Gods of Chaos
The Chaos Gods, also called the Dark Gods or the Ruinous Powers, are powerful beings of the psychic universe known as the Warp, created and sustained by the emotions and souls of every living being of the material universe. Although they are god-like beings, they are by their nature monomaniacal and completely single-minded (formed completely of a single emotion or concept) as well as being completely dependent on the emotions of mortal creatures for their power and continued existence.
Gods are able to devote a fraction of their power to create daemons, whose appearance and character reflect the god's own nature. These daemons may be reabsorbed into the god at whim. The least of the minor gods may be so limited in their power that expending their power to create a daemon means their entire power is expended; in effect, the god becomes a daemon.
In the early history of the galaxy, the powers of the Warp had yet to form into distinct entities. At this time, the emotions of mortals flowed and ebbed as water does in a stream. As the mortal races grew and prospered, so did the strength of their emotions. Eventually, the gods grew to such a point where they could act independently of the general flow of emotions and thus became the Gods of Chaos. They reached into the dreams of mortals and demanded praise and servitude in order to increase their own power, as the more one emotion is exhibited (in both thought and action) the stronger that god becomes.
The first three gods, Khorne, Tzeentch and Nurgle became sentient by the end of M2 but Slaanesh didn't fully awaken until the Fall of the Eldar in M29.
The Chaos Gods' most devoted followers are known as Champions, spiritually bound to their patrons. Chaos Champions are rewarded with 'gifts' unique to each god and the potential blessing of ascension to a Daemon Prince.
When a follower of a Chaos God dies, their soul is absorbed into the greater mass of that god, adding its energy to the already formidable power of that god.
A Daemon is a creature formed from a fragment of a Chaos God's consciousness. They form the armies of the Chaos Gods, and frequently battle the armies of other gods and unbelievers on the material plane.
Relationships between the gods
The gods are rivals of each other - the constant war between them mirrors the struggle between their followers in the material universe, and vice versa. Victory in mortal battles lends more power to the relevant god, although often victory is not necessary, just the shedding blood and sacrifice is required.
The Chaos Gods are almost constantly at war with one another within the Warp, vying for power amid the immaterial planes. Despite their myriad differences, the Great Gods of Chaos have the same goal: total domination. Such absolute power cannot be shared - especially amongst gods. With the ebb and flow of energy within the warp, the powers of the Chaos Gods expands and contracts. This eternal struggle for dominance is known as the Great Game.
The four main Gods of Chaos are:
- Khorne — The Blood God
- Tzeentch — The Changer of the Ways
- Nurgle — The Great Lord of Decay
- Slaanesh — The Prince of Excess
Beyond the main four, the warp has created many nameless chaos gods, only to die with the passing of aeons. Of these the following are known or speculated to exist within the setting:
- The Tau Fourth Sphere of Expansion is believed to have been saved in the Warp by a possible Chaos God created in their image. However the Tau of the Fourth Sphere believe that the Auxiliaries within their fleet were responsible for the being's creation, and that it is in fact a perversion created from their perception of the Greater Good. The creature is described as five-fingered, many-armed, and adhering to the concepts of the Greater Good.
- Malice is an entity worshipped as the Renegade God of Chaos and Hierarch of Anarchy and Terror. The Renegade Chapter Sons of Malice are among his followers.
- It is speculated that Raptor Cults worship a minor Chaos deity.
- Ans'l, Mo'rcck and Phraz-Etar are minor Chaos deities. Chaos Space Marines were rumored to praise them by putting spikes on their power armour. Their names are puns on the last names of Bryan Ansell, Michael Moorcock, and Frank Frazetta.
- 1: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 2: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 20
- 3: Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 4: Labyrinth (Short Story) by Richard Ford
- 5: Black Crusade Core Rulebook, by Fantasy Flight Games, page 11
- 6: Index Astartes IV — Harbingers of Doom
- 7: War of Secrets (Novel) Chapter 17
- 8: Codex: Chaos Daemons (8th Edition), pg. 8