I've got writers block for my RWBY fanfic and thought it'd be a good time to make an attempt at one of these. I thought it'd be more fun to start with Gul'dan instead of Thrall or Arthas, who I've wanted to see in DB since I started watching. But first I'd like to do shout outs to @ultraguy for answering my question about writing these a while ago, @Electrocole because the way he writes his made me think it'd be fun to try one out and @TheAncientOne because the charts he made helped me consider similarities when thinking about who I'd like to see a character fight. If I do anymore of these, I'll try to put pictures in, but I'm not 100% sure how to do that at the moment. Sorry if this is running a bit long, I'll get to Gul'dan.
The world of Azeroth, and by extension the Warcraft universe in general, is host to some truly intimidating villains. These include god-like beings capable of cutting planets in half, near infinite demonic hordes seeking to destroy the universe, Lovecraftian horrors who's sole purpose is to drive said god-like beings insane, and armies of the living dead seeking to destroy all life. You'd think that with forces like that in the universe a single man who's only motivation is a selfish drive for power would be of little consequence. And yet the orc warlock Gul'dan has proven himself time and again to be a deadly foe.
Gul'dan was born in a small village on the world of Draenor. Born with physical handicaps that prevented him from walking far without the support of a walking stick, he wasn't able to assist his tribe on hunts or much else for that matter. And while the tribes shaman attempted to help Gul'dan find his place in the world, his physical handicaps and arrogant belief that he was destined for greatness eventually drove his people to exile him.
Against all odds, Gul'dan survived the unforgiving wilderness of Draenor, managed to avoid devolving into a pale orc like many lost orcs before him, was gifted the power to wield the elements by the elemental spirits of Draenor, and became the apprentice of the elder shaman of the Shadowmoon clan, Ner'zhul, the closest thing the orcs had to a spiritual leader. So he was evidently right all along about that destiny thing. Unfortunately, Gul'dan didn't escape ridicule for his small stature or his physical limitations. They simply said it behind his back rather then to his face.
Gul'dan wanted the power to make the world grovel before him in the same way he'd been made to his entire life, but the path of the shaman is one of humble and controlled use of a power that is never truly the shaman's. As luck would have it for Gul'dan, the demonic Eredar lord Kil'jaeden turned his attention to the backwater planet in his quest to wipe out the cosmic nomads known as the Draenei. Kil'jaeden first approached Ner'zhul and the other major shamans disguised as the spirits of the orc ancestors in hopes that he could drive them into a genocidal war with said space goats. And it worked for a little while, but Ner'zhul had doubts about the whole thing from the get go and Gul'dan knew it. So when Ner'zhul secretly went to the sacred mountain/crashed spaceship that the souls of all dead orcs traveled to after death, yes this is real, Gul'dan followed and eavesdropped on Ner'zhul's conversation with the real ancestral spirits. Where Ner'zhul was horrified by what he'd done, Gul'dan saw a way to get rid of his master and get the power he'd always desired. So he rushed back to the Shadowmoon camp, warned Kil'jaeden about what Ner'zhul learned and was promptly promoted.
Kil'jaeden taught Gul'dan how to wield the powers of both shadow and fel flame, allowing him to become one of the first mortal warlocks since the War of the Ancients nearly 10,000 years prier. Gul'dan took this knowledge and taught it to shamans from the other clans, and subsequently began the process of destroying every part of orcish culture that didn't contribute to his new masters war. Gul'dan's used the warlock's magic to artificially age orcs between the ages of 6 and 12 into adults to increase the number of soldiers, elevated the Blackrock chief Blackhand as a puppet Warchief, and performed genertic experiments on captive Draenei in hopes of creating a hybrid that had the strengths of both their people and an orc. This is on top of fanning the flames of hate for the blue skinned aliens that the orcs had begun to develop since the war started. One long war later, the Draenei were down to their last city Shattrath and Gul'dan was told by Kil'jaeden to have the orcs drink the blood of the Pit Lord Mannoroth, binding the orcs to supernatural slavery to the Burning Legion forever, or until Grom Hellscream killed Mannoroth about 20 years later, but you get the point. And as a reward for his faithful service doing something Kil'jaeden had failed to do for nearly 25,000 year, the demon lord abandoned Gul'dan as the city fell to the rampaging orcs.
Gul'dan found himself with nothing to show for his efforts but a planet overcrowded with blood crazed warriors and that because of a combination of the pollution created by the war and over use of the life consuming fel magic was rendered incapable of supporting the orcs increased population. And Gul'dan knew that sooner or later, the orcs would turn on him without something to sate their blood lust on. Again luckily for Gul'dan, he caught the attention of someone that had a mission for him. This time it was Sargeras, or rather it was the human mage Medivh, who was possessed by Sargeras at the time. Sargeras offered Gul'dan both god-like power and new worlds for the orcs to conquer. While Gul'dan didn't trust Sargeras, he also didn't have any options, so he said yes and began building the Dark Portal. Once complete Gul'dan unleashed the Orcish Horde against the human nation of Stormwind. Gul'dan also sent his Orc/Draenei hybrid Garona, now magically altered to appear as an orc/human hybrid, to spy on Medivh, hoping to find out more about the power he was promised.
As the war dragged on, Gul'dan got impatient and decided to take matters into his own hands. He established a physic link with Medivh. He learned the location of a tomb under the sea that housed the power Gul'dan wanted. But...Gul'dan's luck began to run out. For starters while his mind was linked to Medivh, the human mage was killed by Khadgar and Lothar, throwing Gul'dan into a coma for an extended period of time. And either before or during said coma, the Frostwolf chieftain Durotan, who had been exiled from the Horde along with his clan by Gul'dan because he was a persistent thorn in his side, decided to take evidence of Gul'dan's actions to Blackhand's second in command Orgrim Doomhammer with the intent of overthrowing Gul'dan and his puppet Horde. And while Gul'dan's agents in Dommhammer's camp killed Durotan and his wife Draka, they didn't kill Orgrim, who went on to stage a coup against Blackhand, killing the Warchief and tortured Garona for information on Gul'dan's allies the Shadow Council.
Gul'dan woke from his coma with only his apprentice, the ogre mage Cho'gall and a few of his acolytes left alive. So things weren't looking good for him when Orgrim arrived to kill him. But then Gul'dan showed his cunning by manipulating Orgrim into letting him live by using the souls of his Shadow Council members and the bodies of dead human knights to make the first generation Death Knights. Realizing that the orcs needed magic to counter the human mages, Orgrim made probably the worst decision of his life by allowing Gul'dan to live. Gul'dan, Cho'gall, and their followers the Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans begrudgingly served that Horde for a while during the war with the Alliance. But when the Horde was on the verge of victory, Gul'dan took his followers to claim the tomb of Sargeras, and Orgrim sent an army to kill him in retaliation. But he didn't even need to, since the tomb was full of crazed demons that were trapped for the last 10,000 years and they just straight up killed him.
Gul'dan's skull was later claimed by Ner'zhul who hoped to use the memories that were magically bound to it so he could make Dark Portals to other worlds. Gul'dan's skull would trade hands several times over the next 2 decades, eventually passing into the hands of Illidan Stormrage and then the adventurers that killed him. But Gul'dan was indeed dead...until Garrosh Hellscream and a random Bronze Dragon did their best Biff impression and tried to use time travel to create an infinite number of orcish hordes to defeat the Burning Legion. It was a plan that was so logical that it couldn't possibly have any issues. Except that it also allowed Gul'dan to return. In the newly created timeline Gul'dan failed to take control of the orcs and was destined to spend the rest of his life as a living fel battery to power the Iron Horde's Dark Portal. But then a group of adventurers freed him and because they are evidently idiots, they let Gul'dan escape without a fight.
Gul'dan would spend the rest of the Draenor campaign attempting to bring the Iron Horde under the Legions control. After a series of misadventures and humiliating defeats, he actually did it and began the process of reviving Mannoroth and summoning the Eredar lord Archimonde. When Archimonde is defeated, he uses the last of his power to send Gul'dan through the portal to Azeroth. Now guided by Kil'jaeden again, Gul'dan travels to the Tomb of Sargeras to open a massive portal that was built into the tomb during the War of the Ancients, hunted by Khadgar the entire way. Eventually Gul'dan gained the power contained in the tomb and faced a choice, betray the Legion and fight all of Azeroth's champions alone, or open the portal. Gul'dan took the surprisingly more rational path and opens the portal, starting the largest Legion invasion in Azeroth's history. Gul'dan commanded the Legion forces at the Broken Shore, personally executing Varian Wrynn, the king of Stormwind and one of the greatest warriors in the world. Gul'dan would subsequently act as both a field commander and diplomat for the Legion, bringing new and old allies into their forces, commanding the armies as a major leader, and claiming the corpse of Illidan for use as a body for Sargeras. Gul'dan would eventually face off with the same champions that foiled so many of his plans on Draenor. Though they defeated him, it was the newly revived Illidan that would kill him and smash his skull for good measure.
Manipulated Blackhand into being his puppet and ruled the Horde with his Shadow Council for several years.
Conceived of the idea for the original Death Knights and created them in a short time, while his life was in danger.
Raised an island from the bottom of the ocean.
Survived the wilds of Draenor alone and with a limp for an unknown period of time.
Defeated Grom Hellscream with a single spell.
Summoned a Fel Reaver like it was child's play.
Was a match for Khadgar in a one on one duel.
Held his own against the same champions that have defeated beings powerful enough to be called gods for a short time.
Abilities, Equipment, and Skills.
As a warlock, Gul'dan has the potential wield a wide verity of spells using both the elements of shadow and fel fire, though the fel fire acts more or less like regular fire. I'll list a few of the current ones.
Shadow Bolt is one of the most basic warlock spell. It deals direct shadow damage and requires a short time to cast.
Corruption is a damage over time spell that deals continues shadow damage over a short time.
Immolate works similarly to corruption, but deals fire damage rather then shadow.
Doom is a curse that deals a massive amount of shadow damage a few seconds after it's placed on a victim.
Hand of Gul'dan is a spell named for, well Gul'dan himself. It calls a shadowy meteor down on the target that deals both shadow and fire damage and summons several imps to serve the caster for a short time.
Chaos Bolt works similarly to shadow bolt, but will always deal critical damage.
Rain of Fire causes fire balls to fall on an area that's several feet in diameter.
Fear fills the target with supernatural terror. The afflicted is so terrified that they run away from the caster or cower in fear. And unlike similar spells, attacking the target won't break the effect. It can be resisted by magic effects or a strong enough force of will.
Life Drain allows the warlock to drain the life force from the target. In the short term it will heal the warlock and on the long term can artificially age the victim. In addition to this Gul'dan has been observed draining the life from a person by simply touching them.
Warlocks can create a pair of objects known as demonic gateways. This creates two structures at different locations. The warlock can instantly warp from one to the other if they're close enough to one to touch it, though this can only be done once before the warlock has to let the effects on their body to ware off.
Life tap allows a warlock to sacrifice some of their own life energy to regain some of their magical energy. Though it can only be used so often without rest.
Warlocks can summon several types of demons, though they can only control one at a time. Imps throw fire balls at the enemies of their master and even heal them by cauterizing wounds. Voidwalkers are beings a pure darkness that can induce physical pain on a target. This won't actually harm them, but it is generally capable of stealing attention. The succubus is capable of magically "distracting" nearly any sentient being and can turn invisible. Felhounds are wolf-like monster that can eat magical energy, making them ideal minions when fighting other magic users. Felguards are large warriors that carry massive swords. As you might expect, they are skilled in direct combat. An infernal is an artificially created demon made of solid stone bound together by fel fire that can be called down from the sky in a meteor that will temporarily stun anything caught in the crash site. Their fire constantly burns any enemy near them, though they only last for a short time. When a warlock needs to got somewhere fast, they can summon a demonic horse to carry them. And finally, a skilled warlock can temporarily summon a doomguard. These creatures have a more powerful version of shadow bolt, and a few curses that deal damage over time.
Warlocks can create a single soulstone that can magically heal them.
When the need calls for it, a warlock can magically kill a demonic minion to heal themselves. Because these demons souls return to the Twisting Nether, they can be re-summoned with no negative effects.
Gul'dan has demonstrated the ability to restrain an enemy using fel fire. This doesn't deal damage, but it allows him to incapacitate someone.
Gul'dan has the ability to create a shield around himself that appears to be completely impervious to both physical and magical damage, anyone who gets to close is thrown back, and Gul'dan can still use his magic while it's active.
At the Broken Shore, Gul'dan executes Varian using an unnamed spell. This spell allows Gul'dan to create a ball of fel fire in his hand and makes it enter his enemies body, burning him to ashes instantly. Though the spell requires him to be close enough to touch his target, making it impractical for anything other then finishing off a beaten enemy.
While he's weak by the standards of his people and can't walk far without a cane, Gul'dan is still strong enough to lift a full grown orc male off his feet after getting a small boost from his life drain spell. Obviously Gul'dan's not going to win a physical fight against a trained fighter, but he can deal more damage then the average magic user.
At the Broken Shore, Gul'dan demonstrated arguably his most powerful spell when he summoned a Fel Reaver, a several story tall robot powered by fel fire. What's more, Gul'dan summoned it with minimal effort and didn't spend any time casting the spell.
When he first arrived on the Broken Isles he used a spell that made him invisible for a short time.
Gul'dan can't walk very well without a cane or walking stick.
Like all magic users from the Warcraft universe, Gul'dan's magic requires magical energy to cast, most spells can be interrupted by things ranging from a counter spell to a kick in the shin, and any effect that prevents spell casting will render him more or less powerless.
All of Gul'dan's spells are either fire or shadow based, so an enemy that has resistance or immunity to one or both will be able to survive most or all of them with minimal damage.
Gul'dan's life tap spell drains his life and can't be used if he drains to much to quickly.
He doesn't carry any weapons other then his staff, and that's not made for direct combat.
Doesn't wear any armor, only robes.
The damage over time spells don't last very long and need to be reapplied to get the full value.
Summoning a new minion takes a few seconds and dismisses the currant one.
Each minion is specialized for fighting a certain type of enemy, meaning that most of them will be useless or at least far less against enemies that aren't of that type.
Gul'dan's arrogance can lead him to overestimate himself, such as when he tried to fight a demon he mistook for Sargeras.
Zoltun Kulle (Diablo series)
There's not an awful lot of information to go with as far as this guy goes, and his status as a boss that's only fought once might make it difficult to figure out what he's capable of, but I think this franchise is about due to have someone show up in DB or at least DBX. As to what they've got in common. They both are magic users that served a higher power, they both worked in the shadows, they wanted to attain god-like power, and they ultimately betrayed the ones they served in some way. Also they're both from Blizzard properties.
Mannimarco, the King of Worms (Elder Scrolls)
One of the more persistent antagonists in the Elder Scrolls series that's not a Daedra, he's managed to appear in 2 of the main numbered games and Online. They're both magic users that practice what is considered evil magic in their respective franchises, they both served a powerful evil entity at some point in their lives, they both use their magic to conjure minions, and they both played a role in sparking a global invasion by said masters.
Corypheus (Dragon Age)
This is probably the weakest in terms of possibility do to his unpopularity, but I think it's worth considering either way. Both of them were major religions leaders of their people, both were power hungry to a delusional extreme, both of them created a new age of destruction by introducing or creating a new and very warlike race of people into a world, and both caused demonic invasions that nearly destroyed a planet.
Anyone think of a better potential one? I'm all ears since it took me nearly three days of serious thinking to come up with these guys.