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Chaos is the psychic energy that composes Warp space. More generally, "Chaos" refers to anything related to Chaos, including its influence, the Gods of Chaos, their followers, and the Warp. Chaos is almost synonymous with the Warp - the two concepts are inseparable: Chaos is the limitless ocean of spiritual and emotional energy that defines the Warp. It is a great and raw force of change and power, and is both physically and spiritually corrupting. The most gifted mortals, psykers, can utilise this energy, thus making them capable of abilities which transcend the laws of the material universe. However, the malevolent power of Chaos can gradually corrupt a psyker, tainting his mind and body.

The iconic symbol of Chaos is the eight-pointed star, representing the infinite possibilities of Chaos.

The Chaos Star.

The Forces of Chaos

The forces of Chaos are made up of four types:


Main article: Daemon

Daemons are entities of the Warp, horrific creatures brought to the battlefield by the whims of sorcerers. They are often armed simply with claws that rip and tear the enemy to shreds; some use psychic based powers. The lesser daemons tend to be very poorly armoured and fall in great numbers to rapid fire weaponry.

The Lost and the Damned

The Lost and the Damned are a broad range of renegades and mutants, including degenerate humans, beastmen, cultists, rogue psykers, mutants of the Daemon Worlds, and Traitor Guardsmen. They are also often poorly armoured but come in vast numbers.

Chaos Space Marines

Main article: Chaos Space Marine

The Chaos Space Marines are those who fell under the sway of Warmaster Horus and rebelled against the Emperor in an attempt to bring the material galaxy under the control of Chaos. A full nine legions left the side of the Emperor and joined Chaos, some choosing specific deities to worship while others went to Chaos Undivided.

Traitor Titan Legions

Main article: Traitor Titan Legions

The Traitor Titan Legions consist of legions of the Collegia Titanica who have fallen to Chaos, many turning their backs on the Imperium during the Horus Heresy. Utilizing Titan war machines corrupted by the powers of Chaos, they are among the most reviled enemies of the Adeptus Mechanicus.4

The Gods of Chaos

Main article: Gods of Chaos

There are four great Powers of Chaos. Each are given form and fed by the emotions manifested by sentient beings in the material universe.

The Chaos Powers and the emotions that gave rise to them:

  • Khorne is born of hate and rage.
  • Nurgle is born of despair and fear of death.3
  • Slaanesh is born of lust and hedonism.
  • Tzeentch is born of ambition, hope, and the desire for change.

Chaos Forces in the Galaxy

Ancient History

At the dawn of time, the Old Ones took some of the primitive races, guiding their development to suit a specific purpose. The Warp at this time was not the hostile place it was in later ages. Once the Necrons arose, the Old Ones created races to battle the threat they posed, creating races with stronger ties to the Warp, giving them psychic power to turn the tide against the Necrons. One of these races was the Eldar.

Just before the birth of the Emperor of Mankind, three of the Chaos Gods, Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle had already begun to take form in the Warp, although it would take until the end of Earth's Middle Ages for them to fully awaken. Slaanesh had not awoken until around M29, marking the end of the Eldar Empire and the end of the Age of Strife, as well as the beginning of the Great Crusade and the rise of the Imperium.

The rise of Chaos and the first three Chaos Gods, as described, seems to correspond to the development to humanity, implying that Mankind, of all the sentient species, were primarily responsible for the disharmonising of the Warp and the birth of the first three Chaos Gods. Although, without question, all sentient species played a role in the birth of the Chaos Gods, it seems that mankind has an especially close relationship with Chaos, or that mankind's nature is particularly aggressive and unstable.2

See also