"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 its structure to far more than just ‘burned’ due to exposure to its 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?"
Warpstone, also spelled warpstone and alternatively known as "Wyrdstone," "Seer Stone," "Blackstone," "Foulstone," "Witch Stone" or "God-Stone" among the Skaven and "Abn-i-khat," meaning "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 condensed directly from the Aethyr.
Properties and Usage
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.
Its unnatural provenance is immediately obvious to all who see it, as it hurts the eyes and mutates anything drawing close for too long. Although its form varies, it often holds hard facets like flint, and radiates a queasy green glow. Close examination of the substance is not to be undertaken lightly. Warpstone is the stuff of Chaos made manifest and its presence is deeply corrupting. Those who have direct contact with warpstone risk illness, madness and mutation, and anyone who ingests so much as a pinch of the stuff dooms themselves to catastrophic warping of body and mind. Nonetheless, the world is full of reckless, ambitious fools who know that the volatile and dangerous substance is a tremendous source of energy for spells and rituals. The followers of Chaos and the Skaven do not hesitate to use it. To them, warpstone is a literal gift from the gods to be valued above gold and jewels, and to be used against their enemies.[12a]
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. 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
"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, Alchemist of Nuln[6a]
Warpstone in the Empire
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
No realm has as great a use for or need of Warpstone than the great Skaven Under-Empire. Also called "God-Stone" among their kind[11a], 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. [1a]
Though they have a higher tolerance for it than other creatures, Warpstone is dangerous to any race. Raw warpstone must first be transmuted by the Grey Seers in order to be used in relative safety by other, more mundane skaven.[1a]
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]
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]
"The Wormstone is a masterpiece of alchemical creation. A block of pure Warpstone endowed with new properties through a process now lost and forgotten."
The Wormstone, as it was called by the Skaven, was a large chunk of Warpstone that had been altered by the arcane alchemical abilities of Clan Pestilens to produce rampant disease, even among other ratmen. It was the colour of swamp slime, crossed in veins of black, and emitted a sickly yellow glow instead of the signature green associated with most Warpstone. The bulk of the artefact was pure Warpstone, but it also was comprised of other unknown substances. It emitted an evil aura that repulsed even the Skaven. This was because the Wormstone had powerful disease-causing abilities as whoever touched its surface would find themselves infected by glowing maggots, likely the namesake of the stone. [9a]
An ancient artefact, the Wormstone stood about as high as a Skavenslave. Unearthed from the mass-grave of Clan Mawrl in Under-Altdorf many years after that clan's destruction ("a thousand breedings" according to the Skaven's imprecise understanding of time) by Grey Seer Skabritt, there began a fierce battle between the Skaven clans to control it when its existence became widely known.[9a]
According to Nurglitch VII, the leader of Clan Pestilens, his clan had originally crafted the stone by altering normal Warpstone through the use of Pestilens alchemy. Later, Grey Seer Thratquee revealed that the artefact was given to Clan Mawrl by Pestilens as a gift for that clan's loyalty to the Pestilent Brotherhood during the Second Skaven Civil War. However, it was only truly death that Pestilens had given their ally and the Wormstone's infectious power killed every member of the clan, from the most powerful Skaven Warlord to the lowliest whelp. Once the infection became widespread in Clan Mawrl, the other clans of Under-Altdorf conspired against the infected clan to save themselves and buried every member of Clan Mawrl alive alongside the deadly Wormstone in order to stop it from destroying the rest of the Skaven population of Under-Altdorf.[9b]
The Wormstone proved powerful enough to tip the balance of power sharply in the direction of whichever clan made use of it. According to Thratquee, it proved to be potent enough to cow the Council of Thirteen themselves. [9c]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Realms of Sorcery (RPG)
- 3: Liber Necris (Background Book)
- 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 (Background Book)
- 7a pg. 21
- 8: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Old World Bestiary (RPG)
- 8a pg. 38
- 9: Grey Seer (Novel) by C.L. Werner
- 10 Warhammer Armies: Skaven (4th Edition)
- 10a: pg. 10
- 11: Nagash Immortal (Novel) by Mike Lee
- 11a: Prologue
- 12: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rulebook (4th Edition)
- 12a: pg. 233