In the table-top wargame Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons are a mysterious skeletal robot-like race that have lain dormant and largely unknown by the other races of the universe for untold hundreds of million years, and are reemerging in the distant future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Within the game's universe, the Necrons have become known and feared for their ability to absorb physical punishment, as well as their enigmatic, yet powerful, Gauss weapons and technology.
Most Warhammer 40,000 armies are inspired by fantasy and popular culture to an extent, however the Necrons are noted for combining ideas from dissimilar sources. The overall feel is an army that is supposed to be soulless, relentless and unstoppable. The Necron Warriors bear resemblance to the Terminators of the Terminator series. The Necrons fill the role of the undead in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and are roughly analogous to the Tomb Kings from Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
The Necrons first appeared as usable units for Warhammer 40,000 as Necron Raiders. The rules for these were first published in White Dwarf Issue 216 towards the end of the lifespan of the second edition of Warhammer 40,000. At the time, only Necron Warriors and Scarabs were given game rules and the warriors were armed with Gauss-Flayer Guns. This was quickly followed up with an expanded army list in the following month's issue of the same magazine. The Necron Lord and Necron Destroyer were part of this slightly-expanded army list. At the time, the lord was armed with the Staff of Light while the destroyers were armed with Gauss-Cannons. The issue of White Dwarf also had the Necrons' first major appearance in a battle report in the article entitled Massacre at Sanctuary 101, a battle between the Necrons and the Sisters of Battle. This particular altercation soon made its way into the background material as one of the first times the Imperium officially encountered the Necrons. The first Necron miniatures, all metal, were also released during this time. In fact, a free Necron Warrior was included with issue 217 of White Dwarf.
In the release of the third edition of Warhammer 40,000 in 1998, the Necrons had no usable army list. The first, full-fledged Necron army list for the new edition of the game was printed in the March 1999 issue of White Dwarf. This first army list was very restrictive, with the Necrons having mostly one choice per force organization category. The Necron Lord, Necron Immortals and Necron Warriors were the only available HQ, Elites and Troops choices respectively. This early army list had two units for the Fast Attack selections, Necron Destroyers and Scarabs. The latter were different from their current counterparts in that the original Scarabs were controlled individually and were not swarms on a single base as they are today. The Necron Immortal metal miniature was released at the same time as the publication of the army list. In a later issue of White Dwarf, Games Workshop further expanded the Necron army list by providing different equipment choices (wargear) for the Necron Lord. Along with the Gaze of Flame and Scourge of Light upgrades, this was the first time that the Veil of Darkness wargear was added to the Necron Lord's available options.
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