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Dark Rituals of the Chaos Gods

Source: Town Cryer #14
Grade: 1b

Being a long time devotee of the Prince of Chaos (and a part time Inquisitor, mind you) I have wanted to see Magisters casting spells associated with the four Chaotic Powers in addition to the more generic incantations available to the leaders of the Possessed. Sure, the Shadowlord lurking in the Pit is a mighty entity, but in the end he is just an insect buzzing in Tzeentch's ear.

Daemons were also present in the early preview articles of Mordheim in White Dwarf but they apparently lost out during the playtesting and never ended up in the book. This article aims to correct that, at the end of the day Daemons are one of the most characterful creatures in the Warhammer mythos and one of the main the reasons I find Chaos intriguing.

Chaos Magisters and the Four Great Gods of Chaos

Gather around me, children of the night, and hear the wisdom of Slaanesh, the bold Prince of Chaos, and the Lord of Pleasure in Pain. His attention can be drawn by orgies celebrating the joys of the flesh; nothing is too debauched for those who seek his divine scrutiny. The rare ones he gazes upon with favour will grow fit of body, beautiful of face and strong of mind. But the Prince of Chaos is not the sole ruler of the Realm of Chaos.

There is Tzeentch, the Lord of Change and patron god of wizards, for the winds of magic are always in motion. He is the great mutator, for he revels in twisting both spirit and body of mortals into new, fascinating shapes. His followers are sorcerers and manipulators, conspirators beyond compare, shaping the world under their master's guidance.

Tzeentch is forever at war with Nurgle, the Lord of Decay. Nurgle sends plagues and contagions into the world to kill the subjects of Tzeentch's manipulations so that the world might grow anew. He sends forth his creations through humans and Skaven alike, for there is nothing he enjoys more than the long twilight of life, the flame of disease lingering on the dying embers of sentient beings. Nurgle is the god of stagnation and decay, whereas Tzeentch enjoys the spark of life and the sudden changes it brings to the world.

Then there is Khorne, the angry god of bloodletting and slaughter. Blinded by his rage as he is, he despises the sorcerous ways and he is of no concern to us.

Come, Daemon, For I Summon Thee!

As the good reader might remember, Daemons were in the White Dwarf Possessed preview article in issue 225. The Sigmarite Sisters fighting their war in the Studio fared better in their endeavours than I would have believed and the vile creatures were banished from the whole rulebook back into the Realm of Chaos!

But as it is, Chaos has its tendrils everywhere. So I will now teach your Magister how to summon these magical creatures and bind them to his will.

Drawing Daemons from the Realm of Chaos to the battlefield requires both magical incantations and suitable sacrifice of precious items especially blood. In the game this is represented by a Spell invoked by the Magister to actually summon the Daemon, and a hiring cost in the fashion of Hired Swords to represent the sacrifice.

Magisters have a web of dark contacts with others of their kind. The summoning spell is assumed to be available to all Magisters through their contacts if they are mad enough to use it. It does not need to be learned in the fashion of other Chaos Rituals.

Incantation of Daemonic Bridge

Difficulty: 6

First the Magister must draw a summoning circle in which the Daemon will appear.

This is done in the movement phase. To draw the circle the Magister may not move and must not be engaged in close combat, knocked down or stunned or otherwise hampered. One turn is enough to draw the circle, place a marker - or a modelled round base! - on the tabletop beside the Magister to represent the ready summoning circle.

Once the circle has been drawn the actual summoning can begin. This is handled just like a normal spell. If the Magister fails the spell roll he can try again on later turns. The summoning circle stays where it is and is good for subsequent attempts (during the same battle... ). If the spell succeeds a Daemon appears inside the circle, ready to do the Magister's bidding. The Daemon will stay for a number of full Possessed turns the spell roll succeeded by, counting from the one following the summoning. I.e. if you rolled an 8 on the 2D6 the Daemon will hang around for one turn but if you were lucky enough to roll a 12, the Daemon will wreak havoc for six full turns(!).

The Chaos player may decide the facing of the Daemon within the circle and the Daemon is free to move, charge and so on its next turn. It will fight normally if attacked on the enemy's turn following the summoning.

Chaos Daemons

While no Daemon places any value on the gleaming gold, the money is spent on acquiring candles made from wax mixed with blood, chalk made of powdered Beastman horns and similar materials required for proper drawing of the summoning circle. Daemons must also be appeased with sacrifice, which can be bought with worldly money. There is no upkeep; Daemons must be summoned to each battle separately.

Payment: The summoning materials cost 30 GC and are a common item for Possessed warbands. The materials are destroyed when the Daemon appears and are only good for one summoning. The materials required for the summoning do not get used up if the Daemon never appears and can be carried over from battle to battle in this fashion.

Control: This is a difficult affair and drains the Magister's willpower. A Magister can only summon one Daemon per battle.

Possessed Magister Only: Only the Magisters of the Cult of the Possessed are crazed enough and well enough versed in the arcane arts to attempt a daemonic summoning.

Rating: The capability to summon a Daemon increases the warband's rating by 30 points.

Note that the capability to summon one - i.e. the ownership of the summoning materials - is enough, regardless of whether the spell actually is attempted or succeeds.

Daemons are beings of raw magic, drawn and bound to the material world by spells, sacrifice or the extremes of human emotion. Unless nourished somehow they can only stay for a while, for maintaining a material form requires constant struggle from the Daemon. It is said that there are as many different daemons as there are droplets of water in the Sea of Chaos, and akin to the droplets the Daemons are constantly merging and splitting, forming a maelstrom of semi-sentient beings into the Realm of Chaos.

Pink Horror4654316310
Blue Horror4333317110

Weapons/Armour: See special rules.


Fear: All Lesser Daemons are horrifying supernatural creatures with mind-wrenching visages, be it the perverse beauty of Daemonettes, the myriad, continuously twisting forms of Horrors or disgusting visage of Plaguebearers.

Daemonic Flesh: Due to the magical, intangible nature of these creatures they have a basic armour save of 4+. This is modified by the Strength of the attack as normal and is completely negated by magic weapons and spells. The Daemons' attacks also count as magical.

Daemon Mind: Daemons don't think as mortals do, for they are emotions and mortal passions made manifest. Therefore they do not have the same fears and ambitions as mortals. Daemons are completely immune to all psychology and need not make tests. If the Possessed warband routs, the Daemon will dissolve back into the void whence it came.

Daemon Magic: Daemons summoned by Chaos Magisters are innately able to manipulate the winds of magic around them. They have one spell determined randomly form either the Chaos Rituals (1-3) or the Lesser Magic (4-6) table. First roll the table, then the spell.

Daemonette, Lesser Daemon Of Slaanesh

Daemonettes may only be summoned by Magisters possessing Slaanesh's special spell (see above). Vice versa, Magisters who have dedicated themselves to Slaanesh can only summon Daemonettes.

Claws: The Daemonette's arms end in huge, razor-sharp, crab-like claws easily capable of cutting a man in half. When making injury rolls always add +1 to the dice score.

Pink Horror, Lesser Daemon Of Tzeentch

Horrors may only be summoned by Magisters possessing Tzeentch's special spell (see above). Vice versa, Magisters who have dedicated themselves to Tzeentch can only summon Horrors.

Split: When the Pink Horror is taken Out of Action it splits into two Blue Horrors. Replace the model with two Blue Horror models.

No save: Due to the unique nature of the Horrors, neither variety has the normal Daemonic Save.

Plaguebearer, Lesser Daemon Of Nurgle

Plaguebearers may only be summoned by Magisters possessing Nurgle's special spell (see above). Vice versa, Magisters who have dedicated themselves to Nurgle can only summon Plaguebearers.

Cloud of Flies: The Plaguebearer's festering sores attract and give birth to tiny daemonic flies. The flies fly into the ears, eyes and mouth of any living being nearby, granting a -1 to hit penalty for all models fighting the Plaguebearer.

Plaguesword: The Plaguesword carried by the lesser daemon of Nurgle constantly drips venomous ichor, which will poison any living creature wounded by it. Treat every wound caused by the Plaguesword as if the opponent has lost its last one, resulting in an injury roll.

Daemons of Khorne are intentionally left out of this treatise. Khore hates all kinds of dabblers in magic, if a Magister were to summon a Daemon of the Blood God, the Daemon would probably begin by ripping the Magister's heart out of his chest! For the same reason there is obviously no Khornate spell. I do trust, however, that rules for Khorne's followers in Mordheim are bound to appear in a form or another sooner or later.

Power Specifc Spells for Chaos Magisters

Should you roll a spell the Magister already has when generating a new spell for your wizard, instead of re-rolling, you may choose to take a spell of one of the Great Gods of Chaos. You must choose one of the Gods and his associated spell (opposite), after that you may never have the other two. It's assumed that the Magister has been vying for his God's attention all along but for the ease of game play you do not have to decide on allegiance to a specific God until you get the chance to learn the spell - unless you want to dedicate your warband to one of the gods right from the start, of course.

It might be worth mentioning that the ability to cast these spells is by no means the true Mark of Chaos. Real Marked Sorcerers and Champions of Chaos are far more powerful beings than a devoted but simple Magister dwelling in Mordheim.

Specific Rituals of the Chaos Gods

Seduction of Slannesh

Difficulty: Target's Leadership

Followers of Slaanesh are often unnaturally beautiful and alluring, and a gifted Magister can use his or her charms and magic to subvert the unwary. A daemonic command word whispered in a warrior's ear has been known to cause men to jump to their deaths or momentarily turn on their friends, the madness of jealousy burning in their eyes.

This spell has a range of 10" and requires line of sight (the target may be in cover, though). Casting difficulty is the target's basic Leadership, no modifiers for being close to the Warband's Leader apply. If cast successfully the target is controlled by the Possessed player the for enemy's next turn and the warrior moves before the rest of his friends. The models can make charges (even against his comrades!), jump off buildings and perform similar acts of madness at the whim of the Possessed player. The seduced warrior's comrades on arms do not have to fight back in close combat should the player so wish.

The spell works only on the livcing, sentient beings including Vampires. It has no effect on Dogs, Rats or other beings with animal intelligence. Daemons, Undead, constructs or other similar animated bits of dead matter or raw magic are also immune to this spell. The effect of the spell ends at the beginning of the Possessed player's next turn.

Fires of Tzeentch

Difficulty: 8

Tzeentch's power often manifests in magical multicoloured flames, a Magister favoured by the Lord of Change gains a halo composed of this Witch-fire around his body. With practice the aspiring sorcerer can learn to control these flames, even to the point of engulfing his enemies in their searing heat.

The Magister can direct the living fire around him at one target up to 12" away. The target takes a D3 S4 hit with no armour saves. Alternatively the Magister can intensify the fires around him, engulfing all models (friend or foe!) within 1" of the Magister. Each target takes an automatic S4 hit with no armour saves.

If a Hero is taken out of action by the fires and subsequently survives roll 1D6. On a 5+ he gains a random mutation form the exposure to the raw magic of the Fires of Tzeentch. Generate the mutation randomly from the Possessed Mutation Chart. The model also becomes subject to special rules affecting the Possessed (effects of Sigmarite Prayers and Sigmarite Warhammers, for example).

Father Nurgle's Pestilence

Difficulty: Automatic

Nurgle has indeed smiled upon his follower. The Magister is covered in blistering sores, yellow pus oozing through his clothing, filling the air around him with a horrible nauseating stench. The pus attracts flies and other disgusting insects of Mordheim, creating a cloud of stinging, blood-hungry insects around the Magister.

Any enemy model attacking the Magister suffers a -1 to all to hit rolls because of the cloud of flies (shooting too!) and any models in base to base contact suffers a -1 penalty to his Strength due to the nauseating smell. The latter does not effect Daemons or the animated dead, but does work against the living, the Possessed and Vampires. Alas, the cloud and the smell tend to give out the Magister's location - the Magister may never hide.

In addition, should a warrior be wounded (and fail his saves) by the Magister, make a note, If the wound is not healed by magical or other means during the battle and the warrior survives, roll a 1D6. On a 5+ the unlucky fellow has contracted an illness from the Nurgle's favoured and must miss the next battle. He may not take part in the Campaign Phase activities either, just as if the warrior had suffered a serious injury. Now, roll a further 1D6. If that is a 6+ a second, randomly chosen member of the warband has contracted the same ailment and must miss the next game. Continue rolling in this fashion until a 5 or less is rolled.