- "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.
Warpstone, also known as Wyrdstone, Seer Stone, Blackstone, Witch Stone or Abn-i-khat (Burning Stone) in the language of Nehekhara, takes the appearance of a brightly emerald green crystal, a product of the solidification of pure Chaos energy.
Due to Chaos being the source of all the eight Winds of Magic, Warpstone is considered by 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 a vortex at the centre of the Inner Sea. However, some elements of the magical energies are far too powerful to simply be divided by the effects of the physical universe, and as a result, they coalesce into solid form.
Warpstone is therefore very rare, and can be found, smuggled, or bought into the the Old World in many different ways. Powdered Warpstone on the other hand, are sometimes drawn south from the unnatural winds of the Northern Wastes, carrying with it furious storm of wild Dark Magic that sows terror and destruction upon many parts of the southern lands. Most Warpstones fall to earth as meteorites from the sinister Chaos-Moon Morrslieb with the majority of the substance falling into the harsh domains of the Dark Lands. Warpstones can also be formed and crystallise 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 false properties of turning lead into gold and healing the sick and wounded. Most Warpstone is more commonly found in Meteorites than in any other location in the known world. Meteorites usually have a larger abundance of Warpstones than ordinary deposits, but they are sometimes irregular in shapes and sizes, and require refinement before being used for rituals or other evil-minded uses.
It is difficult to determine the exact physical form most Warpstones take, but many have noted that nearly all Warpstone has a black and greenish glow to them. Warpstones has also been noted to having no characteristic odour and is slightly warm to the touch. Those more unrefined Warpstones are naturally very dangerous for all creatures; 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 always plague those users for all eternity.
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 theorize that Warpstone was a substance first created by the pre-historic Old Ones to power their inexplicable arcane devices, like the Chaos Gates. The Loremasters theorise that when whatever catastrophe overtook the Old Ones, the great 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 they become.[2a] As such, the High Elves eschew the use of Warpstone in favour of "power stones" of their own making, which instead draws only a single Wind to it and crystallizes it into physical form, without the horrifying effects that are the result of true warpstone.[2b]
Mankind and 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
No nation has so much great use 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 both for their twisted magic, advanced technology, and even as key ingredients to be used in their breeding and mutation experiments. Skavens have been known to incorporate Warpstone into a piece of armour or jewellery to add a magical property to their otherwise normal gear. Warpstone has also been in use as an ingredient in magical potions or deadly poison. It has also been widely used as a form of currency within Skaven society, in the form of Warpstone Tokens -- a refined and minted piece of coin made entirely of pure Warpstone.
Vampires and Warpstone
As 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. Warpstone, however, is cut off from the Aethyr and can exist without the blow of the Winds of Magic or the continued existence of the Great Gates and cannot be influenced by the will of any god or daemon. In that, he sees it as a perfect manifestation of Necromancy itself, which also aims to create magical structures that exist independetly from the Aethyr.[3b]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery
- 3: Liber Necris
- 4: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition)
- 4a pg.7.
- 5: Web Archive of Games Workshop.
- 6: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
- 6a pg.89.
- 7: The Loathsome Ratmen and all their Vile Kin
- 7a pg.21.