The Thunderlord clan was a proud orcish clan that dwelled in eastern Frostfire Ridge. The clan was one of many that were left behind on Draenor during the First and Second Wars, but the Thunderlords later rallied under Ner'zhul's new banner. In the current day, the clan appears to be defunct, its members having been transformed into fel orcs.
Roughly 800 years before the First War, some of the orcs who migrated out of Gorgrond settled in the bleak and icy region of Frostfire Ridge, among them the Thunderlords. The clan draws its name from an ancient chieftain who single-handedly slew a powerful gronn at the pinnacle of Thunder Peak.
The orcs were once enslaved by the ogres of Frostfire. In the time of the Thunderlord's formation, just as the orcs began winning their freedom from the ogres, the ancient shaman were said to be granted their powers from powerful shamanstones. These stones granted the orcs with the blessings of frost and fire, which aided the Thunderlords in their liberation. During this time, an orc by the name of Brakor wielded the legendary Gronnsbane, a spear blessed by the shamanstones of frost and fire and dipped in the blood of one of the ancient black rylaks of the Stonefury Cliffs. The tales indicate that the weapon grew in power after that point, but that its power faded after leaving Brakor's hands.
Rise of the Horde
Roughly 11 years before the First War, Fenris, the eldest son of the Frostwolf chieftain Garad, abandoned the Frostwolves and instead joined the rival Thunderlords. In his new clan, he earned the renown he craved and eventually became the clan's chieftain.
When the Bladespire ogres began seizing large tracts of land from the orcs of Frostfire with an army of mok'nathal half-breeds, Garad called upon the Thunderlords and Whiteclaws to unite with the Frostwolves against this new threat. Due to Fenris' influence, the Thunderlords rejected Garad's call for unity, and instead decided to deal with the Bladespire in their own way. Teams of Thunderlord orcs conducted nightly raids on ogre settlements, slaughtering young and old alike.
The Thunderlords were present at Oshu'gun when Ner'zhul announced the draenei as the enemies of the orcs. Shortly after Blackhand was named Warchief of the Horde, he assigned specific roles to the various clans. The Thunderlords were among the clans assigned to act as scouts, raiders and auxiliary forces that could quickly move from one region of Draenor to another. Later, the Thunderlords were present during the drinking of the Blood of Mannoroth atop the Throne of Kil'jaeden.
A few years later, Blackhand tasked the Frostwolves, Thunderlords, and Whiteclaws with wiping out Draenor's gronn, ogron and magnaron, as well as the ogres that had refused to join the Horde. The Frostwolves and Whiteclaws saw no honor in hunting the giants down and held most of their warriors back, but Fenris and his Thunderlords did not shy away from the task and reveled in the slaughter of their ancient enemies. One of the few gronn to escape the onslaught was named Gruul, who managed to fend off multiple Thundelord assaults from his lair in the mountains of Gorgrond. Casualties grew so great that Fenris eventually abandoned the attacks.
After the Horde had conquered much of Draenor, the threat of starvation caused many orcs to grow more agitated and turn on each other, clashing in short-lived battles that left hundreds dead. Several clans, among them the Thunderlords, completely lost themselves to the depths of madness. To protect the rest of the Horde, Blackhand banished the violent clans from Hellfire Citadel to the remote areas of Hellfire Peninsula in order to preserve some of the Horde's dwindling strength.
When the Horde prepared to invade Azeroth, Blackhand ordered the troublesome clans to remain on Draenor, since he believed that they would become liabilities if allowed to participate in the invasion. He knew that the clans would grow restless on Draenor, but a few months of waiting while hearing only stories of the lush new world and seeing only scraps of the war spoils would force them to be on their best behavior. If the clans were still uncontrollable, they could stay on Draenor and rot, for all Blackhand cared. After the fall of Stormwind City, the new Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer sent messengers to Draenor to call up the remaining clans in order to replenish the Horde's numbers, but the messengers later returned to inform the Warchief that the clans on Draenor had descended deeper into bloodlust and had begun fighting with one another, allowing only a few orcs and ogres to bolster the Horde.
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, the Thunderlords among them, under his new banner with the intent of opening portals to new worlds for the Horde to conquer. The gathered chieftains easily agreed to Ner'zhul's plans; having sat out the entirety of the First and Second Wars, they thirsted for battle, and any chance to escape their dying homeworld was worth taking. By this time, Fenris was captain of the remaining orcish wolfriders and was eager to lead his clan to glorious battle in the human lands. Almost immediately after Ner'zhul reopened the Dark Portal, the Warsong chieftain Grommash Hellscream led the Warsong, Shattered Hand, Thunderlord and Laughing Skull in an invasion of the Blasted Lands. Teron Gorefiend led a group of death knights and orcs, including Chieftain Fenris, away from the Blasted Lands in search of the artifacts that would allow Ner'zhul to open portals to new worlds.
Some Thunderlord warriors were sent by the death knight Gaz Soulripper to escort Teron, Fenris and Tagar Spinebreaker when they went to negotiate with Rend Blackhand at Blackrock Mountain, as well as when part of the raiding party sailed to the Tomb of Sargeras in search of the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras.
After the artifacts were retrieved, the hunting party returned to the Blasted Lands. Fenris left Malgrim Stormhand behind as part of the forces guarding the Dark Portal while he and the rest of the Thunderlords returned to Draenor.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
At some point, the Thunderlords were transformed into fel orcs through the Blood of Mannoroth. Their village of Thunderlord Stronghold was abandoned, and the Bladespire ogres soon moved in and claimed it for themselves. The ogres inhabited the stronghold for a time until the Horde arrived and pushed them out to use the stronghold as a base of operations.
While fighting the nearby Bladespire ogres, Horde adventurers came across several artifacts from the Thunderlord clan and brought them to Rokgah Bloodgrip. Rokgah informed the adventurer that she had previously sent several others to search for the relics, but with little luck. After temporarily transforming the adventurer's spirit into a vision guide in order to reveal the location of the final artifact, the hero was sent to the Draenethyst Mine, now occupied by Bloodmaul ogres, to obtain from Gor Grimgut. When the hero returned to Thunderlord Stronghold with the spear, Rokgah informed them why the artifacts were so significant: once all five were obtained, the Horde's right to the ownership of the stronghold would be secured through the appeasement of its dead spirits. Rokgah handed over the artifacts to appease the ghosts, and the spirits of Garm Wolfbrother, Lobo and two sub-chiefs appeared. Garm told the adventurer that by recovering the clan's artifacts, by taking up the fight against the Bladespire and their gronn masters and by returning the Thunderspike to Garm's hand, they had earned the Thunderlord clan's blessing and the right for the Horde to inhabit the Thunderlords' ancestral home. Garm told the hero to aid Rexxar in securing the Horde's future in the mountains and that only by forcing the ogres into submission and slaying their master, Gruul, would the Horde forces be safe. Finally, Garm told the hero to inform Rexxar of the whereabouts of his people, the mok'nathal, and that they were in danger.
Battle for Azeroth
Unlike the neighboring Frostwolf and Whiteclaw clans, the Thunderlords valued acts of bravery and valor above all others and sought to dominate the land rather than adapting to their environment. They roamed the frozen wastes of Frostfire Ridge in huge packs, often embarking on dangerous adventures to hunt Frostfire's fearsome gronn and magnaron. A single gronn kill could sustain them for weeks, but when a hunt failed, the orcs would suffer great hardship. A brave and cunning people, the Thunderlords' culture was greatly focused on synergy, and they derived strength from their togetherness, though there were still those who strived to become like Brakor and other such ancestral heroes of legend. The Thunderlords relied on their numbers and spent their days training to hunt as a team, but as individuals they were weak. The Frostwolf chieftain Garad claimed that the Thunderlords were willing to lose ten orcs for every gronn they killed, and that they considered no sacrifice too great in the pursuit of victory.
The Thunderlords were the greatest big game hunters in all of Draenor. For centuries they used riding beasts and coordinated assaults to slay game and gronn alike. Known for their mastery of beasts, the clan used numbers and tactics to conquer animals of all types, from raising rylaks as air support and wrangling clefthoof for pack animals to shackling and subjugating boars, birds and even gronn.
Much like the Frostwolves, the Thunderlords were known to engage in seasonal migration. The clan constructed their hunting halls from the bones of the long-dead colossals who once roamed Draenor. It was said that the last colossal was killed by the Thunderlords generations ago, and that the Thunderlord capital of Grom'gar had been constructed from its corpse. The similar location of Colossal's Fall was considered sacred by the clan, as the orcs claimed that they were the ones to have felled it many decades ago. However, these claims are doubtful, as the last colossals were already long dead by the time that mortal civilizations arose on Draenor.
The clan was known to possess five powerful artifacts: the artifact, the drum, the arrow, the tablet and the great spear known as the Thunderspike. Amazingly, the fletchings on the arrow remain mostly intact to the present day, a testament to the skill of the Thunderlord hunters.
|Fenris Wolfbrother||Former chieftain||Unknown||Unknown|
|Garm Wolfbrother||Last known chieftain||Deceased||Thunderlord Stronghold, Blade's Edge Mountains|
|Erak the Aloof||Hunting companion of Hemet Nesingwary||Deceased||Nesingwary's Trek, Zuldazar|
|Lobo||Wolf companion of Garm||Deceased||Thunderlord Stronghold, Blade's Edge Mountains|
|Malgrim Stormhand||Fenris' second-in-command||Unknown||Unknown|
|Grandmaster Vorpil||Leader of the Cabal forces in the Shadow Labyrinth||Killable||Sanctum of Shadows, Shadow Labyrinth|
In Warcraft II
Leader: Fenris the Hunter
The Thunderlord clan has strong ties to both the Blackrock and Lightning's Blade clans. Orgrim Doomhammer, former Warchief of the Horde in Azeroth, rose to power through the Thunderlord clan. Fenris, captain of the remaining Wolfriders and Chieftain of the Thunderlords is eager to lead his clan to glorious battle in the human lands.
Shortly after the Bleeding Hollow clan's return to Draenor, Ner'zhul sent Dentarg to influence warriors from the Thunderlord clan to join in the battle against the Bonechewer clan, who possessed the Skull of Gul'dan. The Slayer of the Shadowmoon clan was sent to help rally the Thunderlords and destroy the Bonechewers with the aid of the Shattered Hand. Shortly afterward, Ner'zhul met with opposition to his plans from both Fenris and the Bonechewer chieftain Tagar, as they desired to journey to Azeroth and have their clans triumph were Orgrim Doomhammer had failed. Ner'zhul did not share this vision and sent the Slayer to lead the Shadowmoon forces against the two chieftains' strongholds and "remove" them and their clans in order to prevent them from interfering with his schemes.
During the Draenor campaign of the Alliance Expedition, the treacherous Laughing Skull clan sought to betray their Horde allies and gain dominance over the northern clans of Draenor. The clan asked the Alliance forces to secure the passes across the Blade's Edge Mountains and destroy the Thunderlord stronghold in the area. In return, the Laughing Skull would grant the Alliance the Book of Medivh, which the orcs had stolen from Ner'zhul's stronghold some time earlier.
- The game manual for Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal stated that Orgrim Doomhammer rose to power through the Thunderlord clan. This statement was corroborated in the Horde Player's Guide, a source book for the now non-canon Warcraft RPG. However, this has never been mentioned since and newer material has always exclusively depicted Orgrim as a member of the Blackrock clan. Rise of the Horde states that the pre-Horde orc clans were very segregated and that members avoided close contact or friendship with members of other clans, while Chronicle Volume 2 notes that it was uncommon for a clan to bring outsiders into its fold, even though Fenris Wolfbrother himself was born an outsider.
Since the spirits of Garm Wolfbrother and his companions are depicted with brown skin, it's possible that there are uncorrupted survivors of the Thunderlord clan among the Mag'har.
The Sons of Lothar fighting against violet-clad orcs and ogres.
Alternate Draenor Thunderlord clan crest.
- ^ a b
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 39 - 41 (map)
- ^ a b c d Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual, Clans of Draenor, Thunderlord Clan
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 66 - 67
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 103
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 82
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 248
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 97 - 98
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 100
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 123
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 138
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, pg. 74 (ebook)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 182 - 183
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 185
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, pg. 90
- ^ a b Beyond the Dark Portal, pg. ??
- ^ a b
- ^ a b
- ^ Blood and Thunder
- ^ a b Nethaera 2014-07-03. Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge. Retrieved on 2017-05-06.
- ^ Characters of Warcraft: Fenris Wolfbrother. Retrieved on 2017-05-06. “Fenris and the rest of the Thunderlords claim the icy expanse of Frostfire Ridge as their territory, constructing their hunting halls from the gigantic bones of long-dead colossals.”
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 20
- ^ The Skull of Gul'dan
- ^ Thunderlord and Bonechewer
- ^ Dance of the Laughing Skull
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 172
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 36, 47 (ebook)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 70