PDA

View Full Version : The uniformity and structure of Chaos



CELS
16-04-2008, 22:05
A thought occurred today, while waiting for the bus. It's something I've thought about for a while, but the question really crystalised today. Basically; is there actually uniformity and structure in Chaos, or is it imposed by GW as representing the Imperial view of Chaos?

For instance, consider the Chaos Gods. Four different aspects of emotions and thoughts, four different aspects of conflict and war, etc. Each Chaos god has a specific rival and arch-nemesis. Furthermore, servants of Chaos (with the exception of Chaos Undivided) tend to serve a single god. But is the definition of the Chaos gods really that simple, providing a distinct separation between the Chaos god? Don't servants of Khorne, steeped in anger and hate, experience pleasure? Couldn't there be a daemon conceived by both Tzeentch and Slaanesh, for example?

And then there's the hierarchy of the daemons. Greater daemons, daemon princes, "regular" daemons - is this a hierarchy that was created by the Chaos gods? Or is this a structure that the Imperium or the Eldar or whoever else has imposed upon Chaos, as a result of logical minds trying to make sense of something wholly unlogical? Is there really a distinct difference of greater daemons and daemon princes, or could there be something in between?

Lastly, there's the uniformity of Chaos. In my opinion, only the possessed Chaos Space Marines are a good representation of a power that deserves the name 'Chaos'. They are chaotic, random, with a giant horn on one side of their skull, one over-sized claw of a hand and a tentacle for a leg. Chaos spawn also has the same kind of asymmetry. That's chaos. But if you look at the actual daemons of Chaos, Bloodletters, Daemonettes, even the Greater Daemons, they're not exactly chaotic in their appearance, are they? Does it make sense for a horde of Plaguebearers to all have two arms, two legs, a single eye and a horn on their forehead? Shouldn't some of them have three legs, wings, no eyes and a second mouth on their forehead?

I don't have the precious tomes of ancient days, such as Realms of Chaos, so maybe my questions already been answered by GW. If not... discuss :)

Chaplain of Chaos
16-04-2008, 22:36
I think the current form of daemons is a result of the fact a certain uniformity is needed to represent Daemons on tabletop ya know... WYSIWYG and the other part is that traditional demons (which Warhammer daemons of course where drawn from) did have a certain level of symmetry.

Yet one way we can rationalize the uniform appearance of plaguebearers and lords of change etc is that since Chaos Daemons truly represent ideas.. namely fears death decay, plauge etc when they take form in the Material world they take on the form that represents those thoughts to us as humans.

For humans, Plaguebearers are good embodiments of pestilance, death and decay.. they looks like shambling cyclopian zombies with wicked weeping blades. That is their material form. The fact that a Hiearchy exists is a simple rule of the strongest, the more powerful the daemon the more little daemons it can boss around. Daemon Princes are nothing more than Mortals that have attained daemonhood through their personal might and service.

Daemons have no form in the warp, being little more than swirling malevolant spirits. Daemons do exist between the strengths of lesser -greater but we have no way of reprsenting them on TT, their are a near infinite multitude of daemons in all diffrent shapes and forms reprsenting all manner of things. We just see very few of them in the game.

EDIT: also on a side note.. it's much easier to develop and produce plastic and metal units if they all have that symmetry.

Firaxin
17-04-2008, 00:06
I really like your thought! :D
I've wondered sometimes if certain slaanesh worshiping cultists were actually disciples of khorne, since they felt so much pleasure killing people/being killed, as long as there's fighting. I never took it to the next though.

But yeah. Daemon stats in particular should be randomized. (I don't think CSM or CIG should, however. They're not of the warp.) The only downside is it would move away from the 'lets make the game playable by 4 year olds' trend GW has been following.

This makes me feel like starting a 'true daemons' thread in the rules development forum... :rolleyes:

Mandown
17-04-2008, 03:31
By its very nature, uniformity and chaos is directly opposite one another. CSM do have a structure, i imangine left over from the days when they were legions of disciplined troops, but if you are talking demons chaos, then background wise there should be no uniformity at all. With regards the 'rank' structure of them, i imagine that lesser demons obay the wishes of greater demons or run the risk of being destroyed by them. I agree that all demons, even those of the same god, should appear different, but, then do they manifest themselves differently depending on who is observing them?

The trouble is when you have to apply the randomness of chaos to a rule based tabletop world, that is where the structure, and uniformity has to apply.

sabreu
17-04-2008, 03:39
The Deities and Daemons are created from intelligent creatures who emote to the warp or chaos. Uniformity is derived from being bred by the same source and the raw stuff of chaos which has no form or identity. Thus, Chaos is Chaos, and the Chaos Gods are not the embodiment of Chaos, but the embodiment of Human emotions made manifest from the raw that is Chaos.

That's the way I picture it and this is strictly opinion.

-Me

Archangel_Ruined
17-04-2008, 10:25
I'd agree with Sabrreu, chaos daemons appear the way they do as they're logical beings nightmares made flesh. So, they look like people expect them to, as they expect sheer horror. I've always thought that daemons would appear differently to each race though, to reflect the psyches of those they're facing.

MvS
17-04-2008, 12:11
I never really liked the idea of heirarchy beyond those daemons that were once mortal beings. So a soul that becomes transfigured into a daemon would retain some of the personality, ambitions and ideas that it had in its mortal life, and so the idea of independence and personal will, identity and importance might be carried over with it.

We know that some daemon princes (transcended mortals) are little more than daemons that can manifest to lead some troops while possesing some spooky powers, where other daemon princes, like the surviving Traitor Primarchs, eclipse even Greater Daemons in power and daemonic 'authority'.

I originally regarded Greater Daemons and lesser daemons as not part of a heirarchy so much as just pure, manifest abstractions of their 'owning' god's identity and power. I didn't regard them as having an identity beyond the very specific drive and process of their master that they are supposed to embody. But the imagery has gradually moved to give Greater Daemons and lesser daemons (and indeed any non transcended-mortal daemon) more and more independent will and personality, almost as if they are their own entities within the Warp that serve a particular god, rather than just aspects of the god's greater reality.

I suppose we could say that the Chaos Gods are schizophrenic (or perhaps subject to a divine and extremely bizarre and complex form of multiple personality disorder) in the sense that their identities and drives are manifold and sometimes self-destructive in various ways, and so the physical representation of this divine schizophrenia might be daemons of the same god that represent conflicted aspects of that gods character fighting against each other or even eagainst the greater reality of their god.

Who knows...?

Philip S
17-04-2008, 12:27
I quite like the idea that chaos really is chaotic. That all the gods and daemons are merely manifestations of the conjurer's id, that the daemon are what the person expects them to be, shaped by their base emotional and subconscious mind.

In this regard daemons are humanoid because humans are humanoid, Eldar are humanoid (Eldoid? or are all Slannoid?) and our minds and souls act as a focus for the daemon's manifestation.

However, other beings that are not so humanoid may summon something 'alien', the Umbra (or at a pinch the Hrud) for example may bring forth something very strange should it come about. The more alien the creature the more alien the daemon.

This means that humans, or anyone, has not seen the true face of chaos, or those that do literally loose their mind. Chaos may be far more insidious and creepy than the daemons lead us to believe.

With Chaos being this random and underhand, even the C'Tan, the anathema of chaos, could just be a manifestation of a very strange daemon (greater daemon) perhaps originally born of an energy creature, a machine conciousness. or any other number of flukes.

Philip

The_Outsider
17-04-2008, 13:37
You know, I imagine the only race to see daemons (specifically slaanesh ones) as a "true" form would be the eldar - them being the sole ones to actually create a chaos god in their image. The other three where spawned by many different races and although humanity feeds them the most these days it wasn't always so.


C'tan and stuff

You know, maybe the C'tan are more integeral to the 40k universe than "hmm, food".

They are very stable beings, they eat stars and mostly have a very ordered existance (well, before the whole necrontyr thing) where as the chaos gods are the complete opposite - they are jsut as likely to destory themselves as they are anything else.

So perhaps in a ufnny sort of way the galaxy need beings able to equal the chaos gods in power to keep the balance (like an offshoot of "for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction"). The C'tan are just the beings in the role currently (if the war in the heaven hadn't occured it would of probably been the old ones).

The Emperor in a funny kind of way also attempted such a thing - but he was undone by humanity itself.

Kandarin
18-04-2008, 06:34
The other three where spawned by many different races and although humanity feeds them the most these days it wasn't always so.

The other three predate humanity by millions of years, but their present aesthetics and common means of expressing themselves are very much a product of the human psyche.

malika
18-04-2008, 12:21
Weren't the Chaos Gods born around 8000 years ago, the Emperor being born 1000 years before because the Shamans had visions of the arrival of these Warp Gods?

MvS
18-04-2008, 12:48
So was said in the older imagery. Didn't make complete sense though.

It could refer to the current major identities of the Chaos Gods being manifest thanks to humanity. We have a quote from Legion that refers to the Chaos Gods as having monkeyed around before humanity, and the Primordial Annihilator title doesn't really apply to something that has only been around relatively recently in galactic terms...

Sinisterfence
18-04-2008, 14:18
So was said in the older imagery.Didn't make complete sense though.

It could refer to the current major identities of the Chaos Gods being manifest thanks to humanity. We have a quote from Legion that refers to the Chaos Gods as having monkeyed around before humanity, and the Primordial Annihilator title doesn't really apply to something that has only been around relatively recently in galactic terms...

I think the whole 'Primordial Annihilator' thing was more referring to chaos as a whole and not the aspects seen as the 4 major gods...
remember that chaos gods are being born and dying, maybe being reborn every second, it's a constantly shifting mess of god-knows-what, the 4 major gods are merely the most powerful who have survived the longest.
so the way I see it is we had chaos the whole time, then as each race came and went it had it's gods, spawned of their hopes, desires, and emotions, who gradually faded and died with them, but the 'big 4' represent base emotions found in all sentient beings, thus have the most power

malika
18-04-2008, 16:32
Oh I really like that idea! Makes the whole thing of the Chaos Gods more..."unstable". Right now it seems as if Khorne, Tzeentch and Nurgle were these entities or energies which have been around forever. I like the idea that many before this 8000 BC there were other Chaos Gods, some which might have died alongside the species that worshipped them while others might have been devoured by the Chaos Gods we know today. So for example many Chaos Gods (Warp powers) generated by various species being absorbed to a "Proto-Khorne" for example.

So...the Warp might have been around forever, Chaos and other Warp based lifeforms started to manifest themselves later while the Chaos Gods as we know them today (and in that form) are relatively "recent".

MvS
18-04-2008, 16:49
Indeed. This is why I refer to the 'identities' of the current Big Four, because Chaos and the Daemon Gods have been around almost since 'The Beginning'.

I prefer the idea that either old gods are absorbed by newer more dynamic ones, or that the self-aware personality attached to a Warp Vortex of emotion and souls can dissipate even if the Vortex itself does not. So the self-aware consciousness called Tzeentch may have arisen relatively recently, the Vortex that this identity dominates and draws it power and purpose from may well have existed for millions of years before the current Tzeentch personality arose.

This, for me, explains why the Chaos Gods seek worshippers as well as just mortal souls, because where extreme emotion-tainted soul fragments form Vortices in the Warp, it is mortal conceptualisations and projection of personality onto the various Warp Vortices that gives them self-aware and individual identities.

This ties in with the older Realms of Chaos and Slaves to Darkness imagery where there are whole world within the EoT where billions of mortals are formed into 'prayer gangs', which I believe continually re-affirm the independent existence and drives of the Big Four and give them consistent names, consciousnesses and identities, and perhaps empower them further the absorb other lesser gods (smaller vortices) of other emotions that are somehow related to their own - so Khorne can grow beyond the 'fight' in 'fight or flee' to become anger, the desire to conquer, blood lust, hate and so on.

Trillions of mortals dedicating their souls to Khorne while praying to him as THE god of rage AND hate AND blood lust AND the desire to conquer etc would probably make all these things more real within the Warp.

EDIT

Also, the idea of one god consuming an older similar one, or an old god getting a new face and identity because of a new species' worship implies that the Big Four can have memories going back to the dawn of life in the physical universe.

Rather like Neil Gaimen's Sandman series, when the personification of dreams, hope and ideas (Morpheus) finally 'dies' another Sandman, who looks identical (but for having white hair) takes his place as the Sandman - the personification of Dream. The old point-of-view of Mopheus died, but all of his memories, powers and responsibilities passed onto the new Sandman who then chooses not to use the name Morpheus to show his break with his previous incarnation. When asked who died, because someone did, the reply came back 'a point of view'.

So a divine personality died yet at the same time all he was (except for certain personality traits, opinions and ways of doing things) lived on as a new-but-also-the-same entity who, though still the one and only Sandman with a memory that stretched back forever, was also 'new' and different. All very odd and interesting.

The pestilent 1
18-04-2008, 19:31
Emergence.
Look it up.

malika
18-04-2008, 19:41
Emergence...great! :rolleyes:

Could you tell us a bit more what point you are trying to make here? ;)

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 03:09
So was said in the older imagery.Didn't make complete sense though.



It made perfect sense. The Chaos gods of Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle were birthed as gods of humanity when in its infancy. It didn't say they were birthed at their current gigantic power levels. More than likely they started small and then only with the growth of humanity to dominance in the galaxy, gained the strength they have today. There are many minor entites in the warp so it is eminently possible that if humanity were to some day be replaced by some other race, the gods of that race would rise to prominence.
Different civilizations throughout history on Earth have had many different gods for the same concepts, with radically totally different behavior, personalities, and ideals even though deities of the same concept. There is no inherent need to try and squash these different entities into "one entity with different masks". Having them all be "aspects of one or aspects of each other" or any other verbal gymanstics doesn't make it inherently any more sublime or deeper or complex. It just reeks of faux monotheism and a unspoken and unproven assumption that one with many masks is better than many. Why not just accept different gods for different races/civilizations?

Pantheons on Earth have not been static. Exposure between groups and civilizations have led to what might be termed pantheon jumpers. Isis from Egypt proved popular enough with the Romans to have gained mystery cults and followers in the Roman Empire. In 40K, I would point to Slaanesh as just one such entity. Birthed at the power level the other Chaos gods took millenia to gain, at the expense of consuming the race that gave it life in the first place. In the present 40K, the bulk of Slaanesh's worshippers are human even though Slaanesh is technically an Eldar god. Nothing stops other races from worshipping outside their own pantheon or race. There are Ork Stormboyz of Khorne...but that does not mean Khorne is an Ork god in origin. It's analgous to how Isis is still an Egyptian goddess even though she might have had Roman worshippers.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 07:05
It made perfect sense. The Chaos gods of Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle were birthed as gods of humanity when in its infancy. It didn't say they were birthed at their current gigantic power levels. More than likely they started small and then only with the growth of humanity to dominance in the galaxy, gained the strength they have today. There are many minor entites in the warp so it is eminently possible that if humanity were to some day be replaced by some other race, the gods of that race would rise to prominence.

If you're taking "Khorne", "Tzeentch" and "Nurgle" to refer to the characteristically human parts of the warp-vortices of anger, hope and acceptance of despair respectively, then it's obviously true that they were "birthed" when humanity began to generate sufficient impact on the warp. However, if you are going down that route, it's important to also acknowledge that these gods formed within larger, non-racially specific, vortices of their appropriate emotion, which have existed for at least millions of years. The human-specific sections eventually came to dominate and subsume the larger conglomerations of warp energy.

Alternatively, sometimes "Khorne", "Tzeentch" and "Nurgle" are apparently used to refer to the larger non-racially specific, vortices of their appropriate emotion. If the gods' names are being used in this way, then it is true to say that "Khorne", "Tzeentch" and "Nurgle" have been around for millions of years, and that they've just taken on a specifically human flavour in the last 10 000 years, when humanity has been the dominant warp-affecting species.

Finally, it's important to note that the difference between the two cases is purely semantic. To try to suggest there's a huge distinction is to get far too caught up on the labels we use to refer to the Chaos Gods, and not actually look at what the labels are referring to.


Different civilizations throughout history on Earth have had many different gods for the same concepts, with radically totally different behavior, personalities, and ideals even though deities of the same concept. There is no inherent need to try and squash these different entities into "one entity with different masks".

Yes, though it's worth pointing out that historical Earth deities don't exist as gigantic vortices of emotion in the Warp. Therefore the labels attached to the deities matter a great deal more. This is unlike 40k deities, whose existence is to some extent quantifiable.


Having them all be "aspects of one or aspects of each other" or any other verbal gymanstics doesn't make it inherently any more sublime or deeper or complex. It just reeks of faux monotheism and a unspoken and unproven assumption that one with many masks is better than many. Why not just accept different gods for different races/civilizations?

Perhaps you're misinterpreting what's going on here. I don't believe anyone is saying that the different gods don't exist as discrete entities, or that there's really just one god with lots of different masks.

A better analogy might be, for instance, that we have a computer which can run personality simulations, and can run multiple simulations at once, using somewhat similar programming to do so. The stuff out of which the warp gods are created is the same (they're all made up of warp energy), and there are persuasive structural similarities between them (ie they're consciousnesses produced by the interplay of various flows of emotions within the warp). But there are still different personalities produced.

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 09:04
If you're taking "Khorne", "Tzeentch" and "Nurgle" to refer to the characteristically human parts of the warp-vortices of anger, hope and acceptance of despair respectively, then it's obviously true that they were "birthed" when humanity began to generate sufficient impact on the warp. However, if you are going down that route, it's important to also acknowledge that these gods formed within larger, non-racially specific, vortices of their appropriate emotion, which have existed for at least millions of years. The human-specific sections eventually came to dominate and subsume the larger conglomerations of warp energy.

No, because that is not the paradigm. Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch are human gods born from the emotions of those humans that aggregated in the past to form. The whole point about different gods and different civilization is NOT saying they are just parts of a greater whole of non specificity. The Realms of Chaos didn't say sub-vortices formed within a larger system. It said they started forming period. Likewise for Slaanesh. Slaanesh began forming out of nothing when decadent Eldar souls began pooling together. Slaanesh never formed as a sub system. This is exactly what I mean about some pseudo monotheism drive or ingrained inability to accept truly separate racial entities, instead always trying to rationalize them as subsets of one larger system.



The Eldarin concept of Khaine is subliminally different than the Human concept of Khorne, although both races may or may not feed these warp entities. We can probably assume Khaine is not fed by another large race due to relative weakness compared to Khorne, and may in the future be completely consumed by the wargod. Thus, we can say Khaine is an Eldarin god, while Khorne is a more heterogeneous god (feeding on more than one race - humans and orks, for instance).


The above quote from a different thread. Last sentence is the most relevant one. Khorne is a heterogenous god now, though still largely human fed, but he is ultimately a human god. Isis was worshipped in Rome and in some other non-Egyptian communities, but she is still ultimately an Egyptian god.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 09:52
No, because that is not the paradigm. Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch are human gods born from the emotions of those humans that aggregated in the past to form....
The Realms of Chaos didn't say sub-vortices formed within a larger system. It said they started forming period.

4th ed Chaos Codex says the Chaos Gods were born over billions of years from the emotions of mortals from various races.

So just clinging on and saying that Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch are human gods leaves somewhat to be desired. Fairly obviously, it depends what you mean by "Khorne", "Nurgle" and "Tzeentch". Which is what my point was all along. Hanging on to one meaning in the face of multiple possible interpretations is somewhat close-minded.


The whole point about different gods and different civilization is NOT saying they are just parts of a greater whole of non specificity.

This might be part of the problem. You go from "warp gods are vortices of emotion within larger vortices" to "warp gods are just vortices of emotion within larger vortices". Where did the "just" come from? Why can't gods be different personalities and be part of a greater warp vortex of emotion?


Likewise for Slaanesh. Slaanesh began forming out of nothing when decadent Eldar souls began pooling together. Slaanesh never formed as a sub system.

You think that the Eldar were the first race in history to feel these sorts of emotions, and that they only did so in the short millennia immediately before the Fall? I would suspect that mortals of various races had been desiring perfection and pleasure since long before the Eldar Fall....


This is exactly what I mean about some pseudo monotheism drive or ingrained inability to accept truly separate racial entities, instead always trying to rationalize them as subsets of one larger system.

Well, they are subsets of a larger system. That doesn't mean they can't be "separate" racial entities too though.


The above quote from a different thread. Last sentence is the most relevant one. Khorne is a heterogenous god now, though still largely human fed, but he is ultimately a human god. Isis was worshipped in Rome and in some other non-Egyptian communities, but she is still ultimately an Egyptian god.

And as I pointed out in my previous post, the analogies between 40k gods and real life historical human gods are not particularly persuasive. Historical human gods don't exist as swirling vortices of emotion in an alternative dimension.

Supremearchmarshal
19-04-2008, 10:04
Historical human gods don't exist as swirling vortices of emotion in an alternative dimension.

Can you prove it? :p

malika
19-04-2008, 10:13
Can you prove it? :p

While somewhat of a "childish" remark, Supremearchmarshal does make a point here. If the 40k gods exist in the Warp purely because they are worshipped/believed in, does this mean that in the 40k universe the gods we have on Earth today also exist in the Warp because they are worshipped by thousands if not millions or even billions of people? How many people (humans, alien, whatever) would have to worship or believe in a god for it to manifest itself in the Warp?

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 10:16
This might be part of the problem. You go from "warp gods are vortices of emotion within larger vortices" to "warp gods are just vortices of emotion within larger vortices". Where did the "just" come from? Why can't gods be different personalities and be part of a greater warp vortex of emotion?



There is still the assumption there HAS to be ONE larger warp vortex. What is wrong or so hard about being able to consider and accept the idea of the gods as entirely separate systems of their own?



You think that the Eldar were the first race in history to feel these sorts of emotions, and that they only did so in the short millennia immediately before the Fall? I would suspect that mortals of various races had been desiring perfection and pleasure since long before the Eldar Fall....


No, the Eldar are the first race in history to create an Eldar god of decadence. Any other gods of decadence and excess in the past from other races, were not the entity that is Slaanesh. If the Demiurg or whatever ot her alien race should be become obsessed and decadent enough, and not co-opted or converted into worshipping an existing god of excess, they would have their own god. Identical concepts do not equate to identical gods. That is the whole thing about racial gods. That Slaanesh now has jumped pantheons to establish the foundation of its worshipper base as humans doesn't change the fact Slaanesh started as a god of Eldar decadence.



Well, they are subsets of a larger system. That doesn't mean they can't be "separate" racial entities too though.


Just verbal gyrations. Trying to say they are wholly separate and wholly one at once is a nonsensical statement. Trying to cloak it in mysticism or an illusion of complexity/sublimity doesn't make it any less nonsensical.



If the 40K gods exist in the Warp purely because they are worshipped/believed in, does this mean that in the 40K universe the gods we have on Earth today also exist in the Warp because they are worshipped by thousands if not millions or even billions of people? How many people (humans, alien, whatever) would have to worship or believe in a god for it to manifest itself in the Warp?

If humanity could give birth to Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle as gods, even when humanity's total population was tiny, then the limit seems to be pretty low. However, having a god be born doesn't necessarily mean it's what people think of as mighty gods like the 40K era. The warp supposedly teems with entities. The warp gods given life by one planet or fragment of one planet (such as an ethnic or religious group) could be so small and weak as to be effectively incapable of any noticeable degree of overt supernatural action.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 10:32
If the 40k gods exist in the Warp purely because they are worshipped/believed in, does this mean that in the 40k universe the gods we have on Earth today also exist in the Warp because they are worshipped by thousands if not millions or even billions of people? How many people (humans, alien, whatever) would have to worship or believe in a god for it to manifest itself in the Warp?

There's a meaningful distinction to be drawn here. Pure belief isn't what creates and shapes the essences of the warp gods. They're creatures of emotion, and are fuelled by the emotions of sentient creatures, changing to reflect the dominant forces in the Warp. The mere name in which a god is invoked is not particularly relevant: there are plenty of names for Khorne, but as long as people are producing the relevant rage emotion, the name used is not important.


There is still the assumption there HAS to be ONE larger warp vortex. What is wrong or so hard about being able to consider and accept the idea of the gods as entirely separate systems of their own?

Because that's simply not the way the warp works? The 4th ed Chaos Codex tells us that similar emotions flow together. The emotions fuelling Khaine and Khorne are obviously different, but surely you can agree that there are some really persuasive similarities?


No, the Eldar are the first race in history to create an Eldar god of decadence. Any other gods of decadence and excess in the past from other races, were not the entity that is Slaanesh. If the Demiurg or whatever ot her alien race should be become obsessed and decadent enough, and not co-opted or converted into worshipping an existing god of excess, they would have their own god. Identical concepts do not equate to identical gods. That is the whole thing about racial gods. That Slaanesh now has jumped pantheons to establish the foundation of its worshipper base as humans doesn't change the fact Slaanesh started as a god of Eldar decadence.

Again, you're getting too caught up in the labels used to describe warp gods. The entity we're calling Slaanesh formed as part of a greater pool of emotions of pleasure and desire, emotions which have existed for a far greater length of time than "Slaanesh" has. It's not more complicated than that.


Just verbal gyrations. Trying to say they are wholly separate and wholly one at once is a nonsensical statement. Trying to cloak it in mysticism or an illusion of complexity/sublimity doesn't make it any less nonsensical.

I thought it was fairly clear what I was saying. The warp gods are separate in terms of personality, but they're produced by the same system (flows of emotion in the warp) and there are deep connections in the way that they're produced (one sort of anger producing Khorne, one sort producing Khaine). There's nothing particularly mystical or illusory about such a description, and describing it as verbal gyrations without actually arguing about the substance isn't particularly helpful.

MvS
19-04-2008, 10:44
I agree with DantesInferno here.

It seems relatively clear to me that when the Warp, or at least Chaos within the Warp, has been described as disturbance (or Vortices) caused by amalgamations of soul fragments that do not dissipate into formless energy because they are locked into a particular emotion or memory (anger or the horror of war and so on) along with raw emotions felt and dreamt by still living mortal.

We know from some of the oldest imagery and consistently through until some of the most contemporary that like gathers to like within the Warp, and this effect is not race specific per se. So it isn't that only human rage and human soul fragments are drawn to human rage and other human soul fragments, and all Eldar rage is drawn to completely separate Eldar Warp Vortex of rage. What we are shown, probably in an effort on various GW designers' parts to give some sort of coherent metaphysic/mythology to the imagery, is that because these are fragments of souls and feelings that draw together as like gathers like in the Warp, the Vortex of anger and related feelings will be the result of the feelings of countless species throughout the history of the 40K universe.

None of this implies that the Vortices in question are conscious, sentient, self aware, self motivating, or possessing quirky personalities. It just means that certain extremes of emotion become physical 'things' in in the Warp where they have dominated the persoanlity of a person who has died. That person's soul, or at least the parts that are steeped enough in a particular emotion or memory so that they don't dissipate completely, rush into the Warp with their own momentum to be drawn together and eventually coagulate and/or whirled around with other similar soul-fragments to form massive and violent storms within the strange emotion/soul stuff that is the basic element of the Warp.

Yes the self-aware, self motivating identities and consciousnesses that are Khorne, Tzeentch and Nurgle 'woke up' essentially because of humanity, with our raging emotions and nascent psykers (in the 40K imagery at least). This doesn't mean that humanity created the Warp storms and Vortices that are anger/blood lust, hope/desire for change, or despair/resignation or whatever. These Vortices must have been growing within the Warp since the first sentient creatures started to feel the first instincts that are related to these feelings.

Thus saying that these Vortices are ancient beyond humanity and the current identities of Khorne and his brothers is not a 'faux monotheism'. Indeed the term 'monotheism' doesn't even apply here because there are multiples of Vortices, so even if the self-aware personalities of these Vortices (the 'gods) have existed consistently since the Old Ones first locked horns with the Necrontyr, their existence cannot be referred to as a monotheistic - a singular all powerful and self motivating divinity. Multiples of gods means polytheism.

I sometimes ask myself why these massively powerful and active gods (Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh) took so long to form as consciousnesses in the Warp if the Vortices of emotion that they have latched onto or have been projected onto (or whatever) have been around for so many millions of years.

I don't think GW haven't looked into this clearly enough yet, but I would assume that as a gestalt whole the psychic powers and mental focus of the Eldar managed to prevent the storms in the Warp becoming anything more than 'natural' phenomena - so actual storms that are only dangerous if you sail into them, rather than giant self-aware sharks that actually come looking for you whether you want them to or not.

But with the rise of emotionally unstable humanity, a fresh and massive tempestuousness began to enter the Warp - an effect probably far in excess that would otherwise be expected from relatively few numbers of humanity at that time. But then that is humanity's curse and why the Emperor was so keen to control his species. Humans in the 40K imagery have the capacity to do more damage or good within the Warp than almost any other species.

I would imagine that the passion, desire to sculpt their world, disappointments and despair of humanity must have echoed loudly through the Warp, even to the point of shaking the Eldar's tight control over themselves. Indeed the rise of humanity and how they disturbed the Warp seems to have coincided with the death-throws of the Eldar as a civilisation. Eldar passions grew, they became an ever more passionate, internally politicking, curious and decadent species, dabbling in things they probably should not have done, until eventually their control over themselves and their effect upon the Warp started to decay.

When their souls were released into the Warp and all these flaws and intense hidden feelings were unlocked to mix with the more general emotions of passion, anger, hope and so on in the Warp, Slaanesh started to grow, and in line with the growth of this Warp identity so closely connected to the Eldar, the Eldar's control began to slip even more as they began to indulge themselves more and more in their otherwsie forbidden emotions - or, at least, the extremes of emotions that they had otherwise denied themselves from experiencing.

So instead of getting a bit angry in a controlled and dignified way, they allowed themselves to explore and revel in feeling of anger. The same would probably go with their politics, social machinations and relationships, sorceries, angst, melancholia, self pity and so on. They all felt ever more heightened emotions and an ever greater desire to explore and experience them to the extremes. Hence they fed the growing Slaanesh but also joined with the growing consciousnesses that were well underway thanks to humanity (Khorne and his brothers).

It is not a projection on my part to say that the power and drives of the major Chaos Gods existed within the Warp before the specific consciousnesses of the Big Four arose. This seems to be a consistent element within the imagery, or at least something that has evolved over the last 20 years or so.

Finally, we have been told often enough by such luminaries as Gav Thorpe that all gods are autonomous cross-sections and inter-sections of 'larger' gods. This doesn't take away from their individual drives or whatever, it just offers a metaphysic for enthusiasts to talk over and look for in the descriptions of the gods in the imagery - like how Nurgle now has Isha as his lover/toy.

Some of the drives and interests of these two deities crossed over, so on the one hand we could say the sick love story is all there is, or on the other hand we could say that it is also a demonstration of how these two Warp Vortices orbit or intersect with each other anyway, but how the Vortex that Nurgle's identity exudes from is more dominant than Isha's.

Gods may come and go through human civilisations and through alien civilisations in 40K, but the one consistency we are given in 40K theology/metaphysics is that 'gods' are identities associate somehow with Warp vortices of emotion, soul fragments and concept. Whereas very specific Vortices held together mostly by concept, like a unique and very diversely motivated god of humanity and human interests, might dissipate or unravel with the passing of centuries, the primal storms of basic mortal drives and fundamental emotions remain, with or without an identity, until a new Warp awareness manages to latch onto them, or is projected onto them, or evolves within them, and then they will shine out for an age and try to keep themselves alive.

Hence, I believe, the Gods seeks converts as well as promoting specific emotions. The emotions feed the Vortices regardless of whether those Vortices are identified, anthropromorphosised or worshipped. The IDENTITIES and self aware personalities of those Vortices might be more dependent upon mortal awareness, expectation, fear and/or worship. There is a subtle difference between a GOD (being the consciousness, identity and drives) in 40K imagery and the raw Warp Vortex that is that god's 'body'.

Supremearchmarshal
19-04-2008, 10:50
While somewhat of a "childish" remark, Supremearchmarshal does make a point here. If the 40k gods exist in the Warp purely because they are worshipped/believed in, does this mean that in the 40k universe the gods we have on Earth today also exist in the Warp because they are worshipped by thousands if not millions or even billions of people? How many people (humans, alien, whatever) would have to worship or believe in a god for it to manifest itself in the Warp?

I don't think there are any "laws" about the number of people needed for a god to manifest. Chaos is full of paradoxes and contradictions. I seem to recall that the Realms of Chaos books even mention that some of the lesser gods and daemons are in fact a natural part of the Warp itself.

Also note that in the 40k universe a god is in fact a vastly powerful daemon - not a god as in most real-world religions. I recall a mention that a daemon may form if many like-minded individuals share the same death. Provided the entity receives more worship, it will grow more and more powerful.

Of course, one must remember that it's not just what god does one worship, but also how. A bloodthirsty conquerer can claim to worship a god of peace, but while he may fool other people he cannot fool the Warp.

malika
19-04-2008, 11:03
There's a meaningful distinction to be drawn here. Pure belief isn't what creates and shapes the essences of the warp gods. They're creatures of emotion, and are fuelled by the emotions of sentient creatures, changing to reflect the dominant forces in the Warp. The mere name in which a god is invoked is not particularly relevant: there are plenty of names for Khorne, but as long as people are producing the relevant rage emotion, the name used is not important.
Then it would mean that alien concepts for our emotions would also be part of those Gods and that humanity's interpretation for Khorne is just a tiny aspect of the big picture, which kind of contradicts the whole anthropocentric view of the current Chaos Gods.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 11:08
Then it would mean that alien concepts for our emotions would also be part of those Gods and that humanity's interpretation for Khorne is just a tiny aspect of the big picture, which kind of contradicts the whole anthropocentric view of the current Chaos Gods.

I don't follow why humanity's interpretation for Khorne would just be a tiny part of the big picture. As a matter of empirical fact in M41, the vast majority of Khorne-worshippers in the galaxy are human. So Khorne's character is going to be predominantly shaped by human flavours of rage and human perceptions of what a rage god will be like. Other aliens' views will be subsumed within this greater whole, but they simply don't have the numbers and combined influence on the warp which humanity has.

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 11:20
Thus saying that these Vortices are ancient beyond humanity and the current identities of Khorne and his brothers is not a 'faux monotheism'. Indeed the terms doesn't even apply here because there are multiples of Vortices, so even if the self-aware personalities of these Vortices have existed consistently since the Old Ones first locked horns with the Necrontyr, they existence cannot be referred to as a montheism - a singular all powerful and self motivating divinity.

It is a faux monotheism in the sense that there is the assumption there can be one and only one vortex/god of rage, one and only one god of despair, one and only one god of one emotion/concept, and that gods are just subsets of that one true god of that concept. Never questioned is this seeming automatic assumption that there can just be one and not many.



We know from some of the oldest imagery and consistently through until some of the most contemporary that like gathers to like within the Warp, and this effect is not race specific per se. So it isn't that only human rage is drawn to human rage, and all Eldar rage is drawn to completely separate Eldar Warp Vortex of rage.

On the contrary, the existence of such racial gods as Gork and Mork, and Khaine show there is a very racially specific sorting going on, at least in their primary growth

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 11:30
It is a faux monotheism in the sense that there is the assumption there can be one and only one vortex/god of rage, one and only one god of despair, one and only one god of one emotion/concept. Never questioned is this seeming automatic assumption that there should just be one and not many.

Err... So, who is this god of rage that we're allegedly saying is the only god of rage?

Of course, we haven't said any such thing. There are many gods of rage: Khaine, Khorne, and so on. It's apparent in everything MvS and myself have posted in this topic.

MvS
19-04-2008, 11:30
It is a faux monotheism in the sense that there is the assumption there can be one and only one vortex/god of rage, one and only one god of despair, one and only one god of one emotion/concept, and that gods are just subsets of that one true god of that concept. Never questioned is this seeming automatic assumption that there can just be one and not many.
With respect, this is questioned.

The point being that even though there might be one massive Warp Vortex of Anger (or whatever) this doesn't mean that there aren't many personalities projected onto that Vortex. It also doesn't mean that those personalities cannot be self-aware and behave in a ways contrary and even oppositionally to each other.

Also there can be other, smaller vortices of related emotions and concepts in the larger vortex, and these other vortices can be other 'gods', all existing at the same time. Khaine and Khorne are one possible example.

Nothing within the Vortex imagery has to contradict the polytheism of the 40K imagery.

EDIT:

Dante got there first!

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 11:43
With respect, this is questioned.

The point being that even though there might be one massive Warp Vortex of Anger (or whatever) doesn't means that there aren't many personalities projected onto the Vortex and that those personalities can be and behave in a way contrary and even oppositionally to each other.



That doesn't change the fundamental fact of the assumption that there is still one and only ONE vortex per concept, rather than entirely separate systems in and of themselves. That is like saying all the sun gods of the world are just multiple personalities, sometimes opposing, of one greater sun god.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 11:52
That doesn't change the fundamental fact of the assumption that there is still one and only ONE vortex per concept, rather than entirely separate systems in and of themselves.

According to the 4th ed Chaos Codex (and other sources), similar thoughts and emotions gather together in the warp. Human rage is still rage; Eldar hope is still hope; Demiurg love is still love. Of course, there are subtle differences to the flavours of these emotions (which explains different racial gods), but Eldar hatred is still substantially similar to human rage, which leads to them flowing together in the warp.


That is like saying all the sun gods of the world are just multiple personalities, sometimes opposing, of one greater sun god.

And once again, the analogy between real life and 40k doesn't work. Real life gods don't exist as accumulated emotions in an empirically quantifiable alternative dimension.

Iracundus
19-04-2008, 12:05
Of course, there are subtle differences to the flavours of these emotions (which explains different racial gods), but Eldar hatred is still substantially similar to human rage, which leads to them flowing together in the warp.

The existence of Khaine suggests otherwise. Eldar rage and hatred flowing together to form Khaine is not them flowing together with human rage.

A person with multiple personalities is still just one person. Saying there is only one vortex of one concept or emotion just with different personalities, is fundamentally identical to saying there is just one god with multiple personality disorder.

MvS
19-04-2008, 12:15
That doesn't change the fundamental fact of the assumption that there is still one and only ONE vortex per concept, rather than entirely separate systems in and of themselves. That is like saying all the sun gods of the world are just multiple personalities, sometimes opposing, of one greater sun god.
Not necessarily. It depends on what you see as the 'god'.

Is the god the personality-less energy or is the god the personality and drive that draws upon that energy.

Khaine can work against Khorne and Khorne can work against Khaine and both can consider themselves, and even BE as far as anyone can tell, completely independent, but at the same time they can be two identities within or upon the Warp Vortex of anger, forever fighting for ultimate control over the entirety of the Vortex that feeds them - just as a possible example.

This is part of the interest of Choas in GW imagery. It is man against himself and yet also Chaos against itself. It's chaotic.

The analogy of a human with multiple personalities doesn't really work either, because Chaos is NOT the human mind. It does not follow the same rules as human neurology. It is reductive of the chaotic nature of 40K mythology to try to project an objective "real" god onto a Vortex and say that is the "true" one and all others are arbitrary personalities. It is more a question of which is the DOMINANT identity/god, not which is the "real" one.

Finally, the imagery for Khaine is another limited example because Khaine was once explicitly an aspect of Khorne, or the Eldar's way of seeing and limiting the Vortex of rage that later became unbound by limitation as Khorne. The imagery shifted between him being the same and him being separate for years now. That's partly because of the opinions and influences of different writers as much as an objective 'truth' about Khaine/Khorne - although we can see similarities between the depictions of Khaine's headdress and Khorne's followers, for whatever that might be worth.

DantesInferno
19-04-2008, 12:32
The existence of Khaine suggests otherwise. Eldar rage and hatred flowing together to form Khaine is not them flowing together with human rage.

I explicitly mentioned that there were different racial "flavours" of emotion which cause the appearance of racial gods (In fact, I mentioned that in the very passage you quoted). Nevertheless, there are overarching similarities which cause these differing racial emotions to flow together. Think of it as smaller whirlpools forming within a larger system.


A person with multiple personalities is still just one person. Saying there is only one vortex of one concept or emotion just with different personalities, is fundamentally identical to saying there is just one god with multiple personality disorder.

I think you're trading pretty heavily on equivocation in that example. We conclude that there's only one person with multiple personality disorder for a number of reasons, not least that there's no chance of all the personalities existing at once. If all the personalities could interact with the world properly and simultaneously, we'd be much more inclined to say there were actually multiple people, just sharing the same processor.

A much more comprehensible example would be my computer simultaneously running personality simulations using slightly different software.

MvS
19-04-2008, 12:44
we can say Khaine is an Eldarin god, while Khorne is a more heterogeneous god (feeding on more than one race - humans and orks, for instance).
Now this is an interesting point, but, I think, a semantic one.

Khorne was not worshipped as "KHORNE: Blood God And Angry Dude" in human history over the time that Khorne became a conscious entity within the Warp. We know this because 40K human history is supposed to be OUR history up until the present, with the exception that the Emperor was pottering around doing his bit.

The tipping point within the Warp that caused Khorne to become conscious might have been because of humanity's feelings and thoughts, and he may indeed feed on the emotions of other species as well, but what part of that makes him a human god? We can only assume that not until humanity's fall after the Dark Age of technology and before the Great Crusade did humanity really know about the Chaos Gods, because before this time there have been no references to sorcery or daemon worship within humanity - probably, by implication, thanks at least in part to the Emperor running around stamping on anyone who started to 'see' the Chaos Gods before the fall of humanity.

Although humanity prompted the final birth of the Big Three (minus Slaanesh), this doesn't mean that they are human gods in the sense meant here, because humanity wasn't even aware of them or worshipping them by name until many millennia after these gods were 'born' within the Warp. I think this applies equally to Slaanesh as an Eldar God. Slaanesh has even more claim to be an Eldar god than the other three Major Powers have claim to be human gods, but Slaanesh clearly regards him/her self as just a god, not a 'god of'.

Yes he may have a particular connection to the Eldar and may have automatic dibs on the vast majority of their souls by merit of the fact that his birth was due to their implosion in their trillions as the dominant species in the galaxy, but Slaanesh still seems to spend most of his time trying to tempt humans into his embrace - probably because he doesn't have to try with the Eldar any more. If they die without a spirit stone he has them immediately.

So what relevance now is there in describing Slaanesh as an Eldar god? Thor was a germanic god, period, because he was a concept not a predatory entity that we could all see and had to fear regardless of our culture and history. Slaanesh my have been 'birthed' because of the Eldar, and if that is the only criteria for being an Eldar god then okay. But this concept doesn't have relevanec when we get into questions of who can worship Slaanesh (any sentient mortal), whoc can 'feed' Slaanesh (any sentient mortal), or who does Slaanesh pursue the souls of (any sentient mortal he can get his sticky fingers on).

Add this to the imagery that Slaanesh is THE dominant super-identity of the Warp Vortex of pleasure (and perhaps the desire to 'feel'), which is a coagulation of all such feelings from all species in the mortal universe, and I ask again, what relavance has the concept of Slaanesh as an Eldar god, or Khorne as a human god, have any more...?

sabreu
19-04-2008, 17:36
The very fact we know a God can consume another suggests they are seperate entities. ;)

MvS
20-04-2008, 10:37
That depends on how we define 'consume'. To mortals saying one god consumed the other is very clear in what it means. In 'real' terms within the Warp the meaning isn't so clear.

It could mean absorb (one Vortex into another), it could mean that one identity eradicates the other and takes full control over the entirety of the Vortex they both draw energy from. That sort of thing.

Temmy
20-04-2008, 18:33
The apparent order of Chaos comes from the minds need to organize information into recognizable patterns so that we can process it. Khorne is far more than a huge dogfaced warrior howling for blood in the warp. That image is just what our minds gave to something far larger, more diffuse and more abstract in order to help us comprehend and understand it. Its as if we took a portion of that energy and shaped it into something comprehensible.

The great powers of Chaos far predate humanity but since humanity is feeding them the most energy at present, it is humanities image of how these powers should be that is dominant.

Humanity calls the pool of energy that embodies violence "Khorne". But humanities vision of Khorne is only a single aspect of this entity (perhaps the dominant aspect at present, but not the only one).

NashTrickster
21-04-2008, 09:53
Well, all this talk about the "order of Chaos" brings back to mind an idea I've been toying with but never got the time to devellop (yet)... I'd like to have your opinions on it:

There are 4 gods of Chaos, yet the Chaos star has 8 points.

Since the star is supposed to represent Chaos Undivided (being at the very middle of the different "ways" of Chaos) it also shows that there are other "accepted ways" to worship chaos, "minor ways" (as shown by the shorther branches) in between the four "major ones"...

Since the fluff suggests that Nurgle/Tzeentch and Khorne/Slaanesh are on opposing branches of the star (yeah, I know this may be subject to debate but still...), then there must be the possibility for followers of both Nurgle and Slaanesh (taking pleasure in decay) or Tzeentch and Khorne (kill through magick...), etc...

My idea was to create renegade chapters which followed more than one aspect of Chaos, one of the "minor paths"...

Supremearchmarshal
21-04-2008, 13:28
Since the fluff suggests that Nurgle/Tzeentch and Khorne/Slaanesh are on opposing branches of the star (yeah, I know this may be subject to debate but still...), then there must be the possibility for followers of both Nurgle and Slaanesh (taking pleasure in decay) or Tzeentch and Khorne (kill through magick...), etc...

Nothing debatable here - the Word Bearers are quite clearly stated to worship all the chaos gods as a pantheon. So worshiping more than one at the same time is quite acceptable, though none of them will bestow his mark upon you (Horus and Abbadon being the only exceptions).

NashTrickster
21-04-2008, 13:58
Nothing debatable here - the Word Bearers are quite clearly stated to worship all the chaos gods as a pantheon.That's not what I meant... The "debatable" part was which of the Chaos Gods to put on opposite sides of the Chaos Star... Some would rather put Khorne on the side opposite to Tzeentch (because of Khorne's "dislike" of magick) but I feel that Tzeentch (change) is better placed in opposition to Nurgle (decay)... That's what I consider debatable...


So worshiping more than one at the same time is quite acceptable, though none of them will bestow his mark upon you (Horus and Abbadon being the only exceptions).True, but while Legions/warbands worshipping the whole pantheon are quite current, warbands which focus only on 2 of these aspects are (AFAIK) unheard of...

If you take the Chaos Star as a compass and place the 4 gods at the end of the "big points" in this order (clockwise) Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh and Nurgle, then the 4 other points of the star would become KT, TS, SN, NK which could lead to other interesting "hybrid" aspects of Chaos worship...

Also, that would mean that certain mixes are out of question (Slaanesh/Khorne and Nurgle/Tzeentch) unless you decide to go Undivided...

It's this aspect of the Chaos pantheon's "order" that I think could lead to interesting new fluff...

Supremearchmarshal
21-04-2008, 16:53
That's not what I meant... The "debatable" part was which of the Chaos Gods to put on opposite sides of the Chaos Star... Some would rather put Khorne on the side opposite to Tzeentch (because of Khorne's "dislike" of magick) but I feel that Tzeentch (change) is better placed in opposition to Nurgle (decay)... That's what I consider debatable...

Ah, I see what you're getting at here. I think it's quite clear that Tzeentch/Nurgle and Slaanesh/Khorne would be the opposites, as it it these pairs who are the ancient enemies (at least in older fluff).


True, but while Legions/warbands worshipping the whole pantheon are quite current, warbands which focus only on 2 of these aspects are (AFAIK) unheard of...

If you take the Chaos Star as a compass and place the 4 gods at the end of the "big points" in this order (clockwise) Khorne, Tzeentch, Slaanesh and Nurgle, then the 4 other points of the star would become KT, TS, SN, NK which could lead to other interesting "hybrid" aspects of Chaos worship...

Also, that would mean that certain mixes are out of question (Slaanesh/Khorne and Nurgle/Tzeentch) unless you decide to go Undivided...

It's this aspect of the Chaos pantheon's "order" that I think could lead to interesting new fluff...

I guess that makes sense. A single act could please two different gods but it will rarely please those who are diametrically opposed. I see no reason why you couldn't do it.

Also note that one possibility of Chaos Undivided is that you worship a god for some time before moving onto another (obviously before receiving a gods mark, as renouncing a god then would invite his wrath). And there always various minor gods who may occupy a niche between two major gods.