A Malady of Mutation

A look at Corruption and Mutation from Winds of Magic

At the top of the world, where the warpgates of the Old Ones are said to have once stood, lie the Northern Chaos Wastes. The wastes are shifting and insane landscapes where reality and the realms of the daemonic gods of Chaos bleed into one another. The power of Chaos is transformative. Where it broaches on the mundane world it warps things into strange shapes for inscrutable purposes.

Those who find themselves altered by mutation do not immediately fall into the worship of Chaos, despite the proclamations of nobles and priests. To develop a mutation is an incredibly distressing occurrence, not only does the unfortunate mutant find his own flesh in revolt, but his neighbours will view him with horror and sell him out to the authorities – assuming they don’t just kill him themselves.

Mutation & CorruptionCorruption

Corruption is one way to track a character’s exposure to the unpredictable effects of Chaos. Characters can suffer from corruption in a number of ways. It can attract misfortune, cause madness, or lead to the most overt sign of corruption – mutation.

When a character is exposed to a corrupting influence he potentially accumulates corruption. Corruption is represented by purple diamond-shaped tokens. These tokens are gained and kept in a similar way to stress or fatigue counters, and should remain visible to the players and GM. They come in 1 and 5 point denominations for easier tracking.

A variety of different encounters or events may trigger the accumulation of corruption. Exposure to the Chaos Wastes, consumption of warpstone, presence of a powerful daemon, being wounded by a profane weapon. Some creatures may have attacks or special abilities which inflict corruption, in addition to other effects. All of these are potential risks to the characters.

The magnitude of the event indicates how difficult it is to shrug off the effects, as well as the potential amount of corruption that may be generated. When exposed, a character must attempt a Resilience check based on the level of exposure. A failed check results in corruption equal to the challenge level. In addition, regardless of the check’s success or failure, the character also suffers one corruption for each Chaos Star generated during the check.

Corruption TokensCorruption Thresholds

The different races of the Old World have varying tolerance to the corrupting effects of Chaos. From the viewpoint of dwarfs and elves, humans tend to be frail and easily susceptible to the ravages of Chaos. This perception is partly due to the fact that dwarfs and elves enjoy an incredibly high tolerance to Chaos, and are not affected by mutation the way humans are.

An individual character’s corruption threshold is based on his race and his Toughness rating. For example, humans have a corruption threshold of 5 + Toughness. So a human with a Toughness of 3 has a corruption threshold of 8.

The Effects of Corruption

There are two main effects of corruption.

The first is a relatively minor effect, that of inviting danger and adversity. This effect can be triggered by the GM at any time to make a check more challenging for a character with corruption.

The second effect is triggered when the number of corruption points a character has exceeds the character’s corruption threshold. Such a condition is very dangerous for a character as they will develop insanity or mutation as a result.

Mutation CardsGM Invocation

Over the course of play, the GM has the option to “invoke” a character’s corruption, weaving into the story that the exposure to corruption or taint is rearing its head. The GM narrates how the corruption is manifesting, which makes the upcoming task more challenging. The corruption might manifest as an overwhelming sense of temptation, painful cramps, or whispered daemonic voices only the character can hear.

Mechanically speaking, before a player performs an action, the GM may take one of the character’s corruption points and replace it with a purple challenge die that gets added to the task’s dice pool. The corruption token is returned to the general supply. No more than one corruption may be invoked in this manner per check.

Mutation & Insanity

Once a PC has accumulated more corruption points than his character’s threshold (based on the character’s Race and Toughness), the corruption has ravaged the character’s body and manifests as a mutation (for humans) or insanity (for elves, dwarfs, and several other races).


For humans and other susceptible races, when the corruption threshold is passed, the player draws a mutation card from the deck. In addition to its other effects and rules, each mutation card has a severity rating, which indicates how much corruption is consumed in the transformation. For example, if the PC suffers from a mutation with a severity 4 rating, he returns 4 corruption point tokens to the supply when he draws that card.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is a roleplaying game that sets unlikely heroes on the road to perilous adventure, in the grim setting of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy world. Players will venture into the dark corners of the Empire, guided by luck and Fate, and challenge the threats that others cannot or will not face.

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