Monday, 4 April 2011

C is for Corruption


What is corruption in Warhammer Fantasy Role Play? It is many things, benign and malignant. Unlawfullness in its simpliest, most often form is but only a expectation of living in the Old World to the worship of the Ruinous Powers and being in league with outlawed, corrupting gods, their mortal cults, or foul agents, and seeking power over fellow man, dwarf, elf or halfling.

Corruption can be most insidious in its form as the temptation of power.

In game play, corruption is hard. It can't be reduced to a mechanic that leaves the player without control. Elements of corruption like Insanity or Mutation are easy enough in a game mechanic: fail a terror test, survive a grievous wound, or come to close to pure warpstone.

But role playing the seeds of corruption through power or character explication are elements both player and gamemaster must be active participants of in session. This is not to suggest a Calvinist interpretation of making a player predestine his character to become corrupted by the Ruinous Powers, but cleverly presenting active choices by the gamemaster to the player.

I think that my own players actively took many of the scenarios presented to pursue power and invite corruption or  the attention of corrupting agents and the Ruinous Powers, if not by my own accidents at times. The campaign itself started in the sandbox of cultists seeking lost warpstone artifacts and the players soon found themselves choosing insanity for knowledge or performing morally ambiguous acts out of culturally defined ideas of mercy. The best example being that of Ravendil Shadowstar, whose player detailed much of the character history on the wiki.

At best, my advice for corruption in play is to let it happen without telling your players you are inviting them to stray from the honorable path. In the next to last play session before our long and continuing haitus, many of my players were bitten by a corrupted hound I called a Warp Hound. The bite and its taint still courses through the blood of all the players, one a Sigmar Priest on the way to Exorcist. How will this taint affect the character in the present of a pure and pious Sigmar Templar? To what extent will the player lead his character to seek cleansing?

Posted by caffeinated at 11:03 PM in d10


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