- "There are those scholars who would insist that all of the greatest beasts that affright and ravage our world are descended in some part, if not whole lineage, from the dragon-kin of old, born into being so long ago that even the ancient Slann remember the ages that spawned them only dimly, like dreams unravelling in the dawn's light. Others, who have had consultation with the lore of the High Elves, insist that such horrors were only unleashed upon the world with the great calamity which did so unleash the great and terrible Storms of Chaos that wrath and snarl at the uttermost regions of the world to this very day. To other creatures myth has described lavish and outlandish tales and origins, while some such as the viciously small and grasping minds of our Empire's Witch Hunters see in everything the immediate wellspring of the Dark Gods' corruption.
To those of our august Colleges of Magic who must face such horrors in the flesh, either as the subject of their craft, or more unwontedly as foes in battle, the matter of their origin or place in folklore may seem an utter irrelevance - particularly when faced with the immediacy of snarling fan and gutting claw. However it must be remembered that in the commandment and destruction of certain uncommon and arcane terrors that knowledge itself is a weapon, and often a vital one. A case in point is the poisoned-eyed Basilisk, and there are many from noble knight to Battle Wizard who have paid the price for ignorance, for to meet a Basilisk gaze is death for all living things be they man, elf or monster, and such is its vehemence that even the walking dead and Daemons brought forth from the abyss may be unmade by its venom. Here, as in so many other cases, folklore that may seem no more than empty tales, if anything, carrying only echo of the merest fraction of the monster's true power."
- —From the Prima Monstroum of the Imperial Colleges of Magic[2b]
The Basilisk is a huge, eight-legged reptile which prefers to live in warm or underground places. It is a creature of Chaos, originating from the very first Incursions of Chaos, and is now well-established in the Old World, if not common.[1a][1b]
Found in the most treacherous regions of the world, from the Bloodspine Mountains of the unknown Southlands to the Grey Peaks that shoulder the Empire, Basilisks are creatures so inimical to life that they poison the very ground they walk upon. They are a living blight that can swiftly reduce an area to ruinous wasteland, decimating crops and slaughtering livestock with venom that suffuses both their body and spirit.[2a]
Despite their might Basilisks are a reclusive menace, preferring to skulk in the cover of forests and hills, allowing their noxious presence to poison and their prey from afar before appearing to feed. Their huge bodies are covered by brightly colored scales, from the membranous fins upon their heads to the tip of their long tail, a warning of their venomous nature. They prowl about in eight reptilian legs, and move so swiftly they are able to run down and kill even the quickest of prey.[2a]
In dense terrain they rely on their poisonous aura to clear foiliage that might otherwise obstruct their charge, whilst their long claws finish off prey weakened by the poison they exclude. So powerful is the venom that it infuses the Basilisk very being that when brought to bay by hunters and struck, it will corrupt and destroy the blades set against it.[2a]
The most potent weapon in the Basilisks' arsenal is their deadly gaze. Renowned in folklore across the Old World for its lethal nature, the Basilisks' sickly pale eyes are able to focus the destructive potential of their poisonous soul, withering their prey until its skin and flesh slough away. It is the dark renown of the Basilisks' gaze that ensures that when the great storms of magic descend and binding scrolls are empowered once again, many a wizard will eagerly seek to call them forth and unleash them upon a hated foe.[2a]
A Basilisk is a cold-blooded creature, whose aura tainst anything that draws near, destroying weapons and killing men, its deadly power increasing with exposure. The Basilisk can focus its dark malice upon a single target, its gaze blistering skin and metal, and flaying the target with its tainted power.
In the Core Rulebook of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game's 1st Edition, Basilisks are extremely dangerous beasts, whose gaze can permanently petrify living creatures. The petrifying effect has a range of 10 yards and can affect a single creature at a time.[1a][1b] In Warhammer: Monstrous Arcanum, however, their gaze dissolves flesh and metal.[2a][2b]
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Core Rulebook
- 2: Warhammer: Monstrous Arcanum