Dieter Helsnicht, Doom Lord of the Undead, was once a great and much feared wizard who was forced to flee from the city of Middenheim when it was discovered that he was a Necromancer. He built a secret fortress in the Forest of Shadows and concealed it so well that it was never discovered by the Witch Hunters who searched for him for years. There he slowly built up his strength and plotted his revenge.[1b]
After decades of preparation his evil plans reached fruition, and the Doom Lord marched forth at the head of a huge army of Undead creatures to attack Middenheim. Thus he intended to bring death to the city of his birth. After a long campaign and many victories he was finally stopped at the Battle of Beeckerhoven. The Doom Lord's body, however, was never found and it is commonly supposed on the back of the manticore he rides in battle. As the Doom Lord, Dieter has an iron will and can bend even the most powerful creatures to his authority.[1b]
Dieter Helsnicht was once a great and renowned wizard who lived in the Empire city of Middenheim during the Time of the Three Emperors. Over the course of his studies Dieter learned of the great Necromancer king Kadon and decided to travel to the lands that he had once ruled in the Border Princes in order to find out more about this enigmatic and evil figure. It was while he was there that Dieter first started to hear rumours of the return of Nagash after his defeat by Sigmar. Dieter, drawn by an irresistible curiosity, continued his journey and travelled to the fortress of Nagashizzar. What happened to him in that cursed place is not known, but he returned to Middenheim a changed man, his hair turned prematurely grey and his skin tinged with an unhealthy pallor. The Doomlord had been born! Shortly after his return word began to spread of evil practices and vile rituals being performed in the dead of night by Dieter and his followers.[1a]
Revenge of the Doomlord
Only too aware of where such things could lead, the High Priest of Ulric gathered a company of Knights and descended on Dieter's dwelling. They arrived just in time, disrupting a magic ritual that would have allowed Dieter to raise the dead buried in Middenheim into a powerful Undead army. Shaking his fist and vowing revenge Dieter fled from the city, swooping away over the heads of the astonished High Priest and Knights atop the back of a monstrous manticore. Dieter was a man of deep, if twisted, intelligence and had prepared for every eventuality. He had built a secret fortress deep in the Forest of Shadows to which he could escape should his activities be discovered.[1a]
From this dark and evil place he plotted his revenge and slowly built up his strength. Decades passed, and those who had known Dieter Helsnicht had either died or forgotten him, when rumours started that a dark tide of pestilence and death was spreading through the forest towards the Empire. Bands of Orcs and Beastmen were being driven before it, and travel along the road that joined Middenheim and Erengrad became extremely perilous. Determined to do something about the problem, Einrich Moltke, the Elector Count of Nordland of that time, mobilized his army. He advanced quickly, easily crushing the scattered Orc and Beastman warbands that opposed him. However, when he pushed deeper into the Forest of Shadows, disaster struck![1a]
As the army marched along an ancient path beside the Lake of Woes, it was ambushed by a powerful Undead horde. Caught in column of march, with the lake on one flank and the Undead on the other, the army was all but annihilated. Some troops attempted to flee across the lake, but Dieter had cunningly concealed units of Undead in the water, so as the troops tried to swim they were dragged below the surface to a horrible death. At a stroke Dieter had wiped out almost half of the Empire forces that lay between him and Middenheim. One of the few survivors of the battle was the Elector Count himself.[1a]
When the ambush was sprung he had been leading a unit of Pistoliers that was scouting ahead of the main army. At the head of this small unit he was able to cut his way out of the ambush and make it back to the small village of Beeckerhoven on the Middenheim to Erengrad road. A small garrison had been left here to guard the army's lines of communication. and now this, along with the few scattered survivors of the ambush, were all that remained of the once mighty Nordland army. Grimly the Count organised his meagre forces and prepared for a desperate defence. Messengers were sent galloping to Middenheim and Kislev requesting reinforcements. Fortunately for the Empire, Dieter did not pursue the Elector Count immediately, delaying his advance so that he could perform the rituals that would allow him to add the dead Nordland troops to his Undead host.[1a]
Even then he advanced very slowly, despatching Undead horsemen and Carrion to scout ahead of the main army. By the time that the Undead host arrived at Beeckerhoven, the Elector Count had had several days to prepare, and reinforcements from Kislev and Middenheim were already on their way from the east. Dieter's caution had not been in vain, however, for he knew exactly what forces he faced in Beeckerhoven, and that reinforcements were on the way. He realised that if the Empire contingents were allowed to concentrate into one force they would outnumber his own Undead army. Rather than allow this to happen he determined to strike quickly and attempt to defeat the separate contingents before they had a chance to combine into one unstoppable force.[1a]
To this end Dieter despatched a small force of Undead horsemen north to stop, or at least slow down, the Kislev reinforcements. There was nothing that he could do to delay the Middenheim reinforcements as the village of Beeckerhoven lay between Dieter and the advancing Middenheim army. Instead he prepared to launch a whirlwind assault on Beeckerhoven. If he could just destroy the Count of Nordland's troops quickly enough he would then be able to turn his entire army against the Middenland reinforcements and crush them as they arrived on the battlefield.[1a]
Battle of Beeckerhoven
Dieter's plan almost succeeded. He began the attack by assaulting Beeckerhoven with regiments of Skeletons. Zombies and Ghouls, while keeping his chariots and cavalry in reserve. The attack was well supported by Screaming Skull Catapults which poured a deadly accurate fire into the village, quickly silencing the Nordland artillery before it caused any significant damage to the Undead forces. The Undead assault troops crashed into the terribly outnumbered defenders and soon furious battles were raging amongst the streets and buildings of the village. Slowly but surely the defenders were pushed back.[1a]
The Count of Nordland lead a desperate counter-attack at the head of a regiment of Halberdiers. but he was quickly cut off and surrounded by the victorious Undead forces. Meanwhile, the Count of Middenland had been force marching his army so that he would arrive as quickly as possible. Although the Steam Tank accompanying the army blew a gasket and had to be abandoned, the rest of the reinforcements arrived just in time to save the last valiant defenders of Beeckerhoven. Sweeping onto the battlefield the Middenland forces crashed into the flank of the Undead army. The Nordlanders took new heart and redoubled their efforts, and for a moment it appeared as if the Undead army would be hurled back. It was at this moment that Dieter committed his reserves. charging his cavalry and chariots into the midst of the newly arrived Empire troops. Dieter himself led the charge on the back of his manticore. swooping down to engage the Elector Count of Middenland and the White Wolf Knights in furious hand-to-hand combat. The battle hung in the balance as combat raged all along the line of battle.[1a]
At this vital moment the Kislev reinforcements arrived, having wiped out Dieter's small holding force. Wasting no time. the Winged Lancers charged into the rear of the Undead units that were attacking Beeckerhoven, decisively turning the tide against the forces of Undeath. As the attack weakened the Count of Nordland seized the opportunity to cut through the thinning ranks of Undead to attack the Doomlord directly. When the Count approached, Dieter seized him in a vice-like grip and unleashed a powerful spell which would have blasted the Count's soul were it not for the protective Black Amulet he wore.[1a]
This magic artifact turned the power of the spell back on its caster, stunning Dieter and leaving him helpless. The Elector Count lunged at the defenceless figure, and ran Dieter through with his sword. With a terrible cry Dieter slumped in his saddle, and the legions animated by his dark will collapsed. Skeletons fell into piles of bones. Zombies stumbled and fell, decomposing before the eyes of the watchers till they became pools of rot on the ground. Ghouls fled into the deep woods. Silence fell over the battlefield, and then with a terrible creening wail, the Doomlord's manticore rose into the air and soared away, bearing Dieter away on its back. The Doomlord survived the battle, although he had suffered wounds that would have slain any normal man. Over the coming centuries he would return to threaten Middenheim many more times. From his secret fortress hidden deep in the Forest of Shadows he remains a threat to the Empire's security to the present day.[1a]
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With the return of Nagash during the End Times, Helsnicht was made one of the Mortarchs and accompanied Nagash's armies into Nehekhara. Joining the central force led by Krell, Helsnicht's necromantic power, paired with the tactical brilliance and sheer brutality of the Wight King, proved to be nigh-unstoppable. Flying atop a bat winged horror (almost certainly the reanimated remains of his Manticore) Helsnicht was instrumental in the running battles between Krell's forces and those of King Phar of Numas. He bolstered Krell's forces by creating several Morghasts, but also revealed an unpleasant new quirk in his madness - he had taken to devouring the brains of lesser Necromancers, seeking to absorb a portion their knowledge.
When the united armies of Nagash met those of Settra at the gates of Khemri, Nagash's true plan for Helsnicht was revealed. Nagash entered the Nehekharan underworld with Helsnicht and had him cast a great ritual while he battled Usirian, god of that dark place. Boosted by the knowledge and power of his master, Helsnicht's ritual bound the entirety of the spirit realm to himself, which he then sent to overwhelm the faceless-god. Crippled and beaten, Usirian was consumed by Nagash, who finally was restored to his full strength.
Helsnicht would ultimately remain in the Nehekharan underworld, becoming its new guardian.
- Staff of Flaming Death - The eyes of the Staff of Flaming Death glow bright with magical fire as its jaws clatter and gnash constantly.[1b][2a]
- Chaos Runesword - This weapon was forged by Grungni Ironheart, a Dwarf Runesmith who was corrupted and led astray by the Chaos gods.[1b][2a]
- Power Scroll - This scroll is imbued with great magical power which can be released when it is read aloud.[2a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Undead (4th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (5th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 70
- 3: Warhammer: The End Times Compendium