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Made in de
Terrifying Doombull






Nuremberg

Chaos as we know it in 40K is obviously inspired by Moorcock and Anderson and various creation myths. I think the motif of Law vs Chaos is a really good one for a game, better than Good vs Evil because it allows for more diversity in views.

The original Chaos Demon models are pretty clearly intended to double up as D&D mini proxies - Lord of Change = Vrock, Bloodthirster = Balor, Keeper of Secrets = Glabrezu. The Great Unclean One is a more original design in that regard, and the Lesser Demons are all fairly original too.

I'll admit I'm not super up to date on Slaves to Darkness and Realm of Chaos, but seems like GW wanted to nail down their Chaos into some more easily marketable lines with a clear visual theme. This makes sense from a marketing and model design perspective.

But I kinda feel like having these 4 major Chaos Gods, which have now sort of become the 4 defining drives of all life in the 40K universe is a core weakness of the setting.
War, Plagues, Plotting and Magic, and Sex are okay themes for powerful Chaos beings, but it's trying to make them the core, most important ones that doesn't work for me, especially in a game about fighting. Sure, you can say that they're really about deeper themes like Struggle, Stagnation, Change and Excess, but to me that's kind of even more half assed. Because the crossover between those 4 concepts and the original 4 concepts or themes don't work very well. Like if Slaanesh is about Excess, why is all of the visual about BDSM and androgyny? Why is so much of the background text heavily canted towards sexual desire? I see a theme that it's also about perfection, so they're all master swordsmen or artists and I'm like...okay? Slaanesh is the god of perfectionists? Are perfectionists also usually heavily into BDSM and stuff? No shade if so, but it doesn't ring true to me. Sex is fine as a major drive of all living things, Excess and Perfectionism are fine as major drives, but linking them together is a bit jarring. Similar for Tzeentch. The God of magic, and therefore sorcerers and wizards, and therefore cunning plots. Okay. But then we need to somehow make that a universal drive so we say it's about Change. Huh? Is it? And the Nurgle is opposed so we say Nurgle as about Stagnation. And like, yeah, magic can change stuff and stagnant places are often stinky like plagues. But...plagues happen because of mutations and bring about huge change. If there was stagnation there would be no plagues. Plotting and scheming is not really very strongly linked to change...
And all of these Chaos Gods having equal representation among the legions doesn't really make sense either. Surely most Marines would be Khorne worshippers?

So in the end I dunno I find the basis of the 4 Chaos Gods pretty shaky, and when you really try and emphasise them as the core drives of living things across the galaxy it doesn't really work for me.
I'm fine with having the four be major players in the Warp, even the current top dogs due to the nature of the Imperium. But I think more emphasis should be put on a wider selection of Chaos Gods existing, and the big 4 should not always be the big 4 in the fiction, even if having them be so for model sales makes sense.

   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Well part of it is also achieving a cohesive image for the game where you've got limited resources



Consider the Imperial Guard for a moment. In theory every planet that sends warriors to muster will have different uniforms and equipment. Whilst they might have a standard template, it gets varied and changed across the whole Galaxy. Some will be super well equipped with the latest designs; others will be more rough and ready.

However on the tabletop most of it is Cadia, Catatchan and general armour. GW has done a few metal ranges of alternate designs in the past, but they were short lived. The new Killteam is introducing a new one to plastic which is the first in years.


Slaanesh and the other Chaos Gods (and indeed all races) are much the same. They have a single look because that's what's affordable to produce. Producing other designs is just not cost effective for most armies. Even Space Marines, where it IS more cost effective, still share a lot of the same core models and the variety is in shoulder pads and specialist units.


This, of course, bleeds back into the artwork and the lore. GW markets a certain direction so the lore and art in general wants to support that. Furthermore fan and free form inspired stories and art is inspired by that niche view, so it gets repeated.


In the end there most certainly are Slaanesh worshippers who are not wearing BDSM gear; who seek perfection in whatever it is that consumes them without any hint of sexual element. In stories and lore we might well encounter such characters. However the tabletop might not ever represent them unless Slaanesh starts selling really really powerfully and it becomes worthwhile for GW to invest into alternate design lines.

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Made in de
Terrifying Doombull






Nuremberg

I agree, it is about cohesive model lines and I mentioned that in my post. I think there's an easy solution though - make the Big 4 Gods less universal, and accept that other important Chaos Gods exist. Make Slaanesh be powerful because of sexual repression in the Imperium, Khorne obviously because of the endless war, Tzeentch because of all the political plotting and backstabbing going on, and Nurgle because many citizens live in plague infested squallor. Rather than making them the universal big 4 core emotions or drives of all living things, say they are the most powerful Chaos Gods in the Imperium of Man because of the current status quo. I dunno I think you get the same result with a more cohesive story that makes more sense.

As to Slaanesh, I still don't see how 'seeking perfection' is at all linked to sex. So there's a major thematic dysjunction there.

   
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Regular Dakkanaut




Well lets put it this way...

Khorne is the good of Violence... he is indeed depicted as the most powerful of the Big 4... but this seems to have no significant consecuences... following Khorne is very straight forward for almost any human in the setting.

Slaneesh if the good of Pleasure and Excess... BDSM aesthetics hit than vibe, altough it could be done in a more nuance way if needed... it seems as a valid alternative to the puritan IOM.

Tzeecht is about ambition... again the speudo feudal structure of the IOM gives a huge playing ground for the such passions.

Nurgle is about accepting despair and death... seems as a very sensible attitude in the 40K galaxy, sort of a twisted version of Christianism BTW.

So perhaps there is no "hard" reason that this 4 entities "must" be the dominant chaos gods but certainly they make sort of sense in universe, and once they have achieve that status they will surely push to reinforce it over other emerging chaos entities.

It would be nive to see other chaos gods emerging in the setting, if only to be integrated or absord by one of the big 4.

Certainly the big 4 seem to prey on a corrupted and ill society such as the IOM, a progressive and enlightened one like the T´au seem to be pretty inmune to the chaotic influence.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Da Boss wrote:
I agree, it is about cohesive model lines and I mentioned that in my post. I think there's an easy solution though - make the Big 4 Gods less universal, and accept that other important Chaos Gods exist. Make Slaanesh be powerful because of sexual repression in the Imperium, Khorne obviously because of the endless war, Tzeentch because of all the political plotting and backstabbing going on, and Nurgle because many citizens live in plague infested squallor. Rather than making them the universal big 4 core emotions or drives of all living things, say they are the most powerful Chaos Gods in the Imperium of Man because of the current status quo. I dunno I think you get the same result with a more cohesive story that makes more sense.

As to Slaanesh, I still don't see how 'seeking perfection' is at all linked to sex. So there's a major thematic dysjunction there.


Agree.

As to Slaneesh... desire and excess can definetly be express through sex, surely in a puritan society. The seeking of perfection is sort of secundary trait of Slaneesh... but if you seek perfection, you get obsesed and you can easily fell into pride and hubris... and on the hands of slaneesh.

Thats why Astartes are just one step away from Chaos, having transhuman potential, the moment the dont control their emotions with discipline they are going to be prey of depredatory (IE chaotic) emotions of one kind or another.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 12:49:16


 
   
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Generally I see the chaos gods more as a manifestation of the anxieties of repressive militaristic regimes. They are, in essence, an incarnation of 'what if the threats imagined by paranoid militaristic regimes were real'

Nurgle and Khorne encompass the usual 'enemies without' - slavering inhuman barbaric hordes that have no motivation other than to destroy the empire for no reason, and disease-ridden infectious monsters seeking to rob the empire of its strength, and Slaanesh and Tzeentch the enemies within. 'Sexual deviancy' portrayed as a corrupting monster and the scheming traitors lurking in every closet and under every bed.

Many of the enemies of the imperium are essentially manifestations of the fears of the self-righteous conservative british thatcherite politicians of the 1980s. It's why Tau and Genestealer Cultists resemble the various threats of 'International Communist Infiltration' and the Cadians have so much of the rhetoric of the british army in their various propaganda materials (and why they're led by a dude who's essentially Winston Churchill, patron saint of militaristic conservative british people)

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
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 Da Boss wrote:
Chaos as we know it in 40K is obviously inspired by Moorcock and Anderson and various creation myths. I think the motif of Law vs Chaos is a really good one for a game, better than Good vs Evil because it allows for more diversity in views.

This is only obvious to people who know who those people are. The only "obvious" design cues I see are in Khorne Daemons which are very much stereotypical Devil-style Daemons i.e red with horns, cloven hooves.

Spoiler:
But I kinda feel like having these 4 major Chaos Gods, which have now sort of become the 4 defining drives of all life in the 40K universe is a core weakness of the setting.
War, Plagues, Plotting and Magic, and Sex are okay themes for powerful Chaos beings, but it's trying to make them the core, most important ones that doesn't work for me, especially in a game about fighting. Sure, you can say that they're really about deeper themes like Struggle, Stagnation, Change and Excess, but to me that's kind of even more half assed. Because the crossover between those 4 concepts and the original 4 concepts or themes don't work very well. Like if Slaanesh is about Excess, why is all of the visual about BDSM and androgyny? Why is so much of the background text heavily canted towards sexual desire? I see a theme that it's also about perfection, so they're all master swordsmen or artists and I'm like...okay? Slaanesh is the god of perfectionists? Are perfectionists also usually heavily into BDSM and stuff? No shade if so, but it doesn't ring true to me. Sex is fine as a major drive of all living things, Excess and Perfectionism are fine as major drives, but linking them together is a bit jarring. Similar for Tzeentch. The God of magic, and therefore sorcerers and wizards, and therefore cunning plots. Okay. But then we need to somehow make that a universal drive so we say it's about Change. Huh? Is it? And the Nurgle is opposed so we say Nurgle as about Stagnation. And like, yeah, magic can change stuff and stagnant places are often stinky like plagues. But...plagues happen because of mutations and bring about huge change. If there was stagnation there would be no plagues. Plotting and scheming is not really very strongly linked to change...

I haven't read any material that says the Pantheon are the Gods of War, Plotting/Magic, and Sex. Plagues yes, because Nurgle is the Plaguefather but the rest? No. Plus the Gods don't bother with Orks, Necrons, Tyranids or T'au as servants. Only Humanity and to a degree Aeldari serve the purposes of the Gods.
I feel like you're doing a lot of oversimplification that just isn't present in 40k media. Here's a quote from ADB's Night Lords novel Soul Hunter where a reflection of Slaanesh shows Talos what he could be if dedicated to the Dark Prince:
Spoiler:
Talos opened his eyes to a battlefield.
A battlefield he claimed, heart and soul. The enemy, the Imperial army, was reduced to a graveyard of wrecked tanks and corpses that reached from horizon to horizon.
He stood above his warriors as they kneeled before him, feeling the pleasant sting of some vicious new battle chemical stimulant flooding his veins. He was wounded, for there were cracks in his swollen armour where reddish ichor flowed down his war-plate. These wounds, great rents and rips in his open to the chill air of the battlefield, ached with pleasure so intense he cried his thanks to the stars above.
Was this what it was to be a primarch? To laugh at wounds that would destroy even an Astartes? To feel war as an amusing diversion, while crushing a million enemies under the might of invincible armies?
Perhaps this was what the Night Haunter had felt. This exaltation. Bloodslick claws tore fresh rents in his cheek as he scratched himself, laughing at the delicious pain. Pain itself became a joke to those who could never die.
'Prince Talos,' his troops were shouting up at him. 'Prince Talos.'
No, not shouting. Worshipping. They bowed and cried and prayed for his attention.

That's the Excess Slaanesh offers. Worship and adulation of the masses, pain bringing joy, the ability to feel sensations that are unknown to most.
The Reflection Crack'd makes note that the Emperor's Children have begun to daub themselves in colours imperceivable to all bar the devotees of the Dark Prince and that they are wondrous to behold.
I would suggest reading books from Chaos perspectives or reading any of the Chaos Daemon Codexes because it's very clear that the Gods are not single faceted beings as soon as you look even a little bit under the surface image.

And all of these Chaos Gods having equal representation among the legions doesn't really make sense either. Surely most Marines would be Khorne worshippers?

The Gods don't have equal representation. Nothing has ever claimed they have. IIRC the Hounds of Abbadon (Khornate Black Legion) are noted as being the largest of the God aligned portions of the Legion.

The Gods aren't poorly thought through, you just don't know much about them beyond visual aesthetics and memes.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 13:03:39


 
   
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Sister Oh-So Repentia




United Kingdom

It's a fair series of statements.

I think any attempt to stretch nebulous concepts into specifics and then back again is going to be difficult to get right.

As a difference of interpretation, though, I do see some of those points you mentioned in a different light. For example, you stated that Nurgle could also be about change due to the change in one's status from a plague, but I think that is only a change towards entropy and therefore could satisfy the theme of despair.

And, for Slaanesh, I think part of that is a holdover from an 80s influence with the cliche of sex, drugs and rock' n roll. Excess is so broad it can encompass pretty much anything, and it has been mentioned in lore that the other 3 gods are wary of Slaanesh because of this. I personally liked Glutos in the new(ish) AoS faction as I thought that was a move towards something other than just an excess of sensuality

But it's possible I'm just making excuses for poorly thought out lore, a lot of which is based on the 'inspirations' that you mentioned yourself.

As a side note, the chaos space marine stuff is a bit confusing, while there are various warbands that support the big 4, the famous corrupted legions are more varied. I know that the Emperor's Children basically imploded, the Thousand Sons were always limited, I think the Death Guard were more cohesive and the World eaters were also a bit disparate.

That's not to mention the other legions who seem to worship all, some or even none of the gods.

I might be wrong about that, though. It's all a bit messy.

   
Made in de
Terrifying Doombull






Nuremberg

Gert: When I say Legions, I mean why is it only the World Eaters out of the original 9 legions that went to Khorne. Surely as they are all battle crazed and made only for war, more of the legions should have gone that way?

As to ADB, he's doing a good job with what he's given, but I don't see how that quote undermines what I'm saying about Slaanesh being thematically weak and the link between sex, perfectionism and excess being unclear.

Also if you've never read anything that refers to Khorne as the War God, Tzeentch as the god of magic or the god of plots and schemes then I'd say you've probably read less background material than me, because I've definitely read that more than once in my time reading. Maybe the change away from that is a more modern thing? God of Sex, yeah I was just being blunt. Usually they would talk around that because GW want to keep things reasonably PG13 and anglo culture has weird ideas about how acceptable sex is vs violence.

Edit: Wunzlez yeah I was also pleased to see the glutton model, at least it is a bit more like what the background suggests Slaanesh is nowadays. On the entropy point, maybe I look at it from too much of a physics perspective but I would say all change is entropy, or at least, all change increases entropy.

Scotsman: Yup, I fully agree. That was my interpretation when I first got into the game and thought about it - that these were the negative reflections of the Imperium in particular, and that does make sense to me. It's when they try to widen them out beyond that to a universal theme that I run into difficulty, because they don't feel sufficiently universal to me.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 13:22:49


   
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 Da Boss wrote:
When I say Legions, I mean why is it only the World Eaters out of the original 9 legions that went to Khorne. Surely as they are all battle crazed and made only for war, more of the legions should have gone that way?

Because Khorne literally called dibs. The God-aligned Legions were essentially bargaining tools for the Gods to gain mortal servants with which to destroy the Anathema (the Emperor). Magnus traded one of his eyes to Tzeentch for knowledge then some other stuff happened (Prospero), Fulgrim was corrupted by the Blade of the Laer, Angron was "saved" by Lorgar and became the first Daemon Primarch IIRC, and Mortarion bargained with Nurgle so that his sons wouldn't all die thanks to Typhus being a rat.

As to ADB, he's doing a good job with what he's given, but I don't see how that quote undermines what I'm saying about Slaanesh being thematically weak and the link between sex, perfectionism and excess being unclear.

Excess and Desire are linked concepts and mortals are dumb monkeys. That's the link. Don't think of it as just sex, rather think of it as getting rid of the inhibitions placed on people by society (to a degree, let's not get into illegal territory here). In the context of the Imperium, sex for any other reason than reproduction could be seen as sinful, ergo you are being inhibited. Slaanesh promises to remove those inhibitions and let you be free.

Also, the Gods being mirrors of each other but hating each other is also kind of the point. Both Slaanesh and Khorne love battle but don't like how the other goes about it. Nurgle and Tzeentch both affect change but Nurgle does it slowly whereas Tzeentch does it immediately.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 13:31:55


 
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

GW has to be careful how many "factions" they introduce into the lore as background fluff because each one they add adds a portion of customers who will complain until they get those models


In the end there ARE many other minor chaos creatures out there in the warp; the 4 gods are just the biggest and most powerful. The thing is developing interest into the lore of those other forces would create demand and if GW can't satisfy that demand then its money wasted.



Heck they already have forces like Exodites which they tease constantly when they do Eldar background chatter and yet I don't think they've made an Exodites model in 30 years. Granted there its sort of a "go convert some lizardmen" arguement, however it still stands that its something they've fleshed out in lore and yet left on the table.


If they have too much like that it annoys people. In the end its a setting built around a game and product.

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On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

Yes I think over the years it has changed from the Moorcock-inspired vision of a Pantheon of gods, which are fighting and cajoling amongst themselves (with mortals as their playthings) to a very immature (in storytelling terms) concept of Good and Evil. Of gods that only exist to inflict pain and suffering, or something taken from a depiction of an old Church painting to try and scare peasants into behaving. And they therefore seem far more like a concept of Fantasy, than sci-fi, even when compared to some of Moorcock's outlandish and sometimes utterly bonkers stories.

I think it's why actually the most successful depictions of Chaos (and I'll say the ADB Night Lords series) stay almost entirely away from the concept of Chaos altogether. Instead it just focuses on 'real', relatable stories of the lives of fallen human beings (or post humans at least) that are scraping their way along the bottom of the barrel of existence against a hated and overbearing enemy in the Imperium. And I think that's probably why the series is still so popular. The moment you start bringing in cackling Chaos Gods, you have Horus being stabbed by a magic sword, and 'A wizard did it' as a plot device for people taking actions that are completely contradictory to any kind of logic and underwhelm any subsequent events and actions as a result.

Actually the eightfold-path star needs to be replaced with just a single arrow, one for order, as it's just so utterly lacking in any kind of maturity of narrative. I find it amusing that some of the story threads in 2000AD (be it Slaine, ABC Warriors etc that have had stories run on this concept) in a comic book are able to carry far weightier concepts, far more relatable narratives and storytelling around 'Chaos', than many years of 40k novels and codecies have been able to manage.

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If you want aspects of the Gods look at some Renegade Chapters.

The Scourged - The Seekers of Truth worked closely with the Inquisition and grew weary of executing innocents. The Chapter Master prayed to know when a man was lying so only the guilty were slain. Tzeentch then cursed the entire Chapter with the ability to hear every lie spoken by mankind whereupon they realise the Imperium is hopelessly corrupt. They go insane and pledge themselves to Tzeentch. In this aspect, Tzeentch can be viewed as the God of Truth/Lies.

The Flawless Host - The Shining Blades were known for their purity of gene-seed, rigid discipline and excelled to the point where they believed they could never be defeated. After a massacre where the Chapter's brilliance was supposedly questioned. Slaanesh's lure proved strong and eventually, the Chapter pledged themselves to the Dark Prince. Here Slaanesh is the God of Perfection.

The Purge - A Warband dedicated to Nurgle that views all life as hopelessly corrupted with the only path to purity lying in death. They have a penchant for biological and chemical weapons. Nurgle is viewed by The Purge as a God of Death.
   
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 Da Boss wrote:
Like if Slaanesh is about Excess, why is all of the visual about BDSM and androgyny? Why is so much of the background text heavily canted towards sexual desire? I see a theme that it's also about perfection, so they're all master swordsmen or artists and I'm like...okay? Slaanesh is the god of perfectionists? Are perfectionists also usually heavily into BDSM and stuff? No shade if so, but it doesn't ring true to me. Sex is fine as a major drive of all living things, Excess and Perfectionism are fine as major drives, but linking them together is a bit jarring.
From a 40k perspective Slaanesh is the god of the old Eldars decadance - it reflects what they were, even if it now throws its net wider.

The other three gods may simillarly reflect the events that gathered the critical levels of warp energy to first form them into something self sustaining and growing rather than a brief gathering of souls and chaos.
   
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Bristol

 Gert wrote:
If you want aspects of the Gods look at some Renegade Chapters.

The Scourged - The Seekers of Truth worked closely with the Inquisition and grew weary of executing innocents. The Chapter Master prayed to know when a man was lying so only the guilty were slain. Tzeentch then cursed the entire Chapter with the ability to hear every lie spoken by mankind whereupon they realise the Imperium is hopelessly corrupt. They go insane and pledge themselves to Tzeentch. In this aspect, Tzeentch can be viewed as the God of Truth/Lies.

The Flawless Host - The Shining Blades were known for their purity of gene-seed, rigid discipline and excelled to the point where they believed they could never be defeated. After a massacre where the Chapter's brilliance was supposedly questioned. Slaanesh's lure proved strong and eventually, the Chapter pledged themselves to the Dark Prince. Here Slaanesh is the God of Perfection.

The Purge - A Warband dedicated to Nurgle that views all life as hopelessly corrupted with the only path to purity lying in death. They have a penchant for biological and chemical weapons. Nurgle is viewed by The Purge as a God of Death.


If Slaanesh is the god of perfection, and The Scourged were trying to perfect their inquisitorial process so they wouldn't execute innocents, why didn't Slaanesh answer their prayers?

Khorne could have equally answered the Flawless Host to make them the best warriors in the galaxy.

And Khorne could equally apply to The Purge. Also, Purity sounds like the kind of thing which would attract Slaanesh.

This is part of what the OP meant, the overly broad and undefined portfolios of the gods make them basically interchangeable with just a slight tweak to their followers.

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 A Town Called Malus wrote:
If Slaanesh is the god of perfection, and The Scourged were trying to perfect their inquisitorial process so they wouldn't execute innocents, why didn't Slaanesh answer their prayers?

Because the Chapter Master didn't pray for perfection, he simply prayed for the ability to know the truth from lies.

Khorne could have equally answered the Flawless Host to make them the best warriors in the galaxy.

The Host didn't ask for perfection because they already believed themselves perfect, they worshipped Slaanesh after they attained perfection.

And Khorne could equally apply to The Purge. Also, Purity sounds like the kind of thing which would attract Slaanesh.

Which IMO is the point. The Gods are all fundamentally the same but still hate each other. With mortal followers, it's just who gets the game pieces first.

This is part of what the OP meant, the overly broad and undefined portfolios of the gods make them basically interchangeable with just a slight tweak to their followers.

I'd say that's what makes the Pantheon good. They all hate each other despite the fact that not only do their goals often align but they also all often represent similar things. That's the Chaos way. It doesn't matter if you love battle, if you don't love battle Khorne's way then you are Khorne's enemy. It's all a game to them anyway, if it doesn't go their way they get mad, flip the table and start cheating. There's a story where Tzeentch invades a planet and asks Khorne for help which Khorne gives gladly. However, the invasion isn't fast enough so Tzeentch also asks Slaanesh for help which they give. Khorne finds out, gets mad, tears open a rift in the sky, and drowns the world in blood and sentient murder skulls. The planet turns into a Daemon World anyway but the forces of Khorne and Slaanesh fight over it for eternity while Tzeentch looks on.
   
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Nuremberg

I'm also fine with a contradictory and overlapping Chaos, but in that case I want more than 4 major gods to be acknowledged in the background, rather than moving that stuff into the background and implying that the Big 4 are there because they are fundamental.

It's a relatively small shift in focus that would really help sell the fiction to me. Overread had a point that people would then demand models for it, but I'm pretty sure GW would just ignore that.

   
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And then 3rd party companies would step in to fill in the gaps which GW won't ignore.
It's already acknowledged that there are minor entities within the Warp which means you can do what 40k does well and make up your own Gods. The Sons of Malice are canon and it's said that they worship a God that isn't one of the Pantheon, so there's no reason you can't have your own.
   
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Nuremberg

Of course. I'm talking about a shift in emphasis more than anything.

   
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How big a shift though?
Are we saying the big 4 aren't the most powerful Warp Entities? Or simply reiterating that there are other Warp Entities?
If there are more powerful Entities why is the Pantheon so prevalent?
A short story about a CSM Warband that worships a minor God would be interesting but anything more than that and it's just inserting random stuff in for no reason.
Plus, if it can't be represented by models it won't get added. How would the Daemons of a minor God differ from the Pantheon's Daemons?
   
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Nuremberg

I would say the Big 4 would be the most powerful warp entities interacting with humans in the Imperium. Other warp entities might be more influential with other groups. I'd rather leave the question of power ambiguous.
I think the Chaos Gods work best as a dark reflection of the problems with the Imperium but each civilisation probably has their own.
And I disagree it's for no reason. From my perspective it would help to make the universe feel more interesting and believable, and it opens up avenues for creativity and invention.

But I do agree, and have mentioned from the start, that having 4 defined aesthetics with fixed archetypes works better for a company selling models. But for novels and fiction I'm happy for there to be an unbelievable diversity of demons in the Warp.

   
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 Da Boss wrote:
Gert: When I say Legions, I mean why is it only the World Eaters out of the original 9 legions that went to Khorne. Surely as they are all battle crazed and made only for war, more of the legions should have gone that way?

While as previously stated it is basically because each of the four gods called dibs on four legions, even if that wasn't the case I don't think this logic works. If we were to assume Undivided isn't allowed and all of the legions had to pick a god Tzeentch is clearly the right choice for the Alpha Legion, and I think Iron Warriors have a good argument for Nurgle.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 19:52:27


 
   
Made in ca
Regular Dakkanaut





The main issues with the writing emerged as GW was "forced" to individualize creatures best understood as "themes" or "allegories" that explored a certain aspect of the human condition such as violence, decay, vertigo, delirium, and so on. If one examines the history of mythological being, historically even their personification is often to serve an instructive "parable" narrative.

This process of individualisation happened because copyright is more easily enforced through associating individual identities to IP. So, for example, The God of War cannot be copyrighted, but Khorne the Blood God can.

The problem with the process of specification is that it throws writers all kinds of challenges in citation for writers, especially when they are constantly handing off writing projects to one another.

"Chaos Gods" etc. work much better as mythological allegories that are open to many forms of representation. Unfortunately that does not help GW protect their IP through aggressively litigating anyone that comes too close to their perceived sphere of control.
   
Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






I don’t agree they’re poorly thought through, so much as not terribly well written in recent years.

The first thing to remember is that they’re emotion made manifest. Each represents obsession incarnate. To them, there is no other line of thought. One could even make the argument that they’re so singular as not be truly sentient.

Nurgle is particularly misunderstood. Yes he’s famed for his plagues and illnesses. But it’s not a fixation with stagnation and death. It’s a fixation on life and fecundity. Us mortals? We are but one being. But, kill us? And as we decay we support myriad microbes. If we carry a virus, we’re a host to millions of life forms - and that is what matters to Nurgle, and where his penchant for plague comes in.

He’s not so much about making people ill or diseased as such. Rather he wants as much life in a given square foot as possible, with a host teeming with viruses and germs a pretty efficient way to achieve that. So Nurgle’s “flaw” is viewing all life as equal. The complexity is irrelevant - only the numbers matter.

Daemons? Well, we know they’re the merest sliver of a given God’s overall consciousness given form, and varying levels of independence. They too lack true sentience as we might understand it, perhaps barring Greater Daemons - and even then they cannot betray their nature. A Bloodthirster can no more stay it’s hand than a Keeper of Secrets could exercise restraint.

There was a really good WD article around 3rd Ed, which introduced alternative rules for Daemons. And within it, it explained that Daemons are so singular of purpose they cannot be said to be evil. They are so driven by their god given purpose, they don’t have the capacity to even consider another being might not want what they want, or might not enjoy what the Daemon is doing to them. We see this writ large in Beasts of Nurgle, but it seems it’s a trait universal to Daemons.

As for why so human emotion centric? After Orkses, we’re the most numerous beings in the Galaxy - and even that is open to debate, given a single Hive can contain house billions of souls.

Orks of course have a truly singular faith unto themselves - Gork and Mork, also Warp Gods. I suppose one could say the Orks represent a race entirely fallen to Chaos.

But humanity? Whilst individually less so than Eldar, we’re still an emotional species - and one arguably yet to achieve maturity within 40K.

We also know for a fact Humanity spread into the stars waaaaaay before even The Great Crusade - and that the Warp played a significant role in ushering in the age of darkness, as we became a psychic species.

Net result? Billions upon billions, if not trillions of nascently psychic humans pumping their emotions into The Warp. This in turn would influence the Gods, super charging them with humanity’s flaws, foibles, desires and expectations.

This is said to be why Daemons, when they manifest, match medieval descriptions and art. Part of the issue there of course is it’s not clear if Daemons have a set physical form - or if what the viewer sees is coloured by their own expectation. It’s entirely possible that given their inherently ineffable nature, everyone sees a Daemon differently. It’s certainly questionable whether an Ork would see the same as a Guardsman.

For instance, given we’re human, we can reasonably conclude that to a Guardsman, a Bloodletter would look like the model. But, to an Ork? It’s entirely possible they might see something closer to an Ork with blood red skin and a Burny choppa.

TL/DR? The Chaos Gods are more expansive and interesting than GW have allowed them to be in recent years. Nothing I listed above is fan theory. It’s all sourced from printed background of yesteryear.

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Pfizer vaccine administered 13:40pm 18 Feb 21. Still no second head. Second jab 13:35pm 6 May 2021. At the Masonic Hall. 
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Da Boss wrote:
I would say the Big 4 would be the most powerful warp entities interacting with humans in the Imperium. Other warp entities might be more influential with other groups. I'd rather leave the question of power ambiguous.
I think the Chaos Gods work best as a dark reflection of the problems with the Imperium but each civilisation probably has their own.


Yes, other groups and races, like the Orks, have their own gods, and there has been past old background saying they are even more powerful than the big 4, because Orks as a whole are more numerous than humans. However the Ork gods don't dominate the warp utterly because their nature is to fight each other, just like Orks, while being just as indestructible as the Orks are (as a race).

Slaanesh is basically an Eldar god, who after consuming all the Eldar within easy reach and the other Eldar gods it could get its claws on, started to feed on humans or condemn itself to dwindling and starving.

In the old Realms of Chaos books, it was possible to make your own minor Chaos god, and even the Daemon Princes and Primarchs could be set up as minor gods. Mortarion for example was given a table of gifts just like Nurgle. Anyone remember Kweethul?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/11 21:17:03


 
   
Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Also, Gork and Mork reckon the ladz is ‘ard enuff not to need godly intervention.

They’ll help them get to a fight, sure (sending visions, ensuring a Space Hulk ends up somewhere interesting), but don’t tend to interfere once the fighting starts.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

Pfizer vaccine administered 13:40pm 18 Feb 21. Still no second head. Second jab 13:35pm 6 May 2021. At the Masonic Hall. 
   
Made in us
Splattered With Acrylic Paint




The first things you say are that you find the concept of law vs order to be more compelling than good and evil, and that this is obviously from moorcock.

There aren’t any explicitly named gods of order or law. The Emperor isn’t explicitly called that, at least not in the pre-2006 background I know well, and not really in the recent angels-of-fire background either. The fantasy pantheon of benign deities isn’t called lawful either. It even includes a trickster god, Ranald, who is explicitly a god of rebellion and jaqueries. It’s not a given at all to say that there’s a duality in place of one thing vs it’s opposite.

It’s significant that while they talked about gods of law, they never put effort into it, it never happened. It only seemed relevant on a surface level but as far as the substance of their project it didn’t fit. To me it’s more consistent with the conditions at the time that there was no force of law. The IRL major military powers at the time that today we might think of as lawful may have seemed then to be very chaotic, and that chaos was all-pervading.

Bryan Ansell claims that he hadn’t encountered Moorcock at all when they initially conceptualized chaos.

https://realmofchaos80s.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-mighty-avenger-interview-with-bryan.html

It can be relevant what the real life conditions were and what ideas did and didn’t get developed. While you mention marketing and brand identity, I’ve also seen you talk about the contrast between the form of 40k when it had the original creative influence vs the latter day form of 40k written by fans who were hired 20 years later. When Slaves to Darkness was written, designers were still working in the shipping department and doing print layouts. the subconscious and creative preoccupations of these designers could have had as much or more effect as branding did.

There could be other structural models than dualistic thesis-antithesis chaos vs order. I used to think about whether chaos were the psychological id, and if law existed in 40k it would be the ego, which is not opposite to the id since there is a superego which is further from chaos than ego is. I don’t indulge in that these days, it’s just an example that there’s no reason to believe first that there are exactly two opposing forces, and second that if there are two forces that law is one of them.

I also suggest that there could be four fundamental motivations, the four Fs

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/b6/4b/ff/b64bff0fe636b0b4c5a27d4d7c1faf69.jpg

You might also have encountered discussions of four acute stress responses - fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. This is less relevant imo.

These four Fs map onto the ages of the Gods given by realm of chaos. Afaik people on forums give differing accounts of the ages, but I believe the comprehensive account says that Khorne is oldest, Tzeentch is next oldest, the Nurgle and ofc Slaanesh. Most conflicting citations seem to be less explicit or to only mention one of the gods and not the others. I’m not going to talk about how they map into the stress responses because there many meandering posts on the internet about the nature of the different gods and I don’t think another one is useful.

The other IRL reference I’d like to make is that BDSM is more common among high stress and high status people than other groups. It’s possible to make an extra 10k a year just telling two or three corporate lawyers not to masturbate over text message without ever showing them your face. If you’re willing to be there in person and just to watch them punch themselves in the balls you can afford a pretty sweet condo and not need another job. Decadence is a whole thing to itself, it isn’t just the same drugs you and I do but in higher amounts, it’s buying someone a car so that they’ll say mean things to you.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







Two really useful points of data:

1. Twenty five years ago, the background material included the mention of lesser chaos gods. Up to and including the chaos god of infighting, Malal.
2. Over the years, GW's focus has been on the primary four.

The reasons I've seen written in various places for dropping things like Malal have included copyright mistakes, or the next author for that background material being fickle and making up something else. I think the minor gods material survived the longest in the Warhammer fantasy roleplay books, where the authors could just put out ideas and not have to have accompanying design concepts for models.
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Minor demons also exist in the 40K lore and there's a good few stories about demons that don't specifically mention which Greater God they belong too. They are just generic demon - indeed outside of the game, many Imperial people who might know Chaos actually exists don't nessessarily know how to identify and classify all 4 gods different monsters (accepting that in the lore they do vary a lot in appearance too)


It's just not something GW focuses on as a marketing angle.

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Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





and outside of the game I expect deamons to take a wide varity of shapes and sizes, with the ones on the table top simply being "manifiestations common eneugh to warrent cataloguization"

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Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Overread wrote:
Minor demons also exist in the 40K lore and there's a good few stories about demons that don't specifically mention which Greater God they belong too. They are just generic demon - indeed outside of the game, many Imperial people who might know Chaos actually exists don't nessessarily know how to identify and classify all 4 gods different monsters (accepting that in the lore they do vary a lot in appearance too)


It's just not something GW focuses on as a marketing angle.


The original Realms of Chaos had rules for making your own minor Chaos god, including then its own Greater Daemons, Lesser Daemons, and daemonic beasts. This included the appearance of these daemons (by rolling on a bunch of random charts and then mixing the results together). They gave an example of all this and created the minor god Kweethul. The artwork for Kweethul's daemons was pretty good in melding the rolls together. The daemonic beast was four legged, with flaming feet, and the head of a fly and I think the ears of a rabbit (but drawn as ragged ears that would not make one think of fluffy bunny ears). The greater daemon was two headed.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/08/12 07:39:45


 
   
 
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