Tuesday, 15 April 2008

WFRP: After death, eternal damnation

Eternal suffering and damnation are the only things that are sure for all who follow the Perilous Powers, those who join the laughter of the dark gods, those who lay down their lives and their deeds in the name of Chaos. The final fate of the enemies outside our walls, as well as the enemies within. We kow precious little of this suffering and damnation, and that is as it should be. No sane man or woman can comprehend the horrors that await those who have given their souls to the boiling chaos, willingly or unwittingly. But there are some who have been sent visions by the gods, visions to warn us of ever-lasting torment, visions that reminds us all not to suffer the heretic, or he will drag you down with him! Recently I took part of the following fiery sermon from a zealot on the Altdorf streets. At first I thought his frothing and screaming betrayed a true madman, but as I came to ponder his words, I felt something stir within me. Fear. Fear of corruption, of the rot of the mind and heart. Fear of eternal damnation.

"When YOU die … yes, you mein herr, over there with the fancy hat, you WILL DIE! As will all of you! All of you will rot away, will age and grow weary and decrepit! And then you will DIE! And if you have a true and uncorrupted soul… yes if you are true to the gods, then the lord Morr will take your soul into his realm. But if you have SINNED against our lord, if you have opened up your heart to the lure of the songs of the everchanging POWERS, then your soul will be swallowed whole by the dark gods. Gobbled up, devoured, eaten … yes, much like you, young sire, is eating that mincemeat pie … think of that pie as your SOUL … and every bite you take, every piece you swallow takes that soul one step closer to ever-lasting SUFFERING and DAMNATION! You start, dear lady. Maybe it is because you have something to HIDE! But you can NOT HIDE anything from the dark lords of filth and muck! If your soul has a taint, you are DOOMED! And what happens to your soul, I hear you ask? After you have been eaten by the forces of all that is evil and dark and horrible and nasty … WHAT HAPPENS THEN? If you are LUCKY, your soul is obliterated, extinguished into nothing. You are made one with the ruinous powers and will become no more than a wailing banshee on the wast Chaos Wastes! If you are LUCKY! But as you are all sinners, rotten in heart and soul, irredeemably corrupt ... yes, ALL of you standing here ... that fate is not for you. You are consigned to one of the kingdoms of sin, to PAY for your evil ways!"
According to the zealot there are nine accursed Kingdoms of Sin, all populated by the souls of the wicked, ruled over by deamon kings and queens. In these kingdoms, the stench of rotten minds and heinous deeds overwhelm the senses, and the wind carries with it the cries and moans of the dead and suffering. The realms lie one after the other, each being an endless tract of land that carries a wanderer ever closer to the courts of Chaos.

When a person dies, there are several things that can happen to his or her soul. Merciful Morr might collect it, or Khaine the merciless may devour it. The souls who have given themselves entirely over to Chaos are collected for unique attention by the most trusted servants of the dark gods themselves. But then there are the tainted souls, minds that have not dared to openly embrace Chaos and the ruinous powers. These are the souls of the petty-minded crooks, the rotten souls of thugs and embezzlers, the blasphemers and cowardly heretics. For them Chaos Undivided has reserved special places in the Chaos Wastes. These souls come first to Primus, the Kingdom of Judgment, where a being known only as the Fickle Judge condemns each and every soul to the appropriate suffering in one of the other eight realms.

Secundus is the kingdom where those who have been overcome by lust are punished. These souls are blown about to and fro by a violent storm, without hope of rest. A three headed monstrous dog rules Tertius, the third kingdom, where the gluttons lie in mud, drenched on icy rain, ash snow and spiked hail. The fourth realm is Quartus, the home of Plutus, the were-wolf overlord. It is the prison of those who are subject to the rot of greed. They include the miserly, who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal, who squandered them.

Quintus is a realm of water, a river as wide an ocean, where the wrathful fight each other on the surface, and the sullen or slothful lie gurgling beneath the water. At the shores of Quintus lies the broken bones of legions of beastmen, who guard the roads leading into the kingdoms that lie beyond. In these realms those who have willfully comitted the most abominable sins known to man and gods are punished. Following the roads leads to the gates of Sextius, or Hereticus as it is also named. These are guarded by snake-headed women armed with barbed whips. In the kingdom beyond the gates accursed heretics are trapped in flaming tombs, burning for their treason against the true gods.

After leaving the burning flesh of the heretics behind, we come to Septus, the seventh of the lands. Septus is covered by a gnarly forest, one tree for each soul condemned to suffer here. This kingdom houses the violent; those who have laid hands on that which is precious to life, the Empire and the gods. The only way in is across a river of boiling blood, and this river is guarded by The Bull-headed King and his minions. The trees are beset by fires, by chaos beasts ripping their bark and drawing the sap, burrowing insects and furies slashing the roots with huge scythes.

Octavus is the eight kingdom. This is the final suffering for liars and decievers, who are driven bare-foot across land strewn with broken glass and infested by scorpions. The ninth realm is the last of the Kingdoms of Sin, and after this only pure and howling Chaos remain. This land is called Nonus, and is reserved for traitors of any cause or person, those who break a blood-oath or a holy wow. Each traitor is encased in ice to a different depth than the others, ranging from only the waist down to complete immersion. Vultures and ravens fly overhead, sometimes squatting on the heads of the traitors, taking bites out of their flesh.

After listening to these horrors being described, I fled the zealot. His voice has haunted my dreams ever since, and even though I may never hear him preach again, his warning to me is etched into my soul. Beware the whispered promises of Chaos, for that way only eternal suffering and damnation lies.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Marktag, Sigmarzeit 15, 2523 IC

This is the first text I write on the after-life for sinners in the WFRP world. As you undoubtedly have noticed, it is a thinly veiled extract from Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.

I feel that I want to establish such a concept for WFRP, and put names and shapes to the fear of eternal punishment. After all, the threat of damnation and the promise of salvation was a central pillar of the medieval society, and also play a big part of WFRP. So it seems logical that myths about what happens to those who are damned spring into existence. For now, this is what I will work with in my campaign. It is all a bit sketchy, and I haven't really made much work adapting it to the Old World. Hopefully I will find time to return to this at a later date.


1 comment:

  1. This is good stuff! I think the concept will work well with The Old World and all it's beliefs. I'm looking forward to see future wrok on this!