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"Most precious of all substances, the pulse of our life. If the Horned Rat is our father, then surely, Warpstone is our mother. Its uses are infinite. Like the heart of an endless fire, it is. Even the smallest of pieces will continue to give power indefinitely, allowing many of our devices to become somewhat portable. Warpstone fire can not only consume a substance, but actually change it’s structure to far more than just ‘burned’ due to exposure to it’s holy flames. Weapons made from Warpstone produce their own poison. A Warpstone charm brings real luck, changing what ‘was to be’ to what ‘might have been’ with none the wiser. So where does it come from? There are those among the more superstitious of our folk and a few foolish Grey Seers that believe Warpstone is the leavings of the Horned Rat. I subscribe to the secular view – that it is chunks of the dark moon, Morskrit, which has managed to gift us with pieces of its essence. Dangerous it is; to touch Warpstone often. But that’s what slaves are for, yes-yes?"
Narshift, Warlock Engineer of Clan Skryre.[8a]
Token-Warpstone

A fragment of deadly Warpstone.

Warpstone, also known as Wyrdstone, Seer Stone, Blackstone, Foulstone, Witch Stone or Abn-i-khat ("Burning Stone") in the language of ancient Nehekhara, is a bright, emerald green crystalline substance that is actually the solidified form of pure Chaos energy.

Overview

As Chaos is the true source of all eight Winds of Magic, Warpstone is considered by Old World scholars as the ultimate physical manifestation of pure magic. When Chaos first entered the Warhammer World through the two polar gates of the Old Ones, most of its energy is divided into the eight Winds of Magic, flowing steadily southward and eventually towards the isles of Ulthuan where the excess magic is drained into the Great Vortex at the centre of the Inner Sea.

However, some of this magical energy is far too potent to be divided by simple contact with the physical universe into the Winds of Magic and sometimes it coalesces into a solid, crystalline form. Warpstone is therefore very rare, and can be found, smuggled, or brought into the Old World in many different ways. Powdered Warpstone is sometimes brought south on the unnatural winds of the Northern Wastes, carrying with it a furious storm of wild Dark Magic that sows terror and destruction upon many parts of the southern lands.

Most Warpstone falls to earth in the form of meteorites that have broken off of the sinister Chaos Moon Morrslieb with the majority of falling into the harsh domains of the Dark Lands. Warpstone can also be crystallised from a sufficiently powerful current of Dark Magic into small pieces by very powerful sorcerers or magicians.

Being the source of all magic, Warpstone is highly coveted by magicians, alchemists and sorcerers for its ability to turn lead into gold and heal the sick and wounded. Most Warpstone is found in fallen meteorites than in any other location in the known world. Warpstone meteorites usually have a larger abundance of the substance than ordinary deposits found on the world's surface, but they are sometimes irregular in shape and size, and require refinement before being used in rituals, crafting or to power other magical abilities.

It is difficult to determine the exact physical form most Warpstone takes, but many scholars have noted that nearly all Warpstone has a black and greenish glow to it. Warpstone has no characteristic odour and is slightly warm to the touch. Unrefined Warpstone is highly toxic to all living things; prolonged exposure to the substance will lead to madness, mutation and eventual death. Prolonged consumption produces an addiction much greater than any other natural drug, an addiction that never ceases and will plague its victims for the rest of their lives.

Dwarfs and Warpstone

The Dwarfs mistrust Warpstone for its chaotic nature and almost never use it. Only one runesmith, Alaric the Mad, was able to utilize warpstone for the creation of the Nemesis Crown as a means to hold the Master Rune of Ages.[5] Alaric himself realized the mistake he had made and sealed the Crown away before it could be abused.

Elves and Warpstone

The Loremasters of Hoeth theorise that Warpstone was a substance first created by the pre-historic Old Ones to power their inexplicable arcane devices, like the Polar Gates. The Loremasters believe that when catastrophe overtook the Old Ones, this power source was ejected from its place between both the material and immaterial universes.[2a]

As a result, Warpstone is not a corrupting force in itself. Rather, it draws the Winds of Magic to it, but since it lacks direction and a guiding will, it crushes them together and thus accumulates Dhar. The longer Warpstone resides in the physical world, the more destructive and ridden with dark magic it becomes.[2a]

The High Elves thus eschew the use of Warpstone in favour of "power stones" of their own making, each of which instead draws only a single Wind of Magic to it and crystallizes that lesser force into physical form, without the horrifying effects that are the result of the soldification of true Warpstone.[2b]

Mankind and Warpstone

The Empire

"What is this substance that makes murderers of saints, lechers of the chaste, Mutants out of Men? Ah, beloved Wyrdstone, maker of dreams, changer of destinies, destroyer of Mordheim, and killer of a thousand alchemists and scholars alike. But, the visions, the miracles, the wonders that can be had... surely, the risk of madness, mutation, and death are worth the greatness that can be achieved?"
Soren Deitlof, Nulner Alchemist[6a]
Warhammer Warpstone Alchemist

A foolish Alchemist dabbling with Warpstone

The possession of Warpstone in the Empire is forbidden. While the law dates back centuries, it was rarely enforced. This changed when Magnus the Pious became Emperor. Under him, the punishment for the possession or trafficking of Warpstone was raised to the death penalty.[7a]

As Warpstone is one of the substances responsible for the creation of mutants, traffickers of it are targeted by the Witch Hunters. The fact that it is so rare makes it very valuable for the right circles. A single ounce of warpstone can be enough to buy a duchy.[6a]

The most common reason that some misguided fool would seek Warpstone has to do with the legends dating back to the time of the destruction of Mordheim that claim Warpstone can serve as a catalyst in the transmutation of base metals into gold.[2a] Other rumors include that it can cure all sicknesses, heal any wound and even bring the dead back to life.[7a]

Skaven and Warpstone

Milek-jakubiec-skaven015

A Skavenslave miner finding a large Warpstone rock.

No realm has as great a use for or need of Warpstone then the great Skaven Under-Empire. The role of Warpstone in Skaven society is diverse, serving as a source of energy for their twisted magic, advanced technology, and even as a key ingredient to be used in their breeding and mutation experiments.

Skaven have been known to incorporate Warpstone into a piece of armour or jewellery to add a magical property to their otherwise mundane gear.

Warpstone has also been used by the Skaven as an ingredient in magical potions or deadly poisons. It is widely used as a form of currency within Skaven society, in the shape of Warpstone Tokens -- a refined and minted piece of coin made entirely of pure Warpstone. 

Vampires and Warpstone

As a form of pure Dhar, Warpstone is a valuable resource for necromancers and Vampires. It is said that Nagash himself consumed mainly Warpstone during his flight from Nehekhara and that it became infused into his very bones and melted his flesh away.[3a]

Warpstone is often formed in regions in which the undead are or have been active, such as Sylvania, the Desolation of Nagash, the Zombie Swamps and the Vampire Coast.[4a]

According to Mannfred von Carsteins research, Warpstone is concentrated Sekhem, the life-force or soulfire that is inherent in all living beings and is later drawn into the Aethyr to be consumed by Daemons or gods. [3b]

Warpstone, however, is cut off from the Aethyr and can continue to exist in the world even if the Winds of Magic ceased to blow or the Great Gates at the poles closed. It cannot be influenced by the will of any god or Daemon. In that, von Carstein sees it as a perfect manifestation of Necromancy itself, which also aims to create magical structures that exist independently from the Aethyr.[3b]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd Edition): Realms of Sorcery (RPG)
    • 2a pg. 43.
    • 2a pg. 44.
  • 3: Liber Necris (Background Book)
    • 3a pg. 17.
    • 3b pg. 60.
  • 4: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition)
    • 4a pg. 7.
  • 5: Web Archive of Games Workshop.
  • 6: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd Edition): Tome of Corruption (RPG)
    • 6a pg. 89.
  • 7: The Loathsome Ratmen and all their Vile Kin
    • 7a pg. 21.
  • 8: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd Edition): Old World Bestiary (RPG)
    • 8a pg. 38

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