|Corruption, Infamy, and Apotheosis
A preview of Black Crusade, the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 Roleplaying Game
|Black Crusade | Published 29 April 2011|
Black Crusade, an upcoming roleplaying game that offers players a new perspective on the conflict between the Imperium of Man and the forces of Chaos, will be on store shelves in the third quarter of 2011. Today, we’re pleased to present a preview from Andy Hoare, one of the writers for Black Crusade. Among other contributions, Andy wrote about the mechanics for Corruption and Infamy. Thanks, Andy!
No roleplaying game about playing the nefarious servants of the Ruinous Powers would be complete without a system for awarding player characters with the ‘gifts of the gods’. Many such gifts boost a Heretic’s abilities, each successive blessing granted turning him into a living manifestation of the dark majesty of Chaos. Others are capricious or unknowable, for no mortal can truly wield the raw power of the warp without succumbing to random mutations of mind, body and soul. The ultimate goal of any true champion of the Chaos Gods is to attain the ultimate gift – Daemonhood – before too many such mutations turn him into a gibbering, thrashing Chaos Spawn.
All of this and more is addressed in the form of the rules for Corruption and Infamy, which we’ll take a look at here.
Corruption is a measure of how steeped the Heretic is in the fell energies of Chaos. It could be thought of as a means of gauging how ‘favoured’ he is by the Ruinous Powers, but that would be misleading, because even the most powerful mortal is but an insect to the unknowable denizens of the warp. Rather, Corruption measures how much of the dark blessings of Chaos the character has earned. Corruption is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, with a Heretic moving along the ‘Corruption Track’ by earning Corruption Points in a similar way to amassing Experience Points. Various deeds earn the Heretic Corruption Points, and upon reaching various thresholds he has the opportunity to gain the blessings of the Chaos Gods.
The gifts of the Chaos Gods take the form of mutations, and many of these have a two tier effect. Such mutations have a primary effect, which applies to every character that gains it, and a secondary effect, which is applicable to characters dedicated to a particular Chaos God. For example, a classic Chaos mutation is the Additional Limb, the primary effect of which is to grant the Heretic the Multiples Arms Trait. If the Heretic is dedicated to Khorne, the new limb bristles with bony spines, granting attacks made with it the Tearing quality. If he is dedicated to Slaanesh, the limb is so lithe and dextrous in its movements that its attacks are carried out at +10 to the character’s Weapon Skill. If the Heretic is dedicated to Nurgle, the limb oozes necrotic slime, which grants its attacks the Toxic (1) quality. A character dedicated to Tzeentch is gifted with a limb that darts and writhes in such an unpredictable manner that he can use it to Disarm opponents as a Free Action.
Infamy describes how, well, ‘infamous’ a character is. It determines how feared he is, how legendary the tales told of his deeds, and the esteem in which other dark champions hold him. A character’s Infamy stat has several uses in the game, one of the most important being as a marker of the resources available to him. Instead of spending money to gain resources (for the denizens of the Screaming Vortex barter in nothing but souls) the player characters are able to obtain weapons, armour, services and the likes according to their Infamy. Especially infamous characters can simply demand whatever they want from the fearful inhabitants of the Vortex, while less infamous ones must beg, steal and borrow the tools they need.
Apotheosis or Spawndom
There is one key instance when both Infamy and Corruption come together, and that is when the characters approach the final stage of their careers. At the beginning of the campaign, the GM decides the relative ‘difficulty’ of the story arc. Characters are judged or held to account by the fell denizens of the Warp when they reach the stated Corruption threshold, which is generally 75, 90 or 100 Corruption Points. Depending on how much Infamy the characters have amassed throughout their brief service, they might be judged wanting and be reduced to seething, howling Chaos Spawns. If they have amassed a high level of Infamy when they reach the Corruption threshold, they may – just may – have attained the ultimate favour of the Ruinous Powers and be granted the gift of Apotheosis, becoming a mighty and eternal Daemon Prince, the ruin of worlds and ultimate foe of the Imperium.
Most characters will never become daemon princes of course, and the majority will die before the risk of being reduced to a Chaos Spawn presents itself. Those who attain 140 Infamy before reaching 100 Corruption face another fate, one that the GM may handle directly through a drastic change in the direction of the campaign, or indirectly. Such characters have the chance to lead a Black Crusade, amassing a mighty army of heretics and fiends and descending upon the weakling Imperium of Man to reduce all to ruins.
And this is the point of Black Crusade – the path to glory is truly strewn with the shattered bones of those that sought to wield the powers of Chaos without considering that all but the strongest fall by the wayside in the process. Only the very strongest survive, those willing to gamble all for power and immortality. Campaigns have a set time limit, determined by the GM and the players, and the characters burn brightly, if briefly as they rise to ultimate power. Only at the very moment of their judgement, when they reach their pre-arranged Corruption threshold, do they discover the ultimate fate of their very souls. Whatever the result, it can be guaranteed that GM and players will have many tall tales to tell as a result!
Black Crusade is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Disciples of the Dark Gods, working against the rule of the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man and in pursuit of personal glory.
I wonder what they will do about the Thousand Sons though?
Interest way to handle the requisition mechanic as a tie-in to daemonhood. Looking forward to eye these mechanics once I get get my hands on a copy of the book post-release.
Just when I thought I couldn't get any more excited about this game, FFG does this! This is going to be awesome!
As suggested by Dreadlord... waging war upon the Imperium could easily become the follow-up campaign!
Hmm, what is the Slaneshi option for a third leg? ;)
DEATH TO THE FALSE EMPEROR!
A challenge, I like it. Though why shouldn't the campaign move on to a second stage, the war against the Imperium.
Brilliant. I love every aspect of it. Can't wait for it to come out already!
Ah, this sounds like fun. :)