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Chaos

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Chaos is a part of 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 their mind and body.[Needs Citation]

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

Chaos itself has many names. The Eldar, for example, call it the Primordial Annihilator[8] while Lorgar and the Word Bearers dub it the Primordial Truth.[10]

The eight-pointed star of Chaos[19]

Overview

The Realm of Chaos

The Realm of Chaos was formed as the emotions of mortals (be they anguish, desire, hatred, or pride) pooled together in the psychic mirror-reality of the material universe known as The Warp. Such was the power of these emotions that they eventually formed creatures which, over time, gained sentience, resulting in the birth and rise of the Gods of Chaos. As the races of the material universe grew, so too did their hopes, dreams, rage, wars, loves, and hatreds. All of these raw emotions served to fuel the growth and power of the Chaos Gods. Eventually, the gods reached back, into the dreams and desires of mortals, and since that time they have been working to influence the physical realm and its myriad races.[7]

Chaos and its realm exists far outside of imagination; an impossible abstraction made real only by metaphor and the roiling emotions of the minds of mortals. It is constantly reborn, eternally shifting. Within this realm titanic hosts made purely of energy and emotion clash as the Gods of Chaos wage their endless Great Game. The Chaos Gods and their dominions are one, for both are formed of the same Warp Energy. As the Gods gain power, their realms expand. However the Gods are not alone, for they have countless servants made of their own essence known as Daemons. The beings of the Warp have no true physical forms and even Daemons are simply taking a skin or bubble of appearance that is a projection of their God. The Realm of Chaos is a fantastical landscape devoid of consistency and unbound by the laws of time and space, a random, unstructured panorama of pure energy and unfocused consciousness. It is from this nature that it is dubbed Chaos, for it is Chaotic in the truest sense.[7]

The Realm of Chaos and the Material Universe can overlap, often with devastating consequences for mortals. Warp Storms and Warp Rifts are such examples of a breach between these two realities.[14]

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. During their war against the Necrons, 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.[13]

Just before the birth of the Emperor of Mankind, the three Gods of Chaos; Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle had already begun to take form in the Warp, although it would take until the end of Terra's Middle Ages for them to fully awaken.[1] 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.[12a]

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.[1]

The Forces of Chaos

The forces of Chaos are those who have pledged themselves to the Gods of Chaos. They are most commonly organized into several types:[15]

Daemons

Main article: Daemon

Daemons are entities of the Warp, horrific creatures brought to the battlefield by the guile 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.[15]

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.[16]

Chaos Space Marines

Main article: Chaos Space Marine

The Chaos Space Marines are formed of the Adeptus Astartes 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. In the millennia since, other formations of Adeptus Astartes have also fallen to Chaos, from single squads to entire chapters.[15]

Dark Mechanicus

Main article: Dark Mechanicus

The Dark Mechanicus are corrupted Tech-Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, wielding horrific Warp-fused technologies and Daemon Engines.[11]

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.[3]

Chaos Knights

Main article: Renegade Knight

Chaos Knights consist of Imperial Knights and in many cases their entire Households that have fallen to the Ruinous Powers. They pilot Knight suits, which while smaller than a Titan are still powerful war machines in their own right.[9a]

Other Species

Other races and civilizations have also fallen to Chaos. These include the Scaephylyds, Laer, Yu'vath[4], Saruthi[5], Grell, Lok'kroll, and Xenarch[6] and many others.

The Gods of Chaos

Main article: Gods of Chaos
Notable Warp Rifts in the Galaxy (purple)[23]

There are four great Powers of Chaos. Each one is given form and fed by the emotions manifested by sentient beings in the material universe.[17a]

The Chaos Powers and the emotions that gave rise to them:[17a]

There are also more potential Gods of Chaos, though their status is in flux:

  • Malice is born of anarchy and hatred, and directly opposes the other four main powers. Though fully formed, its tendence toward self-annihilation limits its ability to grow as strong as the great powers.[18]
  • Pater Mutatis is born from the distortion of mind and body. Though not yet a major Chaos God, it had emerged from Fabius Bile's gestalt intelligence by M42.[26]
  • The Dark King is born from the drive toward destruction. Though prophesied to emerge at some point, the Chaos God has not yet fully formed.[25]

The Ætheric Dominions

The eight pointed star of Chaos representing the Ættheric Dominions[24]

All Daemons of Chaos seem aligned to at least one of the eight Ætheric Dominions, the aspects of Chaos within the Warp.[24]

  • Encroaching Ruin: Chaos in its purest form. It hungers only for destruction, that all things mortal meet their end and be forgotten. To this singular end it moves inexorably, driven by a nightmarish purpose which subsumes the petty divisions of daemonkind.[24]
  • Formless Distortion: Even as Daemons manifest as obscene parodies of mortal forms, the true essence of Chaos is endlessly shifting and unknowable, twisting, changing and perverting everything it touches. Some Daemons who cross into the Materium embody this to its fullest extent, shaping themselves into agglomerations of immaterial flesh, for whom death is simply one component of the eternal metamorphosis they would inflict upon the material world.[24]
  • Heedless Slaughter: The fury of battle and the red joy of life’s final end. For some among the hordes of the Warp, the only goal is to fight and to die – it matters not where or why as long as blood flowed. Such entities would appear garbed in the trappings of conquerors and executioners, caring only for the tally of skulls and death they might reap from the mortal world, irrespective of such concerns as friend or foe.[24]
  • Putrid Corruption: A slow corruption, rotting away body and soul, with no final release in death. Among the hosts of Chaos there were those who cared nothing for victory or defeat, only that suffering was spread to as many as possible. Such creatures manifest into the material world in disease and filth, content to spread their vile gifts to the world of mortals.[24]
  • Ravenous Dissolution: Such is the hatred that swirls within the Warp that it encompasses all things, and this hatred extends even to itself. To expect rational and sane logic from creatures such as these would be foolish, for Chaos was both its name and nature. Yet, in its self-destructive hatred there is no ally to be found, only a new and more unpredictable foe.[24]
  • Malevolent Artifice: Just as Chaos reflects back a twisted mockery of humanity’s every facet, so too is the very drive to create perverted into a malevolent and destructive force within the Immaterium. Conjured forth into realspace, such daemons harness the works of mortals as a vector for their own annihilation, their machine-like forms at once a mimicry of flesh and artifice, every action made to demonstrate their supremacy over both mortal beings and everything they deigned to create.[24]
  • Infernal Tempest: Some Daemons are brought forth a maelstrom of raw warpstuff with them, manifesting the energy of the Immaterium as sheer elemental power. Around these entities roiled tempests of prismatic fire, the air os riven with crackling arcs of lightning as the earth twists into fragments of shimmering crystal. To these Daemons there is no higher purpose than the promulgation of that power and of its profligate use on the battlefields of the material realm.[24]
  • Rapturous Sensation: A maddening screech of sensation and wild impulses. For some among the forces of Chaos the ends of violence truly mattered not, merely that they were there to take part and to experience its vicissitudes, inflicting overwhelming pain and gorging on mortals’ fear. These daemonkind revel in the sensory overload of war, bounding over shell-sundered battlefields to deliver blissful death as they exulted in each blinding flash and deafening blast.[24]

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Chaos
Gods of Chaos KhorneTzeentchSlaaneshNurgleMalice
Chaos Space Marines Traitor LegionsDaemonkinArmouryWarbands
Daemons Daemon PrinceGreater DaemonLesser DaemonDaemonic BeastsDaemon EnginesDaemonic HeraldChaos Daemon ArmouryDaemon WeaponsDaemonic Gifts
The Lost and the Damneds Chaos CultTraitor GuardMutantsBeastmenRogue PsykerGellerpox InfectedArmoury
The Traitor Primarchs Alpharius/OmegonAngronFulgrimHorusLorgarKonrad CurzeMagnus the RedMortarionPerturabo
Notable Characters AbaddonAhrimanBlue ScribesChangelingEpidemiusFabius BileHorticulous SlimuxKairos FateweaverKu'GathTyphusKhârnLuciusLufgt HuronBe'lakorM'karThe MasqueRotigusShalaxi HelbaneSkarbrandSkulltakerSyll'EsskeVashtorr
Other Traitor Titan LegionsChaos KnightsDark MechanicumChaos Space FleetChaos VehiclesChaos ArtefactsGreat RiftEye of TerrorMaelstromWarp