Tomb Kings

Tomb Kings

In Games Workshop's " Warhammer Fantasy " fictional universe, Tomb Kings is the name given to a series of kingdoms, and an army in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. Before the Tomb Kings were given their own army book, they were incorporated in the general Undead army.


The Tomb Kings were once rulers of Nehekhara, a vast, fertile kingdom analogous to ancient Egypt and the Mesopotamian civilizations, but not identical to them. The rulers were a proud and warlike people who resented dying. Their religion led them to believe that they would rule paradise in the afterlife, and were thus entombed so that they were prepared for this. A priestly caste called the 'Mortuary Cult' developed to look after and preserve the Kings' mortal remains. Huge necropolises of the dead, full of pyramids and temples eventually surrounded and dwarfed all the inhabited cities. Over hundreds of years, the necromancer Nagash waged a series of wars with the Nehekharans. His failure to dominate the region was bittersweet, as a final curse of epic proportions slew the populace and rendered the once-fertile kingdoms desert. Through the polluting side effects of Nagash's curse combining with the ancient Nehekharan magics, and the manner of burial, the Tomb Kings were reborn.

Their armies are based around deployments typical of Mesopotamian/Egyptian antiquity. Large blocks of light infantry armed with bows, axes, maces, spears, and shields are supported by chariots and light cavalry.

They may also field gigantic undead scorpions, swarms of scarabs, and animated statues of their gods. Every Tomb Kings army must be led by a King or Prince (the army's General). His force of will drives the host forward, while the accompanying "Liche Priests" or High Priest (one called the Hierophant is compulsory in every Tomb Kings army) animates the dead. An army can usually survive the death of its General, but once the Hierophant is slain, it is only a matter of time before all non-character models collapse into the sand.

The army is best known for its magic: Liche Priests and High Liche Priests (along with Tomb Kings and Princes to a lesser degree) employ a variety called "Nehekharan Incantations". They do not follow the normal Warhammer rules for magic; they are not subject to Miscasts or Irresistible Force but are cast automatically. Priests do not roll for their spells as most Warhammer wizards; each knows all four incantations (Tomb Kings and Princes know a set two).

A key feature of the Tomb Kings army is inter-reliance. Most units are weaker than analogues in other armies, more expensive to deploy, or otherwise restricted. What they lack in raw power, however, they make up for in versatility. Consequently there are no "hammer" units in a Tomb Kings army. A force must be carefully fielded, magic has to support infantry and cavalry must make key flanking maneuvers. While this might like sound like basic military technique, it is important to remember that for most armies in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, such tactics are a bonus, while for Tomb Kings players, they are absolutely essential to victory.

Development History

Initially there was only the one "Undead" army in Warhammer Fantasy game containing all the generic types you would expect under such a title; vampires, mummies, skeletons, zombies, animated constructions, etc.. When the Undead was eventually separated into the "Tomb Kings" and the "Vampire Counts", Games Workshop attempted to differentiate between the two armies, giving each a clear and separate identity. The Vampire Counts retain their Slavic influence, with access to more of the fleshy, moist undead with a strong Gothic flavour. The dry and desiccated Tomb Kings owe much to the myths of ancient Egypt and the designers were obviously much influenced by the 1999 movie "The Mummy" and its sequels.


There are many different units in the army of the tomb kings, ranging from the legions of foot soldiers to the squads of archers, the light cavalry bowmen to the speedy and strong chariot groups, and the mighty spellcasting Liche Priests to the awesome fighters the Tomb Kings themselves. In Warhammer these are divided into Characters, Core Units, Special Units and Rare Units. Each figure is worth a certain number of 'points' and it is by balancing these points that two battling armies are kept fair.

;Tomb Kings (Character): Tomb Kings are the ancient and long-dead rulers of the land of Nehekhara. There have been countless kings during the long history of that ancient land. They are powerful and expensive models (points wise) created to lead your army.

;Tomb Princes (Character): Tomb Princes are the sons of Tomb Kings. Only one prince could succeed his father to the throne. As for the others, some died heroically in battle, and their bodies were brought home to be mummified and entombed within the king's pyramid.These provide cheaper, but slightly weaker characters to lead or support your army.

;Liche Priests (Character): In their desire to defy death, the kings of Nehekhara founded the Mortuary Cult of which the Liche Priests are all that remain. The Liche High Priest has very strong magic but is expensive in points, the alternative priests are cheaper but weaker.

;Skeleton Soldiers (Core Units): The mighty armies of the Tomb Kings, made up of regiment after regiment of valiant soldiers who perished in battle and were interred in the great tomb pits of the king's necropolis. These are your basic troop type. They can be archers, spearmen, sword and shield infantry or even mounted on skeletal steeds to provide units of cavalry.

;Skeleton Chariots (Core or Special Units): The pride of a Tomb King's army are his charioteers, entire armies of skeleton chariots have been seen, trampling weaker races in their wake. Tomb Kings are the only army allowed to have units of chariots, however as they are only built from bone and magic, the rules make them substantially weaker than all other conventionally constructed machines.

;Tomb Guard (Special Unit): The bravest and best soldiers serving the tomb Kings acted as his personal bodyguards and palace guards during life and death. Just as they guarded the palace in life, so now they guard the inner sanctum of the necropolis. These are skelton infantry with a bit more clout and are worth their place in any Tomb King army.

;Ushabti (Special Unit): Statues of the many gods and goddesses of Nehekhara, the Ushabti stand as guardians around the perimeters of the great pyramids of the Tomb Kings. In times of need, the Liche Priests imbue the Ushabti with tremendous power through complex incantations and charms. These animated constructs are slow if terribly strong and powerful fighters.

;Tomb Swarms (Core Unit): The tombs of the necropoli are infested with the animated dried husks and shells of countless poisonous insects and other vicious creatures of the desert. They resemble those scarab beetles seen in the Mummy films. They are great for slowing up your opponent's troops, but don't expect them to kill a lot.

;Tomb Scorpions (Special Unit): Tomb Scorpions are powerful creations of the Liche Priests. Within their carapace is the shrivled corpse of a mighty liche priest, though they appear to be dead, their corpse still emits their magical influence animating the construct. They are one of the best choices available to a Tomb King, but also one of the hardest pieces in the game to actually put together.

;Carrion (Special Unit): Carrion are massive scavenging birds, akin to vultures. These creatures once lived in Nehekhara and their reanimated corpses serve in the armies of the tomb kings. A possible move of 40" makes these cheap but weak flyers ideal for taking out enemy war machines.

;Bone Giant (Rare Unit): The Bone Giants are constructs, painstakingly crafted from all manner of elements and held together by the powerful incantations of the Liche Priests. The Bone giant first appeared in the Warmaster scale and are imposing models that can have a devastating effect on your enemy.

;Screaming Skull Catapult (Rare Unit): These magical constructs are huge catapults made from bones and crewed by skeletons. They behave as normal stone throwers with one exception; any unit taking a wound from the catapult must take a panic test. The shots can be upgraded with Skulls of the Foe to inflict a -1 penalty to the leadership of a unit for the purposes of said panic test. These ARE the most difficult figures to assemble. ;Casket of Souls (Rare Unit): Within the tombs of the mightiest kings lies a casket sealed with pitch and inscribed with hieroglyphs. Taken to battle by a Liche Priest, the casket can be opened each turn, releasing a blinding light made from countless lost souls, screaming into the air and plunging through the hearts and minds of the enemy ranks. It is similar to the Lost Ark of the Covenant from "Raiders of the Lost Ark"; powerful but costly.

ee also

*Undead (Warhammer)#Liber Necris

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