Before Risen 3 Edit
Nothing is known about Nekroloth prior to his introduction in Risen 3. He existed as a titan and had been, with others of his kind, imprisoned within the depths of the earth by the gods. It is unclear whether he was a Titan Lord before being released by the Dark Wave. Given the time it took him to move against the world in his own bid for power, two scenarios appear equally likely.
If he were already a Titan Lord, he may have been biding his time, waiting for other Titan Lords to become weakened by their own fighting with each other and with humanity. This would have allowed him to act with very little opposition. If he were a normal titan when he was released, some time would probably have been needed to gain enough power to ascend to the level of Titan Lord and have the forces and strength to begin his assault.
Risen 3 Edit
By the time he began invading the world of the living, Nekroloth was a Titan Lord with immense power. He was able to open several portals from the Underworld to the world of the living, he commanded legions of Shadows, and he released Captain Crow's ghost onto the Southern Seas. And yet, he was not at the strength he needed (or perhaps wanted) to enter the world of the living himself. To reach this, he executed a three-phase plan.
Phase One: Increase the Shadow Army Size Edit
After releasing his Shadow Lords with their armies, he began converting both the dead and the living into servants. The numbers of mindless undead (skeletons, ghouls, minions, guardians, etc.) increased dramatically across most of the Southern Seas as Nekroloth raised them from death to serve him unconditionally. For example, in Risen 2, shadow guardians were confined primarily to temples or crypts of the natives, but in Risen 3 it is very common to encounter these in almost any climate, mostly outside of the sacred sites.
In addition, according to Eldric the Druid, as "people [were] being hunted and killed by Shadows", it was common for the souls to be "removed in order to make them compliant". The Son of Steelbeard was able to remain independent by sheer willpower, although that would only last for a limited length of time. During his travels, he encountered Shax, for whom the separation appears to have happened some time earlier; he "continue[d] to resist", but was quickly losing control. Based on the words of Eldric, however, there were almost certainly many more instances of the living being converted to Shadows.
Phase Two: Divide and Conquer Edit
Similar to Mara's plan, Nekroloth manipulated humans to help him fulfill his goals, whether with or without their knowledge. Under the influence of his Shadow Lords, various negative emotions were released in different parts of the Southern Seas, weakening the factions of humans.
For example, the Shadow Lord of Madness arrived on the island of Tacarigua. Some time after, Commandant Sebastiano began to suspect Governor di Fuego was becoming a threat to the Inquisition outpost of Puerto Sacarico. In addition, Sebastiano began giving unsavory commands to the Inquisition soldiers, causing some (like Vasco and Severin) to desert their positions. When the Son of Steelbeard arrives, di Fuego is missing (has in fact been murdered), Vasco and Severin have fled, and the guardian Horas is being hunted. All of this has been caused, at least in part, by the influence of the Shadow Lord.
Conversely, the guardian Horas (who arrived on Tacarigua some time after committing to Nekroloth's service) made his alliance with the promise that he himself would become a Titan Lord. He explains his choices and participation in the plans of the Titan of Death in Chapter 4, just after the Ore Titan he summoned is defeated.
Other examples of the spread of negative emotions can be found on the Shadow Lord page.
Phase Three: The Son of Steelbeard EditUnbeknownst to Steelbeard's Son, his near-death soul separation was part of a much larger scheme, created by Nekroloth and put into place by Horas. Given that the Underworld was controlled by the very enemy who caused the separation, the same method used in Risen 2 to help Bones could not be used this time. From the clues and research found by Eldric the Druid, a special ceremony was needed, including the combined strength of three great sorcerors. The text to be used during the ceremony could be found in a tome called the nekriomortar, located in an isolated location of Calador. Because Eldric suspected that the Titan Lord would attempt to stop the reunification, the Son of Steelbeard called upon the aid of Morgoloth, an ancient being of immense power, to shield the ceremony from outside influence.Prior to meeting Patty's brother, Horas traveled to Calador and found his way to the ruin where the nekriomortar was located. Under the direction of the Titan Lord, he modified the text for the reunification ceremony. He then also made sure to "befriend" Steelbeard's Son, to guide him in fulfilling Nekroloth's larger plot. When the soulless hero met the three sorcerors — Chani, Eldric, and Zacharias — Morgoloth cast her shield. Rather than reuniting the hero's soul with his body, all three sorcerors were captured by Nekroloth. When the Son of Steelbeard angrily accused Morgoloth of failing to do what she promised, she explained that her shield could only protect from outside influences. By reciting the words from the nekriomortar, the group had unintentionally allowed the Titan Lord within the shield; once within, she was powerless to prevent him from kidnapping the spell casters.
The sorcerors were taken to Skull Island, where Nekroloth "feeds on souls that have set foot on his island". Here the three formed the points of a triangle, used to "focus the force of the living", which amplified the power the Death Titan received. Although all of the specifics are not provided, the Soul of the Hero explained that the increased power would allow Nekroloth to complete the final stages of his transformation. Once in his final form, he supposedly would be unstoppable, consuming the world and all life on it.
It is unknown, however, how much of an effect Nekroloth's abilities would have on any Titan Lords that might still be alive. Unless an unlikely mutual destruction was the outcome of a fight between Ismael and Ursegor (whom Commandant Carlos mentioned in Risen 2), one or both of these would be likely to contend with Nekroloth at some point.
Of course, this presupposes that no other Titan Lords could withstand him. Although generally the beings encountered in dreams by Patty's brother were the spirits of the dead, Ursegor was already only a spirit and yet a Titan Lord when met by the Castaway in Risen, so it is possible he defeated Ismael on the northern continent. Unless the battle resulted in mutual destruction, one of those would still be able to resist the Titan of Death. Mara was killed at the end of Risen 2, but it is likely other Titan Lords (even beyond those specifically named throughout the Risen series) could have arisen to fight against Nekroloth as well.
Titan Forms EditThrough the majority of the game, Nekroloth appears as the spirit of an elderly mage. That we are shown, this only changes upon reaching the level of power he desired before conquering the world. At this point, he appears much more emaciated and corpse-like, with demonic horns protruding from his skull and long claws on the ends of his fingers. It also appears that he has no legs or feet but instead hovers over the ground, a black cloud or mist appearing beneath him.
It is unclear what his true form is. It is possible he simply masked his true nature, the elderly human form being more approachable. However, in a brief cutscene of Nekroloth witnessing the activities of the Son of Steelbeard, he is still in a spiritual human form despite being in the Underworld. This would seem to suggest that this was his form initially, and that the more demonic form was only realized once he gained enough power. (It is also possible this spirit form was only shown in the cutscene to keep players from knowing his true appearance.)
Given that some Shadows Nekroloth controlled (viz., soul eaters) could take on human form to hide their true natures, it is possible he also possessed this ability himself. However, no information from the game provides sufficient evidence of this. The most likely conclusion is that his power was greatly diminished (possibly by the gods), began steadily to increase since the gods' banishment (to the point of controlling Underworld inhabitants by the time of Risen 3), and reached its zenith at the time he transformed before Steelbeard's Son.
- ↑ Risen 3, in the initial conversation with Eldric on Calador.
- ↑ Risen 3, in the initial conversation with Shax.
- ↑ Risen 3, in a conversation with the soul of the Son of Steelbeard.
- ↑ Although Ursegor is a spirit in the dreams Steelbeard's Son has in Risen 3, he was already a spirit and a Titan Lord when the Castaway met him in Risen, so it is possible he is still alive to fight Nekroloth.