- "We saw its approach through the darkened eaves, now crawling in the dirt, now flapping upwards, as if it could not decide if it was a snake or a sparrow. Then it came into the moonlight and we saw it true. Did we fight? I cannot say. All I recall is clotted fur and an embracing drool. Twisting limbs. Tearing rock. Rotting metal. Melting fingers. The stench of cadavers and burning honey. My eyes screamed, my tongue shook, my knees spewed. It ate my friends and drank my soul. It took my mind I know not where, for it is no longer here with me."
- — Interview with sole survivor of Reikwald forest patrol (one hundred men), incarcerated in Frederheim Sanitorium.[1b]
A Chaos Spawn is a term used to describe a whole spectrum of mutated creatures warped into being by the corrupting influence of Magic and Chaos corruption. Once the first mutation takes hold, the creature that was once a man now faces the inevitable dissolution of his mind and will, becoming something less than yet more than mortal. The fate that awaits nearly all surviving mutants is to become a Chaos Spawn, a gibbering abomination existing only to serve the whims of its infernal masters.[2a]
Some manage to stave off this doom for a time, committing great and terrible deeds to gather the Rewards and Gifts of Chaos. But, for most, the fate of becoming a Chaos Spawn lies at the end of their dark and horrible road. The fate of a Spawn is to die, either on the field of battle by axe or sword, torn apart in the wilds by even more savage creatures, or literally ripped asunder by the Chaos energy that continues to course through its twisted body.[2a]
- "The Spawn of Chaos are the most horrific of all the Chaos-tainted Humans, for in appearance at least they live up to their name, seeming to have been created from an eruption of the raw stuff of Chaos into the world."
- — Vorster Pike, Witch Hunter[3a]
In appearance, these creatures vary widely. Some appear as the man who walks as a beast – a once humanoid form that has sprouted and burst into an obscene and monstrous anatomy, mutated almost beyond recognition. The eyes of the original creature peer out, a glint of its former personality barely perceptible amidst the fleshy ruin. Others appear more as the beast who walks as a man – a twisted parody of humanity moulded from the hairy, lumpen body of a forest creature.[1a]
Regardless of particulars, Chaos Spawn are creatures of unspeakable horror, their twisted bodies sporting an impossible array of spines, eyes and mouths. Some have the heads of overgrown insects, while others have skin that exudes poisonous slime. Some, due perhaps to the locations in which they lair, appear to be a part of the forest itself, their constantly mutating bodies having been joined with the rotten limbs of dead trees, their skin covered in dank moss.[1a]
Although most Mutants are doomed to become Chaos Spawn, few survive long enough to experience the transformation. With the possibility of accidents, bad circumstances, burning on a Witch Hunter’s pyre, or succumbing to injury in one of the countless battles that rage all over the Chaos Wastes, the Mutant is more likely to find death instead. However, some exceptional Mutants—those who know when to run—may discover the glorious evolution that awaits them, to find the enveloping embrace that is Chaos, and become a Spawn of Chaos.[2a]
Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same. The body collapses under the unbearable weight of corruption and is infused with the raw power of Chaos, forcing all manner of strange and disturbing transformations. Chaos Spawn lose what little remained of their original forms, becoming a shifting mass of tentacles and eyes. A rare few retain just enough of their original forms to become truly horrific. Upon the moment of devolution, the subject is wracked with agonising pains as his body ripples and undulates. The pain is so great it destroys the mind, erasing nearly every memory, all emotion, and the capability of forming a coherent thought, leaving behind an unreasoning husk of flesh and sinew.[2a]
When the Forces of Chaos goes to battle, the Chaos Spawn come shambling from their lairs. The Forces of Chaos have no control over a Spawn's actions, and it will behave in a largely unpredictable manner. The Spawn will move towards the enemy and crash flailing into his ranks; teeth, claws, and tentacles tearing men limb from limb in a shower of blood and ruination. Mindless and utterly beyond reason, Chaos spawn relentlessly attack anything in their way, the blows of their enemies merely a strange relief to the endless insanity that is their miserable existence.[1a]
Types of Chaos Spawn
Aside from the more common spawn of Chaos Undivided, some may exhibit the traits of a particular god.
- Bloodbeasts of Khorne - The Bloodbeast is a type of Chaos Spawn that has inherited the characteristics of its patron god. Like all aspects of Khorne, the Bloodbeast is a battle-maddened creature that lives only to take lives and harvest skulls in the name of the Blood God.
- Plaguebeast of Nurgle - A seething mass of boils, lashing limbs, and diseased mouths, the Plaguebeast of Nurgle is a Chaos Spawn devoted to the Lord of Decay.
- Fiend of Slaanesh - Sinuous and twisted, the Fiends are the Chaos Spawn of the Dark Prince. Their long, scaly bodies move with deceptive speed, often surprising opponents before they have time to react.
- Firewyrm of Tzeentch - Perhaps the most perfect example of the gifts granted by the Lord of Change, the Firewyrm is a personification of its god. Its body is an ever-changing mass of pseudopods, tentacles and clawed limbs that spew multicolored flames, sowing mutation in their wake.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Beastmen (7th Edition)
- 2: Tome of Corruption (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 57 - 58
- 3: Old World Beastiary (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 3a: pg. 13
- 4: Warhammer: AoR