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"I am the Arch-fiend, the Despoiler of Worlds, and by my hands shall the false Emperor fall."

"Drachenfels. The Great Enchanter. A devil in human form, who cheated Death for centuries unknown; a man with appetites so base they lay beyond satiation; a necromancer, torturer of the dead, dismemberer of spirits; a vileness made flesh; a wizard, a scholar, a monster. Untold are the reaches of his barbarities, uncounted the number of his treacheries, beyond belief the depravities of his practices. Was ever such a vileness born of mortal flesh?"
Lives of the Depraved, by Konrad Steinhoff, Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED—Castle Drachenfels

Warhammer, both the original and in space, takes place in a brutal setting. Some characters still manage to go above and beyond in terms of villainy.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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Fantasy Battle (before The End Times)
  • Be'lakor the First-Damned, the Dark Master, was a Chaos warlord who drowned the lands in blood. Ascending to the first Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, Be'lakor led even more bloodshed before being cursed to crown the Everchosen while never being able to claim the mantle. Directing multiple Everchosens, Be'lakor would father the final one, Archaon, through a rape after possessing a Norscan—the latest of many such children. Always directing new horrific wars, Be'lakor intended to cause enough bloodshed to become the fifth Chaos God while removing any chance of a safe haven for the end of the world.
  • Nagash the Undying is an immensely powerful necromancer whose end goal is to kill every living thing in the world and resurrect them all as his undead slaves. The firstborn son of King Khetep of Khemri, Nagash coveted power and immortality right from the beginning. He first learned dark magic from a group of Dark Elf captives he was interrogating. As a reward for this knowledge, he had their leader blinded and her tongue and hands cut off, then buried alive, and the rest executed. When his brother was crowned King after his father's death instead of him, he took power by entombing him alive. He ruled Khemri through fear and brutality, building a massive pyramid from slave labor. It took an alliance of Kings from other parts of Nehekhara to finally end his reign of terror. Later, he regained his power, and after failing to conquer all of Nehekhara, he decided that if he couldn’t rule it, no one could. He proceeded to wipe out the population by getting the Skaven to pollute its main water source and using his dark magic to cause death and decay across the land. If this wasn't enough, he planned to resurrect the dead as his slaves, but his plans were thwarted when the Skaven, who feared his power, helped Alcadizaar slay him. Despite his apparent death, Nagash still lives due to his dark magic, and, feared by all who know of him, is arguably the greatest threat to the Old World in existence.
  • Asavar Kul, Everchosen of Chaos, was a champion who united the armies of Chaos in the Great War Against Chaos. Bringing a near unprecedented scale of death and horror, Asavar Kul oversaw numerous wartime atrocities, seeing cities and peoples wiped out into nothing while sanctioning Engra Deathsword's nightmarish actions in the City of Praag with full intent to turn all kingdoms of man into abattoirs.
  • Engra Deathsword, the Butcher of Praag, was known for making camps out of the flesh of his victims. Coming to Praag, Engra proceeded to enact an atrocity that had been engraved in the minds of man centuries later, slaughtering many in Praag and fusing the others into a twisted tapestry of living flesh and agonized souls, still living without the peace of death. Intending on enacting this with many more lands, Engra might even have betrayed Asavar Kul before making his escape, returning to help the next Everchosen Archaon break the world.
  • Konrad von Carstein is considered Vlad von Carstein's great mistake. A sadistic, insane vampire who relishes murdering those around him, Konrad launches an attempt to make himself the dominant Count after Vlad's demise. With no remorse at killing his own "siblings", Konrad launches a brutal campaign that nearly depopulates Avarheim, having entire villages razed and put to the sword while also starting a war with the dwarves and massacring their people as well. Konrad even holds lavish banquets with hundreds of women, some barely out of childhood, presented to him so he may bleed them dry or see them torn apart, claiming that beauty is "only in the taking". Konrad intends on sweeping further into the empire, dedicated to building his own empire and slaughtering everything in his path to do so.
  • Mannfred von Carstein betrayed his immortal father Vlad, informing the Grand Theologian of Vlad's weaknesses, which caused him to fall in battle. Mannfred proceeded to sit out the Succession Wars, going from village to village to kill underage virgins in dark rituals for the fun of it while using his right hand man Skellan to help with Konrad's atrocities and stoke his brother's paranoia and bloodlust. Mannfred eventually launched gruesome campaigns that put any living thing to the sword on scales similar to Konrad, creating a legion of the dead to kill all in their path. Upon his eventual resurrection, Mannfred skinned a witch hunter to announce his return and helped to revive Nagash and set him upon the world, as well as trying to manipulate a war between elves and dwarves. When the End Times occur, Mannfred fights for the last remnants of the world, only to sell them out to Chaos and cause the end of the world and the deaths of everyone there until the rebirth in Age of Sigmar. Loyal to none save himself and cruel and sadistic to levels that few can match, Mannfred is the vampire who constantly shows the world what being a monster truly means.
  • Gorthor the Beastlord, the most infamous of all Beastman warlords, amassed a reputation that was dark even by the standards of his depraved, Chaos-tainted race. Murdering and skinning the Bray-Shamans of every tribe that opposed him—an act even other Beastmen would never do—Gorthor made their hides into a hypnotic cloak that enabled him to unite all the Beastmen of the Middle Mountains under his banner. Pouring into the Empire, Gorthor's horde devastated Ostland and Hochland, leaving millions dead and depopulating both provinces for decades to come. Finally halted at Hochland's capital, Gorthor razed most of the city, intent on leaving no one alive. Having vowed to exterminate humanity, Gorthor died in combat with the Count of Hochland, leaving behind a name that still evokes fear in man and Beastman alike.
  • Sigvald the Magnificent, Slaanesh's Geld-Prince, was cast out of his tribe at an early age for indulging in cannibalism. Killing his father and selling his soul for power, he married two women, only to rip off their faces and replace them with doll porcelain once he grew bored of them. The third of his wives was kidnapped by another lord, and he abandoned her to die. He then took command of a Chaos army, going on a rampage butchering any whom he deemed not beautiful enough, leaving entire cities dead in his wake. Sigvald then went on a campaign against the High Elves, killing every single one he saw just because their hair was better than his. When the Shadow Warriors struck back, killing a number of his men, Sigvald refused to retreat due to a fear of his pride being wounded. Eventually, as more of his lieutenants rose against him, Sigvald grew a body count of his own men as high as the Elves'. He eventually permitted his own army to perish behind him as a point of pride, refusing to stop a duel to the death.
  • N'kari, Daemon Prince or Keeper of Secrets of Slaanesh, was once a sadistic elf in the Cult of Pleasure. Rising to Daemonhood and using Time Travel to attempt elven genocide with millions killed, N'kari returned at Uthanan in an atrocity known as "The Rape of Uthanan", massacring elves and reaping their souls for Slaanesh while mentally torturing countless more. Returning multiple times, N'kari's goal is to ever the extermination of the elves for their own sadistic pleasure.
  • Valkia the Bloody is the champion of Khorne. A mortal warrior of the Schwarzvolf clan, Valkia murdered her father to take control, purged her tribe of the "weak", married the chieftain of the bloody Clans, raped him to produce her heirs and eventually killed him for his sexism. After her mortal death, Valkia was reborn as a Daemon of Khorne, leading a savage campaign to exterminate her old tribe, killing every man, woman and child while personally slaying her own daughter and brother without remorse. Since then, Valkia arrives to battlefields to promote horrific slaughters in Khorne's name, even teaching the Norscan clans the Blood Eagle and having it practiced on an entire citadel of dwarves. Valkia inspired a campaign that sought to wipe out all life in Nordland and, during the End Times, helps Chaos's forces to come and slaughter all in their path. Devoted to slaughter and bloodshed, Valkia embodies the Khornate philosophy that "it matters not from where the blood flows. Only that it flows."
  • Valnir the Reaper was a Chaos chieftain who found joy in nothing, from feasting to murder and rape. After slaughtering many to reach the favor of Nurgle, Valnir became the herald of the Father of Plague, reaping countless souls for Nurgle's glory. Spreading atrocity and plague wherever he walks, Valnir constantly returns to torment man, using a special flail that steals souls for himself or for Nurgle. Becoming even worse as an undead, Valnir intends to force the entire world to suffer if he cannot feel joy.
  • Constant Drachenfels, the Great Enchanter, is an ancient, undead being who drains the life from others to prolong his own, using their rotting corpses to create a new body for himself. Out of boredom, Drachenfels sends out massive armies to kill and torture everything in their paths, enslaving the souls of his victims to torture forever. Feigning repentance at one point, Drachenfels hosted a lavish feast for the Empire's nobles, only to paralyze them, torture their children to death and leave them to starve overlooking the feast. Returning to life later, Drachenfels possesses the lead actor of a play based on his defeat, slaughtering most in attendance before plotting to raze the empire, kill all he sees and harvest their souls for power and fun.

Other Media

  • Total War: Warhammer III: Be'lakor, the Dark Master, was a traitor to his own kind and the first mortal to be ascended to Daemonhood by the Ruinous Powers. Ravaging the world with countless atrocities, Be'lakor's arrogance caused the Chaos Gods to strike him down and remove his physical form. Furious and hungry for revenge, Be'lakor would cause many more atrocities by his manipulations, manipulating Yuri of Kislev—the future God-Slayer—into striking down his own god Ursun. Taking Ursun to drain him of power, Be'lakor lures factions to attacking him so he might destroy them and feed them to his Soul Grinders. Intending on wiping out the Chaos Gods and becoming the sole divinity, Be'lakor mocks his captive that he will wipe out all Kislev for sheer spite.

Warhammer 40,000

Main setting (may include characters from the Expanded Universe)
  • Forces of Chaos:
    • Ezekyle Abaddon, known as the Despoiler, is the heir of the fallen Primarch Horus. Abaddon is consumed with hatred for all that lives, even his former master, and seeks nothing less than the extermination of all he can manage while uniting humanity under the dark banners of Chaos. As the only man with the support of all the Gods of Chaos, Abaddon, the Warmaster of Chaos, has united the forces of Chaos under his banner no fewer than thirteen times in the Black Crusades. During these ventures, each of which has killed millions if not billions, Abaddon storms the galaxy itself, burning and destroying all he can until the forces of the Imperium inevitably defeat him. Abaddon hardly minds as he is able to destroy and kill in great number, something he loves more than anything else. In the 13th Black Crusade alone, Abaddon launches a successful assault on Cadia, finally exterminating the planet and carving a bloody swath through space in his quest to Holy Terra, killing trillions in order to overthrow the Emperor. Willing to send countless numbers of his own to their doom—if not killing them himself—and living only to destroy everything he can to the point he rejects Daemonhood to continue the slaughter on the material plane, Abaddon is the champion of Chaos and is one of the most evil and brutal beings in all of the dark world of Warhammer 40,000.
    • Be'lakor the First Damned was the first of the Daemon Princes, a man responsible for unfathomable atrocities and bloodshed to receive the universal acclimation of the Ruinous Powers. Be'lakor spread through the galaxy, conquering and then corrupting entire civilizations before letting them fall to extinction or wiping them out while also guiding the bloody rise of Ezekyle Abaddon to further atrocities until he tried to upstage his supposed pupil during the final Black Crusade, leading an attack on Holy Terra to destroy it and all humanity to elevate himself.
    • Erebus, First Chaplain of the Word Bearers, was the first ever Chaos Space Marine. After his fall, Erebus set up the slaughter of the Interex civilization to prevent them from warning the Imperium about Chaos and arranged for the corruption of Lorgar and Horus Lupercal, setting up the Horus Heresy that would turn the galaxy and Imperium into hellholes and cost countless lives. Erebus helped to arrange the Istvan V Drop Site massacre where he had countless Marines loyal to the Emperor slaughtered and purged an entire planetary system of life to empower daemons with the intention of corrupting the Blood Raven chapter. In the present, Erebus continues to serve Lorgar, and was involved in the 13th Black Crusade where he sacrificed millions to summon Daemons to assist Abaddon's forces. Responsible more than almost anyone else for the horrific state of the galaxy, Erebus repeatedly shows why he is one of the most vile servants of Chaos around.
    • Kor Phaeron, the Black Cardinal of the Word Bearers Legion, was Erebus's co-conspirator in the Horus Heresy. Formerly a priest on the feudal world of Colchis, Kor Phaeron had been banished from the Covenant of Colchis for his radical, violent religious views. Kidnapping the young Primarch Lorgar Aurelian and exterminating the desert nomads who had been raising him, Kor Phaeron horrifically abused him as he groomed him into his agent of revenge against the Covenant, leading to a devastating civil war. Years later, when Kor Phaeron was serving under Lorgar as the Word Bearers' First Captain, he began conspiring with Erebus to overthrow the Imperium and sell the galaxy out to Chaos for their own benefit. Corrupting Lorgar to Chaos and seeding cults on the worlds they attacked, Kor Phaeron and Erebus's machinations led to the Horus Heresy, which shattered the Imperium and killed trillions of people. During the attack on Calth, Kor Phaeron stabbed Roboute Guilliman with the Athame blade, hoping to corrupt the Primarch to the Dark Gods. When the Horus Heresy failed and the Word Bearers fled to the Daemon World Sicarus, Kor Phaeron found a prophecy that told of Chaos's ultimate victory at the cost of his life; in response, he slew the prophet Jepeth and destroyed his prophecies, undermining the Word Bearers and the Chaos Gods he claimed to serve to save his own skin.
    • Fabius Bile, the self-styled "Primogenitor", is an unspeakably vile force feared and hated across the galaxy to those who know his name and actions, even among the Traitor Legions of Chaos. A Mad Scientist extraordinaire longing to exceed the scientific accomplishments of the Emperor, Bile refuses to pledge himself to any one Chaos God and instead sells his services to whomever can take him, stringing behind him a legacy of depraved experiments, genocides, and horrors with entire sectors of lives reduced longing for death from what Bile has brought upon them. Among Bile's many atrocities are forcing those he has flayed to carry a cloak made of the skin of dozens behind him, earning him the epiphet Manflayer; forcing the population of Dimmamar to take in his own mutative serums or suffocate by changing the composition of the very air they breathed; squashing down over a million prisoners into amplifying drugs for his followers, whom he also treats as test fodder; engaging in degenerate experiments with clones, earning him fear and respect from the world of Palamar V; and his proudest accomplishment, the "New Men", with the populations of entire worlds transformed into powerful but blindly murderous specimens of his own image. Reviled by even the Traitor Legions he is ostensibly a part of, Fabius Bile is a man who has dedicated his life to immortality through infamy by means of the destruction and perversion of billions of lives in his never-ending quest to permanently etch the foul memory of his name on the universe.
    • Typhus the Traveler, once known as Calas Typhon, is the Chaos Lord responsible for the creation of the Plague Marines. Treacherous since the days of the Horus Heresy, Calas Typhon truly came into the forces of Chaos by betraying all his companions in the Death Guard to the diseases of Nurgle, causing them agony which only ended when they pledged themselves utterly to Nurgle. Since then, Typhus has traveled across the galaxy spreading hundreds of thousands of diseases, consuming countless worlds and killing billions. Among Typhus's greatest achievements is the zombie plague, which once condemned 23 billion lives to a horrible death when they accidentally barricaded themselves in with Typhus's reanimating victims. In another instance Typhus condemned an entire planet to forever rot away, unable to do anything but sing eternal hymns to Nurgle. Taking a vile pleasure from the reaping of lives himself, Typhus once single-handedly obliterated the holy planet of Annunciation and every life upon it with nothing short of sadistic glee. Responsible for the worst depths of his old friend Mortarion, who became Nurgle's Daemon Primarch through Typhus's manipulation, and with one of the highest body counts a follower of Chaos can boast, Typhus is perhaps the vilest of Nurgle's noxious armies.
    • Honsou of the Iron Warriors is the eventual Warsmith of his band once he assists in the theft of Imperial Fist geneseeds. A cold, practical, and cruel Chaos Marine, Honsou establishes the Daemonculaba; taking human women to use as agonized "wombs" to insert humans into and mutate them into Chaos Marines, with the "unfleshed" failures discarded. When the process is disrupted by the Ultramarines, a spiteful Honsou uses a virus bomb to annihilate one of their worlds and leads an attempt to annihilate the entire sector of Ultramar in retribution.
  • The Imperium of Man is fraught with corruption, incompetence, and Knight Templar ruthlessness, but these two embody all the worst qualities of Man:
    • High Lord Goge Vandire, the instigator of the Age of Apostasy, made himself the head of the Imperium in all but name. Launching a brutal wave of repression and torture that spanned across countless worlds, with endless billions and more tortured for his pleasure, Vandire demanded tithing and planned for his own worship to supplant that of the Emperor himself, wiping out entire worlds should they fail to meet his standards. Nearly tearing the Imperium apart, Vandire's depredations continued for seven full decades with a reign of terror and brutal tyranny such as the Imperium had never known.
    • Herman von Strab is known as the worst waste of flesh in Imperial history. A petty noble who murdered his brothers and father to rise to power, von Strab combined incompetence and malice with extreme cowardice. Upon the invasion of Armageddon, von Strab was happy to sacrifice his own to kill political rivals, getting millions of soldiers and civilians killed before deploying planet-killing bombs to slaughter millions of humans and Orks in an attempt to catch Commissar Yarrick in the blast, even sacrificing an entire colony in the war. Later allying with the Orks in the Third Armageddon War to let them rampage, thus having the blood of many millions on his hands, von Strab tried to inspire a bloody civil war through the Imperium and happily participated in Human Sacrifice by throwing victims into a volcano.
  • Drukhari (aka Dark Eldar):
    • Asdrubael Vect, Archon of the Black Heart Kabal and Supreme Overlord of Commorragh, is one of the eldest beings in the galaxy and one of the most unspeakably vile. The lord of the Dark Eldar who keeps the horrific culture of torture and depravity going, Vect masterminds the slaughter and torture of countless innocents on a constant basis while also engaging in mentally tormenting a luckless slave, even revealing a drink they were sharing will give him agonizing stomach cramps for days. What sets Vect apart is his willingness to cross even the few lines other Dark Eldar have, having captured an Imperial Salamander to lure the Imperium to Comorragh and allow them to kill off his own people just to eliminate his rivals. Being a master torturer who feeds off the agony of others, Vect once faked his own death to allow the Dark Eldar to lapse into a terrible civil war, and once the battle lines had been drawn, Vect dropped a sun on the rebels, wiping them out along with all the innocents and civilians in that section of the city, damning all their souls to be devoured by Slaanesh. Unspeakably devious, hiding behind a mask of civility and refinement, Vect is almost unmatched in cruelty and evil even in this grim dark future.
    • Urien Rakarth is the Master Haemonculus of the Prophets of Flesh. An eons-old experimenter, Rakarth has spent millennia cutting apart countless victims and restitching them into mindless, pain-stricken monstrosities as attack dogs or attractions for his Carnivals of Pain: spectacles put on for high-ranking Drukhari to behold slaves being devoured, payment for attendance of which frequently involves Rakarth demanding pieces of the viewers' minds or bodies. Spreading his depravity, Rakarth teaches his twisted followers with pride, and even educated Fabius Bile himself in the ways of torturous experimentation.
    • Kruellagh the Vile is the Archon of the Kabal of the Flayed Skull. Reaping life energy from her victims to empower herself with her Soul Flayer, Kruellagh has spent centuries raiding and taking countless prisoners. Her entire Kabal are forced to pay tribute to her in souls, with Kruellagh having the Kabal's slaves brought to the Haemonculi, subjecting planets worth of people to an unspeakable fate.
  • Necrons: These are the worst of the godlike C'tan that enslaved the Necrontyr themselves:
    • Aza'gorod, the Nightbringer, first of the C'tan, is the most fearsome and evil of the Stargods who first learned that the agony of other races could sustain it. Delighting in annihilating countless civilizations and torturing untold billions of innocent beings so their pain might feed it, the Nightbringer brought countless others into depravity to satisfy its twisted need for worship before ending them as well. The Nightbringer was the first to discover cannibalism among the C'tan, setting them against one another until only a few were left. Sealed away, the Nightbringer later manages to escape and plots a return when it might end everything in the galaxy for its own glory.
    • Mephet'ran, the Deceiver, is the weakest yet most intelligent of the C'tan. Orchestrating regular massive and genocidal conflicts as its preferred method to achieve its goals, the Deceiver masterminds the corruption of the Necrontyr, tricking or in some cases violently forcing the entire race into giving up their bodies and being enslaved under its and other C'tan's control before using them to cause a galactic war. Saturating the conflict by Playing Both Sides and even tricking other C'tan to their deaths for him to consume, the Deceiver is known for its deceptions being the single most deadly weapon in the war, while ultimately seeking to devour all that lives just to cleanse its inferiority complex.
    • Llandu'gor, the Flayer, cursed its Necron killers for revenge after abusing them as their former master. Becoming the Flayer Virus, the C'tan now plagues the Necrons, turning them into mindless beings with an insatiable and infinite appetite for flesh and causing them to seek out and gruesomely kill any and all organic life they encounter.

Expanded Universe only

  • Dawn of War series: Chapter Master Azariah Kyras, through Chaos Rising and Retribution, steadily reveals himself to have long fallen from his noble roots while authoring all the conflict and death in the series. Kyras, centuries ago, pledged himself to Khorne and dedicated himself to "freedom" by means of mindless bloodshed and the slaughter of countless billions, achieved by his manipulation of all the chaotic events plaguing the sub-sector of Aurelia in order to provoke Exterminatus on the entire sector and offer the resulting annihilation as tribute to Khorne. All throughout, Kyras manipulates and betrays everyone within his own Chapter, corrupting his own battle-brothers and flagging those who resist as heretics, before finally revealing his true nature to even his own devout follower Apollo Diomedes and proclaiming billions shall scream and burn as the ultimate culmination of his service to Khorne. Kyras stands unique even among the servants of Chaos through his sheer unchecked fanaticism and madness, willing to shed blood on scales unprecedented even for Khornates and musing over the beauty of the senseless death he's wrought as he watches an entire inhabited planet engulfed by the Exterminatus—a gift he eventually plans on sharing with every living soul in the galaxy once he ascends into a Greater Daemon.

Alternative Title(s): Warhammer 40000