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Chaos is a term used variously to describe a mutating and corrupting force from the Realm of Chaos which manifests in the world as the Winds of Magic; the mortal (whether humans or any other race) and the daemonic servants of "Chaos"; the Chaos Gods being Tzeentch, Nurgle, Khorne and Slaanesh and as a broad term for all of these together.
"The nature of Chaos is evil, it mirrors the selfish and misguided doings and wills of the intelligent beings in the real universe the entites also represent every thing thats evil and/or terrible in the world such as plague and death. the predatory entities of Chaos, be they "gods" or daemons, exist because living things generate these crimes. So when the human mind turns to petty and evil thoughts the powers of the Chaos gods grow and coalesce into hideous forms shaped by human lust, greed, anger, and fear."
The ways of the Chaos gods are evil, watching with amusement as mortals destroy each other and the world. Chaos has the potential to exist in all realms of the world because of the evil within mortals hearts. There are dark, secretive Chaos cults hidden in the Empire, and there are rumors of Chaos worshipers amongst the Dark Elves. However, the true "Realm of Chaos" exists far to the north above the Chaos Wastes, a dead region of icy desert, mountain, and tundra. In the Chaos Wastes are the citadels and monuments of the proud champions of Chaos, those who have proven their worth to the Chaos gods and have earned their blessing. The wastes echo with the perpetual ringing of battle, as brothers fall on each other as eagerly as they fall on enemies, in the hope that one of the Chaos powers will take notice and raise them up as one of their favorites, bestowing supernatural gifts upon them.
Origins of ChaosEditNo one truly knows of the origins of Chaos in the world. Even the long-lived scholars of the Elves can only speculate as to where the forces of Chaos first came from. War, famine, natural disaster and the destroyer known as time have eroded away nearly all indications of the roots of Chaos. What is known is that in the long distant past, the world of Warhammer was paid a visit by an already ancient star faring race of creatures never met by man. These Old Ones arrived on the world and quickly established two gateways on the world which floated above the northern and southern poles. This gateway was linked to the rest of their transportation network, allowing them nearly instantaneous transportation between gates. Time passed, the gates shattered and sent a cloud of warpstone (a green crystal substance formed from condensed Dark Magic which is a strong mutagen and highly volatile) dust high into the atmosphere, from where it drifted all over the planet, causing horrible mutations and giving birth to many of the frightening creatures in the world today. (Trolls, Skaven, Beastmen etc.)
When the gate shattered, it also tore a hole in the fabric of space, allowing in the chaos energies of the Aethyr, the parallel dimension where the Chaos Gods dwell. The denizens of these deities flooded through the newly formed entrance into this world, no longer regulated by the Old Ones' gate, and began a crusade to take over the world. After centuries of daemonic incursions into the physical plane, the forces of Chaos withdrew to the northern Chaos Wastes, as new races began to arise in the world.
Later, the High Elves in the first great and Second Great Chaos Incursion, would set up a system of Menhir Stones around Ulthuan which would serve to drain away the Chaos energy spewing forth from the portals to the Realm of Chaos at the poles, and confine the majority of the unstable chaos energies to the areas around the poles. While this greatly reduced the ability of daemons to appear in any place they pleased, magical energy even while being drained to an acceptable point, still saturates the Warhammer World and daemons are commonly associated with the marches of great Chaos war hosts.
Overview of the Chaos GodsEdit
There are countless minor deities of Chaos, each one catering to a different human emotion, each with their own host of daemonic servants. Some embody multiple feelings, while some personify one. Many followers of Chaos view the numerous Dark Gods as a multi-faceted pantheon, worshiping them as Chaos Undivided without showing favour to one god over another. However, there are four Chaos entities who have gained more power than any other, and are referred within the Warhammer pantheon as the "Major Powers" or the "Ruinous Powers". While the Chaos Gods all come from the same place, they represent different ideologies, and their followers are nearly always at war with each other. A single power rarely rises above the others in importance for long, and the four remain locked in an eternal stalemate with each playing his hand in turn, waiting to be countered by his foe. Each of the four has a main rival, although if the need arises, any Chaos God will align with any other for a brief period of time, so long as it is beneficial to both parties interests.
Tzeentch, the Changer of WaysEdit
Tzeentch is the patron deity of magic users, the master magician of the Chaos Gods. Known as the "Changer of Ways", Tzeentch invests the most time and effort influencing the path of time and the universe, guiding mortals along paths that suit his ultimate goals, uninterested in whatever plights may befall them on account of it.
Not interested in raw strength, Tzeentch bestows his favor upon those who use their intelligence to fight their enemies. Mortal worshipers of Tzeentch tend to be sorcerers, wizards, scholars and other educated elites who desire greater knowledge and power. Some of these worshipers become very powerful sorcerers, but Tzeentch has a tendency to mutate his followers, and the highest levels of power are said to be difficult for his followers to reach, as they frequently find themselves mutated into mindless beasts. Those who do attain great power in service of Tzeentch, however, are extremely powerful foes who are often mighty sorcerers as well as great warriors.
Tzeentch is as powerful as Khorne, but with a different style of power, controlling magic instead of armies. The plots of Tzeentch are countless, and if ever there is an alliance forged by the Gods of Chaos, Tzeentch is undoubtedly the cause, direct or indirect. Tzeentch also represents optimism, hope and the willingness to change, thus making Nurgle his nemesis. In WAR, Chaos players are followers of Tzeentch, being under the command of Tchar'zanek and part of the Raven Host.
Khorne, the Blood GodEdit
One of the best known Chaos Gods, Khorne is the Chaos God of blood and battle. He sits upon a brass throne, which rests on a massive mountain of skulls, each taken in his name by a devotee. In every direction, as far as he can see, the ground is covered with shattered bones and rotted corpses.
As the god of battle, Khorne bestows his favor on those who demonstrate martial prowess. Great warriors are often subjects of Khorne's interest. The followers of Khorne are almost all uncontrollable fighters who excel at the art of killing. His warhosts count many savage Northmen and Beastmen warriors among their numbers. Khorne's followers share their god's straightforward philosophy on warfare, preferring to charge directly at their foes in order to defeat them in close combat. As such, Khorne's followers are generally berserkers that pay little heed to tactics or defense in their frenzy for blood. Khorne frowns upon the use of sorcery and trickery, and those pursuing the magical arts look elsewhere to find a patron for their studies.
Khorne is the most powerful of the Chaos Gods, given that he's empowered by war and fighting, and given the endless conflict in the Warhammer world he gains power constantly. Khorne is a god of war who acts outwardly by seeking the death of others, preferring close combat over ranged weaponry; as such, he is completely opposed to the hedonistic Slaanesh, an inwardly acting god who seeks pleasure in every act and experience. He has a strong distrust of wizards and sorcerers, whom he sees as cowards; this means he is also highly suspicious of Tzeentch, although they are not archenemies.
Nurgle, the Lord of DecayEdit
The Chaos God Nurgle rules over all decay and physical corruption. Disease and putrification are his hallmarks, and he gladly bestows them upon everyone who wants them, and with even more glee upon those who don't. For entertainment he will orchestrate plagues and new diseases, and watch bemusedly as the mortals struggle to fight the illness and develop a cure. Many of Nurgle's wars are won indirectly simply through the plagues that sweep that land before his armies. Of note is Nurgle's rot, which gradually changes a victim into a Plaguebearer.
Nurgle's followers tend to have a strong interest in the spread of disease. His followers become infected with horrific diseases which cause them to appear disgusting, bloated and rotting masses, with many sores and open wounds in which infection and decay is rampant. Occasionally Nurgle's followers may become wizened, sickly thin and pale, while still having great power over disease. His champions become so mutated and putrid that they are impervious to pain and almost impossible to injure.
While equal in power with Khorne and Tzeentch, Nurgle's power is much less stable. At times his forces are limitless and unbeatable, numberless rotting armies scouring the land of life. At others, his followers are scattered and weak, hiding in fetid corners of the world. Nurgle's strength lies in stagnancy and decay, as well as the emotion of despair, which puts him in direct opposition to Tzeentch, who embodies hope, ambition and change.
Slaanesh, the Dark PrinceEdit
Slaanesh is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, and referred to by the other three as the Prince of Chaos. Seductive in the way that only an immortal being can be, Slaanesh is the Chaos God of pleasure, passion, luxury, art, and indulgence. Slaanesh is the manifestation of all hidden vices, cruel passions, and secret temptations that men hide fearfully in their hearts.
While not interested in the dirty warfare of Khorne's interest, (Khorne and Slaanesh are mortal enemies, as Slaanesh acts inward by seeking selfish pleasure, while Khorne acts outward to kill others) Slaanesh does enjoy combat of the artistic sort, rewarding those whose fighting is transformed from a means to an end into an art form all its own. Slaanesh's followers seek pleasure in every experience, and quickly become inured to more mundane things, including sounds and colors; thus they frequently wear garish, brightly colored armor, or clothing which is extravagantly decorated. Worshippers of Slaanesh are known for their complete lack of fear, as they see losing a battle is a new experience to be enjoyed.
Slaanesh is the youngest and weakest of the Major Chaos Gods. However, Slaanesh is constantly growing in power due to the corrupt and dark nature that mankind tries to keep hidden within their hearts, for even the mere act of thinking on such dark acts of pleasure and vice are enough to give strength to Slaanesh. It won't be long before Slaanesh sits as an equal of power amongst the other three, and may even rise above them, given time.
Followers and Servants of ChaosEdit
The Chaos-worshiping Northmen who dwell in the lands to the north of the Old World, the Chaos Wastes and Norsca. They are a barbaric, tribal people, who gather themselves into warbands to attack each other and the softer civilized men to the south. Living so close to the Realm of Chaos, there are few who are left untouched by its mark. The tribesmen see their mutations as blessings, proof that the gods are watching over them. It is seen as every warrior’s duty to honour the gods, and every god’s right to reward or destroy according to their divine inclination.
The promise of power beyond that of ordinary mortals is a temptation to which many succumb. Cults of Chaos followers - The Enemy Within - spread their insidious worship throughout the Old World and beyond. The Witch Hunters of the Empire do their best to root out the followers of the dark gods among their own kind, but with every passing year the power of Chaos grows. As the forces of Order are assaulted from without and within, it is only a matter of time before Chaos becomes too much to contain. A prominent Chaos Cult is the Cult of Pleasure. Worshipers of Slaanesh who partly caused the Sundering, a civil war of the Elves.
Ever since the coming of Chaos, the chaotic nature of the winds of magic has created many monstrous distorted creatures throughout the world. In the dark depths of the great forests of the Old World many of the lesser Chaos monsters thrive. The most common of these are Beastmen, creatures possessing something of the intelligence and stance of men but with a horned and cloven-hoofed bestial form. Beastmen herds are led by the Gors, who are distinguished by having the largest horns. A few Beastmen have an instinctive, animalistic ability with magic; these are the Bray Shamen. Lesser beastmen who are weaker and who have small, stubby horns are known as Ungors. Other Chaotic creatures who often are found around Beastmen include Minotaurs, Dragon Ogres and the four legged Centigors.
Distinct from the race of Beastmen, who have existed since the destruction of the Old One's portals, mutants are normal Humans who have suffered (or have been "blessed") by chaotic mutation. Amongst the followers of the Northern Tribes, such mutation is seen as a sign of import or favor by the Great Powers. In the civilized lands of the Empire, Mutants are rooted out and killed by the zealous followers of Sigmar. Some Mutants manage to eke out a living, either through the support of a loving family or by banding together for protection. Many of these bands, intentionally or not, serve to advance the purposes of the Ruinous Powers.
Daemons are creatures which exist as aethyric entities in the Realm of Chaos. In places where there is a high concentration of Chaos energy (magic) they can manifest themselves in mortal plane of the Warhammer World, even going so far as to posses mortal beings, usually humans. Daemons are horrifying creatures and are extremely dangerous, especially when they accompany hosts of Chaos on the warpath. Often Daemons will be dedicated to a particular God, and will take take on the aspects of their deity, the greatest of these are called Greater Daemons, huge monstrosities such as the Bloodthirster and Great Unclean One who sweep all before them. Some daemons, such as Chaos Furies, are bound to no God.