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Crimson skull

The Cult of the Crimson Skull is a secretive organisation that infiltrates warrior fraternities to transform them into unwitting tools of Khorne. As with any of Khorne’s bloody followers, Crimson Skulls perform blood sacrifice and spread mayhem, but they are pragmatic enough to understand they have no chance for survival if they blindly embrace the rage and hatred so favoured by the Blood God and his followers. Instead, they glorify their master by turning the hearts of noble warriors towards the worship of Chaos. These men and women become some of the most violent in the Empire, and have spread into nearly all of the Imperial military societies. Ruthless, and dedicated to toppling the power structures to make the way for a new and bloody kingdom that will rest on a mountain of skulls, they believe they are but a few steps away from victory.[1a]

Overview Edit

Though Khorne expects his followers to kill and slaughter with abandon, the cultist of the Crimson Skulls tempers this demand out of the constant need for secrecy and survival. If Cultists simply grabbed arms and slaughtered the people of a town, they'd risk rousing the Witch Hunters and calling down the full power of the Empire to stamp them out. This does nothing to further the interests of the Blood God and certainly does not offer these celebrants a chance to find true glory in the eyes of their dark master.[1b]

Instead, these cultists worship Khorne through less-obvious means. They hold secret rituals where the members drink blood, devour raw Human flesh, fight in bloody combat with each other, and spread the seeds of rage in their chosen community. They encourage people to give in to hate, to commit violence, and to embrace their bestial natures. Those cultists who have been overcome by their need to slaughter and maim either die by the sword or head north to find glory and seek reward in the Chaos Wastes. Regardless, the Crimson Skull is an insidious organisation that will stop at nothing to bring about the bloody end of the Empire.[1b]

History Edit

For such a powerful and established cult, the Crimson Skulls are a relatively recent organisation. Born from the remnants of a dozen or more failed attempts to create a cohesive group to serve the interests of the Blood God, the Crimson Skulls were formed just before the Great War Against Chaos. At that time, the Empire was in disarray, in no small part due to the efforts of the Purple Hand (a widespread cult of Tzeentch), with many claimants to the throne vying for control over an unwieldy and chaotic political landscape. As tensions built within Sigmar's lands, the forces of Chaos mustered in the north and slowly marched south to destroy the Empire and enslave or butcher its people.[1a]

Sensing an opportunity to unravel the Empire's defences, a group of disaffected cultists, whose previous organisations had been exposed by the Cloaked Brothers, and destroyed by the Templars of Sigmar, bound together in Middenheim and devised a new way to bring the battle to their hated enemies: the Sigmarites. Instead of forming up as reckless killers, they understood the value of manipulation and subterfuge. Instead of forming up as reckless killers and ruthlessly butchering a town, they understood the value of manipulation and subterfuge. So, they installed themselves in its military organisations and used the soldiers to do their work for them. And, to defeat Sigmar and his weak-willed Priests, the Crimson Skulls would subvert fraternities allied with rival religions—Ulric for instance—and push them to wage open war with the Sigmarites.[1a]

Just prior to the Great War Against Chaos, the Sigmarites and Ulricans were fiercely opposed, and open conflict was common. The Crimson Skulls saw their opportunity to manipulate the Ulricans by infiltrating one of their most prestigious groups, The Brotherhood of the Axe, and with the influence this fraternity could bring to bear, they would be able to assume control over the entire cult of Ulric. But the Cult Magus, a vile man known as Bloodsipper, didn't anticipate Magnus the Pious, who came to Middenheim and entered the Sacred Flame (this fiery symbol of Ulric's blessing)—an act that lent credibility to the doctrine of Sigmar as a God. The efforts to turn the two faiths collapsed, and the Empire was able to throw back the hordes of Daemons and Marauders that tumbled out of the north.[1a]

For the next two centuries, the Crimson Skulls spread their influence throughout the Brotherhood of the Axe and other military institutions. Even with the Ar-Ulric’s acceptance of Magnus the Pious, the seeds of doubt and hatred of Sigmar within the cult of Ulric still ran hot. The Crimson Skulls were able to use this religious intolerance to their own ends, and they slowly subverted the Brotherhood of the Axe, drawing its leaders into the vile Chaos cult.[1a]

The Brotherhood of the Axe is held in high regard by the cult of Ulric, since the organisation traces its history to the dawn of the Empire. Believed to be the most pious and ruthless warriors of Ulric, they symbolise the Winter King as a Battle God. With the Storm of Chaos looming on the horizon, the cultists bade their time to see if Middenheim would fall. They lent their strength to the city’s defence and reaffirmed the Brotherhood once more as a powerful and honourable institution. The reason for this effort was that the cult leaders knew that with Valten (widely believed to be Sigmar reborn), the Empire could not fail. So rather than oppose Valten, the Crimson Skulls hoped to fan his rage and hate, and turn him to Chaos. Valten, however, disappeared before the Skulls could turn him.[1a]

The Crimson Skulls believe their time is at hand. Having recently uncovered information about a Daemon known as Xathrodox, whose sundered essence lay in three artefacts, the cult believes they can reunite the Daemon and gain a powerful ally to complete the destruction of Middenheim. Whether they succeed or not remains to be seen. (See Ashes of Middenheim for details.)[1a]

Organisation Edit

The Crimson Skulls, despite their current involvement with the Brotherhood of the Axe, are in fact quite widespread, having cells in most major cities and towns. Operating in small groups of eight, each cell consists of one Cult Acolyte and seven cultists of which at least three are aware of the cult’s purpose and allegiance. The Acolytes make pilgrimages to Middenheim once a year for the Convocation of Blood where they meet with the Cult Magus, a bloodthirsty killer named Boris Eichermann, a former Priest of Ulric who has a direct bloodline to the chief of the Teutogen tribe during the life of Sigmar. He faked his death five years ago after killing 35 young women with his bare hands.[1a]

Symbol Edit

When engaged in the rites of the Blood God, they venerate the bloody skull as their symbol, usually represented by the screaming head of a man whose flesh has been flayed from his face—to prevent death from shock,the cultists fill their victim with stimulants to keep him alive until the end of the ceremony.[1a][1b]

Motives and Goals Edit

The cult is committed to the destruction of the cult of Sigmar and, by extension, the Empire. Devotion to Sigmar has long driven many Witch Hunters to stalk and destroy the cults of Khorne and thwart the cult’s efforts to transform the Empire into a charnel house. The only way for this to come about is to deconstruct the Empire and its most powerful opposition to Chaos: the cult of Sigmar.[1b]

Recruiting Edit

The Crimson Skulls are cautious about recruiting new members. Most followers of Khorne are unstable and unsubtle—all virtues, but dangerous ones. The cult looks for individuals who, while committed to the spread of death and destruction, can temper their desires for violence with patience. They also recruit from natural opponents to the Sigmarites, and so many of their members begin as Priests or warriors dedicated to Ulric.[1b]

Viable candidates are selected from those with a penchant for killing, who can be easily seduced by violence. The candidate is invited to join an inner circle of an established military group where then the cultists inundate the candidate with anti-Sigmar propaganda. This continues until the candidate begins to spew his own lines of hatred, showing his rage and spite for the rival faith. These fires are fuelled until the individual “accidentally” kills a Priest of Sigmar, almost always orchestrated and controlled by the Crimson Skulls (they set up the circumstances and dispose of the body afterwards). Terrified, the killer retreats to the cult for assistance. It is at this time that the cult inducts the murderer into their fold, ushering him into the true secrets of Khorne. Those who balk at the cult’s purpose are butchered and devoured by the rest.[1b]

Ceremonies Edit

Crimson Skulls make regular offerings to their God. They believe each noble or Priest they kill is a sign of their devotion to their dark master. When they congregate, they always make a blood sacrifice, involving hours of physical combat, whereby they slaughter captives, and maybe even each other. After the orgy of violence, they select one of their prisoners to serve as the sacrifice. The leader then tears away the victim’s face, speaking an invocation in the tongue of Daemons while the dying man thrashes about in agony. As the victim dies, the other cultists approach to carve chunks of hot flesh from his body and sip the blood as it sprays from the dying man.[1b]

Source Edit

  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
    • 1a -- pg. 68
    • 1b -- pg. 69

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