The Shadowmoon clan, also spelled Shadow Moon clan, was a relatively peaceful and highly spiritual and shamanistic orcish clan that dwelled in Shadowmoon Valley. Their last known chieftain, Ner'zhul, was deceived by the Burning Legion into forming the first Horde due to the manipulations of the warlock Gul'dan and his master, the demon lord Kil'jaeden. Following the Horde's defeat during the Second War, the Shadowmoon came to be the most powerful of the orcish clans remaining on Draenor when Ner'zhul rallied the scattered clans under his own banner. After Ner'zhul inadvertently ripped Draenor apart, many of the remaining Shadowmoon became fel orcs and entered the service of the Fel Horde.
Roughly 800 years before the First War, the orcs began to migrate out of Gorgrond. The Shadowmoon clan formed in Shadowmoon Valley, far from major Gorian settlements, allowing them to live in relative peace.
Shadowmoon mystics frequently set out on pilgrimages across the world, hoping to hear the will of the divine. Many of these travelers received strange dreams and visions near the mountains of northwestern Nagrand, which unbeknownst to the orcs was the final resting place of Grond and a place infused with elemental energies. The first Shadowmoon visitors to the location learned about the world's primordial spirits of fire, air, earth and water. They treated these beings with utmost respect and named the site of their discovery the Throne of the Elements. The orcs flocked to Grond's remains and learned to guide the elemental spirits with a sense of harmony, becoming the first orcish shaman. The Shadowmoon were the first to dedicate themselves to the elements and transformed Grond's head into a crude temple. They soon began spreading their teachings to the other clans, nearly all of which adopted the practice. The shaman became highly trusted spiritual leaders among the orcs, able to peacefully solve conflicts between clans. The Shadowmoon clan began a biannual gathering of shaman called the Kosh'harg festival, which soon grew to include all orcs.
400 years before the First War, Nelgarm was an elder shaman of the Shadowmoon clan. He was the one to convince the orc clans into banding together against the Gorian Empire when the ogres' meddling with the Throne of the Elements threw the elements out of balance and threatened to cause irreversible harm to the world.
The Dark Star
200 years before the First War, the draenei crash-landed on Draenor in their vessel, the Genedar, and in the process ejected the darkened naaru K'ara from the ship. Some time thereafter, a great white crystal landed in the plains below a Shadowmoon village. The orcs did not know what it was and wondered if it was a sign from their ancestors. Shortly afterward, K'ara's remains appeared in the sky as a shadow beneath the pale moon and was met with both adoration and fear by the orcs. The clan gave it many names, such as "great father" or "dark mother". The clan mystics referred to it as the "Dark Star" and worshipped it as a deity. The Shadowmoon soon found that their power had grown in ways they did not fully understand, and they began to hear the "voice of shadow" in addition to the languages of the stars and earth. A few bold shaman tried to access K'ara's shadowy power, but the Void energies shattered their minds. When a clan member was found defiling the spirits of the ancestors, the chieftain declared that the Dark Star and its magic were evil and dangerous and would lead the clan down a path from which they could not return. It was decreed that the Dark Star's powers of shadow were forbidden to the Shadowmoon. Anyone who tried to wield them was sharply rebuked, and if they continued they would be immediately exiled far from Shadowmoon Valley.
Rise of the Horde
Around 11 years before the First War, the Shadowmoon were led by the wise chieftain Ner'zhul, who was respected by every clan. He acted as an advisor to all shaman and helped foster the loose bonds between the different clans. One day, Gul'dan, an orc exile who had agreed to a pact with the Burning Legion, approached the Shadowmoon and claimed that his home village had been destroyed by ogres. The Shadowmoon took pity on him and accepted him into their clan. Gul'dan managed to win Ner'zhul's friendship, even convincing the chieftain to accept him as his own apprentice. This allowed Gul'dan's demonic master Kil'jaeden to begin manipulating Ner'zhul by appearing in the elder shaman's dreams disguised as his deceased mate, Rulkan. Meanwhile, Gul'dan incited a conflict between the draenei and the orcish Bladewind clan that culminated in a massacre of the largest Bladewind village. Gul'dan killed the few orc survivors and returned to the Shadowmoon with tales of an unprovoked slaughter against the Bladewinds on behalf of the draenei. "Rulkan" had warned Ner'zhul that the draenei planned to destroy the orcs, and the chieftain sent a summons for a great clan meeting at Oshu'gun, where the orcish chieftains agreed to band together into the first Horde and march to war against the draenei.
However, as the months of war between orc and draenei progressed, Ner'zhul gradually began to feel doubts about the Horde's purpose and the increasing bloodlust of his people and secretly journeyed to Oshu'gun for guidance from the spirits. Kil'jaeden was aware of this and ordered Gul'dan to gather allies to take control of the Shadowmoon clan, since Ner'zhul could no longer be relied upon. Gul'dan recruited the young shaman Teron'gor and taught him the ways of fel magic, and slowly won other shaman to his side as well. At Oshu'gun, Ner'zhul was condemned by the real Rulkan and the other ancestors, who told him that he had been deceived by Kil'jaeden. The shaman fell into despair and was captured by Gul'dan's new followers on his way back to Shadowmoon Valley. The warlocks treated him as little more than a slave, and as Ner'zhul gradually faded from the public eye, his usurpers became the voice of the Shadowmoon clan. Gul'dan's trusted Shadowmoon warlocks would later form the initial members and inner circle of the secretive order known as the Shadow Council.
Shortly after Blackhand was named Warchief of the Horde, he assigned specific roles to the various clans. The Shadowmoon were among the clans assigned to act as scouts, raiders and auxiliary forces that could quickly move from one region of Draenor to another.
Beyond the Dark Portal
Following the Horde's defeat on Azeroth at the end of the Second War, Ner'zhul rallied the clans still left on Draenor under his new banner. Aided by the Shadowmoon clan, he planned to open portals to new worlds for the orcs to conquer using four artifacts: the Skull of Gul'dan, the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, the Eye of Dalaran and the Book of Medivh. The latter three objects corresponded to three Draenic constellations, and using them in conjunction with a celestial event would give Ner'zhul the power to open portals to other worlds. During this time, the Shadowmoon ruled over the scattered orcish clans, and Ner'zhul kept the other clans subjugated through fear and brute force. After many battles with the Alliance army known as the Sons of Lothar, Ner'zhul gathered some of the death knights and a number of Shadowmoon orcs atop the largest tower of the Black Temple to begin the Spell of Conjuration. Ner'zhul tapped into the ley lines beneath the Black Temple, but he was woefully unprepared for the amount of skill needed for the ritual. His desperation and recklessness caused the energies to spiral out of command. Countless holes through the fabric of reality were blasted open, causing Draenor to begin to destabilize and break apart. Ner'zhul and a few of his closest Shadowmoon and death knight followers escaped through the nearest portal, and shortly thereafter the world ripped apart.
On the other side of the portal, Ner'zhul and his companions entered the Twisting Nether, where they were captured by Kil'jaeden. Kil'jaeden gruesomely tortured Ner'zhul for some time before remaking him into the spectral Lich King. His loyal death knights and Shadowmoon followers were also transformed by the demon's chaotic energies, being ripped apart and remade into skeletal liches to ensure that even in death, they would serve Ner'zhul unquestioningly.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
Many Shadowmoon orcs survived Draenor's transformation into Outland and eventually transformed into fel orcs, coming into the service of the Fel Horde and the Illidari. Shadowmoon forces, mainly spellcasters in the form of warlocks, are found in both the Shattered Halls and the Blood Furnace of Hellfire Citadel. The Blood Furnace specifically houses Keli'dan the Breaker and a group of Shadowmoon channelers charged with keeping the pit lord Magtheridon contained, as well as technicians and adepts using Magtheridon's blood to transform captured Mag'har orcs into new fel orcs.
In Shadowmoon Valley, the fel orcs of the Shadowmoon clan occupied Ata'mal Terrace, once a very holy draenei site where ata'mal crystals were used in spiritual ceremonies. There, they guarded the ata'mal crystal known as the Heart of Fury, clouding its presence with dark magic to keep it from the Sha'tar. For this reason, the Aldor forces at the Altar of Sha'tar had reason to believe that the orcs were hiding an ata'mal crystal in the vicinity, but their scrying revealed nothing. Regardless, the fel orcs occupied draenei holy ground and Vindicator Aluumen sent adventurers to deal with their presence.
The Scryer-controlled Sanctum of the Stars suffered a tremendous attack by the fel orcs, and the attack was determined to have been perpetrated by the Shadowmoon forces at Ata'mal Terrace. Varen the Reclaimer sent adventurers to show them that the Scryers were not to be trifled with. Akama asked adventurers to retrieve the Heart of Fury from Shadowlord Deathwail in order to create a Medallion of Karabor.
The Wildhammer dwarves inadvertently built Wildhammer Stronghold in an area once considered ancestral grounds for the Shadowmoon orcs. The spirits of the clan lay dormant for nearly twenty years, but were recently riled up by something. Zorus the Judicator used ever-burning ash gathered by an adventurer to create a pair of spectrecles, allowing the adventurer to see the ghosts, and asked them to destroy the spirits.
In the month before the fall of the Black Temple, a force of Shadowmoon fel orcs led by Grimbak Shadowrage accompanied Illidan Stormrage when he ventured to Auchindoun to gather souls for a portal to Argus. Despite being the one clan in Illidan's service who were the most accustomed to dark magic, Illidan noticed that the orcs seemed unnerved by the ruined tomb-city. All of the fel orcs, including Grimbak, were slain during the subsequent battle with the Auchenai necromancers defending the area.
Smith Hauthaa of the Shattered Sun Offensive later asked adventurers to retrieve a special ore that the Shadowmoon had dug up from the Ata'mal Terrace area and used to create corrupted weapons and armor. The adventurers were to bring the corrupted armaments to Hauthaa's blessed anvil to be broken and purified before handing the cleansed results to her.
The Shadowmoon were known to be the most spiritual of all the orc clans, and were relatively peaceful compared to other orcs. Fascinated with the starry sky, the Shadowmoon believed they could glean the future from stellar movements. They were a deeply mystical people, and they developed traditions and rituals centered around astrology and ancestor worship. A key source of the Shadowmoon clan's power came from their understanding of the stars and their omens. For centuries, they recorded the patterns of the stars and their interpretations.
Shadowmoon mystics often inscribed secret runes into their flesh using ceremonial bone needles to more clearly speak to their ancestors and the elemental spirits. Consultation with the spirits of previous generations was considered essential to Shadowmoon shaman whenever an important decision was to be made. Talismans and other relics that were important to an ancestor during life provided a more clear spiritual conduit for shaman to speak to them in the afterlife. The clan's shaman frequently journeyed to the Throne of the Elements to commune with the elemental spirits.
|Ner'zhul||Elder shaman||Deceased||Echo in the Blades of the Fallen Prince|
|Grimbak Shadowrage||Captain who accompanied Illidan Stormrage to Auchindoun||Deceased||Killed at Auchindoun|
|Gul'dan||Former member||Deceased||Died in the Tomb of Sargeras|
|Dentarg||Enforcer and right hand of Ner'zhul||Deceased||Unknown|
|J'amogg Bloodfyre||Father of J'argg and Jaruk||Unknown||Unknown|
|J'argg Bloodfyre||Leader of Horde raids on draenei survivors||Deceased||Unknown|
|Jaruk Bloodfyre||Shaman, adopted and raised the draenei orphan Leena||Deceased||Unknown|
|Keli'dan the Breaker||Jailor of Magtheridon||Killable||Blood Furnace|
|Neema||Mother of Rulkan||Unknown||Unknown|
|Nelgarm||Elder shaman, urged the ancient orcs to unite against the ogres||Deceased||Unknown|
|Grand Warlock Nethekurse||Warlock and torturer||Killable||Throne of the Damned, Shattered Halls|
|Rulkan||Mate of Ner'zhul||Deceased||Unknown|
|Skychaser||Wolf companion of Ner'zhul||Unknown||Unknown|
|Teron Gorefiend||First of the death knights, acolyte of the Shadow Council||Killable||Various Locations|
- Shadowmoon Acolyte
- Shadowmoon Blood Mage
- Shadowmoon Champion
- Shadowmoon Chosen
- Shadowmoon Darkcaster
- Shadowmoon Darkweaver
- Shadowmoon Deathshaper
- Shadowmoon Fallen
- Shadowmoon Grunt
- Shadowmoon Harbinger
- Shadowmoon Peon
- Shadowmoon Reaver
- Shadowmoon Retainer
- Shadowmoon Scout
- Shadowmoon Soldier
- Shadowmoon Soulstealer
- Shadowmoon Summoner
- Shadowmoon Technician
- Shadowmoon Warlock
- Shadowmoon Weapon Master
- Shadowmoon Zealot
In Beyond the Dark Portal
Leader: Ner'zhul the Shaman
The nefarious Shadow Moon clan rules over the scattered clans of Draenor. Although the clans Draenor do not maintain the unity of the Horde in Azeroth, Ner'zhul keeps these houses subjugated through fear and brute force. The Shadow Moon is heavily influenced by ancient shamanistic principles and exemplifies the raw power of the dark Orcish magiks.
- The Horde player character in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal had the title of Slayer of the Shadowmoon, which entailed the duty of leading the clan's armies into battle.
- The orcish inhabitants of the Horde base of Shadowmoon Village may be the last uncorrupted members of the Shadowmoon clan. The location roughly corresponds to the alternate universe's Lunarfall, which housed several orcish ruins, implying ancestral ties to the clan. Concept art for The Burning Crusade indicates that it was the clan's village at one point, but the modern orcish architecture of the village implies that this was no longer the case.
- Seeing as he's an old orc who wandered through Outland for years searching for the truth of the Void, Ogath the Mad might have been a member of the clan.
- ^ a b Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, Clans of Draenor, Shadow Moon Clan
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 42 - 44
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 47
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 54
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 66
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 71 - 73
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 75 - 76
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 78
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 82
- ^ a b The Invasion of Draenor
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, page ??
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 195 - 197
- ^ The Birth of the Lich King
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, Undead Hero Units, Lich
- ^ Warcraft III - Undead -> Units > Lich. Retrieved on 2017-05-17.
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 26
- ^ Zeriyah 2014-01-30. Gul'dan, The Warlock. Retrieved on 2017-04-19. “The most spiritual of Draenor’s orcs were the Shadowmoon Clan, which was led by the orc shaman Ner’zhul.”
- ^ Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, Clans of Draenor, Shadow Moon Clan
- ^ Slayer of the Shadowmoon (WC2 Orc)