The Cipher of Damnation

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For the Burning Crusade quest, see N [70G5] The Cipher of Damnation. For the Warlords of Draenor quest, see N [100] The Cipher of Damnation.
  • The Cipher of Damnation
  • Quest Item
  • Unique
  • Use: Unleashes the ancient words at the Altar of Damnation in Shadowmoon Valley.
  • "Herein lies the words of the eternal."

The Cipher of Damnation is a powerful warlock spell used to corrupt and dominate the power of the Elements. It was kept as a tome that was later scattered into three fragments. The cipher is seen during quests in Shadowmoon Valley and the alternate timeline Tanaan Jungle. The cipher is ancient; the Apexis had writings about it located in Kra'nak.[1]


This item is provided, and is an objective of, the quest N [70G5] The Cipher of Damnation.


During the Genocide of the draenei, the mad warlock Gul'dan needed to sever the connection the orcs had with the elemental spirits of Draenor to ensure their demonic corruption would be complete. He used the Cipher of Damnation on the mighty fire elemental Cyrukh the Firelord. Using Cyrukh's power, Gul'dan ensured the orcs could no longer hear the spirits and corrupted the land. In the process, a massive volcano called the Hand of Gul'dan was raised at the site of the ritual and the once pristine Shadowmoon Valley become vile with demonic corruption. Many orc shamans, even former shamans like Oronok Torn-heart, perceived a profound sense of loss within themselves as they felt the severance.

After the orcs left Draenor to invade Azeroth, the cipher itself was left behind in Gul'dan's quarters in Karabor. When Illidan Stormrage became the new Lord of Outland, he discovered the cipher in the Black Temple. Not wanting the past to repeat itself and potentially saving it for himself for later use, Illidan separated it into three pieces which he gave to three of his lieutenants: Veneratus the Many, a Coilskar tribe naga, and Ruul the Darkener.[2] With the help of an adventurer and his sons, Oronok Torn-heart recovered the fragments and used it to call for the now-insane and corrupted Cyrukh the Firelord to at last put the elements at peace.[3]

Alternate Draenor

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

On the alternate Draenor, Gul'dan of that world ordered both Kilrogg Deadeye of the Bleeding Hollow and Shadow-Lord Iskar of the Sethekk to search for pieces of the Cipher.

Gul'dan later discovered the hidden location of the Cipher at the Vault of the Earth after one of the Guardians of the Vault was captured and tortured by the Fel Horde. The Lord of the Shadow Council and his agents proceeded by traveling to the Vault and slaughtering almost all of the Guardians, before claiming the Cipher and traveling to the Corrupted Refuge in the shadow of the Throne of Kil'jaeden. Gul'dan intended to use the Cipher to empower the elemental lord Cyrukh, driving it insane before unleashing to ravage Draenor, but he was foiled by the combined efforts of the commander, Drek'Thar, Exarch Yrel and the former Shadow Council lieutenant Oronok Torn-heart. The Cipher was then shattered into four pieces; three were collected by the shaman to be scattered across Draenor whilst the fourth piece went unnoticed.


It is constructed by combining its three fragments:

Upon completing the quest, this  [Letter from Shattrath] is received:

Letter from Shattrath


The Cipher of Damnation is indeed a powerful incantation. Ancient and chaotic, the cipher itself has been responsible for many tragedies in the history of our worlds. That is to say, it is not unique to Draenor.

The burning symbol you saw was the mark of Kael'thas. His knowledge of the ancient words explains much.

Your discovery has roused the naaru. A'dal has requested your presence in Shattrath City. Should you choose to come, seek me out at the Terrace of Light.

Humbly Yours,


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External links