Warriors of Chaos
The Warriors of Chaos, also known as the Hordes of Chaos and the "Northmen", are savage, warlike tribes of Human Barbarians that occupy the harsh and unforgiving lands of the uppermost North, known in the lands of the Old World as the dreaded Northern Wastes. To all those that faced them, the northern barbarians are considered by all to be the enemies of all the world, whose unwavering worship to an uncaring and sadistic pantheon of ancient and evil Gods has given them a single driving motive to usher in the inevitable downfall of all mortal-kind into their hellish enslavement.
Out of all the many threats that the Old World must face, none strikes such fear and misery into the hearts of Men like the Followers of Chaos. Slaves to darkness all, they have given themselves wholly to the Ruinous Powers, some willingly, others because they felt they had no other choice. Chaos itself is a corrupting influence upon the world, like a dark, malign cancer that eats at the minds of all those that live within the World. No single race, no matter how noble or powerful, will ever be safe from their barbaric invasions, nor are they safe from the seductive whispers of the Dark Gods. However, out of all the mortal races that Chaos has corrupted over the centuries, perhaps the greatest and most numerous of their followers are those of Mankind.
The race of Mankind is a paradox upon the World, for although they are considered the world's most greatest defenders against the darkness that is Chaos, they are nevertheless also one of Chaos greatest and most numerous servants. The corruption of Chaos runs deep within the blood of Men, and whose influence upon Human history has literally shaped the founding of entire Nations. From the Northern Waste, armies of the Dark Gods would attack the southern lands time and again, slaughtering without reason, pillaging that which is not nailed down, and just simply wrecking wanton destruction to the nations of the Old World. No matter how many of these marauders are killed, no matter how many invasions are pushed back and enemy armies annihilated, the Hordes of Chaos can never truly be defeated, and after a few years of relative peace, they shall once more come down south and begin the vicious cycle once again. So long as there is still Chaos within this world, they will also be those evil and greedy men that are wholly willing to serve them.
The origins of the Warriors of Chaos can be tied to the origins of both Chaos and Mankind itself. Long before the coming of Mankind upon the fertile lands of the Old World, the World was originally a lush paradise guarded by the powerful beings known only as the Old Ones. These intelligent and benevolent entities originally had a purpose for this worlds creations, and went about drawing it closer to the sun and seeding the earth with the first forms of life. However, a catastrophic event had occurred in an unknown point in time that has since cursed the World to its inevitable damnation.
The Origins of Chaos
A great calamity befell. Something glorious, wonderful, and powerful died, and when it did, the Great Polar Warp Gates, once a marvel of technology, had collapsed, and with it, the raw stuff of Chaos flowed like a river upon the harsh lifeless lands of the northern and southern waste. Boiling out from the wound within reality itself were the Daemons and their warping powers of magic. The effects of the gate’s destruction created all manner of abominations, and from these abominations came the first Incursion of Chaos. Since those ancient times, Chaos has since corrupted all those that would dwell so near to the north, and whose influence on Mankind will forever plague their history till the end of time itself.
No one now knows when Humanity first entered the Old World or from whence they truly came, though the most ancient records of the Dwarfs record the steady movement of Humans over the World's Edge Mountains over a period of several centuries, sometimes fleeing more powerful tribes of Men, other times fleeing the rampaging hordes of Greenskins. Other sources say that Humanity spread north from the southern continents, and made the first true communities along the coast of the Tilean Sea and the Black Gulf. Some of these tribes have migrated so far afield that they've even colonized the territories of what is today the Darklands and the rolling plains of the Eastern Steppes, a frigid land bordering closely to the Northern Waste.
And though Chaos wended its ways into the hearts and minds of these people, and launched attacks from the swirling regions in the north, it was limited in its hold on Mankind. Throughout the millennia, Chaos would produce Daemons and let them loose, but these creatures were not of this world and could not venture to far south. The corruption of Warpstone and the lashing Winds of Magic created herds of Beastmen to inhabit the dim places, but still Chaos could not thrive within a world still filled with hope and peace, for without mortals to fear them, they could not sustain their will. It was then, however, that one of the first true follower of Chaos was born unto this world.[1b]
A savage primitive from an unknown land, Be'lakor is remembered as the first mortal to give his soul to the Ruinous Powers. A powerful warrior and stalwart Champion of Darkness, the Dark Gods favored him the most, luring him north to the Chaos Wastes, where he penetrated deeper and deeper into this bleak land until he came face-to-face with the maddening Realm of Chaos itself. The Dark Gods rewarded his courage by destroying his mortal shell and recreating him in their image: that of a Daemon Prince.
In this new form, he was a terrible force. He stood at the heads of his legions, destroying any and all who crossed his path, attracting mortals from all over to join his legions. In time, he was worshipped as a God. But, as his power and influence grew, so too did his pride. It was in his arrogance and his belief that he was an equal to the Greater Gods that spelled his downfall. The Four Powers cast him low, and Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways, cursed him, transforming him from a demigod to a confused and crazed spirit that would ever-after exemplify Chaos. He became the Harbinger, He Who Crowns Conquerors. He would never champion the cause of Chaos. He would for all time be a servant and thrall to those mortals who attracted the attention of the Ruinous Powers.
Ever since then, the shadow of Chaos has spread far into the northern lands of the World. Those Human tribes that cling to its borders were soon corrupted by its influence. Some of these tribes tried to fight back against the darkness, for no sane Human being would so willingly give up their souls to damnation. However, the honeyed whipsers of the Dark Gods had swayed them to their service and destroyed those that still did not bend to their will. In time, the northern people of the Hung, Kurgan, Tong and Norse were all swayed into eternal damnation.
There are three major races of Northmen: the Norse, the Kurgan and the Hung, with the once numerous Tong becoming a rare sight. Each of these races are comprised of numerous tribes constantly at war among themselves, as well as ruthlessly raiding the richer civilised lands to their south.
The Hung tribes, are an oriental race similar in appearance to the Cathayans, although shorter and squatter. They are the among greatest horsemen in the world, and are reputed to learn to ride before even learning to walk.
The Tong tribes once dwelled deep within the Chaos Wastes and forged a mighty empire within. The Tong were almost wiped out when their lands were absorbed into the Blood Gods realm, now they are among the rarest of tribes, rarely seen among the Hordes of Chaos.
As befitting their barbaric existence, the bulk of most Chaos armies consist of primitive warbands of savages wearing nothing but fur-skin cloaks and crude war-axes. Although considered the weakest warriors, these Men are nonetheless exceptional if not unruly fighters. Above these primitives are the heavily-armored and disciplined ranks, known famously for wearing legendary suits of daemonic Chaos Plate Armor. These men are amongst the greatest Human Warriors within the northlands, for the process to obtain such magnificent armor means that the Warrior has conquered many challenges and was awarded a degree of favor from the Dark Gods themselves. Eternally encased within thick plate armor, these hulking warriors are considered the True "Warriors of Chaos".
Chaos Marauder - Chaos Marauders are tribal warriors hailing from the harsh lands of the North, fighting on behalf of the Gods and their Tribe. They fight alongside the Chaos Warriors, eager to earn the attention of the Dark Gods and join their esteemed ranks. These warriors are barbaric to the extreme, wearing almost nothing but fur garments, crude war-axes and wrought metal shields. Nevertheless, these Marauder's are feared rightfully so for their unnatural savagry and brutality in combat.
Marauder Champions - Elite and grizzled veterans of the marauder hordes.
Skullreapers - huge Chaos Warriors clad in heavy half-plate and gifted with horrific mutations that enhance their already terrifying martial prowess.
Chaos Warrior - Chaos Warriors are considered by many to be the true Warriors of Chaos. Clad in thick Chaos Plate Armor, these Warriors have done a great many deeds to be blessed with wearing such a sacred armor in battle. Standing taller and broader then any southern warrior, these hulking behemoths form the core elite of all Chaos armies.
Chaos Chosen - The Chosen are those amongst the ranks of the Chaos Warriors who bear the favor of the Dark Gods more so than their fellows. Known amongst their kind as Chosen, they possess supernatural abilities to aid them in their constant war against those that would dare to stand in their way.
Forsaken - The Forsaken are warriors that have since lost the favor of the Gods and yet still possess the horrific mutations or "gifts" they received from them. Driven to insanity by the pain and torment of these gifts, these warriors were considerably too powerful to devolve into mere Chaos Spawn, and yet too weak to bear the brunt of their mutations and find their minds breaking under the weight. Lacking their former personality, they are now driven only by an unnatural hunger and madness.
Skin Wolves - Powerful canine monsters, Northmen mutated by bearing the blood of a chaotic wolf. Skin Wolves take to the battlefield to glut themselves on the raw and dripping gore of their victims.
Chaos Ogres - Chaos Ogres are those insane Ogres that have willingly given themselves up to the Forces of Chaos and was rewarded with the horrific gifts of mutation. Used extensively as powerful shock troops, these heavily-armed Chaos Ogres would cleave a hefty toll of those warriors foolish enough to stand in their way.
Marauder Horsemen - Marauder Horsemen are those tribal warriors that have a strong affiliation with horseback, such as the tribal warriors of the Kurgan and Hung. Riding on fast steeds, these warriors range ahead of the main columns, galloping around the enemy battle line and cutting off any chance of escape.
Skullcrushers - Skullcrushers are blood-mad beserkers that have earned the greatest favor within the Blood God's service, and whose deeds have since earned them the honor of riding Khorne's Juggernauts into battle. Ontop of such a monstrous metal-clad daemon-beast, Skullcrushers are an unstoppable force to behold.
Hellstriders - Hellstriders are devotees of torment who hunt from the back of impossibly swift daemonic steeds. They fight to inflict pain and despair, landing mortal blows upon their victims where they are most likely to prolong the agonising moment of death. Only the most favored Slaaneshi Worshippers are given the honor of riding such beast into combat.
Chaos Knights - Chaos Knights are fearsome and powerful warriors mounted atop daemonic steeds and equipped with some of the greatest armour and weapons to be found amongst the Hordes of Chaos.
Chaos Lord - A Chaos Lord’s indomitable will is forged in the fires of war, his skills are tempered and honed in the crucible of battle, and his blade is eternally quenched in blood.
Chaos Sorcerer Lord - Chaos Sorcerer Lords are the very pinnacle of magical mighty. These mighty sorcerers have learned all the many secrets that Chaos has to offer, and in exchanged for his own soul and humanity, he has become a living conduit of dark magic.
Daemon Princes - Should a Champion of Chaos survive the endless battles and the ravaging mutations granted by their fickle masters whilst still finding favor in their eyes, he may attain the ultimate reward. The patron of the champion will elevate him to his side as a Daemon Prince, a being of godlike power, forever bound to darkness and destruction.
Exalted Daemons - Warriors who have allowed a Daemon to possess and empower their mortal body, granting them almost as much power as a Daemon Prince and elevating them in status.
Marauder Chieftains - Hulking leaders of the marauder hordes.
Chaos Champions, also known as "Exalted Heroes" - Are living engines of destruction, a warrior that is but a few steps away from become a truly destructive instrument of the dark gods.
Aspiring Champions - Are Fearsome and renowned Chaos Warriors, who are on the first step towards becoming a Chaos Champion.
Chaos Sorcerers - Chaos Sorcerers wield the wild energies of entropy itself, reshaping reality to better serve their whims and those of their dark masters. A word and a gesture from a Chaos Sorcerer can strip a man’s flesh from his bones, force a lover to murder his beloved, or cause a regiment of soldiers to burst into flame.