The universe of Warhammer 40k is filled with daemons fighting for the souls of humanity, twisted gods from dimensions beyond comprehension, and countless terrifying atrocities taking place on a daily basis. Yet, for all these horrors, there are few names more cursed than that of Konrad Curze (pun probably intended) – a.k.a. the Night Haunter.
The Dread Primarch of the Night Lords, Warhammer 40k’s Konrad Curze is a figure renowned for his evil acts, both against humanity in general and his brothers – yet behind that lies a complicated figure whose motivations have many different interpretations. Hated by his enemies, feared by his allies, and hated and feared in equal measure by his own legion, Konrad Curze used terror as a weapon against both friend and foe.
He may not have been one of the movers and shakers in the Warhammer universe, nor as deeply involved in the treachery of the Horus Heresy as some of his brothers – but his actions still reverberate throughout the entire setting.
Read on as we take a look at this most tenebrous of Primarchs, who he is, and where you can read more about his fascinating life.
Konrad Curze – The Night Haunter
The start of The Night Haunter’s story begins like all his siblings – spirited away by mysterious forces from the laboratory where he was created. Many landed on planets that would be their proving grounds, and Konrad Curze’s new home was no different.
He crashed onto the planet of Nostramo, an industrial mining world that was forever shrouded in the darkest of nights. Despite being populated by billions, no-one greeted the young Night Haunter’s emergence into the world, and so he was left to fend for himself in the underworld of this new, man-made hell he found himself in.
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Surviving through his wits and rapidly developing physical prowess, Curze grew swiftly into a predator that hunted through the criminal underbelly of the colossal city of Nostramo Quintus.
It was there that the first signs of the darkness that would rule him began to show themselves – firstly in the visions of a terrible future that plagued his every waking moment, and secondly in the terror and fear he inspired through his acts of astounding violence.
It’s this violence that made his name. Curze stalked the streets of Nostramo as a dark avenging angel, striking terror into all who heard of his passing.
He left multitudes of corpses in his wake, slaying anyone he felt had transgressed his own harsh moral code. It was here that Konrad Curze became the Night Haunter, a vigilante who struck down the heretic, the criminal, and the immoral.
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Eventually Konrad Curze announced his intention to become the first monarch of Nostramo Quintus. Those nobles who had survived his purges were only too quick to approve of his ascent. His rule swiftly grew to encompass the whole planet, a planet that was ruled in a kind and fair manner until a crime had been committed. Then the Night Haunter would emerge to deal swift justice once more.
The Emperor eventually found his son on this dark planet, as he did the others, and raised Konrad Curze to the ranks of the Primarchs. He united him with his gene-progeny, the Space Marine legion he renamed the Night Lords. From there, they joined the Great Crusade to expand humanity’s reach across the galaxy.
Though the Night Lords and Konrad Curze were efficient as they subdued worlds, they would always employ overwhelming and brutal force to achieve their goals. This brutality, along with the dismal mien that Curze displayed due to his never-ending visions of the future heresy (not to mention the deaths of all he met) led to a rift between him and his Primarch brothers.
This came to a head when the Night Haunter learned of renewed criminal activity on the world of Nostramo. Attempting to leave the Great Crusade, he fell into conflict with the Primarchs Fulgrim and Rogal Dorn, wounding Dorn and killing several Imperial Fists.
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Konrad Curze fled into the darkness of space, returning home to unleash terminal devastation, causing the world to explode under a barrage from his fleet’s laser batteries.
For more information and background detail, we recommend reading Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter by Guy Haley.
The Fate of Konrad Curze
As the Horus Heresy rent the galaxy asunder, Curze was one of the first to join the side of the heretics. He and his legion were key components of the betrayal during the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V, a battle that saw Curze capture his brother Vulkan, subjecting him to tortures beyond imagination. Vulkan would eventually escape, proving impossible to kill by any means that Curze could devise.
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Konrad Curze would become the bane of many of his brothers, firstly by targeting Lion El’Jonson and almost robbing the Dark Angels Primarch of his life. Later he stalked the Dark Angels’ flagship for weeks before descending to the planet of Macragge, homeworld of the Ultramarines, to continue to wreak chaos and vengeance.
It was on Macragge that Curze finally revealed the reason for his betrayal. He had seen visions of his own death along with visions of the ends of his brothers, including that of Sanguinius aboard the Vengeful Spirit.
He had come to believe that their deaths were part of a grand plan by the Emperor – and, by turning to the forces of Chaos, he would cease to be the Emperor’s slave. He believed that his death was inevitable, but saw no reason to love or obey the person who orchestrated it.
Konrad Curze was captured many times throughout the Horus Heresy, yet always managed to escape – except for one final time. Sanguinius brought him aboard his flagship, the Red Tear, where he encased him in a stasis coffin and released him into space to drift until he would be found by his assassin. Sanguinius was also aware of his terrible fate and knew that the Night Haunter would one day die in the manner he had foreseen.
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Though he drifted for many years, Curze was eventually reunited with the Night Lords, though he appeared to be swiftly losing his sanity. On the planet of Tsagulasa, the Callidus Assassin M’Shen was allowed entry to the Night Haunter’s palace, where he let the assassin take his life, fulfilling the visions that Curze had seen ever since his birth and ending his tale.
Konrad Curze – Horus Heresy Miniature
Like many of the other Primarchs, Konrad Curze does have his own miniature available for the Horus Heresy Warhammer 30k game system.
Purchasable from Forge World, it shows him standing atop ruins, bloodied cloak tattered after furious battle with his trademark lightning-claws extended, ready for more slaughter.
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On the tabletop, Curze’s rules make him perfect for inclusion into any list that specialises in hit-and-run tactics. He is stealthed, shrouded, and is even considered to be jump infantry – meaning he moves fast and hidden, striking at opponents where they least expect.
As Sire of the Night Lords, he imposes Fear on enemies nearby, which – in combination with being the King of Terrors – means any Fear checks are taken at a disadvantage. Opponents may flee before even making contact with the Night Haunter.
Even though Fear is his primary weapon, in combat Konrad Curze is no slouch. His Lightning Claws, Mercy and Forgiveness, give tons of attacks in melee – along with rerolls of failed wounds – and can even inflict instant death on opponents. If, by some chance, whatever he’s fighting is still alive, Konrad Curze can simply skip out of melee range, helping him to stay alive to harry again.
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Konrad Curze, when played in a Horus Heresy game, is a character designed to fulfil a particular role. He’s best played to disrupt the enemy’s plans, descending quickly to deal damage, and then disappearing before retribution can take place. If you’re playing a Night Lords list in 30k, then Konrad Curze might just even the odds in your favour.