News for April 2010
A Malady of Mutation 25
A look at Corruption and Mutation from Winds of Magic
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay | Published 15 April 2010

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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Comments (25)

Published: 5/12/2010 9:59:28 AM

If you've been a long-time explorer and delver into the Old World, you should remember that Witch Hunters don't exist in every town on every corner.  Nor are they particularly invulnerable.  They are scary, and I could definitely see using the Nemesis rules from the GM set to represent the pursuit of the PCs if the authorities ever did catch a whiff of mutant heroes, but I wouldn't have them show up all the time.  Think of Witch Hunters as the "Colonel Decker" to the PC's "A-Team".  Always in pursuit, sometime catching sight of them, but never catching them until it's absolutely necessary. 

In addition, most all of the inhabitants of the Old World (with the exception of some nobility) are all scarred and scabrous.  Wrappings, cloaks, and heavy clothes are the norm.  Eye patches abound.  Balthazar Gelt, the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic wears a gold mask, shimmering robes, and gloves at all times!  Allegedly because he's scarred from a failed experiment, but who's to say he's not mutating from the release of wild magical energy? 

I think the drive is to integrate the card's rules into the story of the characters rather than to live hidebound to the rules themselves.  After all, Imagine the PC and story motivation to find any magical item or means to reverse the process.  That in itself would make great story hooks to though out your adventures. 

Of course, if a PC is foolish enough to brandish his mutation publicly, he or she should expect torches, pitchforks, thrown rocks, and messages sent to the nearest Temple of Sigmar requesting Sigmarite Templars and Witch Hunters...

Published: 4/21/2010 11:09:46 AM

All this sounds interesting, so I'm waiting for the next sneak preview.

Published: 4/19/2010 7:38:50 AM

This sounds very interesting to me. After being very pleased from the quality (not the quantity) of the GM Kit I'm looking forward to this one!

Count Zero
Published: 4/17/2010 7:55:57 PM

As a GM I can see myself using the mutation cards for NPCs far more than for the PCs. Personally, after giving the game a fair look (long time fan blah blah) I've come to realize that, regardless of the components, the designers "get" the setting. It feels like it always has; we just access it differently now. The cards REALLY are just tools. The game embraces storytelling and GM empowerment to the fullest. I was a hater too. ;)


Published: 4/16/2010 2:39:26 PM

@ Nostromo and Parzival:


I'm not going to bash you for your opinions, but I'm sure we're not seeing the entire product in this preview and I'm sure the actual rules take the social ramifications in account.


In fact, let me quote the actual text of this specific preview:

  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.

Clearly the Designers understand this aspect of the game, and in one way or another have it covered. Judging from the rest of the game, what we're seeing on the cards is purely the rules pertaining to Combat or at the least "Encounter Mode"..


Again, this is not an attack on you. I just think this preview is necessarily limited (because it is a *preview*)- and we're not seeing the topic covered as comprehensively as I'm sure we will in the final product.

Published: 4/16/2010 1:08:26 PM

Can't wait to pick this one up, more magic is good magic, and mutations are to sweet to pass up.  Although I really like this one, I can't wait tell they come out with an equipment guide, that would rock hard! 

Published: 4/16/2010 1:01:45 PM

I dunno. The over all general nature of it makes me feel meh, on the sample card. It gives +1 Soak. So are the scales everywhere?

If the scales  are every where,  how the heck would you conceal it? A Burka?!?!?

And of course, walking around in some get up that conceals your freak show self from the general public, thats not gonna draw any sort of unwanted attention . Nah....not at all.

So yeah, it seems like there is a general need to take and inturpetation the generic description/text and make it fit your game.



Published: 4/16/2010 10:47:49 AM

Agree!  Love the shape of the tokens.

To all those getting your panties in a knot i never said I disliked the cards.  I LOVE the cards and that is why i am so into this RPG and am buying all the expansions so far.

What i said was i think the text on the particular card that was listed as an example was a bit silly.  It's like "ya, no sh$% they are going to get a purple dice on social encounters!"  PLUS beaten with a stick, PLUS hunted madly by witch hunters, PLUS being shunned by anyone who sees and getting reported to authorities PLUS getting sent to the ratholds in Talebheim to live with all the other mutants EQUALS Adveturing Career over.  Hell when your skin falls off and you produce a scaly are pretty much done in the Old World.  Welcome to hermits-ville. 

Seems like, IMO, perhaps certain mutations (THIS EXAMPLE IN PARTICULAR) didn't integrate with the card mechanic well.  We will see after we read the rest of the rules for this x pack.  Jeesh, sorry i bashed on the design for this card...

Published: 4/16/2010 9:22:28 AM

Notice how the Corruption tokens are similar in shape and color as the Challenge dice? Nice design thinking, eh?

Published: 4/16/2010 7:10:52 AM

Good to see that mutations have made an appearance, looking forward to this aspect more than the extended colour magic.

Lucas Adorn
Published: 4/16/2010 5:37:17 AM

Perfect. this is exactly what I was working on for my campaign. Now I don't have to do the work my self. Thx FFG.

Ludlov Thadwin of Sevenpiecks
Published: 4/16/2010 1:46:39 AM

Ah good, I was hoping for some mutant stuff, they are so essential to the setting!

I like the look of the mutation cards! And also how the corruption tokens look like challenge die symbols, nice touch :)

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