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Chaos refers to the energy which exists in an immaterial parallel universe, or alternate reality, known as the "Realm of Chaos". The Realm of Chaos is an endless sea of energy - energy which is the raw matter of the Chaos Gods, as well as of all magic.
The greatest individual manifestation of Chaos are the Chaos Gods, creatures of unimaginable power and resources. They are manifestations in the Realm of Chaos of collective character traits, formed from common beliefs and emotions. Unlike the raw energy of Chaos, which is mindless, unthinking and undirected by intelligent purpose, the Chaos Gods have achieved intelligence, personality and purpose.
Chaos is a seductive force. Those who embrace it find themselves increasingly corrupted by it, both spiritually and physically.
Chaos first entered the Warhammer World when the polar Warp Gates of the Old Ones collapsed. This even is known as the Coming of Chaos. The matter which flooded into the world from the Realm of Chaos was the solidified Chaos known as warpstone. In the form of dust it rained down upon the world, warping many species into monstrous new forms, as well as leaving a far more subtle and insidious mark upon other races.Needs Citation
At the moment of the collapse, the polar areas of the world were engulfed by the flood of Chaos. This created the seething regions of unnatural darkness known as the Chaos Wastes, where Chaos overlaps upon the material world, creating zones of dimensional instability. These zones continue to act as uncontrollable gateways between the world and the dimension of Chaos. The northern zone ebbs and flows, expanding as it becomes more active, and causing widespread upheaval among the creatures and forces of Chaos to the north, which are driven south towards the Old World. These times are known as Incursions of Chaos.Needs Citation
Since the Age of Myth many times did the forces of Chaos try to invade the Mortal realms and just as many times Sigmar's Great Alliance repulsed these attacks. Only when did this alliance faltered did the Age of Myths end and chaos managed to take hold on the realms. One of the many reasons for the fall of the alliance was the disobedience of Tyrion and Malerion for kidnapping Slaanesh against the God-King's orders. [1a][1b]
During the Age of Chaos the powers of chaos swept across the Mortal Realms, destroying and slaughtering it's cities, empires and people and enslaving the rest. Such was their success that their own forces turned on each other, fighting over the spoils of victory. Only Azyr and its refugees survived this devastating era.[1a]
The dominion of chaos over the mortal realms ended with the dawn of the Age of Sigmar as the Stormcast Eternals assaulted the Realmgates. In the wake of Stormcast attacks other armies rebelled and counterattacked against the forces of chaos. This unified effort made the dark gods realize their victory was not yet complete so they sent forth armies of daemons to support their mortal armies.[1a]
Pantheon of the Dark Gods
The most powerful of the Chaos entities are those known as the Chaos Gods, also sometimes referred to as the Dark Gods and the Ruinous Powers, and it is their nature and all-consuming purpose to destroy. They are relentless and unstoppable and all of their incomprehensible energies are directed to collapsing reason and perverting order. They rule supreme over the mutable battlegrounds of the Realm of Chaos, but are stuck in eternal rivalry, constantly seeking to dominate its brothers through warfare, manipulations, corruption and sorcery. Despite this, some causes can temporarily unite these eternal foes, like when one power rises over the others the others combine to overthrow him, making new pacts that are discarded when another power rises supreme. [1b][1c]
The chaos gods greatly reward those that worship them granting them many gifts, like unlimited power and earthly pleasures in exchange for grisly tributes and foul sacrifices. Warriors became unsurpassed killers and sorcerers could mould magics with a whispered word. Only the victors gained these gifts, an those that displeased the Chaos Gods suffer horrors beyond description. All sought to please their dark masters in the hopes of the ultimate gift: Immortality.[1c]
The Eight Realms are coveted by the Chaos Gods, each of them seeking to conquer and shape them into their unnatural vision.[1b]
The Pantheon of the Chaos has five deities;
- Khorne: The most powerful of the Chaos Gods is the Blood God. He only desires slaughter, warfare and martial challenge and despises subtlety and aesthetics. In his black heart there is only room for rage.[1b]
- Nurgle: The Lord of Disease is the god of the eternal cycle of putrefaction, rebirth and morbidity, delighting in it's decay and physical corruption. It's during times of pestilence that he waxes strongest.[1b]
- Tzeentch: The Changer of the Ways is the god of magic and guile. He is forever making labyrinthine schemes - plots within plots that are beyond mortal understanding.[1b]
- Slaanesh: The Dark Prince is the god of excess and please and most beautiful of all the chaos gods. His throne stands empty and the god himself is missing.[1b]
- Great Horned Rat: This Skaven deity is a god of blight, pestilence and vermins that has recently ascended to the pantheon. He is not yet considered equal to his dark brothers, but soon he will rise.[1b]
Each of the four Great Powers has its own opposite number, another Chaos God who draws its power from a diametrically opposing concept. The most dedicated worshippers have devoted their souls to the Chaos Gods in hopes of gaining power only Chaos can grant. These Champions are marked by their patron, and as they progress on their path gain mutations which increasingly reshapes them more closely to the god's favored image.Needs Citation
Other Chaos Powers
Besides the Four Great Powers, there exists a multitude of lesser Chaos gods. It is impossible to say whether this apparent multitude are actually distinct entities, or whether they are no more than aspects of the same being. Many are minor gods with very little background material, such as Khakkekk (goblin god of blood), Atagro (god of beasts), Meneloth (elven god of pleasure), and Mermedus (god of the sea).Needs Citation
Some of the lesser Chaos gods who have been mentioned are:
- Be'lakor - also known as The Dark Master, Be'lakor was once a mighty champion of the Dark Gods, but he fell from grace and was stripped of his power. He is now considered a Daemon Prince, but has attempted to attain godhood. His power is such that he can grant his followers "Dark Emissaries" magic spells similar to other gods.Needs Citation
- Hashut: The Father of Darkness. The God of the Chaos Dwarfs, he takes the form of a great bull with fiery breath and blazing eyes.Needs Citation
- Malal - the renegade god, enemy of the Chaos gods.Needs Citation
- Necoho - a renegade minor god known as the "Doubter", representing aspects of agnosticism and atheism.Needs Citation
- Zuvassin - a renegade minor god known as the "Great Undoer", representing a desire to foil the efforts of others.Needs Citation
In addition to the individual gods, some followers of the Dark Gods worship Chaos in other ways. Some followers worship the gods as a pantheon rather than following one particular god. Other followers worship Chaos as a single great entity, with the various Chaos Gods simply manifestations of that entity's aspects. Still others may simply follow one god briefly and then switch allegiance to another, owing more to convenience than actual faith. Regardless of the nature of their worship, all of these are grouped together as Chaos Undivided; followers of Chaos Undivided may bear a mark, similar to the followers of the four great gods.Needs Citation
Generals who bear the mark of Chaos Undivided, have more freedom from the effects of the difficult relations between the Chaos Gods. As an example, while warriors who worship Slaanesh would not serve a general who worships Khorne, an Undivided general can convince these gods' warriors to fight for him, without fear of reprisal from Khorne or Slaanesh.Needs Citation
Also, other more specialized forms of the mark of Chaos Undivided exist which are usually carried by extraordinary leaders. For example, Archaon is marked as the "Everchosen" or the "Lord of the End Times".Needs Citation
The forces of Chaos
Although Chaos is firmly entrenched within the heart of every nation of the Old World, working to gradually bring about the collapse of human order from within, there are also external forces which represent the more direct threats of Chaos, the kind faced on the battlefield. There are several facets of the external Chaos enemy:Needs Citation
- Beastmen - the bestial creatures of Chaos, which include all forms of hybrid creatures.Needs Citation
- Chaos Dwarfs - corrupted Dwarfs who serve the god Hashut.Needs Citation
- Daemons - the daemons of the Realm of Chaos who are the most direct servants of Chaos.Needs Citation
- Warriors of Chaos - the marauding hordes of the Northmen barbarians of the Chaos Wastes, born to the worship of Chaos.Needs Citation
- Skaven - a race which appears to be a cross between men and rats, serving their own Chaos God, the Horned Rat.Needs Citation
- Daemons of Khorne: The deadly daemonic footsoldiers of Khorne that exist only to destroy and whose maliciousness and brutality is a danger to all life.
- Daemons of Nurgle: The plague-ridden daemons of Nurgle that benevolently spread diseases, miasma and death across the mortal realms.
- Everchosen: The personal army of Archaon, the Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse, that uses the combined strength of the Dark Gods.
- Khorne Bloodbound: The mortal warriors of Khorne swarm across the Mortal Realms, enslaving or killing it's inhabitants in order to spill blood and claims skulls for their bloodthirsty patron.
- Nurgle Rotbringers: The diseased, mortal servants of Nurgle who he unashamedly favours as they spread disease in his name and revels in the results of their actions.[1d]
- Pestilens: A skaven clan allied with Nurgle's forces on their conquest of Ghyran.
- Slaves to Darkness: The mortal worshippers of chaos that gather in warbands led by tyrannical lords. These murderers, monsters and mutants are slaves and puppets of the Dark Gods.
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