This article is about the undead Forsaken lore. For the playable race, see Undead (playable). For more information on the living dead in general, see Undead. For the in-game reputation faction, see Undercity (faction).
HordeThe Forsaken
Forsaken Crest.png
Main leader  Representative Lilian Voss (interim)
  Formerly  Queen Sylvanas Windrunner
Secondary leaders  Princess Calia Menethil
 Master Apothecary Faranell
 Deathstalker Commander Belmont
 Dark Ranger Velonara
 The Black Bride
  Formerly  Ranger Lord Nathanos †
ForsakenForsaken Desolate Council †
 Arch Lord Varimathras †
 Grand Apothecary Putress †
Race(s) ForsakenForsakenIconSmall ForsakenDeathKnight Male.gifIconSmall ForsakenDeathKnight Female.gif Undead human
Undead elfUndead elfIconSmall UndeadNightElf Male.gifIconSmall UndeadNightElf Female.gif Darkfallen
IconSmall Skeleton.gifIconSmall SkeletalOrc.gif Skeleton
IconSmall Abomination.gif Abomination
IconSmall Wraith.gif Wraith
IconSmall Geist.gif Geist
IconSmall Zombie.gif Zombie
Ghoul Ghoul
IconSmall Gargoyle.gif Gargoyle
Leper gnomeLeper gnome Leper gnome
  Formerly IconSmall Val'kyr.gif Val'kyr
Character classes

WoW Icon update.png Death knight, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior
Apothecary, Assassin, Dark ranger, Mad scientist, Necromancer

Icon-RPG.png Fighter, Shadow ascendant, Spymaster, Lightslayer
Capital Orgrimmar (in exile)
  Formerly The Undercity †
Other major settlements Andorhal, Deathknell, The Sepulcher, Tarren Mill, Sludge Fields
  Formerly Brill †
Language(s) Gutterspeak, Common, Thalassian, Darnassian,
Orcish, Goblin, Zandali
Sub-group(s) Forsaken's military
Affiliation Horde, Cult of Forgotten Shadows
Status Active
Tabard Undercity Tabard.jpg

“Those who do not stand with the Forsaken stand against them. And those who stand against the Forsaken will not stand long.”

Sylvanas Windrunner

The undead Forsaken[1][2] (or simply the Forsaken or Undead)[3][4] are a race[5][6] and a faction[7][8] of intelligent undead who broke away from the Scourge and took control of much of the kingdom of Lordaeron,[9] destroyed during the Third War by the death knight Arthas Menethil. The Forsaken were formerly led by their founder, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas. Their capital was the Undercity, in the royal catacombs beneath the ruins of the capital city of Lordaeron, until it was destroyed and abandoned at the start of the Fourth War.

While comprised primarily of undead humans, the Forsaken are a diverse faction that include several different races at their biological core. However, they have all assumed their racial identity as "Forsaken," due to their shared goals and loyalties.[10]


When the Lich King's grasp on his vast armies faltered after the Third War, a contingent of undead broke free of their master's iron will. Although this freedom seemed to be a blessing at first, these former humans were soon tormented by memories of the unspeakable horrors that they had committed as mindless Scourge agents. Those who did not descend into madness were faced with a chilling realization: the entirety of Azeroth sought their destruction.[11]

In their darkest hour, the renegade undead were rallied together by the former ranger-general of Quel'Thalas, Sylvanas Windrunner. Defeated during an attack on her kingdom and transformed into a powerful Scourge banshee, Sylvanas had also regained her freedom from the Lich King. Under their new queen's guidance, the independent undead – known as Forsaken – established the Undercity beneath the ruins of Lordaeron's capital. While some Forsaken feared Sylvanas, others valued the security she provided. Many of the free-willed undead, however, found a purpose to their cursed existence through the banshee queen's burning desire to destroy the Lich King.

Despite not being affiliated with the Scourge, the Forsaken came under threat from humans who were dedicated to eradicating all undead. As a means to further her own goals and protect her budding nation, Sylvanas sent emissaries to various factions in search of allies. The kind-hearted tauren of Thunder Bluff proved to be the most promising contact. Specifically, Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem saw the potential for redemption in Sylvanas' people, even though he was fully aware of the Forsaken's sinister nature. Thus, the tauren convinced Warchief Thrall, despite his misgivings, to forge an alliance of convenience between the Forsaken and the Horde. In the end, the Forsaken's chances of victory against the Lich King were bolstered, while the Horde gained an invaluable foothold in the Eastern Kingdoms.[11]


Third War and aftermath

Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken.

During the Third War, the once-glorious capital of Lordaeron, Capital City, was decimated by a Scourge army under the command of Prince Arthas Menethil. Death offered no escape for the scores of humans killed during the Lich King's campaign to scour the living from Lordaeron. Instead, the kingdom's fallen were risen into undeath as Scourge minions and forced to wage an unholy war against everything and everyone that they once held dear.[11]

In the wake of Illidan's failed attempt to melt the icy continent of Northrend, the powerful energies possessed by the Lich King inside his Frozen Throne slowly began to decay. Inexorably this resulted in a partial loss of control of the more distant Scourge forces. The result was that many undead under the Lich King's mental domination had their conscious will restored. Their spirits and memories were somehow returned to their undead bodies. Even the Lich King's champion, Arthas, began to weaken as the Lich King's power waned. Arthas the death knight and his lieutenant Kel'Thuzad the lich were suddenly thrust into an undead civil war. Still fanatically loyal to the Lich King, Arthas heeded the call of his master and returned to Northrend as Illidan launched his second attempt to destroy the Lich King directly. Arthas left Kel'Thuzad in command of his forces when he departed.

The Forsaken move into the Ruins of Lordaeron.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner rallied half of the standing undead forces in Lordaeron and staged a coup for control over the undead empire.[12] With their leader's sharp cunning and the assistance of their banshees, the undead forcibly coerced a number of lingering forces in Lordaeron to fighting their battles with them; such as gnolls, bandits, and ogres. First, the dreadlord Varimathras fell to the Dark Lady, and swiftly sold his loyalty to Lady Sylvanas in return for sparing him. With Varimathras' assistance, the undead forces successfully deposed the leadership of Detheroc and his army, allying with the considerable forces of the mind-controlled Grand Marshal Garithos in order to free Lordaeron from the control of the remaining dreadlord, Balnazzar. Garithos, though despising non-humans, joined forces with the undead and their inhuman allies to this end. Lady Sylvanas promised to leave Lordaeron to his jurisdiction after the battle was won, despite herself never having any intention to respect their pact,[13] and together with their new allies, the undead marched to end Balnazzar.

With their combined forces, the undead and the Alliance resistance dismantled the final bastion of the dreadlords' power in Lordaeron, and Varimathras personally destroyed his nathrezim brother. No sooner had Garithos demanded that the Forsaken leave the land that Sylvanas promised him when she turned on him and executed the human leader; claiming the ruins of Lordaeron for the free-willed undead instead.[14]

With her immediate enemies dealt with and the ruins of Lordaeron firmly in her hands, Lady Sylvanas proclaimed her faction of self-aware undead as the "Forsaken," and resolved to slaughter anyone would dare stand in the way of their dominion.

Following this, Queen Sylvanas and the Forsaken claimed the Undercity as their own and completed the winding network of catacombs and crypts that the Scourge had begun constructing. Today, rivers of poisonous sludge flow through all avenues of the vast Undercity. The toxic fumes and fetid odors permeating every corner of the stronghold have made it a place almost unbearable for the living members of the Horde. Yet for Sylvanas and her cursed followers, the Undercity has become a much-needed refuge in a world where her kind is still feared and hunted.[11]

While the Forsaken had claimed a base of power, their hold on Lordaeron was tenuous at best. To this end, the Dark Lady looked to finding allies.

Alliance with the Horde

Emerson Zantides, a Forsaken priest.

Led by the banshee-queen Sylvanas, the Forsaken are an Undead faction that split violently with the Scourge during the Third War.[15] Sylvanas worked to ensure that the damned such as herself would have a home free from threats by the living. As a means to further her own goals and protect her budding nation, Sylvanas sent emissaries to various factions in search of allies. The kind-hearted tauren of Thunder Bluff proved to be the most promising contact. Specifically, Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem saw the potential for redemption in Sylvanas' people, even though he was fully aware of the Forsaken's sinister nature.[11] Knowing that no Human agency would ever give them shelter or aid against the Scourge, now their hated enemy, they turned to the savage Horde, based across the sea in the distant land of Kalimdor, for assistance.[15]

To convince the Horde to accept the Forsaken into its alliance, the Undead ambassadors claimed that they merely sought a cure for their degenerative condition, which they said only the powers of shamanism and the life-giving energies of the earth could provide. In exchange for this healing aid, the Forsaken vowed to support the Horde in all of its ventures throughout Lordaeron and Azeroth.[15] Magatha Grimtotem also claimed she merely wanted to aid the Forsaken in their quest to finding a path back to being human and was thus one of the prominent proponents for the alliance between the tauren and the Forsaken.[16]

Having done battle with the Undead on many occasions, Orc warchief Thrall and Tauren chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof of the Horde were immediately suspicious of the Forsaken's motives. However, due to growing political tensions, the warriors acquiesced to a council of sages known as The Earthen Ring. The council argued that it was the Horde's duty to aid the Forsaken, who wrestled with inner demons just as the Orcs had for generations.[15]

Thus, the tauren convinced Warchief Thrall, despite his misgivings, to forge an alliance of convenience between the Forsaken and the Horde. In the end, the Forsaken's chances of victory against the Lich King were bolstered, while the Horde gained an invaluable foothold in the Eastern Kingdoms.[11] Though Thrall and Cairne secretly suspect the worst, it remains to be seen what Sylvanas and her fanatical Forsaken have planned....[15]

The Darkspear trolls are not particularly fond of the Forsaken because of their shaman beliefs,[citation needed]  but tolerate them and have learned to trust them in times of war.

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

Nathanos Blightcaller, the champion of the Banshee Queen.

As the primary Horde force in the Eastern Kingdoms, the Forsaken went about dealing with a number of their surrounding enemies. New free-willed undead, freed by Lady Sylvanas, were inducted into the Forsaken's ranks and assisted their new (and old) people in the tasks set before them within Tirisfal Glades. For years this blighted area has been home to Queen Sylvanas and her Forsaken, as well as the remaining vestiges of the Scarlet Crusade. Their zealots, bent on wiping out any and all undead from Azeroth regardless of affiliation, have long been a thorn in the Forsaken's side. Recently, the Argent Dawn has offered assistance to Sylvanas' people against the Crusaders' constant harassment in eastern Tirisfal Glades. In addition, the Forsaken have begun a fresh march on their enemy's stronghold – the Scarlet Monastery – in an effort to finally secure their homeland from external threats.[11]

Concurrent with securing the immediate regions pertaining to Lordaeron, the Forsaken turned their attention to numerous conflicts neighboring their kingdom. The humans and dwarves of the Alliance, the perennial enemy of their Horde allies, remained at large on the continent. The Forsaken launched several offenses against their new enemies, resulting in the conflict for resources in Arathi (which the Defilers were tasked with securing) and a number of conflicts around Hillsbrad Foothills, Alterac Mountains and the Plaguelands arose. Furthermore, the Forsaken began research into a certain form of plague that could be used against the Scourge (and ostensibly, the living). The Royal Apothecary Society rose to meet this goal, and has been conducting a number of low-key experiments ever since.

Nathanos Blightcaller, the Champion of the Forsaken, was liberated by Lady Sylvanas herself from the Scourge.[17] After they had proved themselves to the queen, the Blightcaller tasked Forsaken members with killing the beast that had taken his life, retrieving a document pertaining to both his and the banshee queen's time as living comrades from a lodge of exiled elves, and assaulting the Scarlet Crusade's primary power-base in Lordaeron.

The Burning Crusade

Bc icon.gif This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

"Spider Legs" McGillicutty, a Forsaken warrior.

The blood elves of Quel'Thalas, newly invigorated by the returned magisters and the new powers at their disposal, went about reclaiming and rebuilding their ancient capital and expelling the Scourge from their lands. Lady Sylvanas, who had lost no love for her homeland even in death,[18] offered numerous methods of support to her former people and was a strong supporter of their acceptance into the Horde. Together with the sin'dorei, a regiment of Forsaken troops assisted their elven allies in reclaiming much of the Ghostlands, including the town of Tranquillien. The Forsaken also assisted the blood elven Blood Knight order in forging a stone of great power to wield against the Scourge; their intimate knowledge of the Lich King's grasp proving an essential component in its creation.[19]

The Forsaken continued their research into their progressing plague in Outland, where numerous apothecaries such as Apothecary Azethen took and experimented with a variety of new ingredients for Forsaken uses.

During the Scourge Invasion, the Forsaken dealt with curing the plague while the Church of the Holy Light pledged itself to destroy the Scourge's necropolises.[20]

War against the Lich King

A Forsaken outpost in Northrend.

Andarius the Damned, a Forsaken warlock.

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

As the Lich King began to make his presence known to the inhabitants of Azeroth, the Forsaken came ever closer to achieving their vengeance upon the despoiler of Lordaeron. The Forsaken were one of the major powers in the war against the Lich King.

Antoine Brack, a member of the Argent Dawn and a champion of the Forsaken, was captured by the death knights of Acherus of the Scourge.

Lady Sylvanas moved to and from the frozen wastes of Northrend, and oversaw the construction of a proper Forsaken town within the region of Howling Fjord. One of the new Forsaken camps in Northrend is New Agamand, where most of the Royal Apothecary Society's members took up residence to finish perfecting the plague to unleash upon the Lich King. Lady Sylvanas had been methodically and patiently overseeing the creation of this contagion for several years now, and it seemed the time at last had come to test it.

During the Lich King's initial attack on the cities of the Horde and Alliance, a renowned apothecary named Grand Apothecary Putress set up camp in Shattrath to counter the Lich King's own spreading plague. After numerous stages of experimentation, Putress succeeded in forming a counter-agent and curbing the spread of the plague of undeath. For his efforts, he gained favor within the Forsaken's ranks, and Sylvanas dispensed him to assist the Horde advance into Northrend. Both Sylvanas and Putress were present during the Scourge attack on Orgrimmar, and the Dark Lady assisted Thrall, Garrosh Hellscream, High Overlord Saurfang and several adventurers in fighting the invaders off. Nevertheless, the attack convinced Warchief Thrall to commit to a Northrend campaign, much to Sylvanas' approval.

The Forsaken were one of the major superpowers to advance on Northrend. While the main Horde force attacked and conquered regions of Borean Tundra, the Forsaken fleet (comprised of customized Lordaeron ships dredged up from the ocean)[21] laid siege to Howling Fjord. Coming under the banner of the Hand of Vengeance, the Forsaken army tasked with delivering apt revenge against Arthas, the queen's navy swiftly crushed the Alliance Northwatch fleet and cornered them on the shores of the Fjord. No sooner had the Forsaken began their assault, however, had the Lich King turned his gaze back to his former servants: Prince Valanar offered the Forsaken commander High Executor Anselm the chance to renounce his fealty to Queen Sylvanas and return to the Scourge's embrace. However, Anselm swiftly disposed of the san'layn prince, and had adventurers slay him for his insolence in making mock of the queen and killing his men.[22]

The Hand of Vengeance also waged a war against the vrykul, and the Royal Apothecary Society's field-testing plaguebringers drenched a number with a potent strain of blight in order to test its final stages of production.

Their efforts would come to a head during the events of Dragonblight, where the Forsaken stationed at Venomspite and Agmar's Hammer perfected the final strains of the plague brought over from New Agamand. The Forsaken also came into conflict with their old enemy the Scarlet Crusade, now dissolved and reformed into the Scarlet Onslaught.

However, just as the hour of the Forsaken was to approach, tragedy struck. During the battle for Angrathar the Wrathgate, Grand Apothecary Putress and renegade plaguebringers made their appearance. After questioning the newly-arrived Lich King as to whether he thought the Forsaken had "forgotten" or "forgiven" him for what he had done, Putress drenched the battlefield in a massive strain of blight, causing huge losses to the collaboration of Horde and Alliance forces present. The blight was so powerful, in fact, that Arthas himself was brought to his knees. The Lich King fled back to Icecrown, and Putress was left to cackle triumphantly at the destruction wrought on by the plague.

Putress' actions were outside the orders of the Forsaken and, concurrently with the Wrathgate attack, Varimathras had usurped control of the Undercity. Sylvanas barely escaped with her life and her loyalists, and the Forsaken were taken in by Thrall while they planned their next move. In a conversation with Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall and Sylvanas reveal that Putress had allied with the treacherous dreadlord in order to depose the Dark Lady's rule. Despite this, Jaina warns them that King Varian Wrynn nonetheless holds them responsible, and is considering leading an army into the Undercity in order to reclaim Lordaeron for the Alliance. Unwilling to abandon the Undercity to the traitors, Sylvanas, Thrall, and Vol'jin lead a Horde counterattack in order to remove Varimathras from power and restore the Undercity to the Forsaken. After fighting their way through a Burning Legion-controlled Undercity, the Banshee Queen and the Warchief succeed in killing Varimathras and retaking the Royal Quarter. As they prepare to strike at Putress, however, King Varian enters and declares his intention to end it all there. Before the battle can increase in intensity, Jaina swiftly teleports the Alliance forces out of the Undercity, resulting in a successful Horde restoration.

Though the Undercity had been restored to its rightful masters, the repercussions of the Wrathgate have hounded the Forsaken relentlessly. Their abomination guardians were either removed or relegated to the sewers, and Kor'kron overseers were deployed to watch over the Forsaken from that point forward. Thrall's trust for the Forsaken seems to have become thinner than ever, and their credibility in the eyes of the wider Horde has also suffered.[23]

With the Undercity securely back in Horde hands, Lady Sylvanas personally made her way into Northrend in order to claim vengeance upon Arthas. Together with her dark rangers, the Banshee Queen infiltrated Icecrown Citadel and fought her way through to the Halls of Reflection, where she came face-to-face with the blade that took her life. After Arthas successfully fought her off, however, Sylvanas was forced to face her inability to defeat her greatest foe alone.

With the combined efforts of the Argent Crusade and the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Lich King finally fell. However, with his death, a void was left - while Sylvanas and the Forsaken had existed solely to claim their vengeance, the Dark Lady could only ponder what was left for them.[24]


Val'kyr loyal to Sylvanas raise new Forsaken.

Lilian Voss as a newly raised Forsaken.

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

As it happens, the Forsaken - having successfully partaken in the fall of the Lich King - have turned their attention to other pursuits. For one: the complete conquest of Lordaeron. Now, along with being mistrusted by her own allies, Sylvanas recognizes that many of Azeroth's other inhabitants still see her people as a threat, even after the Lich King's defeat. As their numbers dwindle by the day, the Forsaken have begun fortifying their holdings around the Undercity, working to prove their loyalty to the Horde's cause even as they ready themselves for any future attacks.

After the Lich King's death, a number of the more intelligent former Scourge members were accepted into the Forsaken's ranks by Queen Sylvanas. Some of them, the Val'kyr, have brought with them a new age for the Forsaken: the ability to "procreate" via their necromantic abilities, bolstering their numbers. The second generation Forsaken are individuals who were raised into undeath by these Val'kyr.

The risen dead of the new Forsaken generation are given a choice of what to do after they are reborn. Some of them, such as Valdred Moray, accept their fate, and seem keen to make themselves useful and serve the Forsaken in death. The resurrected Prince Galen Trollbane seemed resigned to the fate that befell him and while not particularly enthusiastic about killing his former allies,[25] he personally gave the quests to slay them for the good of the Dark Lady.

On the other hand, others do not react so positively. Lilian Voss reacts in horror to what she had become, and Marshal Redpath, not happy with his fate, attacks Deathknell after the transition. Some of the new Forsaken simply kill themselves on the spot. Dumass is perhaps the most extreme case of how the process can strip away rational thought and intelligence.

After the Cataclysm, the Forsaken launched an offensive against Gilneas, after being ordered by Garrosh Hellscream to do so. The Forsaken appear to be taking on a more offensive stance regarding the war with the Alliance, and with their new ability to bolster their ranks, their stranglehold on Lordaeron has become tighter than ever. The Forsaken have also began to fortify their own territories, stepping up from their previous preferences of run down human-esque buildings in favor of their own architecture, seen briefly in Northrend.

Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.

Forsaken activity on Draenor is in Warspear and Horde Garrison, alongside other members of the Horde. Forsaken "ambassador" is Captain Fennick, <Recruiting Officer>, and he can change orcish garrison guards to Frostwall Deathguards.

Benjamin Gibb ventured into Spires of Arak as Sylvanas's agent. He explored Admiral Taylor's Garrison and later joined the Garrison Commander as a follower.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

With the beginning of the Burning Legion's third invasion on Azeroth, the dying Warchief Vol'jin chose Sylvanas as the new Warchief of the Horde. During the invasion, various Forsaken joined the class orders and aided them in the fight against the Legion. Meanwhile, a group of Forsaken known as the Queensguard clashed with the Gilneas Brigade over control of the Warden Towers across the Broken Isles, going back and forth over control and attack of each tower. During the Legion Assaults of Val'sharah, it is possible that the garrison at Starstalker's Point is overrun by the Legion and slain.

Battle for Azeroth

The Forsaken defending Lordaeron Keep during the Battle for Lordaeron.

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

While Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner was preoccupied with running the Horde in Orgrimmar, several individuals from the Forsaken set up the Desolate Council as an interim-government for the Undercity in the Dark Lady's absence. Some within the Desolate Council were dissatisfied with the Forsaken's strict culture of forgetting their past lives and enforced continued undead existence; they had hoped to one day convince Sylvanas to institute reforms. When King Anduin Wrynn proposed a Gathering in order to reconcile the humans of Stormwind with their Forsaken relatives, Sylvanas gave it her permission on the stipulation that the Desolate Council help organize it and be its sole Forsaken participants. However, the Gathering ended in tragedy. Calia Menethil had incited the Forsaken participants of the event to defect to the Alliance, which elicited Warchief Sylvanas's slaughter of all the Forsaken participants and Calia to curb any sedition to her authority. While the Alliance buried the Forsaken that were killed at the Gathering at an Arathi graveyard, Sylvanas has used the failed reunion to further alienate the Forsaken from their human counterparts.[26]

Sylvanas later convinced the Horde that they need to take the initiative now that Azerite threatened to shift the balance of power between the Alliance and Horde. Thus the Horde instigated the War of the Thorns to sow discord among the Alliance and coerce the Alliance into submission. Although the Horde successfully conquered the night elven lands, Varok Saurfang had failed to kill Malfurion Stormrage, which Sylvanas believed was integral to killing the Alliance's defiant spirit. Sylvanas then ordered the burning of Teldrassil in order to inflict a terrible wound on the Alliance and give the Horde a chance to win the Fourth War.

As expected, the Alliance retaliated by attempting to reclaim Lordaeron Keep during the Battle for Lordaeron. Despite the Horde's best efforts, the Alliance routed the Horde from the city. Saurfang who disapproved of Sylvanas' dishonorable tactics, was left alone to be captured by the Alliance. Rather than let the Alliance claim Lordaeron as a stronghold, Sylvanas had rigged all of the Undercity and Lordaeron Keep to be blighted. Having fled from their home, the Forsaken Refugees that were evacuated before the battle were forced to settle in Orgrimmar.

The Forsaken stand adamantly as Sylvanas loyalists throughout the Fourth War, with her using her psychologically manipulative tactics to ensure they remained angry and spiteful towards the Alliance and, eventually, towards Saurfang's loyalists as well, and with her eliminating any Forsaken who attempted to break away. The Forsaken recouped their losses by raising slain night elves into undeath. After discovering that Tyrande Whisperwind had become the Night Warrior and her forces had returned to Kalimdor to reclaim the night elves' lost lands, the Forsaken were sent to oppose them during the Battle for Darkshore.

During the Fourth War, Sylvanas would employ extreme tactics such as raising Derek Proudmoore into undeath and depriving him of free will to use as a weapon against the Alliance. Such tactics did not sit well with individuals such as Thomas Zelling since free will was what distinguished Forsaken from the Scourge. Thomas Zelling aided in Derek Proudmoore's escape to Alliance lands, which subsequently led to Sylvanas executing him for treason.

Ultimately Sylvanas betrays even the Forsaken, denouncing them, like the rest of the Horde, as 'nothing' and abandoning the majority of them. This leaves the Forsaken without a home or a leader, and now, like the rest of the Horde, they have an uncertain future of their own to find. Lilian Voss eventually stepped up to represent her people, serving as an interim representative for the Forsaken in the newly formed Horde council that would lead the Horde in place of the Warchief, though she notes she will only do so until a more viable leader steps forth to take the reins of their people's fate.

Culture and people

A Forsaken warlock.

A Forsaken mage.

“Do not shy from dark paths, if those paths lead to victory.”

— Forsaken proverb[27]

The Forsaken capital of Undercity is always awake, just like the Forsaken themselves. The city is a place of dark, somber colors, stone walkways, and steps. The Undercity has inns, forges, and businesses that cater not only to the undead, but visitors from the Horde, with whom the Forsaken have allied themselves. There are some illuminations in the form of dim lamps and muted torches. These sources of light are not merely there to serve the living; though the undead have no true need of light, it perhaps gives Undercity's chief inhabitants a facade of some other existence.[28]

The Forsaken navy is composed of ships dredged up from the bottom of the ocean. Most of them were once among Lordaeron's fleets.[29]

There are some among the Forsaken who read tea leaves in order to divine the future.[30]

According to the Deathguards, black, grey and dark purple are the prescribed colors.


While most Forsaken are loyal to the Undercity and their Banshee Queen, there are different cases. Leonid Barthalomew looks at his undeath as a malady and an illness that merely requires treatment, hence his loyalties to the Argent Crusade. Archbishop Alonsus Faol simply continued to serve the Light, becoming a true neutral member of the priestly Conclave instead of repledging loyalty to the Alliance or joining the Horde.

Free will

Upon first being raised, a process called "the Gift",[31] a Forsaken does not have free will. It takes more concentrated magic to release an undead's mind.[32] Free will is one of the cornerstones of Forsaken culture, with the great capacity for both good and evil that it entails. However, some undead, especially those who die in combat or under extreme stress and are raised soon after, enter into a violent, frenzied state. Undead in this state are easily manipulated and their rage is often directed at the foes of those who raised them. After the effects wear off, if the risen corpse has not been destroyed, they are given the same ultimatum that other Forsaken are offered: join the Dark Lady or return to the grave.[33] Psychological pressure can also be used to turn freshly-raised undead to the side of the Forsaken instead of the one of their former allies.[34] Once sufficient duty has been given, all it takes to be released from Sylvanas' command is a respectful asking. Though she demands loyalty, she would not hold her agents in thrall.[35]

Each Forsaken member follow their queen for various reasons: fear, loyalty, no where else to go.[36]

The Forsaken were strongly discouraged from revisiting places they had loved in life. Their home was no longer Lordaeron but the Undercity. Sometimes books from outside were confiscated, and it was stated that there was no need to remember their human history as only the history of the Undercity mattered. After Sylvanas became Warchief, the Desolate Council was established to fill the power vacuum left with Sylvanas dealing with the Horde on Kalimdor. Except that, the Council was a response to these strict rules; for their needs were not being met. They also felt that Sylvanas needed to stop forcing them to live again if they did not wish to.[37]

True death

True death is the harshest punishment exercised in Forsaken law — in essence, an execution. Warden Stillwater and his followers were sentenced to true death for turning some Forsaken into mindless zombies, threatening their way of life.[38][39] True death appears to be reserved for criminals who have committed high treason against the Forsaken's leadership, like Grand Apothecary Putress, proved themselves a threat to the Forsaken's way of life, or taken up arms in rebellion against the Forsaken, like the Rotbrain undead[citation needed]  or the ones who ran with Calia away to the Alliance side during the Gathering.[40]

In Thalassian, "Bash'a no falor talah!" means "Taste the chill of true death!" which is a threat generally directed at undead.[41] Sylvanas said this when defending Silvermoon from Arthas during the Third War.[42]

Last Death

The experience when a Forsaken accepts his or her death willingly is called the Last Death.[31]


Sister Rot, a Forsaken priestess.

Some still adhere to their old faiths, such as the Holy Light.[43] However, the Cult of Forgotten Shadow was created through the (re)discovery of the teachings of bishop Natalie Seline by Forsaken priests in Lordaeron after the capture and refurbishing of the Undercity. Shadow priests generally do not practice openly, and not all members are Forsaken, although they formed the cult.[44]

Priests of the Forgotten Shadow believe that the faiths they held in life have failed them.[45] They instead turn to dark energies to accomplish their goals.[44] They teach that there must be a balance between Light and darkness,[44] and members of the cult must know the Light as well.[46]

Some Forsaken priests continue to wield the Holy Light.[43][46] While it is possible for them to use or be healed by the Light to its full effect like any living humanoid, it is accompanied by intense pain, making it require notable willpower to suffer through.[47] Though painful, this does not cause any actual harm or damage on their undead bodies, even over long periods of time. In fact, some Forsaken with persistent contact with the Light over many years have even started to experience a return of their senses, which is not a pleasant experience given their rotted state.[21]

Scarlet Commander Marjhan also retained her paladin abilities after becoming a risen.

The Forsaken believe that without a purpose, even beasts of burden suffer in undeath.[48]


A Forsaken spellcaster tearing apart the soul of a night elf.

Undercity is the home of the Forsaken. They also have control of Tirisfal Glades and Silverpine Forest and have several towns in the regions.

Though the Forsaken do not trust anyone and no one trusts them, they are members of the Horde and, for now, do their best to help their allies and placate their ambassadors. Forsaken have even less love for the Alliance, particularly because they clash constantly with the human organization called the Scarlet Crusade.[49]

The only other Horde faction they even have a semblance of trust with is Silvermoon City and the blood elves.[50] This is probably because Sylvanas was a high elf ranger in life and finds trust in her former companions. The Forsaken and blood elves even took control of the village of Tranquillien in the Ghostlands to fight the Scourge in the area together.

Recently, the Forsaken gained a new enemy in form of the Gilneas people. While Sylvanas is now shown to cooperate with the High King of the Alliance, old hatred with the worgen will escalate in Stormheim.

Relations with the Horde

A Forsaken rallying his allies.

Convinced that the primitive races of the Horde can help them achieve victory over their enemies, the Forsaken entered an alliance of convenience with the savage orcs and the proud tauren.[51] Yet, they didn't hesitate to quietly kill prisoners of war, or experiment on and kill their own new allies if it suited their needs.[52][53]

Their position in the faction later solidified, given that they were able to sponsor the blood elves' entrance into the Horde. This was strained by the events at the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate, in the following quests it is revealed that Grand Apothecary Putress's actions were not very well received among most of the city's denizens. This seems to suggest that the Forsaken consider themselves part of the Horde now, or are at least upset by the limitations his failure has placed on them. The Forsaken appear to be more or less loyal to the Horde,[54][55][56] but still have their own machinations.[57][58][59] Some in the Horde are uncertain of their true intentions.[56]

Because of bad reputation after the events of Wrathgate, the warlock Felgrim was once attacked by two orcs.[60]

Relations between the Forsaken and the Horde are shown to remain strong in the aftermath of the Fourth War as shown when Thrall told Voss that "The Horde is not the Horde without the Forsaken.[61]

The Grimtotems

In Direhorn Post there is Apothecary Cylla with her direct documentation and proof of an alliance between the clan and the Forsaken.

It's unknown whether the pact continues after the betrayal of Varimathras and Putress and after Magatha's exile.


Forsaken speak Gutterspeak,[62] also simply known as "Forsaken". Forsaken also learned Orcish.

Some Forsaken forgot how to speak Common after being raised back from their graves.[63]


The majority of Forsaken have taken new given names or surnames for themselves. They do so to mark their rebirth; to cast aside their old identities and to take pride in their new lives and the roles they play in their unified society.[64] Known instances are Nathanos Blightcaller, born Marris, and Vellcinda Benton, born Elsie.

  • Male names: Coleman, Dannal, Darnell, David, Sedrick.
  • Female names: Anette, Gretchen, Isabella, Karla, Maressa.
  • Family names: Williams, Farthing, Trias, Dedmar, Calston.

A cure for undeath?

Many of the other races (mainly the tauren) pity the Forsaken and a number of Horde healers all over Azeroth, such as Bena Winterhoof, work tirelessly in the hopes of creating a cure for undeath. Some of the Forsaken feel that their undeath is an illness or curse and long for a cure, but many think it is impossible to attain one.

There are tauren that wish to help the Forsaken like the Elder Council of the Earthen Ring.[65]

It seems that Magatha Grimtotem wanted to help the Forsaken. According to her, the tauren ways may restore the undead back into humans.[16]

Notable leaders

History WC3tFT-logo.png WoW Icon update.png Bc icon.gif Wrath of the Lich King Cataclysm Mists of Pandaria Warlords of Draenor Legion Before the Storm Battle for Azeroth Shadowlands
Leader Sylvanas Windrunner Sylvanas Windrunner & Desolate Council Sylvanas Windrunner Lilian Voss (as interim representative on the Horde Council)

Notable members

Name Role Affiliation Status Location
Neutral  Sylvanas Windrunner The Dark Lady, Former Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, Former Warchief of the Horde Independent Active Various
Neutral  Nathanos Blightcaller Former Ranger Lord of the Forsaken, Champion of the Banshee Queen Independent Deceased Various
Horde  Master Apothecary Faranell Leader of the Royal Apothecary Society Royal Apothecary Society, Undercity Active Apothecarium, Undercity
Horde  Alexi Barov Heir to House Barov Horde Active Draenor
Neutral  Grand Apothecary Putress Former leader of the Royal Apothecary Society, traitor of the Forsaken Burning Legion Deceased Apothecarium, Undercity
Neutral  Varimathras Former majordomo and lieutenant of Sylvanas Windrunner, Head of the Deathstalkers, and

Arch Lord of the Undercity; traitor of the Forsaken

Burning Legion Deceased Various
Horde  Lilian Voss Daughter of High Priest Voss trained to hunt undead from birth, Representative of the Forsaken on the Horde council Horde Active Various
Neutral  Galen Trollbane Fallen Prince of Stromgarde, declared independence around the time of the Burning Legion's third invasion Stromgarde Deceased-Killable Stromgarde Keep, Arathi Highlands
Neutral  Lord Godfrey Former Gilnean nobleman, committed high treason against the Forsaken Independent Deceased-Killable Various
Horde  Ranger Captain Areiel Captain of the dark rangers in Howling Fjord Dark rangers, The Hand of Vengeance Deceased Ghostblade Post, Howling Fjord
Horde  Dark Ranger Velonara Led the Horde against the remnants of Scarlet Crusade Dark rangers, Undercity Active Various
Neutral  Alonsus Faol Archbishop of the Conclave Conclave Active Various
Horde  Thomas Zelling Tidesage who was terminally sick before he made a pact with the Forsaken Horde Deceased Various
Horde  Derek Proudmoore Former Crown Prince of Kul Tiras Undercity Active Various
Horde  Belmont Deathstalker Commander Deathstalkers, Undercity Active Various
Neutral  Sira Moonwarden Dark Warden Independent Active Various
Horde  Delaryn Summermoon Dark Ranger Captain Dark rangers, Undercity Active Various
Horde  Calia Menethil Councillor to Lilian Voss, Champion of the Conclave Undercity Active Various


Plague Demonsoul, a Forsaken warlock.

The Forsaken banner.

A new Forsaken banner.

Since their independence from the Scourge, the Forsaken have created different military organizations:

They also include different types of undead and units within their ranks:


Abominations mostly serve the role of soldiers and guards, though there are exceptions to this.[66] Some abominations have risen as high as the rank of sergeant.[67]


Apothecaries, serving under the Royal Apothecary Society and based in the Apothecarium of the Undercity, are a crucial part of the Forsaken society. They are the innovative force behind the Forsaken Blight. They can be found across the whole of Azeroth and beyond, trying to find ways to improve the blight. Forsaken Blightspreaders are mad scientists who as their name implies, spread the Forsaken blight.


Many banshees can be found within the ranks of the Forsaken, as most of them were followers of Sylvanas Windrunner in life, so they are in undeath.

Dark rangers

Sylvanas Windrunner, being one herself, employs many dark rangers under her service. Initially, almost all of these elite agents are high elf women raised into undeath, just like the Banshee Queen herself. There existed at least one exception, Nathanos Marris. Nathanos however, has recently been training a new generation of Forsaken rangers comprising of undead humans, making the undead racial composition more diverse.[68] Following the War of the Thorns, the Forsaken raised numerous slain night elves as Kaldorei Dark Rangers.[69]

Dark Wardens

Following the War of the Thorns, several night elven wardens were slain and raised to undeath. Embittered that Elune and the night elves had allowed such a fate to befall upon them, Dark Wardens such as Sira Moonwarden now serve the Forsaken to get vengeance.

Death knights

The Forsaken have also brought death knights into their ranks.[70] The death knight Koltira Deathweaver is referred to as "her majesty's top death knight".

Deathguards and dreadguards

Deathguards and dreadguards make up the bulk of the Forsaken military force, mostly serving as soldiers on the front lines or as guards in Forsaken settlements.


Deathstalkers are an organization of Forsaken rogues, serving as secretive agents of the Banshee Queen's will.


The Executors are officers within the Forsaken army. They seem to perform different tasks of military and civil nature, like commanders, lieutenants, captains or even region governors and city magistrates. Apparently, as military top officers, they also have medium-control over members of the Deathstalkers that are working in their area of influence. They are the most skilled warriors and fighters within the Forsaken ranks, acting as strategists and leading the Dark Lady's military actions to victory.

Forsaken trooper

Forsaken troopers consists of the freshly raised undead created by the necromantic powers of Sylvanas Windrunner's Val'kyr. The Forsaken Trooper serve as basic infantry, and have been raised from the fallen humans on the battlefield. Most recently, this new army "recruited" from the peoples of Silverpine and Hillsbrad. Forsaken Troops replenish the whittling armies of the Forsaken, whose numbers cannot be compensated without an act of reproduction.


The Shadowstalkers are spies — whose job description includes assassinations — and are in Northrend by orders of Varimathras.[71]


There are two well-known necromancers who joined the Forsaken — Gunther Arcanus and Helcular, the former apprentice to Kel'Thuzad.


In Cataclysm, after the death of the Lich King, several Val'kyr became "unemployed" and made a pact with Sylvanas to raise more Forsaken and bolster their numbers. At the time of the Silverpine quests, the Val'kyr could only raise humans into undeath.[72] However, Sylvanas later indicated that she can raise other races during the Siege of Orgrimmar. Dave Kosak said she could always grow in power down the line.[73]

Other members

The Forsaken include numerous other races and types of undead. Notably, at least three leper gnomes are seen existing within the Forsaken empire. The level of trust such beings receive is dubious, though one is referred to as having "bent the knee" to the Dark Lady, thus making him "one of us." There is also at least one wraith within the ranks of the Forsaken,[74] two zombies,[75][76] and at least one orc skeleton.[77]

Mounts and pets

Michael Garrett, the flight master of Undercity, with his bats.

Forsaken mainly use skeletal horses as ground mounts and bats as flying mounts. As a means of transportation, they also use carriages pulled by subjugated ettins.

They keep pets such as the undead blighthounds and the magical darkhounds.[78] Jeremiah Payson sells pet cockroaches to his fellow Forsaken.

When fallen heroes are raised into undeath, so too are their horses.[79]

Through the years, the Forsaken have grown a kinship with the spiders of Hillsbrad and have managed to domesticate and breed them. Spiders now serve them as regular household pets and beasts of battle.[80] The Forsaken loathe bears, but through ingenuity they have devised a way to make use of them. They use the living bears at their spider farm as living egg feeders. Their spiders lay their eggs in the bear flesh and the eggs thrive off of the meat and blood of the beasts.[81]


Note that the information included here is regarding the common Forsaken undead. It may differ from individual to individual, as a banshee cannot be expected to have the exact same biological properties as a skeleton.

Forsaken are commonly 5–6 feet tall, scrawny, and gaunt. Their skin is deteriorating, and their hair is unkempt. Both males and females have a variety of decomposing figures.[82] Forsaken come in all stages of death, from freshly slain or partially rotting to almost mummified.[83]

Forsaken, similar to certain other undead,[84][85] have Ichor of Undeath running through their bodies, which can cause throat tickles.[31] They bleed this green liquid when wounded,[86] though some Forsaken have no blood or liquid running through their bodies at all.[87]

Given enough time, Forsaken may slowly lose their consciousness and devolve into a mindless state. This appears in the form of a chilling sensation, making the Forsaken feel physically cold.[88] However, if a Forsaken's body is kept intact, they could potentially avoid this altogether and live forever.[89]

Forsaken cannot naturally sleep or dream.[28] Forsaken do not require physical rest in the traditional sense,[90] however, from the existence of beds and coffins in Forsaken buildings, and Forsaken innkeepers saying "Rest your weary bones..." it can be deduced that Forsaken most likely benefit from resting, as it possibly helps to preserve their bodies longer.[91]

Forsaken do feel the need to breathe, though they can last at least a dozen days without taking a fresh breath of air.[92] As they are undead, they don't need air to live,[93] and Forward Commander Onslaught claims that he can no longer breathe.[94] This also means it is impossible for them to drown.[95] Most Forsaken speak normally by forcing air through their dead lungs,[96] but some have to speak through magical means due to having harmed jaws.[97]

All Forsaken are capable of eating, but not all Forsaken have a necessity to feed.[98] Forsaken diet consists of mushrooms,[99] corpses,[100] slime molds from the ooze canals of the Undercity,[101] arthropods,[102] and more. According to Deathguards, all food tastes like ashes to the Forsaken. Despite this, they have been known to create alcoholic drinks.[103]

Aside from magical potions, Forsaken can "heal" themselves in numerous ways. To name a few, they can replace their body parts by harvesting and sewing on the body parts of others,[104] eat other humanoids and undead,[105] and drain the life force of others.[106] When the Holy Light is used with the intention to heal a Forsaken, it is immensely painful, yet effective.[107] The Forsaken restoration process requires the stitching or grafting of new sinew, muscle and skin to repair their bodies; and since the Forsaken body does not naturally heal itself, it is the predominant method of keeping Forsaken bodies functional. It should also be noted that a Forsaken's body, or the parts of the body they've grafted onto it, may only be preserved in the same condition as it was found when deceased. Since Forsaken bodies can't grow new muscles, a body part of a new Forsaken will never naturally grow stronger and thus will only improve if one replaces the unsatisfactory body part with another one containing more muscles. The downside to Forsaken undeath is their bodies are henceforth fragile to injury or rot and may require constant body part transplants to maintain.[31] As such, Forsaken generally do not applaud or stamp their feet, as it prematurely wears out their limbs; clapping, in particular, is terrible for their hands.[108]

Decapitation or even dismemberment is not enough to kill a Forsaken, and many times enemies have to burn the remains of a destroyed Forsaken body. Otherwise, it can reattach its limbs and joints by temporarily melting their skin, knitting muscle and clicking bones back together.[109] It should be noted, however, that this ability is considered rare among the undead, and many cannot simply re-attach limbs on their own.[110]

Nature of undeath

The CM Nyorloth supplied information on the nature of undeath on February 9th, 2012 on the European Story Forums, stating:

Death Knights and souls? | 2012-09-02 00:00 | Blizzard Entertainment Nyorloth

The souls of the undead (Forsaken, PC death knights, ghouls, etc.) are imperfectly attached to their bodies; the dark magic that sustains them is a buffer that prevents their souls from properly joining with their bodies. This is why undead feel only faint sensations of pain or discomfort from most physical stimuli, and why the Light is so painful to their existence. The primary exception to this rule are liches, as liches bind their souls to a phylactery and then use the phylactery to generate a physical form; this process is why lich bodies look nothing like their mortal bodies, and also why you have to destroy a lich's phylactery to truly kill them.

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Forsaken who have been raised into undeath or "awoken" as the Forsaken call it, may be terrified, confused, or disoriented by the experience. Part of this stems from being traumatized by witnessing their own skin and body decaying for the first time. Other times, it may be because they were raised with some sort of terrible malady like having only half a brain.[31] Some don't survive the shock, turning into zombies or ghouls. Others retain just enough humanity to seem normal on the outside... but they're sick inside.[111]

Aside from their affliction, undead also suffer from an addiction to terrible vices that the Lich King instilled in them in order to produce vile and inhumane monstrosities. Death knights for example, possess an addiction to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria.[112] Zombies and Forsaken undead have a hungering for living flesh[113][114] and San'layn have an addiction to consuming blood. It is assumed that all undead have some sort of tormenting addiction to coincide with their undeath.

Generally, most enslaved undead are tormented and restless by their subjugation. Some welcome it if it grants them the benefits of eternal life. Many undead who are sentient enough to understand their circumstances appear emotionally dispassionate if not melancholy. The most known emotions that the undead seem to emote are remorse, pity,[115] or rage.[116] Record of undead emoting positive emotions are rare, though there are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath, when influenced by the Holy Light. The drawback however, is that they also become disgusted with themselves and are likely to increase attempts at their own self-destruction; for regaining these senses would force the undead to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.[112] Some take comfort from the happy memories they experienced when they were alive[117] or the bonds they've developed, as demonstrated by the Gathering.

Some of those that freed themselves from the Lich King's grasp are tormented by memories of the unspeakable horrors that they had committed as mindless Scourge agents and are driven into madness or consumed by regret, whereas others embrace their new condition and may go on to indulge in their vile vices. Others don't even remember their time as a mindless slave of the Scourge and so bear no emotional trauma from it at all.[31]

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Forsaken from Manual of Monsters.

The forsaken are humans transformed into the undead, with all the powers associated with the Scourge. They serve the Banshee Queen, Sylvanas, looking to her as their savior for delivering them from the Lich King’s mental dominance. The forsaken dwell within the bowels of the ruins of Lordaeron’s capital city, which they have taken to calling the Undercity. Dedicated to seek vengeance upon the Scourge for damning them to their condition, they strive to undermine the Scourge’s control of Lordaeron.

The forsaken are limited in their ability to reinforce their numbers, having no necromancers among their kind. Instead, these fearless undead warriors are comprised mostly of fighters and warlocks dedicated to building a culture of their own amidst a world that hates and fears them.[118]


Forsaken culture reflects its people; just as the Forsaken stand on the line between life and death, their culture balances between the beliefs each Forsaken held in life and each one's quest for a place in the present. Former healers find this transition more difficult than most Forsaken find it. Priests of the Holy Light in particular struggle to reconcile the philosophy that guided their life with their unfortunate new condition. Some balance their own beliefs with their new forms, but most follow one of two paths." (It goes on to give very brief descriptions of the Forgotten Shadow and the Echo of Life.)[119]

Perhaps the greatest element of Forsaken culture, and their culture's only universal element, is their reverence of death. Every Forsaken respects the dead, and damns those who do not. General society coddles new Forsaken like children, while venerating those who are losing themselves to the Scourge, giving them the greatest comforts before they are put out of their misery. Forsaken treat each other with a measure of respect, as it takes a strong soul to rise, and a stronger soul to not fall to mindless undeath (more on this later). Arthas earns their greatest ire, as the Lich King shows no respect for the living or dead. While Forsaken create undead, they do so with respect to the souls and bodies they use. Life and death is a balance. The Lich King, however, enslaves the dead, stripping their free will. His path is an abomination to the Forsaken.[120]


An apothecary.

Although most of the race is evil,[121] the Forsaken cannot be thought of in purely dualistic terms entirely. Although undead, the Forsaken are still inherently human, the majority of whom were victims of the plague spread by Kel'Thuzad. Thus some of the Forsaken are still good beings, if no longer living. As the above suggests, some individuals among them are capable of a tragic form of nobility, in that they do not allow their inability to obtain redemption to prevent them from trying.

Those that try often leave the Forsaken, seeing its flaws, and join other causes. These Forsaken rebel against their race, seeking a better way to end the Lich King's reign or search for a way to reclaim their lost humanity,[122] while others work to reform it from within, such as Roberick Dartfall.

Leonid Barthalomew the Revered of the Argent Dawn is probably the greatest example of this. (Trevor in fact aspires to leave and join Leonid.) Others that have left include Kegan Darkmar.

It is arguable that such nobility is the only truly genuine form that exists, in that it comes not from duty, religion, or custom, but from a decision born purely of free will.


Shadow ascendant.


Some still adhere to their old faiths, such as the Holy Light.[123]

Even as they believe they have been abandoned by their faith, so have the Forsaken abandoned the faiths of their living days.[49] Many no longer cling to any religion, placing their faith in their queen and their dark science.[49] Most, however, have embraced new philosophies of their own creation: the Forgotten Shadow, the Echo of Life, or the simple value of knowledge.[124] Some have even turned to the Burning Legion as a source of power, believing that only it is potent enough to defeat the Lich King.[49]

The Cult of Forgotten Shadow is largely based out of Deathknell and the warrior quarter in Undercity.[125] Priests of the Forgotten Shadow believe that the faiths they held in life have failed them, and so they instead rely on the power and teachings of the Shadow.[126][127] The members of the Cult vary between lawful and chaotic, evil and neutral,[128] and are taught to eradicate anything having to do with the Holy Light — and life in general.[citation needed]  It is also a philosophy of divine humanism.

Priests of the Forgotten Shadow teach that there must be a balance between Light and Shadow, and while they should never forget that they are from the Shadow, members of the cult must learn the Light as well.[129] Being intelligent undead, the Forsaken fully understand the limitations and vulnerabilities associated with unlife. One of these disadvantages is that they can be turned, rebuked or even commanded by powerful positive or negative energy forces. Naturally, the Forsaken are always on the lookout for ways to limit or negate this vulnerability.[130]

The figure wore the robes of a priest of the Holy Light - not uncommon among the Forsaken, who mocked the order by wearing their garments and allowing the sacred robes to be soiled and tainted by their bloody work. Somehow, Andarin sensed, this figure was different; the robes seemed to be in almost tolerable condition, even if the body wearing them was not.[131] "You wear the robes of a priest, Trevor. Why do you not channel the Light in battle, if you seek redemption?" The priest seemed to wince at that. "While I refuse to wield the shadow, the Light has refused me, or so it seems. And so, I am truly a broken man; I learned to wield spears of Light like Uther's knights did in the Second. Without the Light, I am unarmed and unarmored -- but not entirely helpless, as you see." Andarin couldn't help but feel a little sorry for the fallen priest, if his story was true. Perhaps a man, no matter how virtuous, could not channel holy power while in such a form."[132]


Forsaken, unsurprisingly, look like dead people. Their skin is gray and rotting, showing bone and flesh in places. Their pupil-less eyes glow with dim, white ghostlight. Their muscles are withered, making them scrawny. Their movements are slow but jagged. Forsaken hardly ever smile (unless their lips have rotted away - in which case they can appear to be smiling all the time). Necromantic magic keeps them somewhat preserved, but natural decay still proceeds, just slower than normal.[49]

Necromancers in the Forsaken ranks

The Dark Lady, Sylvanas Windrunner, realized how valuable necromancy was to their cause. Though Forsaken heal naturally, many go to the priests of the Forgotten Shadow for "repairs". Necromancers can also free enslaved, mindless undead and research powerful spells that might one day return the Forsaken to life. Sylvanas knew she needed necromancers to heal, strengthen and replace her people, and she set about wooing necromancers away from the Scourge, mainly by force.[133]

The Forsaken are desperate for the powers of a necromancer. As such they tried to stop Linnena Hallow and to convert her students to their side.[134]

A cure for undeath?

Forsaken with an undead soul can be brought back with raise dead and reincarnate. The spells work normally on them. Resurrection, true resurrection and similar effects restore them to their undead life rather than to the being they were before they became undead. A Forsaken's body of this type is undead… and so is its soul, corrupted and changed to such a degree that it belongs to its new body now, rather than its old one.[135] Forsaken priests have the power to restore those foolishly slain in battle, though only to unlife. Nothing short of a miracle can return true life.[136]


Like their Dark Lady, Forsaken tend to keep the names they had when they were alive. If a Forsaken cannot remember their name or simply wish to change their name; they may make up a suitable name or read one from a headstone. Some invent surnames that imply their desire to eradicate the Scourge or about their undead nature.[137]

  • Male names: Roberick, Magan, Danforth, Lansire.
  • Female names: Yellen, Limmy, Sarias, Mierelle.
  • Family names: Dartfall, Blacksling, Ghoulhunter, Blastlich.[49]

Notes and trivia

The Chinese Forsaken models do not show bones. This option was later added in Shadowlands to all regions, with a slightly decayed version as pictured here and a fully fresh version without any skin blotches.

  • The Forsaken almost didn't make the cut as a playable race in World of Warcraft due to the designers' animation workload and limited resources.[138][139] There was talk of axing the undead during development, but the suggestion was so unpopular that the debate was postponed until the producers had a better idea of how much work could be handled. At the time, Warcraft III's storyline hadn't yet solidified, and Chris Metzen wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the undead. According to Johnathan Staats, a lot of the designers simply wanted to be able to play as an evil, "badass monster", rather than simply a misunderstood plagued human, but in the end the Forsaken ended up around the center of the spectrum. At the time, the team also referred to the undead as Scourge; since they hadn't yet played through Warcraft III, they didn't quite understand that the Scourge and Forsaken were separate factions. Many also wanted to use Scourge-like buildings for the playable undead, but the burned-out human buildings proved easier to make.[138] Despite talk of cutting the playable Forsaken, the animators committed to them near the tail end of the project and doubled their efforts to give them all the player character animations they needed. Staats cites this effort as likely being the main reason for why playable Forsaken made it into classic WoW.[139]
  • In China, most bone and gore related depictions are censored. This affects the Forsaken models as they do not have any bones showing. This option was later added to all regions in Shadowlands as a customization option.
  • Forsaken in the Shadowlands expansion can have different eye colors in-game but originally only appeared with yellow glowing eyes.


  • Undead are culturally inspired by zombie motifs in media and other undead, particularly 19th and 20th century media, and ghost-like creatures in folklore, as well other elements from the United Kingdom.


Cinematic stills

See also


  1. ^ Stormrage, chapter 10
  2. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 17
  3. ^ Races of World of Warcraft
  4. ^ World of Warcraft: Game Manual
  5. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded
  6. ^ Annual 2015
  7. ^ Bloodsworn, intro
  8. ^ Trag saga, summaries
  9. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 125
  10. ^ Apprentice Crispin"... he's bent the knee to the Dark Lady, so that makes him one of us."
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Forsaken. Races of World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment.
  12. ^ World of Warcraft manual, pg. 165
  13. ^ Dreadlord's Fall (WC3 Undead) - Sylvanas Windrunner says: Of course not. The humans are simply a means to an end.
  14. ^ A New Power in Lordaeron (WC3 Undead)
  15. ^ a b c d e [1]
  16. ^ a b H [52] Delivery to Magatha
  17. ^ Dark Mirror
  18. ^ Meeting the Warchief
  19. ^  [Scourgebane]
  20. ^ Bishop Lazaril#Quotes
  21. ^ a b Ask CDev - Round 2 Answers
  22. ^ H [10-30D] A Score to Settle
  23. ^ Glory
  24. ^ N [30] Sylvanas' Vengeance
  25. ^ H [10-30] The Forsaken Trollbane
  26. ^ Before the Storm
  27. ^ H [23] The Flying Machine Airport
  28. ^ a b Knaak, Richard A.. Stormrage, 56. ISBN 978-1439-18946-7. 
  29. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
  30. ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 27
  31. ^ a b c d e f Before the Storm, chapter 19
  32. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 20
  33. ^ Ask CDev - Round 3 Answers
  34. ^ H [50] A Stroll Through a Cemetery - Lilian Voss says: You are one of us now. They will not accept you., said to Captain Amalia Stone after being killed and raised by the Forsaken.
  35. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 169
  36. ^ Loreology on Twitter (dead link)
  37. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 12
  38. ^ H [7-30] Freedom for Lydon
  39. ^ H [7-30] A Blight Upon the Land
  40. ^ Before the Storm
  41. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Thalassian
  42. ^ The Fall of Silvermoon
  43. ^ a b World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: March of the Legion. Blizzard Entertainment. 12: Chancellor Velora:"The Light rewards faith, not form.".
  44. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4
  45. ^ H Priest [1] Hallowed Scroll, World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment. Tirisfal Glades. Dark Cleric Duesten: "...the Holy Light no longer concerns you, the spirits of your forefathers are fairy tales, and creatures from the Nether don't want you.".
  46. ^ a b H IconSmall Undead Male.gifIconSmall Undead Female.gif Priest [4] Garments of Darkness, World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment. Tirisfal Glades. Dark Cleric Beryl: "But before you can know the dark, you must also know the light.".
  47. ^ Ask CDev - Round 1 Answers
  48. ^ Mount Journal entry for Red, Black, Blue and Brown Skeletal Horses.
  49. ^ a b c d e f "Undead, Forsaken", World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game: 51-53. 
  50. ^ Forsaken and blood elves start as Friendly to each other, but Neutral to the other Horde factions
  51. ^ World of Warcraft manual, pg. 188
  52. ^ Thersa Windsong
  53. ^ Infiltrator Marksen
  54. ^ H [5-30] The Warchief Cometh
  55. ^ Siege of Orgrimmar
  56. ^ a b Races of World of Warcraft: Undead. "While Sylvanas maintains that her loyalty to the Horde is undiminished, some of the faction's members are uncertain about her true intentions."
  57. ^ Garrosh Hellscream (tactics)#Horde perspective
  58. ^ BlizzCon 2013 World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues
  59. ^ War Crimes, chapter 16. "We can reshape the Horde in our image."
  60. ^ Bloodsworn
  61. ^ Shadows Rising, chapter 1
  62. ^ World of Warcraft Battle Chest Guide
  63. ^ Dan Golthas#Quotes
  64. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 20
  65. ^ H [38D] Compendium of the Fallen
  66. ^ Gordo
  67. ^ Sergeant Gorth
  68. ^ H [10-45] Making the Rounds
  69. ^ H [50] Dark Ranger Round-Up
  70. ^ H [15-30] The Battle for Andorhal
  71. ^ H [10-30] Untold Truths
  72. ^ H [5-30] Lessons in Fear
  73. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2013-12-09)
  74. ^ Ophelia Montague
  75. ^ Algernon
  76. ^ Boyle
  77. ^ Tsimonh
  78. ^ Billie
  79. ^ Mount Journal entry for Ochre, Green, Red, Purple, Forsaken and White Skeletal Warhorses
  80. ^ H [7-30] Glorious Harvest
  81. ^ H [7-30] Past Their Prime
  82. ^ World of Warcraft: Official Beginner's Guide, pg. 49
  83. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 32
  84. ^ N Priest [52] The Ichor of Undeath
  85. ^
  86. ^ A playable Forsaken character bleeding green
  87. ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 96
  88. ^ H [1-30] The Chill of Death
  89. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2012-09-29)
  90. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 170
  91. ^ Innkeeper Norman
  92. ^  [Diving Log]
  93. ^ Loreology on Twitter (2013-11-19)
  94. ^ H [5-30] Losing Ground
  95. ^ Ga'trul's Logs
  96. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 164
  97. ^ Knaak, Richard A.. Stormrage, 58. ISBN 978-1439-18946-7. 
  98. ^ H [7-30] Stagwiches
  99. ^ H Cooking [10-60 Daily] Escargot A Go-Go
  100. ^ Lieutenant General Orion's dialogue with Dark Cleric Malod
  101. ^ H Fishing [10-60 Daily] Time for Slime
  102. ^ H Cooking [10-60 Daily] Roach Coach
  103. ^  [Undercity "Skull Shocker"]
  104. ^ H IconSmall Undead Male.gifIconSmall Undead Female.gif [1-10] The Wakening
  105. ^ [Cannibalize]
  106. ^ [Touch of the Grave]
  107. ^ Bloodsworn, pg. 86
  108. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 22
  109. ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, pg. 220
  110. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 163
  111. ^ H [1-10] Assault on the Rotbrain Encampment
  112. ^ a b Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
  113. ^  [Dual-Plagued Brain]
  114. ^ Baron Ashbury#Quotes
  115. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
  116. ^ Lord Walden#Quotes
  117. ^  [Belamoore's Research Journal]: "But Kegan was very eager to speak on other subjects, particularly his time growing up in Lordaeron before its fall."
  118. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 137
  119. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87
  120. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 151
  121. ^ "The Problem of Evil, and Other Philosophical Conundrums", World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game: 53. "Most Forsaken are pretty despicable, and their motivations as a race are evil and destructive." 
  122. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 173
  123. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87: "Magic in the Horde" - "Priests of the Holy Light in particular struggle to reconcile the philosophy that guided their life with their unfortunate new condition. Some balance their old beliefs with their new forms, but most follow one of two paths."
  124. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87 - 88: "Magic in the Horde"
  125. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 154: "Forsaken Knowledge"
  126. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow": "They felt that the Light forgot them, and turned to the Shadow instead."
  127. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 87 - 88: "Magic in the Horde": "Forsaken who feel betrayed by the Holy Light's failure to protect them sometimes find that turning their backs on the Holy Light is not enough; they throw aside the Holy Light and embrace its dark twin out of spite."
  128. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow": "Alignment: Lawful evil, though chaotic neutral and neutral evil individuals are just as prevalent."
  129. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 160: "Cult of Forgotten Shadow"
  130. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 126: "Technological Devices"
  131. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 170
  132. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 173
  133. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 90
  134. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 190
  135. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 37
  136. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 161
  137. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 52
  138. ^ a b Countdown To Classic: Episode #63 – The Making Of World Of Warcraft With Vanilla Dev, John Staats (2:25:25) (2018-08-20). Retrieved on 2018-09-25.
  139. ^ a b MMO-Champion 2018-09-24. John Staats Interview - The World of Warcraft Diary (1:12:15). YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-09-25.
  140. ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Through the Dark Portal. Blizzard Entertainment. 314: A Donation of Silk., Official TCG Artwork.
  141. ^ Pick Pocket, Official TCG Artwork.
  142. ^ Tithe, Official TCG Artwork.
  143. ^ Samuel Harrison, Official TCG Artwork.
  144. ^ Edward "Hack" Robinson, Official TCG Artwork.
  145. ^ Thomas "Slash" Robinson, Official TCG Artwork.
  146. ^ Cedric Darwin, Official TCG Artwork.
  147. ^ Emerson Zantides, Official TCG Artwork.
  148. ^ Omedus the Punisher, Official TCG Artwork.
  149. ^ Panax the Unstable, Official TCG Artwork.
  150. ^ Gut Shot, Official TCG Artwork.
  151. ^ Edgemaster's Handguards, Official TCG Artwork.
  152. ^ Combustion, Official TCG Artwork.
  153. ^ Melissa Gerrard, Official TCG Artwork.
  154. ^ Psychic Shriek, Official TCG Artwork.
  155. ^ Bloodbane's Fall, Official TCG Artwork.
  156. ^ Jon Reaver, Official TCG Artwork.