In the Old World, death is not something to be feared but a necessary stage, a doom that hangs over all and everyone. Most Old Worlders are to some degree obsessed with death as is evidenced by the symbols of their fate in their armour, architecture, and décor. When an individual dies, they may be dumped in a common grave along with the other ripe gems discovered at dawn, or they may be interred within great vaults to reflect their station and status.[1a]

For most of the common folk, simply surviving until they reach middle age is accomplishment enough; having a plot where their corpse can be laid after they pass is usually sufficient. Having a headstone to mark the spot would probably be viewed as a luxury, and building a tomb for their remains would be an extravagance.[1a]

Yet it is for precisely that reason that the rich and vain are compelled to build houses of death that stand as monuments to their own magnificence for future generations to marvel at in awe. Since tombs tend to be built in proportion to the size of the egos of those who will reside in them, it is a good rule of thumb that the larger the tomb, the greater the chance that it will be cursed.[1a]

Evolution of a Curse

Curses are usually brought into being when someone—or something—has died but remains fixated on the physical world. Like Spirits, these unfortunates are aware of their deaths, but unlike their corporeal counterparts, they are not able to manifest physically. Still, the narcissistic natures they had in life have not abandoned them in death, leading them to focus on the people and places they knew before they passed on. (Creatures without this single-mindedness sometimes become Residue.)[1a]

Being able to observe the world of the living requires not only a great deal of will but energy as well. Although they are able to achieve this by initially draining away their own soul, eventually they must turn to an alternate source—which the Gods of Chaos are all too happy to provide.[1a]

Even with this influx of energy, the range that these spiritual remnants can travel away from their resting place inexorably grows smaller. The restless presence fights against these constraints to the best of its ability, an effort that causes it to draw further from the foul energy offered freely by the Ruinous Powers and thereby draining it of any last vestiges of sanity it may have had. Yet even this only delays the inevitable, until finally the semblance finds itself once again contained within the hollow husk of its former self. Then it simply ceases to exist.[1a]

As it continually courses over the burial area, the Chaotic energy seeps into the structure itself. Eventually, it becomes intense enough to become a curse, the exact nature of which is usually left up to the random whims of one of the Chaos Gods.[1a]

Receiving and Removing Curses

A curse is always attached to one area or item within a tomb where the remnant Chaotic energy is strongest. This can be the door to the tomb, a chest filled with the earthly possessions of the dead, the corpse itself, or anything else you deem appropriate. Once an unlucky adventurer comes into physical contact with the area or object, they must have sufficient willpower or fall prey to the curse.[1a]

Simple solutions to a curse include destroying the corpse in the tomb, replacing any stolen loot, or sanctifying the entire area, though these may not work. However, the solution may be more complex, requiring the research of a ritual for the original incantation, a Priest powerful enough to cast the spell like a High Priest of Shallya, or locating an object that once belonged to the entombed person.[1a][1b]

Sample Curses

The Curse of Ashes

“Does this taste funny to you?”[1b]

Two weeks after gaining this curse, an afflicted notices food no longer tastes the same. Initially, he will not be able to tell exactly what is wrong, but a few days after this two-week period, everything tastes as if it was somewhat rotten. While somewhat disconcerting, it is nothing more than that—the affected person is still able to eat normally.[1b]

The flavour of food continues to change over the next month, changing from rotting to tasteless, until everything the person eats tastes like cold ashes. The cursed believes he is actually eating the corpse of the resident(s) of the tomb he invaded. This feeling will be so strong, he will have to have enough willpower in order to eat, with increasing difficulty. Eventually, the cursed will refuse to eat of his own volition and actively resists attempts to be force fed.[1b]

Of course, anyone else who tries the food finds it tastes no different from anything else.[1b]

The Curse of Forgiveness

"I must say, you have a canny insight, sir. Why, none of us suspected the blind young woman with the limp was actually a horrid Mutant. It’s a good thing you put her down. If you hadn’t, who knows what would have happened!"[1b]

This insidious curse may seem like a blessing for the person who receives it—at first—because it allows them to commit crimes without fear of reprisal. The affected will probably not be aware of the curse until he or she is caught in the midst of an unlawful act and allowed to walk away.[1b]

For example, if the player is seen cutting someone’s purse strings, the Watch assumes it was their purse to begin with. If the person slays a Priest in the midst of the town square, the witnesses will assume that he did so because the Priest clearly deserved it. No matter how heinous the crime, how many people saw it being committed, or how contrary to logic it would be for the cursed to be set free, the act is always justified in some way, enabling the cursed to get away with murder… literally.[1b][1c]

Eventually, the lines defining what is and what is not moral behaviour become increasingly blurred. Every time they are faced with a decision that can be solved by either diplomacy or violence, the affected must have enough willpower or choose violence with increasing difficulty until they are left without any traces of morality and cannot control their murderous impulses.[1c]

Keep in mind that the curse only benefits the person afflicted; any of the other members of the party who participate in the commission of a crime are punished as usual.[1c]

The Curse of Lives Past

“I’ve been here before...”[1c]

Although the physical remains of a tomb’s resident may have long turned to dust, in the case of this curse, the interred has still managed to leave a little bit of himself behind. The recipient of this curse experiences the memories of the entombed person’s life to such a vivid degree that they have difficulty distinguishing the dead person’s life from their own. The Character must have enough willpower to keep their sanity due to the violent nature of this intrusion into their psyche.[1c]

Should the person not rid himself of the curse in a month’s time, he goes through the experience again. Should the person disorder as a result of this curse, the memories of the entombed creature become dominant, and the person loses all sense of his previous self.[1c]

The Curse of Motion

“For Ulric’s sake, lad, settle down!”[1c]

An adventurer who is “gifted” with this curse develops what at first may appear to be a nervous tic: they are unable to remain still. Initially this manifests as something small, such as a tapping finger or a foot. Of course, this grows worse as the curse progresses. Soon, the afflicted can’t control the nodding of his head, can’t stop rocking back and forth, and finally shakes all over.[1c]

A week after the person gains the curse, he suffers from full-fledged spasms several times each day. Aside from drawing the attention from superstitious common folk, the victim also has other difficulties due to inability to control their movements.[1c]

Eventually, the afflicted will be unable to accomplish any task that requires them to use their hands—they must rely on their compatriots for even such mundane tasks as eating. Finally, they will be unable to sleep, which will first drive them insane and then likely kill them.[1c][1d]

The Curse of a Thousand Lashes

“Oh dear, it seems you’ve cut yourself again.”[1d]

The curse initially manifests as numerous small cuts all over a person’s body, which grow ever deeper and bleed more freely as the curse progresses.[1d]

Someone afflicted with this curse immediately is wounded. A week later, and every week thereafter, the person takes is again wounded, cumulatively. Wounds received as a result of this curse can be treated like any other wound, but unless the curse is lifted, they continue to take new wounds every week.[1d]

The Curse of the Winds

“Great Sigmar’s sizzling sausage, would you look at that! Rolf just exploded. Damn shame, really.”[1d]

The cursed is briefly attuned to the Winds of Magic but with disastrous consequences of a catastrophic Chaos manifestation, with Wizards about to better resist the curse's effects.[1d]


  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Lure of the Liche Lord
    • 1a: pg. 105
    • 1b: pg. 106
    • 1c: pg. 107
    • 1d: pg. 108

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