One ultimate ambition consumes every Heretic serving the Chaos gods: to rise to Daemonhood. In The Tome of Decay supplement for Black Crusade , you’ll find two ways to acheive this lofty goal. You must choose whether to take the long, slow path to Apotheosis and become a Daemon Prince, or to quickly gain power at the cost of your life by becoming a Possessed Heretic. Today, contributing writer Tim Cox explores both options and the unmatched Daemonic power you access through them.

Tim Cox on Possessed Heretics and Apotheosis

In The Tome of Decay , I worked on something that players have looked forward to since the release of Black Crusade : rules for playing Daemonic characters. In fact, The Tome of Decay offers a Heretic two new ways to embrace Daemonic existence and become closer to the gods. He might fulfil the ultimate goal of any Heretic by obtaining Apotheosis – elevation to the form of a mighty Daemon Prince – or he can succumb the quick route to power by inviting a Daemon to possess his body.

It was very important to me that the rules for Possessed Heretics and Apotheosis offer Daemon Princes and Possessed Heretics very different play experiences. Becoming a Daemon Prince is a huge accomplishment, and begins the Heretic’s eternity as an immortal Daemon. Possession offers a quicker path to power, but ultimately dooms the Heretic to destruction.

Possessed by the Warp

Any Heretic can become a Possessed Heretic through the Ritual of Possession. By doing so, the Heretic gains the strength, resilience, and Warp-born powers of a Daemon, but the Heretic must pay a steep cost. A Possessed Heretic retains most of his mind and personality, but must wage a constant battle for control of his body against the Daemon inside him. If the Heretic acts in opposition to the nature of the Daemon, he risks losing control of his body to the Warp entity within.

Rather than merely mutating with increased Corruption, a Possessed Heretic displays a host of potent abilities, called Daemonic Manifestations. These Daemonic Manifestations reflect the nature of the Daemon, and as the Heretic gains Corruption, the Daemon exerts more influence over the Heretic’s form, granting Manifestations such as a Chaos Aura to deflect attacks or deadly Rending Talons.

Of course, the Warp is fickle, and when you gain a new Daemonic Manifestation, you randomly generates the result. If you’re willing to take additional Corruption, however, you can bargain with the Daemon and modify the result. In fact, you can modify the result as much as you want, but you gain Corruption equal to the difference! This is just one of several ways that possession increases the rate at which a Heretic gains Corruption.

For a Possessed Heretic, gaining Corruption is both positive and negative. More Corruption means more powerful Daemonic abilities and Manifestations, but it also brings the Heretic closer to destruction. The further he advances along the Possession Track, the more opportunities a character has to take Corruption in exchange for additional benefits. Instead of achieving Apotheosis or transformation into a Chaos Spawn upon reaching 100 Corruption Points, the Daemon takes full control of the Heretic, consuming his soul. But for those truly devoted to the Dark Gods, this is a joyous fate!

A Prince of Chaos

Nearly all Chaos champions aspire to Apotheosis, but only the tiniest fraction ever achieve the mantle of Daemon Prince. Whereas possession allows an existing Daemon to inhabit a mortal body, a Heretic who achieves Apotheosis receives the ultimate blessing of his god, becoming a Daemon in his own right and leaving mortality behind. The basic requirements for becoming a Daemon Prince were explained in the Black Crusade Core Rulebook, and now players have rules and guidance for what happens next, allowing them to play as Daemon Princes for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, Daemon Prince characters are incredibly powerful, a fact reflected by a number of new Traits and special rules. In addition, a Daemon Prince gains one or more special rules corresponding to the Heretic’s patron god. For instance, a Daemon Prince of Nurgle can choose Aura of Pestilence, inflicting a penalty to all Toughness Tests for mortals in his vicinity.

Although Daemon Princes continue to accrue Infamy, they no longer gain or lose Corruption. As entities of the Warp, they are corruption incarnate! Instead, Daemon Princes gather a new resource, Favour, which represents the esteem of the Prince’s patron god. Daemon Princes can spend Favour to obtain Daemonic Gifts, powerful abilities granted directly by their patron Chaos God. For mortal beings, the gifts of the gods are subject to the whims of Dark Powers, but Daemon Princes control how the Warp manifests through them, and can select any Daemonic Gift they can afford.

A Daemon Prince gains Favour by completing acts worthy of his prowess and advancing his patron god’s agenda, whether by defeating the Daemonic armies of a rival god or corrupting the forces of humanity’s protectors. The expectations placed on Daemon Princes are high, however, and a Daemon Prince who fails in the eyes of his patron loses Favour.

Playing with a Daemon Prince at the table represents exciting new opportunities and challenges for both the GM and players. Although few opponents can stand against a Daemon Prince in combat, he must seek out worthy challenges or risk disappointing his patron god and suffering punishment. Daemon Princes are expected to wage wars against mortal and Daemonic foes, and even launch Black Crusades in the name of Chaos. Of course, Daemon Princes also face certain limitations in the physical universe, both due to their nature as Daemons and their size when manifest in reality. The inclusion of a Daemon Prince radically changes the nature of a Black Crusade campaign, but opens countless possibilities in the Screaming Vortex and beyond.

Thanks, Tim!

Whether you rise to godhood through Apotheosis or undergo the Ritual of Possession, you’ll find ways to acheive greater infamy than ever with The Tome of Decay . Declare your service to the gods of Chaos, and preorder The Tome of Decay at your local retailer today!

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.

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