Savage Legends: Splintered
“There can be no common ground between men of faith and the infernalist. We seek to build and prosper – he seeks to destroy. We seek knowledge – he seeks to destroy. We seek laws and stability – he seeks to destroy. There is no endeavour of the infernalist that we should not oppose. Root him out with fire and sword wherever he may be found, or face the destruction of all you have built.”
Lord Inquisitor Arrenhal, 17th year of the 18th Dynasty of House Orwen (2722 Sundering)
Adepts of Chaos represent both the end of all things and the beginning. Their magic is the forces of entropy and decay, change and disorder. It is the end of the life-cycle, but also the opportunity for new life to begin. Without entropy all things would remain static: unyielding and eternal; but there could be no new life, no change, no inspiration or invention. Chaos mages know this truth better than anybody else. They work towards the disorder and decay of the world not out of malice but out of necessity.
Chaos spirits, as might be expected, are unpredictable and dangerous. They constantly strive to enter the physical plane, to unleash their energies on the world. Unrestrained, a Chaos spirit is a terrible danger as even the weakest demon is capable of killing the sick or elderly, causing accidents through undue decay, or disordering events to a harmful degree. There is an apocryphal anecdote of Siberrus – a magister of antiquity – who summoned a tiny imp to bedevil a rival. The spirit was released to work it’s mischief and, over the course of a year, it weakened the keystone of an important bridge. When the stone gave way the bridge collapsed, killing not only the rival but Sibellus’ wife, children, and three hundred others. The lesson offered is that even the most insignificant spirit of Chaos must be mastered.
A Chaos spirit will promise an Adept anything to win it’s freedom and a mage must possess a razor wit and a strong personality to see past the lies. Most dealings with such spirits are a bargain of sorts between parties that dare not trust each other, both seeking an unfair advantage over the other, the prize potentially being reality itself. Contrary to the teachings of Order, however, a spirit of Chaos has little use for a person’s soul – the infernal, soul-trading bargains made popular by scripture and Order mythology are just that – a myth.
Due to the actions of powerful Chaos adepts at key moments in history, as well as the antithetical relationship between Order and Chaos, adepts of this Pillar are vilified and feared, more so than almost anyone else. Persecuted for a millennia by the Congregation, hunted and executed by the Satrap Swordmasters, Chaos adepts must study in secret. They are extremely reclusive, operating in small cabals numbering no more than three or four students. They have their own language and covert signals with which to identify each other on the rare occasions that they venture away from their havens.
Each sect of Adepts is as different from each other as the spirits they work with. The masters of the northern Chaos Marches are a death cult, practicing human sacrifice. They actively summon Chaos spirits into the world, binding them into humans and animals, and setting them free to wreak havoc upon the hated Carathan Empire. By contrast the Imperial sect that enjoys the protection of the Battle-master are lore-masters and warriors, working their Chaos magic only when absolutely necessary. What few Adepts survive in the Satrapies are reclusive and subtle in the extreme.
Chaos magic is divided into five main areas:
- The Ways of Destruction are feats of flame and oblivion that directly impact the world.
- The Ways of Entropy focus on accelerating the natural processes of decay and disease.
- The Ways of Influence allow a Chaos mage to alter the minds of others, touching them with a part of his own madness.
- The Ways of Summoning directly summon demons in to the world and includes the means by which to empower their abilities.
- The Ways of Divining offer the magister a maddening glimpse of the future.