even though he was fully aware of the Forsaken's sinister nature. Thus, the tauren convinced Warchief Thrall, despite his misgivings, to forge an alliance of convenience between the Forsaken and the Horde. In the end, the Forsaken's chances of victory against the Lich King were bolstered, while the Horde gained an invaluable foothold in the Eastern Kingdoms.
Third War and aftermath
During the Third War, the once-glorious capital of Lordaeron, Capital City, was decimated by a Scourge army under the command of Prince Arthas Menethil. Death offered no escape for the scores of humans killed during the Lich King's campaign to scour the living from Lordaeron. Instead, the kingdom's fallen were risen into undeath as Scourge minions and forced to wage an unholy war against everything and everyone that they once held dear.
In the wake of Illidan's failed attempt to melt the icy continent of Northrend, the powerful energies possessed by the Lich King inside his Frozen Throne slowly began to decay. Inexorably this resulted in a partial loss of control of the more distant Scourge forces. The result was that many undead under the Lich King's mental domination had their conscious will restored. Their spirits and memories were somehow returned to their undead bodies. Even the Lich King's champion, Arthas, began to weaken as the Lich King's power waned. Arthas the death knight and his lieutenant Kel'Thuzad the lich were suddenly thrust into an undead civil war. Still fanatically loyal to the Lich King, Arthas heeded the call of his master and returned to Northrend as Illidan launched his second attempt to destroy the Lich King directly. Arthas left Kel'Thuzad in command of his forces when he departed.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner rallied half of the standing undead forces in Lordaeron and staged a coup for control over the undead empire. With their leader's sharp cunning and the assistance of their banshees, the undead forcibly coerced a number of lingering forces in Lordaeron to fighting their battles with them; such as gnolls, bandits, and ogres. First, the dreadlord Varimathras fell to the Dark Lady, and swiftly sold his loyalty to Lady Sylvanas in return for sparing him. With Varimathras' assistance, the undead forces successfully deposed the leadership of Detheroc and his army, allying with the considerable forces of the mind-controlled Grand Marshal Garithos in order to free Lordaeron from the control of the remaining dreadlord, Balnazzar. Garithos, though despising non-humans, joined forces with the undead and their inhuman allies to this end. Lady Sylvanas promised to leave Lordaeron to his jurisdiction after the battle was won, despite herself never having any intention to respect their pact, and together with their new allies, the undead marched to end Balnazzar.
With their combined forces, the undead and the Alliance resistance dismantled the final bastion of the dreadlords' power in Lordaeron, and Varimathras personally destroyed his nathrezim brother. No sooner had Garithos demanded that the Forsaken leave the land that Sylvanas promised him when she turned on him and executed the human leader; claiming the ruins of Lordaeron for the free-willed undead instead.
With her immediate enemies dealt with and the ruins of Lordaeron firmly in her hands, Lady Sylvanas proclaimed her faction of self-aware undead as the "Forsaken," and resolved to slaughter anyone would dare stand in the way of their dominion.
Following this, Queen Sylvanas and the Forsaken claimed the Undercity as their own and completed the winding network of catacombs and crypts that the Scourge had begun constructing. Today, rivers of poisonous sludge flow through all avenues of the vast Undercity. The toxic fumes and fetid odors permeating every corner of the stronghold have made it a place almost unbearable for the living members of the Horde. Yet for Sylvanas and her cursed followers, the Undercity has become a much-needed refuge in a world where her kind is still feared and hunted.
While the Forsaken had claimed a base of power, their hold on Lordaeron was tenuous at best. To this end, the Dark Lady looked to finding allies.
Alliance with the Horde
Sylvanas worked to ensure that the damned such as herself would have a home free from threats by the living. As a means to further her own goals and protect her budding nation, Sylvanas sent emissaries to various factions in search of allies. The kind-hearted tauren of Thunder Bluff proved to be the most promising contact. Specifically, Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem saw the potential for redemption in Sylvanas' people, even though he was fully aware of the Forsaken's sinister nature. Thus, the tauren convinced Warchief Thrall, despite his misgivings, to forge an alliance of convenience between the Forsaken and the Horde. In the end, the Forsaken's chances of victory against the Lich King were bolstered, while the Horde gained an invaluable foothold in the Eastern Kingdoms.
Magatha Grimtotem claimed she merely wanted to aid the Forsaken in their quest to find a path back to being human. The Darkspear trolls are not particularly fond of the Forsaken because of their shaman beliefs, but tolerate them and have learned to trust them in times of war.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
As the primary Horde force in the Eastern Kingdoms, the Forsaken went about dealing with a number of their surrounding enemies. New free-willed undead, freed by Lady Sylvanas, were inducted into the Forsaken's ranks and assisted their new (and old) people in the tasks set before them within Tirisfal Glades. For years this blighted area has been home to Queen Sylvanas and her Forsaken, as well as the remaining vestiges of the Scarlet Crusade. Their zealots, bent on wiping out any and all undead from Azeroth regardless of affiliation, have long been a thorn in the Forsaken's side. Recently, the Argent Dawn has offered assistance to Sylvanas' people against the Crusaders' constant harassment in eastern Tirisfal Glades. In addition, the Forsaken have begun a fresh march on their enemy's stronghold – the Scarlet Monastery – in an effort to finally secure their homeland from external threats.
Concurrent with securing the immediate regions pertaining to Lordaeron, the Forsaken turned their attention to numerous conflicts neighboring their kingdom. The humans and dwarves of the Alliance, the perennial enemy of their Horde allies, remained at large on the continent. The Forsaken launched several offenses against their new enemies, resulting in the conflict for resources in Arathi (which the Defilers were tasked with securing) and a number of conflicts around Hillsbrad Foothills, Alterac Mountains and the Plaguelands arose. Furthermore, the Forsaken began research into a certain form of plague that could be used against the Scourge (and ostensibly, the living). The Royal Apothecary Society rose to meet this goal, and has been conducting a number of low-key experiments ever since.
Nathanos Blightcaller, the Champion of the Forsaken, was raised by Lady Sylvanas herself after his death at the hands of the Scourge. After they had proved themselves to the queen, the Blightcaller tasked Forsaken members with killing the beast that had taken his life, retrieving a document pertaining to both his and the banshee queen's time as living comrades from a lodge of exiled elves, and assaulting the Scarlet Crusade's primary power-base in Lordaeron.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
The blood elves of Quel'Thalas, newly invigorated by the returned magisters and the new powers at their disposal, went about reclaiming and rebuilding their ancient capital and expelling the Scourge from their lands. Lady Sylvanas, who had lost no love for her homeland even in death, offered numerous methods of support to her former people and was a strong supporter of their acceptance into the Horde. Together with the sin'dorei, a regiment of Forsaken troops assisted their elven allies in reclaiming much of the Ghostlands, including the town of Tranquillien. The Forsaken also assisted the blood elven Blood Knight order in forging a stone of great power to wield against the Scourge; their intimate knowledge of the Lich King's grasp proving an essential component in its creation.
The Forsaken continued their research into their progressing plague in Outland, where numerous apothecaries such as Apothecary Azethen took and experimented with a variety of new ingredients for Forsaken uses.
War against the Lich King
This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
As the Lich King began to make his presence known to the inhabitants of Azeroth, the Forsaken came ever closer to achieving their vengeance upon the despoiler of Lordaeron. The Forsaken were one of the major powers in the war against the Lich King.
Lady Sylvanas moved to and from the frozen wastes of Northrend, and oversaw the construction of a proper Forsaken town within the region of Howling Fjord. One of the new Forsaken camps in Northrend is New Agamand, where most of the Royal Apothecary Society's members took up residence to finish perfecting the plague to unleash upon the Lich King. Lady Sylvanas had been methodically and patiently overseeing the creation of this contagion for several years now, and it seemed the time at last had come to test it.
During the Lich King's initial attack on the cities of the Horde and Alliance, a renowned apothecary named Grand Apothecary Putress set up camp in Shattrath to counter the Lich King's own spreading plague. After numerous stages of experimentation, Putress succeeded in forming a counter-agent and curbing the spread of the plague of undeath. For his efforts, he gained favor within the Forsaken's ranks, and Sylvanas dispensed him to assist the Horde advance into Northrend. Both Sylvanas and Putress were present during the Scourge attack on Orgrimmar, and the Dark Lady assisted Thrall, Garrosh Hellscream, High Overlord Saurfang and several adventurers in fighting the invaders off. Nevertheless, the attack convinced Warchief Thrall to commit to a Northrend campaign, much to Sylvanas' approval.
The Forsaken were one of the major superpowers to advance on Northrend. While the main Horde force attacked and conquered regions of Borean Tundra, the Forsaken fleet (comprised of customized Lordaeron ships dredged up from the ocean) laid siege to Howling Fjord. Coming under the banner of the Hand of Vengeance, the Forsaken army tasked with delivering apt revenge against Arthas, the queen's navy swiftly crushed the Alliance Northwatch fleet and cornered them on the shores of the Fjord. No sooner had the Forsaken began their assault, however, had the Lich King turned his gaze back to his former servants: Prince Valanar offered the Forsaken commander High Executor Anselm the chance to renounce his fealty to Queen Sylvanas and return to the Scourge's embrace. However, Anselm swiftly disposed of the san'layn prince, and had adventurers slay him for his insolence in making mock of the queen and killing his men.
The Hand of Vengeance also waged a war against the vrykul, and the Royal Apothecary Society's field-testing plaguebringers drenched a number with a potent strain of blight in order to test its final stages of production.
Their efforts would come to a head during the events of Dragonblight, where the Forsaken stationed at Venomspite and Agmar's Hammer perfected the final strains of the plague brought over from New Agamand. The Forsaken also came into conflict with their old enemy the Scarlet Crusade, now dissolved and reformed into the Scarlet Onslaught.
However, just as the hour of the Forsaken was to approach, tragedy struck. During the battle for Angrathar the Wrathgate, Grand Apothecary Putress and renegade plaguebringers made their appearance. After questioning the newly-arrived Lich King as to whether he thought the Forsaken had "forgotten" or "forgiven" him for what he had done, Putress drenched the battlefield in a massive strain of blight, causing huge losses to the collaboration of Horde and Alliance forces present. The blight was so powerful, in fact, that Arthas himself was brought to his knees. The Lich King fled back to Icecrown, and Putress was left to cackle triumphantly at the destruction wrought on by the plague.
Putress' actions were outside the orders of the Forsaken and, concurrently with the Wrathgate attack, Varimathras had usurped control of the Undercity. Sylvanas barely escaped with her life and her loyalists, and the Forsaken were taken in by Thrall while they planned their next move. In a conversation with Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall and Sylvanas reveal that Putress had allied with the treacherous dreadlord in order to depose the Dark Lady's rule. Despite this, Jaina warns them that King Varian Wrynn nonetheless holds them responsible, and is considering leading an army into the Undercity in order to reclaim Lordaeron for the Alliance. Unwilling to abandon the Undercity to the traitors, Sylvanas, Thrall, and Vol'jin lead a Horde counterattack in order to remove Varimathras from power and restore the Undercity to the Forsaken. After fighting their way through a Burning Legion-controlled Undercity, the Banshee Queen and the Warchief succeed in killing Varimathras and retaking the Royal Quarter. As they prepare to strike at Putress, however, King Varian enters and declares his intention to end it all there. Before the battle can increase in intensity, Jaina swiftly teleports the Alliance forces out of the Undercity, resulting in a successful Horde restoration.
Though the Undercity had been restored to its rightful masters, the repercussions of the Wrathgate have hounded the Forsaken relentlessly. Their abomination guardians were either removed or relegated to the sewers, and Kor'kron overseers were deployed to watch over the Forsaken from that point forward. Thrall's trust for the Forsaken seems to have become thinner than ever, and their credibility in the eyes of the wider Horde has also suffered.
With the Undercity securely back in Horde hands, Lady Sylvanas personally made her way into Northrend in order to claim vengeance upon Arthas. Together with her dark rangers, the Banshee Queen infiltrated Icecrown Citadel and fought her way through to the Halls of Reflection, where she came face-to-face with the blade that took her life. After Arthas successfully fought her off, however, Sylvanas was forced to face her inability to defeat her greatest foe alone.
With the combined efforts of the Argent Crusade and the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Lich King finally fell. However, with his death, a void was left - while Sylvanas and the Forsaken had existed solely to claim their vengeance, the Dark Lady could only ponder what was left for them.
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
As it happens, the Forsaken - having successfully partaken in the fall of the Lich King - have turned their attention to other pursuits. For one: the complete conquest of Lordaeron. Now, along with being mistrusted by her own allies, Sylvanas recognizes that many of Azeroth's other inhabitants still see her people as a threat, even after the Lich King's defeat. As their numbers dwindle by the day, the Forsaken have begun fortifying their holdings around the Undercity, working to prove their loyalty to the Horde's cause even as they ready themselves for any future attacks.
After the Lich King's death, a number of the more intelligent former Scourge members were accepted into the Forsaken's ranks by Queen Sylvanas. Some of them, the Val'kyr, have brought with them a new age for the Forsaken: the ability to "procreate" via their necromantic abilities, bolstering their numbers. The second generation Forsaken are individuals who were raised into undeath by these Val'kyr.
The risen dead of the new Forsaken generation are given a choice of what to do after they are reborn. Some of them, such as Valdred Moray, accept their fate, and seem keen to make themselves useful and serve the Forsaken in death. The resurrected Prince Galen Trollbane seemed resigned to the fate that befell him and while not particularly enthusiastic about killing his former allies, he personally gave the quests to slay them for the good of the Dark Lady.
On the other hand, others do not react so positively. Lilian Voss reacts in horror to what she had become, and Marshal Redpath, not happy with his fate, attacks Deathknell after the transition. Some of the new Forsaken simply kill themselves on the spot. Dumass is perhaps the most extreme case of how the process can strip away rational thought and intelligence.
After the Cataclysm, the Forsaken launched an offensive against Gilneas, after being ordered by Garrosh Hellscream to do so. The Forsaken appear to be taking on a more offensive stance regarding the war with the Alliance, and with their new ability to bolster their ranks, their stranglehold on Lordaeron has become tighter than ever. The Forsaken have also began to fortify their own territories, stepping up from their previous preferences of run down human-esque buildings in favor of their own architecture, seen briefly in Northrend.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.
Forsaken activity on Draenor is in Warspear and Horde Garrison, alongside other members of the Horde. Forsaken "ambassador" is Captain Fennick, <Recruiting Officer>, and he can change orcish garrison guards to Frostwall Deathguards.
This section concerns content related to Legion.
With the beginning of the Burning Legion's third invasion on Azeroth, the dying Warchief Vol'jin chose Sylvanas as the new Warchief of the Horde. During the invasion, various Forsaken joined the class orders.
Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
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Culture and people
- “Do not shy from dark paths, if those paths lead to victory.”
- — Forsaken proverb
The Forsaken capital of Undercity is always awake, just like the Forsaken themselves. The city is a place of dark, somber colors, stone walkways and steps. The Undercity has inns, forges, and businesses that cater not only to the undead, but visitors from the Horde, with whom the Forsaken have allied themselves. There are some illumination in the form of dim lamps and muted torches. These sources of light are not merely there to serve the living; though the undead have no true need of light, it perhaps gives Undercity's chief inhabitants a facade of some other existence.
There are some among the Forsaken who read tea leaves in order to divine the future.
According to the Deathguards, black, grey and dark purple are the prescribed colors.
While most Forsaken are loyal to the Undercity and their Banshee Queen, there are different cases. Leonid Barthalomew looks at his undeath as a malady. An illness that merely requires treatment, hence his loyalties to the Argent Crusade.
Upon first being raised, a Forsaken does not have free will. It takes more concentrated magic to release an undead's mind. Free will is one of the cornerstones of Forsaken culture, with the great capacity for both good and evil that it entails. However, some undead, especially those who die in combat or under extreme stress and are raised soon after, enter into a violent, frenzied state. Undead in this state are easily manipulated and their rage is often directed at the foes of those who raised them. After the effects wear off, if the risen corpse has not been destroyed, they are given the same ultimatum that other Forsaken are offered: join the Dark Lady or return to the grave. Psychological pressure can also be used to turn freshly-raised undead to the side of the Forsaken instead of the one of their former allies. Once sufficient duty has been given, all it takes to be released from Sylvanas' command is a respectful asking. Though she demands loyalty, she would not hold her agents in thrall.
Each Forsaken member follow their queen for various reasons: fear, loyalty, no where else to go.
The Forsaken were strongly discouraged from revisiting places they had loved in life. Their home was no longer Lordaeron but the Undercity. Sometimes books from outside were confiscated, and it was stated that there was no need to remember their human history as only the history of the Undercity mattered. After Sylvanas became Warchief, the Desolate Council was established to fill the power vacuum left with Sylvanas dealing with the Horde on Kalimdor. Except that, the Council was a response to these strict rules; for their needs were not being met. They also felt that Sylvanas needed to stop forcing them to live again if they did not wish to.
Becoming a Forsaken is called the Gift.
True death is the harshest punishment exercised in Forsaken law — in essence, an execution. Warden Stillwater and his followers were sentenced to true death for turning some Forsaken into mindless zombies, threatening their way of life. True death appears to be reserved for criminals who have committed high treason against the Forsaken's leadership, like Grand Apothecary Putress, proved themselves a threat to the Forsaken's way of life, or taken up arms in rebellion against the Forsaken, like the Rotbrain undead.
In Thalassian, "Bash'a no falor talah!" means "Taste the chill of true death!" which is a threat generally directed at undead. Sylvanas said this when defending Silvermoon from Arthas during the Third War.
The experience when a Forsaken accepts his or her death willingly is called the Last Death.
Some still adhere to their old faiths, such as the Holy Light. However, the Cult of Forgotten Shadow was created through the (re)discovery of the teachings of bishop Natalie Seline by Forsaken priests in Lordaeron after the capture and refurbishing of the Undercity. Shadow priests generally do not practice openly, and not all members are Forsaken, although they formed the cult.
Priests of the Forgotten Shadow believe that the faiths they held in life have failed them. They instead turn to dark energies to accomplish their goals. They teach that there must be a balance between Light and darkness, and members of the cult must know the Light as well.
Some Forsaken priests continue to wield the Holy Light. While it is possible for them to use or be healed by the Light to its full effect like any living humanoid, it is accompanied by intense pain, making it require notable willpower to suffer through. Though painful, this does not cause any actual harm or damage on their undead bodies, even over long periods of time. In fact, some Forsaken with persistent contact with the Light over many years have even started to experience a return of their senses, which is not a pleasant experience given their rotted state.
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Undercity is the home of the Forsaken. They also have control of Tirisfal Glades and Silverpine Forest and have several towns in the regions.
Though the Forsaken do not trust anyone and no one trusts them, they are members of the Horde and, for now, do their best to help their allies and placate their ambassadors. Forsaken have even less love for the Alliance, particularly because they clash constantly with the human organization called the Scarlet Crusade.
The only other Horde faction they even have a semblance of trust with is Silvermoon City and the blood elves. This is probably because Sylvanas was a high elf ranger in life and finds trust in her former companions. The Forsaken and blood elves even took control of the village of Tranquillien in the Ghostlands to fight the Scourge in the area together.
Recently, the Forsaken gained a new enemy in form of the Gilneas people. While Sylvanas is now shown to cooperate with the High King of the Alliance, old hatred with the worgen will escalate in Stormheim.
Relations with the Horde
Convinced that the primitive races of the Horde can help them achieve victory over their enemies, the Forsaken entered an alliance of convenience with the savage orcs and the proud tauren. Yet, they didn't hesitate to quietly kill prisoners of war, or experiment on and kill their own new allies if it suited their needs.
Their position in the faction later solidified, given that they were able to sponsor the blood elves' entrance into the Horde. This was strained by the events at the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate, in the following quests it is revealed that Grand Apothecary Putress's actions were not very well received among most of the city's denizens. This seems to suggest that the Forsaken consider themselves part of the Horde now, or are at least upset by the limitations his failure has placed on them. The Forsaken appear to be more or less loyal to the Horde, but still have their own machinations. Some in the Horde are uncertain of their true intentions.
It's unknown whether the pact continues after the betrayal of Varimathras and Putress and after Magatha's exile.
The majority of Forsaken had taken new given names or surnames for themselves. They did so to mark their rebirth; to cast aside their old identities and to take pride in their new lives and the roles they play in their unified society. Known instances are Nathanos Blightcaller, born Marris, and Vellcinda Benton, born Elsie.
- Male names: Coleman, Dannal, Darnell, David, Sedrick.
- Female names: Anette, Gretchen, Isabella, Karla, Maressa.
- Family names: Williams, Farthing, Trias, Dedmar, Calston.
A cure for undeath?
Many of the other races (mainly the tauren) pity the Forsaken and a number of Horde healers all over Azeroth, such as Bena Winterhoof, work tirelessly in the hopes of creating a cure for undeath. Some of the Forsaken feel that their undeath is an illness or curse and long for a cure, but many think it is impossible to attain one.
Since their independence from the Scourge, the Forsaken have created different military organizations:
They also include different types of undead and units within their ranks:
Apothecaries, serving under the Royal Apothecary Society and based in the Apothecarium of the Undercity, are a crucial part of the Forsaken society. They are the innovative force behind the Forsaken Blight. They can be found across the whole of Azeroth and beyond, trying to find ways to improve the blight. Forsaken Blightspreaders are mad scientists who as their name implies, spread the Forsaken blight.
Many banshees can be found within the ranks of the Forsaken, as most of them were followers of Sylvanas Windrunner in life, so they are in undeath.
Sylvanas Windrunner, being one herself, employs many dark rangers under her service. Initially, almost all of these elite agents are high elf women raised into undeath, just like the Banshee Queen herself. There existed at least one exception, Nathanos Marris. Nathanos however, has recently been training a new generation of Forsaken rangers comprising of undead humans, making the undead racial composition more diverse.
Deathguards and dreadguards
The Executors are officers within the Forsaken army. They seem to perform different tasks of military and civil nature, like commanders, lieutenants, captains or even region governors and city magistrates. Apparently, as military top officers, they also have medium-control over members of the Deathstalkers that are working in their area of influence. They are the most skilled warriors and fighters within the Forsaken ranks, acting as strategists and leading the Dark Lady's military actions to victory.
Forsaken troopers consists of the freshly raised undead created by the necromantic powers of Sylvanas Windrunner's Val'kyr. The Forsaken Trooper serve as basic infantry, and have been raised from the fallen humans on the battlefield. Most recently, this new army "recruited" from the peoples of Silverpine and Hillsbrad. Forsaken Troops replenish the whittling armies of the Forsaken, who's numbers cannot be compensated without an act of reproduction.
In Cataclysm, after the death of the Lich King, several Val'kyr became "unemployed" and made a pact with Sylvanas to raise more Forsaken and bolster their numbers. At the time of the Silverpine quests, the Val'kyr could only raise humans into undeath. However, Sylvanas later indicated that she can raise other races during the Siege of Orgrimmar. Dave Kosak said she could always grow in power down the line.
The Forsaken include numerous other races and types of undead. Notably, at least three leper gnomes are seen existing within the Forsaken empire. The level of trust such beings receive is dubious, though one is referred to as having "bent the knee" to the Dark Lady, thus making him "one of us." There is also at least one wraith within the ranks of the Forsaken, two zombies, and at least one orc skeleton.
Mounts and pets
When fallen heroes are raised into undeath, so too are their horses.
Through the years, the Forsaken have grown a kinship with the spiders of Hillsbrad and have managed to domesticate and breed them. Spiders now serve them as regular household pets and beasts of battle. The Forsaken loathe bears, but through ingenuity they have devised a way to make use of them. They use the living bears at their spider farm as living egg feeders. Their spiders lay their eggs in the bear flesh and the eggs thrive off of the meat and blood of the beasts.
Note that the information included here is regarding the common Forsaken undead. It may differ from individual to individual, as a banshee cannot be expected to have the exact same biological properties as a skeleton.
Forsaken are commonly 5–6 feet tall, scrawny, and gaunt. Their skin is deteriorating, and their hair is unkempt. Both males and females have a variety of decomposing figures.
Forsaken, similar to certain other undead, have Ichor of Undeath running through their bodies and it can cause throat tickles. They bleed this green liquid when wounded, though some Forsaken have no blood or liquid running through their bodies at all. Given enough time, Forsaken may slowly lose their consciousness and devolve into a mindless state. This appears in the form of a chilling sensation, making the Forsaken feel physically cold. However, if a Forsaken's body is kept intact, they could potentially avoid this altogether and live forever. Forsaken cannot naturally sleep or dream. Forsaken do not require physical rest in the traditional sense, however, from the existence of beds and coffins in Forsaken buildings, and Forsaken innkeepers saying "Rest your weary bones..." it can be deduced that Forsaken most likely benefit from resting, as it possibly helps to preserve their bodies longer. Forsaken do feel the need to breathe, though they can last at least a dozen days without taking a fresh breath of air. As they are undead, they don't need air to live, and Forward Commander Onslaught claims that he can no longer breathe. This also means it is impossible for them to drown. Most Forsaken speak normally by forcing air through their dead lungs, but some have to speak through magical means due to having harmed jaws. All Forsaken are capable of eating, but not all Forsaken have a necessity to feed. Forsaken diet consists of mushrooms, corpses, slime molds from the ooze canals of the Undercity, arthropods, and more.
Aside from magical potions, Forsaken can "heal" themselves in numerous ways. To name a few, they can replace their body parts by harvesting and sewing on the body parts of others, eat other humanoids and undead, and drain the life force of others. When the Holy Light is used with the intention to heal a Forsaken, it is immensely painful, yet effective. The Forsaken restoration process requires the stitching or grafting of new sinew, muscle and skin to repair their bodies; and since the Forsaken body does not naturally heal itself, it is the predominant method of keeping Forsaken bodies functional. It should also be noted that a Forsaken's body, or the parts of the body they've grafted onto it, may only be preserved in the same condition as it was found when deceased. Since Forsaken bodies can't grow new muscles, a body part of a new Forsaken will never naturally grow stronger and thus will only improve if one replaces the unsatisfactory body part with another one containing more muscles. The downside to Forsaken undeath is their bodies are henceforth fragile to injury or rot and may require constant body part transplants to maintain.
Decapitation or even dismemberment is not enough to kill a Forsaken, and many times enemies have to burn the remains of a destroyed Forsaken body, otherwise it can reattach its limbs and joints by temporarily melting their skin, knitting muscle and clicking bones back together. It should be noted, however, that this ability is considered rare among the undead, and many cannot simply re-attach limbs on their own.
According to the Deathguards, everything tastes like ashes. Despite this, they created the , an alcoholic beverage with a kick that even the dead can feel.
Clapping is bad for their hands.
Along with the very common glowing yellow eyes, some Forsaken such as Lilian Voss, Lord Godfrey and Master Forteski have glowing blue eyes, while others such as Sylvanas Windrunner or Nathanos Blightcaller have glowing red eyes.
Nature of undeath
The CM Nyorloth supplied information on the nature of undeath on February 9th, 2012 on the European Story Forums, stating:
Death Knights and souls? | 2012-09-02 00:00 | Nyorloth
Forsaken who have been raised into undeath or "awoken" as the Forsaken call it, may be terrified, confused, or disoriented by the experience. Part of this stems from being traumatized by witnessing their own skin and body decaying for the first time. Other times, it may be because they were raised with some sort of terrible malady like having only half a brain. Some don't survive the shock, turning into zombies or ghouls. Others retain just enough humanity to seem normal on the outside... but they're sick inside.
Aside from their affliction, undead also suffer from an addiction to terrible vices that the Lich King instilled in them in order to produce vile and inhumane monstrosities. Death knights for example, possess an addiction to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria. Zombies and Forsaken undead have a hungering for living flesh and San'layn have an addiction to consuming blood. It is assumed that all undead have some sort of tormenting addiction to coincide with their undeath.
Generally, most enslaved undead are tormented and restless by their subjugation. Some welcome it if it grants them the benefits of eternal life. Many undead who are sentient enough to understand their circumstances appear emotionally dispassionate if not melancholy. The most known emotions that the undead seem to emote are remorse, pity, or rage. Record of undead emoting positive emotions are rare, though there are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath, when influenced by the Holy Light. The drawback however, is that they also become disgusted with themselves and are likely to increase attempts at their own self-destruction; for regaining these senses would force the undead to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies. Some take comfort from the happy memories they experienced when they were alive or the bonds they've developed.
Some of those that freed themselves from the Lich King's grasp are tormented by memories of the unspeakable horrors that they had committed as mindless Scourge agents and are driven into madness or consumed by regret; whereas others embrace their new condition and may go on to indulge in their vile vices. Others don't even remember their time as a mindless slave of the Scourge and so bear no emotional trauma from it at all.
In the RPG
Forsaken culture reflects its people; just as the Forsaken stand on the line between life and death, their culture balances between the beliefs each Forsaken held in life and each one's quest for a place in the present. Former healers find this transition more difficult than most Forsaken find it. Priests of the Holy Light in particular struggle to reconcile the philosophy that guided their life with their unfortunate new condition. Some balance their own beliefs with their new forms, but most follow one of two paths." (It goes on to give very brief descriptions of the Forgotten Shadow and the Echo of Life.)
Perhaps the greatest element of Forsaken culture, and their culture's only universal element, is their reverence of death. Every Forsaken respects the dead, and damns those who do not. General society coddles new Forsaken like children, while venerating those who are losing themselves to the Scourge, giving them the greatest comforts before they are put out of their misery. Forsaken treat each other with a measure of respect, as it takes a strong soul to rise, and a stronger soul to not fall to mindless undeath (more on this later). Arthas earns their greatest ire, as the Lich King shows no respect for the living or dead. While Forsaken create undead, they do so with respect to the souls and bodies they use. Life and death is a balance. The Lich King, however, enslaves the dead, stripping their free will. His path is an abomination to the Forsaken.
Although most of the race is evil, the Forsaken cannot be thought of in purely dualistic terms entirely. Although undead, the Forsaken are still inherently human, the majority of whom were victims of the plague spread by Kel'Thuzad. Thus some of the Forsaken are still good beings, if no longer living. As the above suggests, some individuals among them are capable of a tragic form of nobility, in that they do not allow their inability to obtain redemption to prevent them from trying.
Those that try often leave the Forsaken, seeing its flaws, and join other causes. These Forsaken rebel against their race, seeking a better way to end the Lich King's reign or search for a way to reclaim their lost humanity, while others work to reform it from within, such as Roberick Dartfall.
It is arguable that such nobility is the only truly genuine form that exists, in that it comes not from duty, religion, or custom, but from a decision born purely of free will.
Even as they believe they have been abandoned by their faith, so have the Forsaken abandoned the faiths of their living days. Many no longer cling to any religion, placing their faith in their queen and their dark science. Most, however, have embraced new philosophies of their own creation: the Forgotten Shadow, the Echo of Life, or the simple value of knowledge. Some have even turned to the Burning Legion as a source of power, believing that only it is potent enough to defeat the Lich King.
The Cult of Forgotten Shadow is largely based out of Deathknell and the warrior quarter in Undercity. Priests of the Forgotten Shadow believe that the faiths they held in life have failed them, and so they instead rely on the power and teachings of the Shadow. The members of the Cult vary between lawful and chaotic, evil and neutral, and are taught to eradicate anything having to do with the Holy Light — and life in general. It is also a philosophy of divine humanism.
Priests of the Forgotten Shadow teach that there must be a balance between Light and Shadow, and while they should never forget that they are from the Shadow, members of the cult must learn the Light as well. Being intelligent undead, the Forsaken fully understand the limitations and vulnerabilities associated with unlife. One of these disadvantages is that they can be turned, rebuked or even commanded by powerful positive or negative energy forces. Naturally, the Forsaken are always on the lookout for ways to limit or negate this vulnerability.
The figure wore the robes of a priest of the Holy Light - not uncommon among the Forsaken, who mocked the order by wearing their garments and allowing the sacred robes to be soiled and tainted by their bloody work. Somehow, Andarin sensed, this figure was different; the robes seemed to be in almost tolerable condition, even if the body wearing them was not. "You wear the robes of a priest, Trevor. Why do you not channel the Light in battle, if you seek redemption?" The priest seemed to wince at that. "While I refuse to wield the shadow, the Light has refused me, or so it seems. And so, I am truly a broken man; I learned to wield spears of Light like Uther's knights did in the Second. Without the Light, I am unarmed and unarmored -- but not entirely helpless, as you see." Andarin couldn't help but feel a little sorry for the fallen priest, if his story was true. Perhaps a man, no matter how virtuous, could not channel holy power while in such a form."
Forsaken, unsurprisingly, look like dead people. Their skin is gray and rotting, showing bone and flesh in places. Their pupil-less eyes glow with dim, white ghostlight. Their muscles are withered, making them scrawny. Their movements are slow but jagged. Forsaken hardly ever smile (unless their lips have rotted away - in which case they can appear to be smiling all the time). Necromantic magic keeps them somewhat preserved, but natural decay still proceeds, just slower than normal.
Necromancers in the Forsaken ranks
The Dark Lady, Sylvanas Windrunner, realized how valuable necromancy was to their cause. Though Forsaken heal naturally, many go to the priests of the Forgotten Shadow for "repairs". Necromancers can also free enslaved, mindless undead and research powerful spells that might one day return the Forsaken to life. Sylvanas knew she needed necromancers to heal, strengthen and replace her people, and she set about wooing necromancers away from the Scourge, mainly by force.
A cure for undeath?
Forsaken with an undead soul can be brought back with raise dead and reincarnate. The spells work normally on them. Resurrection, true resurrection and similar effects restore them to their undead life rather than to the being they were before they became undead. A Forsaken's body of this type is undead… and so is its soul, corrupted and changed to such a degree that it belongs to its new body now, rather than its old one. Forsaken priests have the power to restore those foolishly slain in battle, though only to unlife. Nothing short of a miracle can return true life.
Like their Dark Lady, Forsaken tend to keep the names they had when they were alive. If a Forsaken cannot remember their name or simply wish to change their name; they may make up a suitable name or read one from a headstone. Some invent surnames that imply their desire to eradicate the Scourge or about their undead nature.
- Male names: Roberick, Magan, Danforth, Lansire.
- Female names: Yellen, Limmy, Sarias, Mierelle.
- Family names: Dartfall, Blacksling, Ghoulhunter, Blastlich.
In the TCG
- The Forsaken almost didn't make the cut as a playable race in World of Warcraft due to the designers' animation workload and limited resources. There was talk of axing the undead during development, but the suggestion was so unpopular that the debate was postponed until the producers had a better idea of how much work could be handled. At the time, Warcraft III's storyline hadn't yet solidified, and Chris Metzen wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the undead. According to Johnathan Staats, a lot of the designers simply wanted to be able to play as an evil, "badass monster", rather than simply a misunderstood plagued human, but in the end the Forsaken ended up around the center of the spectrum. At the time, the team also referred to the undead as Scourge; since they hadn't yet played through Warcraft III, they didn't quite understand that the Scourge and Forsaken were separate factions. Many also wanted to use Scourge-like buildings for the playable undead, but the burned-out human buildings proved easier to make. Despite talk of cutting the playable Forsaken, the animators committed to them near the tail end of the project and doubled their efforts to give them all the player character animations they needed. Staats cites this effort as likely being the main reason for why playable Forsaken made it into classic WoW.
- The Forsaken's body is different in China, with the joints of their arms and legs not being torn.
- ^ Stormrage, chapter 10
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 17
- ^ Races of World of Warcraft
- ^ World of Warcraft: Game Manual
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded
- ^ Annual 2015
- ^ Bloodsworn, intro
- ^ Trag saga, summaries
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 125
- ^ Apprentice Crispin"... he's bent the knee to the Dark Lady, so that makes him one of us."
- ^ a b c d e f Forsaken. Races of World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ World of Warcraft manual, pg. 165
- ^ Dreadlord's Fall (WC3 Undead) - Sylvanas Windrunner says: Of course not. The humans are simply a means to an end.
- ^ A New Power in Lordaeron (WC3 Undead)
- ^ In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ Meeting the Warchief
- ^ Bishop Lazaril#Quotes
- ^ a b Ask CDev - Round 2 Answers
- ^ Glory
- ^ a b Knaak, Richard A.. Stormrage, 56. ISBN 978-1439-18946-7.
- ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 27
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 20
- ^ Ask CDev - Round 3 Answers
- ^ - Lilian Voss says: You are one of us now. They will not accept you., said to Captain Amalia Stone after being killed and raised by the Forsaken.
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 169
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (dead link)
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 12
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 19
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Thalassian
- ^ The Fall of Silvermoon
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 19
- ^ a b World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: March of the Legion. Blizzard Entertainment. 12: Chancellor Velora:"The Light rewards faith, not form.".
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4
- ^ , World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment. Tirisfal Glades. Dark Cleric Duesten: "...the Holy Light no longer concerns you, the spirits of your forefathers are fairy tales, and creatures from the Nether don't want you.".
- ^ a b , World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment. Tirisfal Glades. Dark Cleric Beryl: "But before you can know the dark, you must also know the light.".
- ^ Ask CDev - Round 1 Answers
- ^ Mount Journal entry for Red, Black, Blue and Brown Skeletal Horses.
- ^ a b c d e f "Undead, Forsaken", World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game: 51-53.
- ^ Forsaken and blood elves start as Friendly to each other, but Neutral to the other Horde factions
- ^ World of Warcraft manual, pg. 188
- ^ Thersa Windsong
- ^ Infiltrator Marksen
- ^ Siege of Orgrimmar
- ^ a b Races of World of Warcraft: Undead. "While Sylvanas maintains that her loyalty to the Horde is undiminished, some of the faction's members are uncertain about her true intentions."
- ^ Garrosh Hellscream (tactics)#Horde perspective
- ^ BlizzCon 2013 World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues
- ^ War Crimes, chapter 16. "We can reshape the Horde in our image."
- ^ a b Bloodsworn
- ^ World of Warcraft Battle Chest Guide
- ^ Dan Golthas#Quotes
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 20
- ^ Gordo
- ^ Sergeant Gorth
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2013-12-09)
- ^ Ophelia Montague
- ^ Algernon
- ^ Boyle
- ^ Tsimonh
- ^ Billie
- ^ Mount Journal entry for Ochre, Green, Red, Purple, Forsaken and White Skeletal Warhorses
- ^ World of Warcraft: Official Beginner's Guide, pg. 49
- ^ http://www.wowhead.com/item=7972/ichor-of-undeath#dropped-by
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 19
- ^ http://i.imgur.com/pJalOPY.jpg A playable Forsaken character bleeding green
- ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 96
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2012-09-29)
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 170
- ^ Innkeeper Norman
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (2013-11-19)
- ^ Ga'trul's Logs
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 164
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. Stormrage, 58. ISBN 978-1439-18946-7.
- ^ a b c Before the Storm, chapter 19
- ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 220
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 163
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 22
- ^ a b Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ^ Baron Ashbury#Quotes
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
- ^ Lord Walden#Quotes
- ^ : "But Kegan was very eager to speak on other subjects, particularly his time growing up in Lordaeron before its fall."
- ^ Gathering (event)
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 151
- ^ "The Problem of Evil, and Other Philosophical Conundrums", World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game: 53. "Most Forsaken are pretty despicable, and their motivations as a race are evil and destructive."
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 173
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87: "Magic in the Horde" - "Priests of the Holy Light in particular struggle to reconcile the philosophy that guided their life with their unfortunate new condition. Some balance their old beliefs with their new forms, but most follow one of two paths."
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87 - 88: "Magic in the Horde"
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 154: "Forsaken Knowledge"
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow": "They felt that the Light forgot them, and turned to the Shadow instead."
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87 - 88: "Magic in the Horde": "Forsaken who feel betrayed by the Holy Light's failure to protect them sometimes find that turning their backs on the Holy Light is not enough; they throw aside the Holy Light and embrace its dark twin out of spite."
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow": "Alignment: Lawful evil, though chaotic neutral and neutral evil individuals are just as prevalent."
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow"
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 126: "Technological Devices"
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 170
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 173
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 90
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 190
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 37
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 161
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 52
- ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Through the Dark Portal. Blizzard Entertainment. 314: A Donation of Silk., Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Pick Pocket (Fires of Outland), Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Tithe, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Samuel Harrison, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Edward "Hack" Robinson, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Thomas "Slash" Robinson, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Cedric Darwin, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Emerson Zantides, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Omedus the Punisher (Heroes of Azeroth), Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Panax the Unstable, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Gut Shot, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Edgemaster's Handguards (Heroes of Azeroth), Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Combustion (Blood of Gladiators), Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Melissa Gerrard, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Psychic Shriek, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Bloodbane's Fall (Scourgewar), Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Jon Reaver, Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ a b Countdown To Classic: Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats (2:25:25) (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-09-25.
- ^ a b MMO-Champion 2018-09-24. John Staats Interview - The World of Warcraft Diary (1:12:15). YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-09-25.