You’re dead. It’s cool, you’re used to it by this point. But once upon a time, you were alive. Where?
The vast majority of the undead are humans from the old kingdom of Lordaeron. While others do exist (there are a small but measurable number of high elves who became undead, and some humans or dwarves from other kingdoms may also have been afflicted) the overwhelming majority of the undead are the former subjects of King Terenas Menethil II.
Lordaeron was mostly an agrarian society, with the majority of its citizens being farmers of various descriptions. However, no society is so monolithic as to only have one profession available for everyone. Other lives were available. Below is a list of places where a Forsaken may have lived, along with notes about how you may have lived, and how you most likely died.
Brill, Tirisfal Glades.
History: Brill is one of the first villages you encounter if you play a Forsaken in World of Warcraft, and it was one of the first villages found by Arthas as well when he was investigating the plague. At this time it was a small town based on agriculture (you can find the farms to the North of Brill) and owing loyalty to the House of Barov, who owned the land there. As such, the majority of its citizens were farmers and shopkeepers of various types. Rural and wide-open, someone who grew up in Brill is likely to be something of a ‘country boy’ or ‘country girl’, used to dealings with a small group of people you know well. Anonymity is an unusual concept to someone from Brill; your shopkeep was also your neighbour.
Possible professions include: Farmer, local constable, seamstress, blacksmith, leatherworker, village priest, innkeeper.
Destruction and Death: Brill was the first place the Burning Legion and Kel’thuzad began experimenting with the plague to see how effective it would be. A quiet plague swept through the outer reaches of the village, affecting those on the farms surrounding the town proper. Isolated and alone, these people died and returned as zombies. However, the intervention of Arthas and the destruction of the plagued granary saw the town survive this initial attack. It would only be later, when Arthas declared himself king and slaughted his people, that Brill was finally destroyed. As such, an undead from Brill could well have been one of the first undead of the Scourge, or could have seen the entire story of Arthas’s fall, and experienced the horrors of his betrayal.
Andorhal, Western Plaguelands
History: Andorhal was one of the largest towns of Lordaeron, a bustling town of merchants based on the fact that it was a crucial shipping point for grain throughout the empire. As such, it had a booming economy and was able to support a very wide variety of people. Unfortunately, this also made it the crux of the Scourge’s plans. If you want your Forsaken to have had a more specialised career, this is probably your best bet. Your average citizen of Andorhal was used to a small town urban existence; they were used to bustle and a very large number of people moving through whom you’d never see again. There was probably a real ‘insider’ mentality against the numerous visitors, who probably made up half the population at any one time.
Possible professions include: Farmer (Andorhal did have farms to its north), merchant, banker, teacher, clockmaker, toymaker, craftsman, innkeeper, small time criminal or con man (visiting merchants were definitely good marks), blacksmith, town priest, doctor.
Destruction and Death: As noted, Andorhal was a key point for the Scourge to take early on, however, once the grain had been shipped out from its silos, it lost importance. Arthas fought and slew Kel’thuzad here, and most of the town was saved. Your forsaken character may well remember the battle. Like Brill, it was only destroyed when Arthas returned and put it to the sword himself.
Hearthglen, Western Plaguelands
History: Hearthglen has one of the proudest histories of any town in Lordaeron. A military town (one of the few that never fell to the orcs during the Second War) it was supported by a mix of local farmers, metalsmiths and soldiers. The town was not quite as large as Andorhal, but it was not just a small village like Brill. As such, it has a fairly urban lifestyle, but probably a more ordered and governed one than the freewheeling merchant-town that Andorhal was, with less mess, more rules, and of course more soldiers. (Remember that military towns tend to be occupied by family members of serving soldiers, so there’s a pervasive reach of military ethics even outside of barracks.) Hearthglen is probably the best location to die in if you want your character to have been a soldier in life.
Possible professions include: Soldier, farrmer (yes, again), blacksmith/armorer, innkeeper, military chaplain, entertainer, ‘entertainer’.
Destruction and death: Continuing the pattern with the last three, Hearthglen was hit hard by the Scourge in the first wave of the plague, and then destroyed by Arthas after his ascension to the throne. However, unlike the others, Hearthglen was more hit by the Scourge than the plague; Arthas arrived here before the plague did and mounted a heroic effort to hold off a massive wave of Scourge zombies and liches. This is likely a terrifying memory for anyone who lived here – And the betrayal of Arthas later likely stung all the more. As such, Hearthglen has a terrific combination of trained soldiers and bitter desire for vengeance; it’s a fantastic choice if you want to really explore the Forsaken/Scourge division.
Stratholme, Eastern Plaguelands.
History: The ‘second city’ of Lordaeron, Stratholme was a shining jewel of Lordaeron, second only to the capital itself. Originally built on the edge of Darrowmere Lake, this was a drilling town, the chief supplier of oil to the kingdom. As such, it was a tempting target for orcs in the Second War, and indeed it was destroyed by them. However, the people did not give up on it, and rebuilt the city further inland. It’s a classic industry city, different to the more cosmopolitan Lordaeron City; more gritty and tough. (Think Manchester vs. London, or Detroit vs. New York.) This isn’t to say you couldn’t play a more artistic type from there (New Wave came out of Manchester, Motown out of Detroit) but it none the less was a city of workers. If you came from here, you’re likely comfortable with getting your hands dirty.
Possible professions include: Guardsman, metalworker, old driller, refinery worker, shopkeeper, priest, teacher, leatherworker, innkeeper, doctor, lawyer or judge.
Destruction and death: Stratholme marks the point where the cities began to be destroyed on the first run through, rather than Arthas’s return. As is well known, Arthas found Stratholme only after it was truly plague-infected, and raised the city to the ground, murdering thousands rather than wait for them to turn into the undead. If you died here, it was almost certainly due to either the plague (and being thrown straight into battle with Arthas) or, more likely, murdered by the very soldiers you expected to protect you. While this may provide a very nasty hatred of Arthas and the Scourge, it could as easily manifest as a distrust of all authorities.
Darrowshire, Eastern Plaguelands
History: A small town nestled in the mountains in South-East Lordaeron. Not a great deal is known about its activities before the Third War, although given its location and the hardiness of the residents, I’m willing to guess at it having been a mining town. More isolated than Brill, this may well have been a creepy town even before the Scourge’s arrival, and I’m willing to guess at a large amount of paranoia about outsiders, at least. None the less, these people put up one of the toughest fights the Scourge got in Lordaeron.
Possible professions include: Miner, machinist, innkeeper, town priest.
Destruction and death: Eventually, the forces of the Scourge found Darrowshire. While early attacks were fairly half-hearted, the surprising resistance its fighters put up against them eventually merited greater attention. The Scourge sent out one of its most powerful monsters, Horgus the Ghoul, and one of its most clever leaders a Death Knight named Marduk. Lordaeron in turn sent paladins lead by a town local, Davil Crokford. Eventually, however, the battle was lost when foul magics corrupted the leader of the town’s militia, turning him into a force of destruction. The Scourge overtook the town, and all died.
Corin’s Crossing, Eastern Plaguelands
History: Probably the most prosperous farming town in Lordaeron, Corin’s Crossing was known as the “Breadbasket of Lordaeron”. As such, it was a fine target for the plague, and it fell swiftly as the plague spread.
Possible professions include: Farmer, local constable, seamstress, blacksmith, leatherworker, town priest, innkeeper.
Destruction and death: We honestly don’t know a lot about it, but if the grain was infected before it reached Andorhal (which seems likely) then Corin’s Crossing is the most likely infection point for the entire kingdom. It seems likely the town died to the plague and the zombies that arose from the plague. It’s a classic small town horror scenario.
Tyr’s Hand, Eastern Plaguelands.
History: A fortified military town in the North-East of Lordaeron, Tyr’s Hand was founded by religious pilgrims of the Holy Light, beset by Forest Trolls. It was a very religious town, but also a bustling centre of commerce: It was the main point of trade between Lordaeron and the high elven kingdom of Quel’thalas. It was thus most likely a very strong town for academia as well; I imagine a strong number of religious schools as well as a great deal of cultural and intellectual exchange with the nearby high elves. The interplay of strong religious faith and powerful magic from the elves probably also created a very interesting place to live.
Possible professions include: Priest, altar boy, minor religious officer, merchant, shopkeeper, diplomat to the Quel’dorei, mage, interpreter, teacher, scribe.
Destruction? None. Tyr’s hand was attacked but never fell to the Scourge, however, the constant attacks, the destruction of Quel’thalas and the subsequent collapse of its economy pretty much signalled the death of the town anyway. Many people likely fled the town anyway under the attacks, hoping for safety in either Stratholme or the capital. Any of them could have died in the journey and become undead.
Caer Darrow, Western Plaguelands.
History: Caer Darrow is one of the oldest places in Lordaeron and was the seat of the House of Barov, the most wealthy family in Lordaeron who weren’t royalty. The Barovs owned land from Hillsbrad through to this spot. Citizens here lived in the shadow of (both literally and figuratively) the Keep of Darrow. There would have been an eclectic mix of farmers around the keep who worked the land owned by the Barovs, and artisans who created materials for them. Yet the constant paranoia about the strange Barov family likely made it a terrifying place to live.
Possible professions: Artist, farmer, sculptor, potter, cleaner, maid.
Death and Destruction: Hoo boy. Here’s what happened: The Barovs, greedy for power, cut a deal with Kel’thuzad. The resulting deal saw the town turned over to them for foul experiments and torture, while the keep became Scholomance. Truth be told, there aren’t likely many Forsaken from Caer Darrow, because nobody got out. If you were from Caer Darrow, you likely fled the town before the worst happened. Head over to the surroundings of Scholomance and talk to the ghosts for the full story, it’s one of the most genuinely horrific touches in the World of Warcraft.
Lordaeron City, Tirisfal Glades
History: The jewel of the human empire, Lordaeron (the city, but also the name of the Kingdom) was built as a city of kings, where thewars and possessiveness could be put aside in favour of higher thought and expression. While it was originally heavily dominated by industry, the original vision of the lords who built it was finally realised as the industrial needs of the nation shifted toward Stratholme, and the city was constantly built greater and ever more grand. This was a city of philosophers, political thinkers and artists; it had a distinct lean toward the cosmopolitan and free-thinking. Those humans who lived in it were used to a very high level of population density and a wild diversity of opinion and lifestyle; a genuine Renaissance city. It was also the political hub of the empire, ruled by a king but with significant input from local lords and magistrates, with a lot of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.
Possible professions: Any number of artists or musicians, philosopher, politician, political aide, spy, innkeeper, shopkeeper, merchant, doctor, priest, teacher.
Destruction and death: After facing innumerable assaults from the Scourge, all repelled, the city rejoiced when Arthas Menethil, its crown prince, returned victorious over the Scourge’s leaders.
He slaughtered his own father in his court.
And the murder began.
(Lordaeron City is, of course, now the Undercity. Next up, Silverpine, Hillsbrad, and the unknown!)