- "You and your masters are desiccated relics of a dead age. And what greater prospect do I have in Nagash's service, a future of mindless servitude in an unchanging world? The Great Necromancer is a selfish child. Though assured of his power, he remains forever terrified that another will take it from him. He will not be satisfied until his is the only will in existence, for only then can he be safe."
- —Heinrich Kemmler, talking to his nemesis Arkhan the Black.
Heinrich Kemmler, the self-styled Lichemaster is a great, powerful, and immensely famous Necromancer who burns with the need to gather more power and arcane knowledge in the Dark arts of Necromancy. Having recognised the limits that mortality placed upon him in his early years, Kemmler made it his life's work to escape his mortal shackles and began to travel throughout the length and breadth of the Old World in hopes of achieving such goals. He plunged into the world of Necromancy as a young man, and by the time he had reached his fortieth year, he was able to raise entire graveyards of corpses to do his bidding. Beneath Kemmler's robes, his body is covered with scars, cuts and abrasions from his years of madness. He is shrouded in a large dark cloak that can carry its wearer across the veil between worlds.
Over the years of his travels, Heinrich had acquired or plundered many great artifacts of power that had granted him the power he craves. Such artifacts he wields into battle includes the ancient Chaos Tomb Blade, an evil weapon that not only fills its wielder with unholy energy but also entraps the souls of those it cleaves, binding their fleshless remains in servitude to the Lichemaster. He also wears a magical shroud that covers much of his body, and wields in his left hand the Skull Staff, a potent magical artifact that chatters and gibbers constantly, whispering warnings to Heinrich of any potential wizards that would dare to convey a spell against him.
With these magical artifacts and the knowledge that he has gathered throughout his journey, Heinrich has made it his life's purpose to evade the clutches of mortality and ascend himself into immortality. Alongside him stands a mighty warrior that Heinrich had raised from a long-ago tomb. Under the Lichemaster's command, the fell-warrior known only as Krell, Lord of Undeath, has served towards Heinrich's goal of immortality, never truly realising that both he and Krell are simple pawns in the schemes of Nagash, the one true Lord of the Undeath.
- "The dead answer my call. When you are dead, you will answer too!"
- —The Lichemaster.
During his unnaturally prolonged lifespan, Heinrich has assembled a dark library, the greatest trove of necromantic lore, second only to the ancient magical lore that lies within the Fortress of Nagashizzar and those libraries buried within the sands of ancient Nehekhara. Heinrich had been advisor and counsellor to kings and princes across the Old World, and he had fought against conclaves of other Necromancers during his lifetime of travel. In the hills beyond Quenelles in Bretonnia, his army had smashed the zombie legions of the Council of Nine, an alliance of nine powerful Necromancers. In the dark woods beyond the town of Bogenhafen in the western Empire, he had overcome the three Vampire Wizards of Blutwald and all of their combined armies of the walking dead. In the crypts beneath Castle Vermisace he had overcome the ancient Liche Lord and all his acolytes, which would later earn him the legendary title of the Lichemaster. But his ambitious rivals eventually succeeded in defeating the Lichemaster, driving him to the edge of death. His body was broken and his mind left in tatters.
He fled and wandered the Grey Mountains and the Border Princes for many long years afterwards as a half-sane beggar. He eventually fled into the mountainous region known as the Vaults where he sought a weapon of great power rumoured to be hidden in the multiple tombs dotting the mountain slopes. Some of these tombs were dated during the time before the Dwarfs and the Elves had walked those lands. Some quirk of fate eventually led him to the tomb of the long-dead Krell.
Krell in life was a great and mighty Chaos Lord, slain many millennia ago. When Nagash came north to find the Crown of Sorcery and went to war against Emperor Sigmar, he raised this great warlord and made him one of the Nine Lords of Nagash, his favoured generals, acolytes and lieutenants. When Nagash was defeated by Sigmar and his armies thrown back, Krell took his legion and continued to plague the land for many years afterwards before finally being defeated and entombed. It is rumoured that Kemmler was guided by the hands of Nagash to raise Krell and join forces with him. From here, Kemmler had since struck a secret pact with the Chaos Gods who restored him to his former power and in return, he swore to sow destruction in their name.
The tales of these two monsters are many. In 2491 IC, Kemmler attacked the Bretonnian fortress-shrine of La Maisontaal Abbey which was said to contain a powerful artifact coveted by the Skaven. In an effort to steal the artifact without being detected, a Grey Seer named Meek Gnawdoom used a spell that teleported Kemmler into the battle as a powerful ally. As the Undead and Bretonnians fought each other, Skaven infiltrators were able to steal the artifact without being seen. It was only thanks to the skill and heroism of Duke Tancred II of Quenelles that the Abbey was saved from total destruction from the Undead hordes assaulting its walls. Kemmler escaped and fled back to the Grey Mountains while the Skaven returned to Skavenblight with their prize. Tancred returned to Quenelles with much honour and renown.
Heinrich later believed the Duke to be slain at the Battle of Montfort Bridge, having defeated Kemmler's forces at the cost of his own life. In truth, the fallen knight was Tancred's father, Tancred I, resulting in the man's vengeful son dedicating his life to hunting down the Lichemaster.
The Wood Elves remember Kemmler for the "Winter of Woes," a season in 2497 IC when he raised a vast army from the many cairns in the forest, ancient human burial mounds that contained mystical energies closely linked to the health of Athel Loren. By attacking in winter, the Elves were at their weakest and it was only thanks to the Grail Knight Amalric and the venerable Treeman Durthu, who roused the native wood spirits, that the Necromancer was defeated. In the end, however, much of the forest was left devastated by his invasion.
In the year 2503 IC, Duke Tancred II managed to hunt down and personally slay Krell, granting him yet another death. The news of Tancred's feat reached as far as the Empire and beyond, while earning the respect of the Dwarfs, who had long held a grudge against the former Chaos Champion. Greater still, however, was the news that Kemmler had also fallen to the Grail Knight's holy wrath, though some feared that his demise was an uncertain thing...
- Chaos Tomb Blade: This evil weapon not only fills its wielder with an unholy energy but also entraps the souls of those it cleaves, binding their fleshless remains in servitude.
- Cloak of Mists and Shadows: Kemmler is surrounded by a dark cloak that swirls and twists with a life of its own.
- Skull Staff: The jaws of the skull staff chatter and gnash, warning Kemmler of baleful magic in his vicinity.
- Kemmler's name is a reference to historical Heinrich Kramer, author of the book Malleus Maleficarum, (hammer of the witches) a treatise on witchcraft. Kramer was a German inquisitor and monk, who was instrumental in organizing witch trials in the Early-Modern period. He also personally established the torturous procedures, and tests, which only could prove any supposed witch to be guilty.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition) -- pg. 58.
- 2: Gotrek and Felix: Shamanslayer (Novel) by Nathan Long
- 3: Gotrek and Felix: Zombieslayer (Novel) by Nathan Long
- 4: Warhammer: The Bretonnian Collector's Guide -- pg. 6,
- 5: Warhammer: The End Times Compilation
- 6: Total War: Warhammer