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Gnaag entrance2

Archlord Gnaag about to confront Lone Wolf in Lone Wolf 12:The Masters of Darkness

Darklord Gnaag, also known as the Darklord of Tyranny, was one of the chief villains in the world of Magnamund and one of Lone Wolf's greatest enemies. He arrived in that world, along with the nineteen other Darklords, in the year 3072 after the creation of the Moonstone (MS)

Gnaag was noted by his peers and Carag as being the most intelligent of the Darklords and a master of Darklord politics. Through careful manipulation and the murder of two fellow Darklords, he became Archlord of the Darklands in MS 5060 (MS 5058 in the Legends of Lone Wolf canon).

After leading a campaign to conquer Magnamund, Gnaag nearly defeated Lone Wolf and the forces of good by attempting to destroy the last three Lorestones of Nyxator, which Lone Wolf was seeking, and then by sending Lone Wolf into the shadow world of the Daziarn. In MS 5070 Gnaag was finally defeated by Lone Wolf in single combat and was condemned by the dark god Naar to an eternity on the Plane of Darkness for his failures.

Characteristics[]

Physical and spiritual attributes[]

Gnaag resembled "a monstrous fly," with "gleaming multi-faceted eyes."[6] He was "slight," with an "insectile form." His outer flesh was mostly invisible, revealing green, wet internal organs. Blood oozed in waves from the dome of his bald head, and his narrow feet had claws.[7] His mind was his own, but his intellect and his soul were simply repositories for the infinite evil of the dark god Naar, which was revealed when Vonotar entered the mind of Darklord Zagarna.[8] For sustenance, he sometimes tore apart live Giaks.[7]

Gnaag banner

War banner with the emblem of Darklord Gnaag

Personality[]

One of the most intelligent of the Darklords, Gnaag was also the most politically astute, making sure to distance himself from Zagarna's failed invasion of Sommerlund in MS 5050.[7] Gnaag had distrusted Zagarna's partner, Vonotar, and he disagreed with Vonotar's status as an equal of the Darklords.[9]

Career[]

Arrival on Magnamund[]

In the year MS 3072, the Darklords were sent to Magnamund by Naar to conquer the planet for evil. Because of their corrupt and evil nature, the Darklords could not breathe the "sweet air" of Magnamund, and so they destroyed most of northeastern Magnamund, creating a realm known as the Darklands, which had air that "corroded a mortal's lungs."[8] Originally the ruler of the Darklord city of Mozgôar, a Darkland city-fortress to the west of Gazad Helkona, Gnaag was often seen in the capitol Helgedad walking on foot, in contrast to most of the nineteen surviving Darklords, who flew on Zlanbeasts.[7] He was also noted for his "flowery language" and his vast intellect, which was shown by the physical form which Naar chose for him.[9] His gestures were "fey," and his body evoked "fragility," but some considered this a mask of his true strength.[7]

Campaign for Archlordship[]

In the aftermath of Zagarna's death, as the Darklords met to elect a new leader, Gnaag did not contest the Archlordship. He considered Zagarna's plan of raising gigantic armies and hurling them at Sommerlund to be ineffective, and considered the two frontrunners, Haakon and Slûtar, to be likely to implement the same plan. He chose to bide his time, intending to make a real bid for the Archlordship Gnaag after whoever won repeated the same mistakes as Zagarna.[10]

In the event, Haakon won the power struggle against Slûtar. Haakon attempted a subversive campaign that ended with his death at Lone Wolf's hands at the Tomb of the Majhan.[11][12] In the ensuing contest for Archlordship, Gnaag made his move. As the most intelligent Darklord, he acquired the aid of numerous Nadziranim sorcerers, who saw him as the Darklord most likely to succeed in conquering Sommerlund. With their help, Gnaag manipulated the contest between fellow Darklords Glurch and Unc, ensuring that events would escalate into a civil war. Both Glurch and Unc amassed huge armies, intending to do battle with each other, but just prior to the commencement of the battle, Gnaag destroyed both Darklords in a colossal display of power.[7] This ended five years of civil war and allowing him to assume the position of Archlord.[6]

Gnaagappearance (2)

An earlier interpretation of the Darklord's appearance from the eighth Lone Wolf book, The Jungle of Horrors

Gnaag's war[]

Gnaag launched an enormous campaign to conquer Northern Magnamund, sending his massive armies against the free lands therein. He also sent Helghast and other evil creatures to block Lone Wolf from retrieving the Lorestone of Ohrido from the Danarg.[6] Gnaag's Darklord armies conquered the southern Sommerlund province of Ruanon, and thus nearly prevented Lone Wolf from continuing his quest, were it not for Sommerlund's King Ulnar, who requested that he continue.[13] Darklord armies began to converge on Tahou with the help of their ally, the Vassagonian Empire. Lone Wolf raced there to gain the Lorestone before Gnaag's armies arrived, but as he emerged successful, he found the city under siege by the evil armies. Through the main gates came Zakhan Kimah, the ruler of Vassagonia and ally of Gnaag, who engaged Lone Wolf in combat and was defeated. Demoralized, and now surrounded by human reinforcements, the Darklord armies were decimated. Gnaag then appeared before Lone Wolf in Tahou, promising to destroy him and the three remaining Lorestones.[13] It was feared by Lone Wolf and his counselors that with the Nadziranim's help, Gnaag could achieve his goal. Lone Wolf set out for Torgar, the city-fortress revealed to be containing the Lorestones, arriving during a siege by the allied forces of Talestria and Palmyrion. With his help, the allied forces broke into the city, but the siege turned out to be an elaborate trap set by Gnaag. As Lone Wolf climbed the scaffolding of the underground chamber to reach the Lorestones, Gnaag appeared in the room and cried, "Vengeance is mine, Lone Wolf!" He destroyed the scaffolding holding the Lorestones, sending Lone Wolf and the Lorestones into the Daziarn through a Shadow Gate.[14]

Gnaag's final defeat and afterlife[]

After Lone Wolf had fallen through the Daziarn Shadow Gate, Gnaag proclaimed his own invincibility and the death of Lone Wolf. The allied human armies were quickly ejected from Torgar, and the Darklord armies' losses ceased. Using the Tanoz-Tukor, a device that allowed them to survive outside the Darklands, The Darklords personally led their armies into battle to devastating effect. In the next eight years the Darklords succeeded in conquering most of Northern Magnamund and building a huge blockade between Sommerlund and Durenor. With no Durenese reinforcements, it was thought to only be a matter of time before Sommerlund and the rest of the planet would fall to the Darklords.[15] Having returned from his exile in the Daziarn after eight years, Lone Wolf secretly made his way into Helgedad and confronted Darklord Gnaag in the Tower of the Damned. Using the power of the Sommerswerd, he reduced the Darklord to atoms. (If Lone Wolf fights with another magical item, Gnaag's combat skill is 50, and his endurance point total is 70. Gnaag wields Nadazgada, or "Dark Burn", which was forged of black steel in Helgedad and imbued with magical spells by the Nadziranim.[15])

While on the Plane of Darkness, Lone Wolf discovered Gnaag being chased by Tzor, Keeper of Evil Souls, on the Plain of Despair outside Naar's fortress.[16]

In the gamebooks[]

Darklord Gnaag first appears in the text in The Jungle of Horrors, where it is mentioned that the civil war of the Darklands is over, and Darklord Gnaag has succeeded Darklord Haakon.[17] The book also features a number of assassins working for Gnaag, attempting to thwart Lone Wolf in his quest to recover the Lorestone of Ohrido. It is also possible to meet an apparition of Gnaag in this book.[18]

Darklord Gnaag later appears in the end of The Cauldron of Fear. Having found the Lorestone of Tahou, Lone Wolf slays Zakhan Kimah, breaking the siege of Tahou. Darklord Gnaag appears from a black cloud in the sky and vows revenge on Lone Wolf, having claimed the three remaining Lorestones, and threatens to destroy them — and Lone Wolf.[19]

In The Dungeons of Torgar, Lone Wolf eventually finds the Lorestones trapped above a Shadow Gate, suspended in mid-air, bombarded by beams of negative energy. Lone Wolf attempts to recover the Lorestones by catching them while Paido shatters the crystal rods bombarding them. However, Gnaag appears in the chamber, destroying the gantry Lone Wolf was on, and sending him and the Lorestones into the Shadow Gate, which transports them to the Daziarn.[20]

In The Masters of Darkness, Lone Wolf returns from the Daziarn with all the Lorestones. He finally infiltrates Helgedad, killing Darklord Gnaag, and destroying the Transfusor with the Crystal Explosive. Here, if Lone Wolf possesses the Sommerswerd, he can unsheathe it here safely, and destroy Gnaag without combat.[21] Otherwise, Gnaag must be fought either with the Dagger of Vashna or Helshezag (or Lone Wolf will die, lacking a weapon that can wound a Darklord).[22]

Darklord Gnaag
Combat Skill 50, Endurance 70
Immune to: Mindblast
The Masters of Darkness: §88

Due to being within the walls of Helgedad, the weapon used grants a Combat Skill bonus of +12, rather than +7.[23] The Project Aon errata suggests that this additional bonus can be applied to the previous fight against Darklord Taktaal, as he is also fought in the same location.[24]

Notes[]

  1. The text states that Gnaag became Archlord five years after Haakon's death, in MS 5055.

References[]

  1. The Darklands: p. 75
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Darklands: p. 36
  3. The Jungle of Horrors: The Story So Far...
  4. The Tellings, Legends of Lone Wolf
  5. The Masters of Darkness: §166
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dever, Joe (1987). Lone Wolf: The Jungle of Horrors. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-10484-2. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Dever, Joe (1993). Legends of Lone Wolf:The Tellings. London: Red Fox. ISBN 0-09-915191-X. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dever, Joe (1989). Legends of Lone Wolf:Eclipse of the Kai. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-12314-6. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dever, Joe (1989). Legends of Lone Wolf:The Dark Door Opens. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-12439-8. 
  10. Legends of Lone Wolf, The Claws of Helgedad
  11. Lone Wolf #5, Shadow on the Sand
  12. Legends of Lone Wolf: The Book of the Magnakai
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dever, Joe (1987). Lone Wolf: The Cauldron of Fear. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-10848-1. 
  14. Dever, Joe (1987). Lone Wolf: The Dungeons of Torgar. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-10930-5. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Dever, Joe (1988). Lone Wolf: The Masters of Darkness. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-11718-9. 
  16. Dever, Joe (1993). Lone Wolf: The Curse of Naar. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-15193-X. 
  17. The Jungle of Horrors: The Story So Far...
  18. The Jungle of Horrors: §201
  19. The Cauldron of Fear: §350
  20. The Dungeons of Torgar: §350
  21. The Masters of Darkness: §214
  22. The Masters of Darkness: §3
  23. The Masters of Darkness: §88
  24. The Masters of Darkness: Errata.

Internal Links[]

External links[]

The Darklords
Archlords VashnaZagarnaHaakonGnaag
Darklords ChlanzorDakushnaGhaneshGhurchGnaagHaakonKhatelluKraagenskûlMenashgaMrugorNhorgShebnarSlûtarTaktaalTomoghUncVashnaXogZagarnaZhanshal
Darklord domains (and capitals) HelgedadAargataagArgazadBarazoth (Shindaar) • DajaraaDajdorzaElgazaad (Akku) • Fethmyre (Gazad Helkona) • GalhiakGhargonGourizaga (Gourzaa) • GournenHourdastKagorstKagzizad (Nadgazad) • LuurvadMaarkaag (Kaag) • MozgôarOrlo Taanak (Aarnak) • OzdaragaTar Ogashaar (Ogvast) • Yr-Naoga (Naargarod)
Media The DarklandsTerror of the Darklords
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