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Cultist of the Broken Wheel

Working secretly from the shadows for many years, the disciples of The Cult of the Broken Wheel have long sought the downfall of the Imperial Colleges of Magic. Worshippers of Tzeentch, the god of magic and forbidden lore, the cultists of The Broken Wheel view the practises of the eight Colleges as a betrayal of the art of sorcery, structuring and controlling the Winds of Magic instead of revelling in the chaotic, untamed nature of their dark arts.[1a]

With this in mind, it is of little surprise that the hub of their activities lies in Altdorf itself, where the magnificently eccentric buildings that form the Colleges are to be found, though other cells, or ‘spokes’ as the cultists refer to them, operate in many other cities of The Empire, much in the same way as extensions of the Colleges themselves do. The Gold College, for example, has extensive ties with Nuln’s gunnery schools and foundries, and a large spoke of The Broken Wheel’s cultists are based within the city walls, interfering and undermining the efforts of the alchemical metallurgists of the Lore of Metal.[1a]

The cult’s rumoured founder and magister, a disgruntled wizard by the name of Matthias Volker, was expelled from the Colleges for using a forbidden spell and killing a rival in a magical contest. It was this ignominious humiliation that stirred in him a need to seek retribution against those that had shamed him. Seeing an opportunity to foster a useful new asset in the heart of the Empire, Tzeentch spoke to Volker in dreams and visions, nurturing his hatred and feeding his lust for knowledge of the dark arts.[1a]

It wasn’t long before his illicit activities attracted other, like-minded renegades from the Altdorf underground, and he soon developed a powerful following of cult members from all walks of society. In the true nature of a cult of Tzeentch, Volker kept his enemies closest, successfully planting many spies and moles within the secretive Colleges of Magic, and used his contacts to sow discord and mistrust between the colleges. On many occasions, wizards from rival colleges almost came to blows as a direct result of the lies and mistruths spoken by infiltrated agitators at Volker’s behest, and he amassed a collection of stolen wizard staffs that he used to power his arcane rituals in secret. Little is known of what ultimately happened to the rogue wizard, but at the climax of a powerful daemonic summoning, the vortex of magical energies that he had unleashed went awry, and Volker disappeared in a blaze of uncontrolled energy, along with many members of his coven, and was never seen or heard from again.[1a]

How he had displeased Tzeentch is unknown, but that he must have somehow done so is beyond doubt. His legacy still lingers to this day however, and his loyal followers work tirelessly to fulfil his dream and destroy the Colleges of Magic for their lack of vision. How many of the cult’s spies still remain within the walls of the Colleges, none can say, but the inside knowledge they can provide is an invaluable asset to the cult’s activities.[1a]

Despite many thwarted plots over the years, these setbacks have done nothing to dampen the resolve of the cult’s members. Their greatest triumph to date is the murder of the former Amethyst College Patriarch, Heinz Liebermann. An agent of the Broken Wheel posed as one of his household staff and mixed the powdered remains of a Null Stone into his porridge. An enchanted shard of obsidian that is used to still the winds of magic in its vicinity, the latent effects of the Null Stone slowly drained the wizard’s powers throughout the day as his body digested his tainted breakfast.[1a]

Temporarily unable to call upon his formidable magical abilities, the aging wizard was easy prey as his ‘loyal’ retainer drove his coach down the wrong alley on his way to see the apothecary. Heinz was ambushed and dragged into the cellar of an abandoned building, before being tied to a large wagon wheel and ruthlessly beaten to death, the attacks so severe that the wooden wheel itself was broken in the act. His shattered body was weaved between the spokes of the broken wheel and strung from the walls of one of the College’s buildings in the middle of the night. It is believed that it was from this terrible act that cult took its name.[1a]

Cultists of Tzeentch are the most cunning and secretive of all, and members of The Cult of the Broken Wheel are no exception. This is with good reason, for Tzeentch often blesses his followers with the boon of mutation, and his minions must go to great lengths to avoid these blatant signs of heresy from being discovered. Cult members appear to be harmless shopkeepers or household servants by day, but in secret, when amongst their fellow brethren, their mutations are revealed and worn openly as a sign of their God’s favour.[1a]

Warpstone is highly sought after by the cult’s members, and regularly used to achieve their aims, either to poison those they seek to destroy, or as part of their arcane rituals. Regular proximity to this deadly substance can also lead to mutation and change, though as far as The Cult of the Broken Wheel are concerned, these too are blessings from Tzeentch, and the end more than justifies the means.[1a]

Source Edit

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- The Book of Change
    • 1a: pg. 28

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