The Nemesis Crown Campaign was a large war between armies from across the world, all seeking one of the greatest magical artifacts ever created.
For long centuries, the Nemesis Crown has rested hidden deep beneath the Howling Hills. Few know of its origins, of its mad creator, or of the terrible curse that will echo down the ages if ever it is disturbed.
Two and a half millennia ago, the Old World was a wild and benighted land. Savage beasts and fell beings haunted the forests and plains, and survival for the warring tribes of Men who dwelt there hung ever in the balance. It was into this savage world that Sigmar was born, and his first great deed was the rescue of the Dwarf King Kurgan Ironbeard from a greenskin raiding party. Ironbeard gifted Sigmar with a great runic warhammer – Ghal Maraz – with which Sigmar fought against the greenskins and ultimately united the scattered tribes of Man. Years later, Sigmar and Kurgan stood together at the Battle of Black Fire Pass, and in recognition of their great victory, Kurgan ordered his Master Runesmith to forge the Runefangs.
That Master Runesmith was Alaric, creator of some of the greatest weapons ever wielded in battle. A century in the making, the Runefangs were gifted to each of the Empire’s Elector Counts. Some say that the century Alaric spent toiling at his forge drove the Runesmith to obsession and paranoia. His peers considered the Runefangs Alaric’s greatest achievement, but the Runesmith himself refused to accept that he had reached the height of his art. Alaric sought a new rune, and in time, found a variation on the Rune of Kingship – the Rune of Ages. This rune would not only retain and distill the wisdom of each of its bearers and pass it on to those who followed but also give the bearer control of his very destiny. Any who carried the rune would become master of his fate and that of his entire race.
But Alaric found that no matter what material he set the Rune of Ages upon, it would shatter as the last blow was struck. Stone, iron, gromril, dragon scales – all proved too weak to contain the mighty energies of his new Master Rune. He set out upon a great quest to find a substance strong enough to bear the rune’s awesome power. For long decades, Alaric wandered the dark roads of the Old World, through mountains and forests. Nowhere could he locate the material he sought. As time went on, he became more and more obsessed, prompting Dwarfs and men to give him a new name – Alaric the Mad. While passing along what is now the Old Forest Road, which at that time, was little more than a well-trod woodland path, Alaric was ambushed by a band of Skaven. Though now aged and stooped, Alaric was a veteran of many battles and dispatched the vile ratmen with ease. From nearby, he felt the presence, as only a Master Runesmith could, of some unknown but incredibly powerful ore. He followed his uncanny instinct. Deep beneath the knotted roots of a twisted oak, he found a chunk of material strong enough to hold the Rune of Ages – warpstone. Alaric barely hesitated before he pried the chunk of rock out of the ground. Perhaps his once wise mind was clouded by his overwhelming desire to prove himself the greatest Runesmith the world had ever seen, or perhaps the evil of the warpstone reached out and touched his already weakened powers of reason.
The next chapter of Alaric’s story is rarely told. It is said that he traveled to the Grey Mountains, where he constructed a mighty forge fueled by the volcanic lifeblood of the peaks. Alaric worked upon the weirdling ore day and night, until he had produced a gleaming crown, upon which was struck the Rune of Ages. As Alaric looked upon his creation, his mind cleared. He had been blinded by madness and obsession. The crown would not distill the destiny of those who wore it, but would instead draw out even the smallest shred of evil intent and transform him into the vessel for all the malice of every former wearer. Alaric was horrified by what he had created, but he knew that the crown could not be destroyed. Thus, he resolved to hide it away. He traveled to the Great Forest and the wind-swept Howling Hills and descended into the depths of a worked-out Dwarf Mine and sought a place to hide his artefact.
The crown lay hidden for many long centuries. The chamber remained intact, even as the mine entrance eventually collapsed upon itself. Then, a mighty earthquake shook the Howling Hills and brought tales of fresh gromril seams and wealth to be had in the area of the old mine. A band of Dwarf miners was dispatched to investigate. They found far more than they had bargained for. Discovering the uncovered mine workings, they came upon the breached chamber. What happened next is unclear, for only a single Dwarf emerged, blood-splattered and raving, into the light. A short time later, a band of Night Goblins, ever on the search for new cracks and crannies to infest, came upon the mine, where they found the insane Dwarf and his dead companions. The lone miner was captured by greenskins, who discerned from his rantings that an object of great power was to be found somewhere in their new lair. The Goblins tortured the mad Dwarf but could get little more from him. Perhaps the location of the Crown would thus have remained secret, but a Dwarf rescue force led by Thane Grombold of the famous Krud clan came in search of the lost miners. During the chaos that followed, a black-hearted Night Goblin came upon the crown by chance, slaughtered his fellows, and fled with it into the forest. Now, armies muster to retrieve the crown, for wild rumors of its powers have spread far and wide. The Dwarfs seek to return it to their holds where Alaric’s madness can be hidden for all time. Grimgor thinks that, should he gain it, the strongest warriors in the land will come to fight him. The Emperor sees in the crown an invaluable artifact of the Age of Sigmar and believes that its power could be harnessed for the good of Man. Whoever succeeds, they will do so only at a terrible cost in blood – a cost each is prepared to pay in the return for possession of the Nemesis Crown.