Wednesday, 13 April 2011

K is for Khorne

"Blood for the Blood God!"

For whatever reason Khorne gets a lot of press in the Wahammer universe. Much to my indifference leaning more to dislike.

Khorne is the "Skull Lord," "The Master of Battle," and "The Blood God." His mantra is often heard in the cries of the waves of gore covered northern barbarians at the head of Chaos armies.

Maybe it's Sabbat's speed metal anthem to Khorne (released on 7" "flexi-disc" in the pages of White Dwarf #95). Maybe it's the press or oft repeated phrase. Maybe it's the imagery of a murderous, blood thirsty, berserker deity. Maybe it's all of these things focused into some kind of bizarre attraction to player characters.

As a gamemaster of many RPGs over decades, I have heard of the "evil campaign." I've examined the play style of the evil PC. But I can not find an appeal, except in play to end the life of the Khorne cultist. Maybe that session is the ultimate irony of the Khorne cultist bent on murder, to be murdered. Is Khorne equally sated with the killing of his worshiper? Is it the first step on path to corruption for the hero or anti-hero? 

For me, Law and Neutrality form the foundations of the greatest campaigns. Not necessarily Paladins and upright priests vs. evil, but people pursuing life and finding greatness through adventure, even if that greatness was achieved along the way with questionable morals. I myself played in an anthropomorphic game as an anti-hero member of a group of vigilantes called the PeaceBreakers. But there are crimes that are so outrageous, and the paths to such crimes, that should have consequences in game.

Murder should not be outright disallowed, in the name of Khorne (or the elven aspect known as Khaine, worshipped by the Druchi, or Dark Elves) or otherwise, but players should expect that a mortal reckoning may one day catch up to the character for morally egregious crimes. I should clarify the morality as a context bound by Law, not bound by some idea of gross Neutrality or moral equivalence. Otherwise, the pain and suffering inflicted by Chaos would be dismissible in the grossest sense as: "Oh, it's what they do. So sorry your kid is dead."
Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10

 

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