- See also: The Skull of Gul'dan (disambiguation)
The Skull of Gul'dan was a powerful demonic artifact created from the skull of the orc warlock Gul'dan. Used for a plethora of demonic activity, from opening portals to corrupting the northern forests of Ashenvale, its powers were finally consumed by Illidan Stormrage. Although already consumed by Illidan, the skull still holds power and is in Illidan's possession.
HistoryThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft novels or short stories.
After the insidious warlock Gul'dan died, his skull was turned into a channeling totem for demonic energy. It was briefly held by a low-ranking Bonechewer officer. The skull was acquired by Ner'zhul for use in opening portals to other worlds, which also required the Book of Medivh, the Eye of Dalaran, and the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras.
It turned out that the skull wasn't really needed to rebuild the Dark Portal, but Ner'zhul kept it as a trophy of his triumph over his apprentice. The skull appeared to hold some shard of Gul'dan's soul within, enabling the dead warlock to communicate with Ner'zhul. Deathwing later demanded it as payment for his services for purposes unknown. Additionally, it is implied several times that the Skull has corrupting properties on its wielder as the voice of Gul'dan slowly tempts him over time.
Khadgar, Alleria Windrunner, and Turalyon managed to steal the skull and the Book of Medivh from Ner'zhul well into the Alliance Expedition's campaign. Khadgar used the skull and the Book of Medivh to close the Dark Portal, and sent both artifacts back to Azeroth via gryphon rider, but wasn't certain if they completed the transit.
Reign of ChaosThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.
Years later it would appear again on Azeroth, this time used by the Burning Legion to corrupt the forests of Felwood. The skull's powers were eventually consumed by Illidan Stormrage who, upon absorbing its power, became half night elf and half demon. With his newfound power, he struck a major blow to the Burning Legion by killing Tichondrius and his demonic forces. Illidan retained memories of the Tomb of Sargeras from Gul'dan, which he used in tandem with his own knowledge of Suramar to find the Eye of Sargeras.
Exactly how the Legion regained the Skull is unknown. Beyond the Dark Portal establishes that Khadgar intended for it to return to Azeroth, but it is vague as to what happened. The fact that Gul'dan's spirit lingered on within the Skull was long speculated by some, and this feature may explain some of Illidan's behavior. However, if it did come through to Azeroth, it is possible that Arthas and Kel'Thuzad may have retrieved the skull during their siege of Dalaran, and that Tichondrius then used it in Felwood to spread the corruption.
The Burning CrusadeThis section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
When Illidan "consumed" the skull, it was not destroyed. Illidan kept the skull in his possession to train new demon hunters. Of the five demon hunters he trained, three died, one went mad, whereas the final trainee, a blood elf named Varedis, managed to succeed.
In Warcraft III: Reign of ChaosThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.
Consuming The Skull of Gul'dan doubled Illidan's base attack damage (from 37-59 to 75-123) and allowed him to deal chaos damage, which was fully effective against all types of armor (including the Divine Armor of Tichondrius). In addition, it metamorphosed Illidan into a powerful demon with ranged attack and increasing his attack speed rate. It also automatically made Illidan level 10 in his hero experience, thus increasing his strength, agility and intelligence which resulted in additional health points by 300 and mana points by 90.
Patches and hotfixes
Patch 2.1.0 (22-May-2007): Added