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Megatron
22-01-2013, 02:29
Hello everyone, I have recently decided to join the fluff part of this website, to ask a few questions. The long war, at this point in the long war of the imperium versus chaos, I think that chaos is grinding themselves down. The forces of chaos are always infighting, which thins their numbers, and the state of the heretic legions are not looking up to par. Please bare in mind that my knowledge is not 100 percent complete so I will state things that I do know. The world eaters legion was forever shattered when kharn decided that he had grown tired of his legions weakness. The thousand sons attacked the fang, and magnus lost a lot of assets he had committed to the fight, if i recall correctly he committed most of the remaining thousand sons. The word bearers are more focused on spreading the unholy gospel, than fighting the long war. The night lords were shattered as well when my favorite primarch Konrad curze chose to be a martyr. The alpha legion pursues their own agenda for what its worth. The iron warriors, ehhhhh not really covered in any way. Abaddon is probably getting pretty content with failure, honestly 13 black crusades and every time not a dang thing to show for it. The chaos gods are really merciful because I honestly thought he would have been turned to a chaos spawn by now. The daemon primarchs need far to much energy to sustain them so that's a no go. At this point I think an xeno's will win this battle for supremacy in the 40k universe, what do you guys think? Do you think the long war is beginning to run out of gas?

Kakapo42
22-01-2013, 03:12
Abaddon is probably getting pretty content with failure, honestly 13 black crusades and every time not a dang thing to show for it. The chaos gods are really merciful because I honestly thought he would have been turned to a chaos spawn by now. The daemon primarchs need far to much energy to sustain them so that's a no go.

Not necessarily. In a few of the earlier black crusades Abaddon did eventually achieve most of, if not all, the objectives he set out to accomplish (such as capturing the Blackstone Fortresses/Talismans of Vaul in the 12th), and every black crusade has always resulted in a very significant body count for the Imperium if nothing else. Abaddon is very likely kept around at least partially because of the sheer amount of carnage and death he ends up causing.

Also remember that, while attrition has indeed likely taken it's toll on the original traitor legions (although there are roughly as many legion warbands as Space Marine chapters), they aren't the only agents of Chaos out there. There are also renegade Space Marine chapters that turned to Chaos after the heresy, cults and cultist cells popping up all over the place, traitor Guard regiments, the various members of the lost and the damned, and of course the Chaos Daemons themselves. It's certainly far from over for the ruinous powers.

Megatron
22-01-2013, 03:20
I see your point, but the daemons don't last forever and as you get away from the eye they get harder to maintain. Cults and cultist cells ehhhhh, I read a lot of inquisition books, they put those down quite easily. The renegade chapters, games workshop does not shine to brightly on them fluff wise.

Kakapo42
22-01-2013, 03:51
I see your point, but the daemons don't last forever and as you get away from the eye they get harder to maintain.

Hence why one of Abaddon's recent projects from what I hear is to extend the Eye of Terror, ideally until it envelops Terra, thus making it easier for daemons to enter realspace.


Cults and cultist cells ehhhhh, I read a lot of inquisition books, they put those down quite easily.

It's the numbers and subversion that makes cults and cultists dangerous. For every one the Inquisition destroys, two more spring up somewhere else, and some of the larger ones can reach all the way to planetary governors in some instances.

Megatron
22-01-2013, 03:57
i get what you mean, and my favorite legion the night lords, have a new leader by the name of decimus, that is suppose to unite them all. I guess I get tired of the black legion and abaddon getting all the press and action.

Rogue Star
22-01-2013, 05:36
I guess I get tired of the black legion and abaddon getting all the press and action.

Well, he is the Warmaster of Chaos. He's pretty much the anti-christ to the Imperium.

Lord-Caerolion
22-01-2013, 05:55
i get what you mean, and my favorite legion the night lords, have a new leader by the name of decimus, that is suppose to unite them all.

And saying that the Night Lords will help support the 13th Black Crusade.

As for the success of the Black Crusades, they've all been successes. Sure, he hasn't taken Terra yet, but he hasn't been trying to take Terra. He knows that he needs to bide his time, and build his strength. That's why the entire point of one of the Crusades was to capture some of the Blackstone Fortresses.

totgeboren
22-01-2013, 06:34
If I remember correctly, Abbadon has been offered daemonhood twelve times, and refused every time (how you refuse daemonhood I don't know, but that's what is written). That mean his crusades have been successful enough for the gods to want to award him daemonhood, something most chaos champions can only spend the millennia dreaming of.

So with that said, the Black Legion is huge, like the legions of the great crusade huge. Somehow Hurons pirates in the maelstrom are huge too, and the Word Bearers were the second largest legion after the Ultras during the heresy, though it's not explicitly stated how big they are now. They are divided into hosts, each about the size of a chapter, and there are a huge amount of hosts, at least if Black Library sources are anything to go by.
Ok, the four marked legions are all in a bad shape, having been more or less destroyed by inner and outer forces, and the NL have no uniting figure yet. The AL are always sneaky and we know little of them, but the IW are still somewhat united.
Some of the Chaos Legions can still make new marines too, or, really, most can make new marines, except those who are too corrupt by their marks as I understand it.

I mean, lets say two grand companies of IW battle it out. It's not like loyalist Chapters don't attack each other on occasion. The DA have destroyed a BT strike cruiser, the inquisition took out the Celestial Lions, we had the whole Badab wars where most of the chapters were loyal to the Imperium. Considering the constant losses the Imperium suffers, I don't think the chaos legions are all that worse off really. They have the Dark Mech and Fabulous Bill to help them out too, so I don't think they are in any risk of disappearing any time soon.

Eetion
22-01-2013, 07:20
The forces of Chaos have numerous advantages,

Abbaddon's crusades for example have largely been successful, the 1st crusade for example was with the intent to acquire drachn'yen.

Huron is pretty much able to strike at will from the maelstrom, into the soft underbelly of the imperium

The Imperium has to contend with the Orks on armageddon, hive fleet leviathan, and a multitude of other threats.

The forces of Chaos once they move to attack, are united where they need to be. Cadia and surrounding sectors. The imperium will not be, and has to pile in reinforcements before the breakthrough.

Chaos has got problems, but the imperium have their own problems also.

stormblade
22-01-2013, 09:12
And saying that the Night Lords will help support the 13th Black Crusade.

As for the success of the Black Crusades, they've all been successes.

The seconed one was a total loss.

Kakapo42
22-01-2013, 09:13
The seconed one was a total loss.

The third (I think that was the one, where he sacrificed a whole bunch of geneseed) and twelfth ones went alright though.

Lord-Caerolion
22-01-2013, 09:25
Well, the entry for Abaddon in the latest codex claims that each Crusade achieved its goal. We're not told what those goals are, but it is stated to be so.

baphomael
22-01-2013, 13:04
Abaddon isnt so much of a failure as some make out. 13 black crusades? Fair enough... but not all of them were for the purpose of striking terra or ruining cadia. Each was part of a longer plan to prepare for his ultimate goals. There is a reason its called the Long War.

Megatron
22-01-2013, 13:54
he Imperium has to contend with the Orks on armageddon, hive fleet leviathan, and a multitude of other threats.

I thought hive fleet leviathan was feeding on itself because of some kind of device a inquisitor made, but let me go check my sources on that one.

KingDeath
22-01-2013, 14:37
I thought hive fleet leviathan was feeding on itself because of some kind of device a inquisitor made, but let me go check my sources on that one.

One of it's tendrils is currently fighting the ork realm of Octarius while another one was defeated above Tarsis Ultra. These were just two parts of the largest hivefleet to hit the galaxy so far.

Megatron
22-01-2013, 16:05
Someone also mentioned huron, and I find him interesting, because he is only a raider. He does not possess the same single mindness to destroy the imperium like abaddon. I know in the night lords books, they encountered him, but they double crossed him as they did abaddon in that series. I understand that abaddon commands a mighty host, but there seems like a lot of infighting, more so than the imperium, and everyone bands together when chaos shows up.

Buddha777
22-01-2013, 18:43
The forces of Chaos have numerous advantages,

Abbaddon's crusades for example have largely been successful, the 1st crusade for example was with the intent to acquire drachn'yen.

Huron is pretty much able to strike at will from the maelstrom, into the soft underbelly of the imperium

The Imperium has to contend with the Orks on armageddon, hive fleet leviathan, and a multitude of other threats.

The forces of Chaos once they move to attack, are united where they need to be. Cadia and surrounding sectors. The imperium will not be, and has to pile in reinforcements before the breakthrough.

Chaos has got problems, but the imperium have their own problems also.

Well the tyranids especially are such an existential threat to not only the imperium, but all races good and bad, that they will have to be dealt with by the bad guys including chaos at some point.

But as mentioned several times already each black crusade has been a success. Each crusade was not "hey its that of the year again, guess we should go wreck the place" kind of affairs. Each one had a specific goal in mind, building ultimately to the destruction of the imperium and the subjugation of mankind to the chaos gods. Whether it take 13 or 100 there is a method in the madness.

TheDungen
22-01-2013, 20:24
every black crusade has expanded the eye and strengthened the dark gods hold on the physical universe making them more able to reach out and affect the minds of men with doubt and treason. This is the main danger of chaos not the legions in the eye or the daemons in the warp, the potential that anyone can fall (some probably without even knowing they have).

You must also remember that the chaos gods dont plan and plot (well tzeentech does but thats on a whole other scale) they react to what happens in the physical universe they take intrest in it, but they dotn have a grand scheme of victory, they ditn care if abbaddon succeedes or not. they will reward him for his short term actions and punish him for his short time failures (but they don't really understand the physical universe so they may end up doing the opposite).
The concerns of chaos is smaller or so infinitely much greater than human understanding they are not lord sauron they are gods (or actually gestalt beings created from the collective subconsciousness of billions times billions of humans)

As for literally running out of resources, not a chance, the worlds of the eye are not desolate wastelands as people seem to thing, they have populations and natural resources and chaos has their own apothecaries, not to mention that there are ever space marine chapters falling to chaos bringing new manpower and equipment to their cause.

That said chaos wont destroy the imperium, it'll only weaken it, in a time when it can afford no weaknesses. It is aliens that will eventually win the war and when they do enough humans will die to weaken the chaos gods greatly. the survival of chaos is dependant on mankind's continued dominance in the galaxy.

Megatron
22-01-2013, 23:08
That said chaos wont destroy the imperium, it'll only weaken it, in a time when it can afford no weaknesses. It is aliens that will eventually win the war and when they do enough humans will die to weaken the chaos gods greatly. the survival of chaos is dependant on mankind's continued dominance in the galaxy.

I second that, it feels like chaos is softening up the imperium just to hand it over to some filthy xeno's. I have always disliked most of the xeno's races aside from dark eldar and tyranids. I personally would like to see chaos win in the end of all things so the night lords would get the revenge they deserve for the travesty of not being all noble and just like the loyal legions. I was also reading some of the fluff today and on lexicanum it states that abaddon's crusades have only had minor victories overall, which I guess means he gets beaten back, but accomplishes his main agenda.

TheDungen
23-01-2013, 00:43
that is assuming he has an agenda other than slowly bleeding the imperium.

And its kinda the premise of warhammer 40k. that if the imperium could ever focus on one threat they could defeat it (even chaos, kill enough chaos worshippers in the eye and it'll start receding and eventually die out) but they are assailed from so many sides its just not possible. (an idea basically lifted from the decline of the roman empire)

Megatron
23-01-2013, 01:24
I guess i will stick to reading the books instead of Expecting a major time jump in the fluff.

RedMountainGod
23-01-2013, 02:05
The distinct possibility also exists that abaddon's shenanigans actually serves to "hold" the imperium together against a common enemy. The High lords of Terra would probably be less able to exert there iron fisted control over millions of worlds without the ever present threat of "the great enemy".

plus.......abaddon does not want to kill the emperor, just keep the Imperium in an eternal state of stress. If the Emperor was ever allowed to die then his soul wou.....*BLAM* *[ TRANSMISSION TERMINATED BY ORDER OF THE EMPERORS MOST HOLY INQUISITION ]*

agurus1
23-01-2013, 03:33
you should read some background fluff, the forces of Chaos are hardly losing the Long War. Far from it in fact. The Imperiums advantages in logistics and manpower are overcome by the fact that they don't only have the forces of Chaos to deal with, but constant and never ending threats from Xenos, and human insurrection. Simply stated the Imperium is stretched incredibly thin. Chaos is able to raid and pillage as they see fit, they have no massive Empire or logistical system to defend. Also more often than not, their home bases are nigh on impossible to the Imperium to strike against, hidden deep in warp storms such as the EoT and the Maelstrom. Chaos is fighting a war of attrition against the Imperium over epochs. They have the advantage of thousands of years of experience, daemonic allies, nigh on inpenetrable territory, and the Imperium's sheer size (ergo its thinly held territory).

Read the Iron Warriors Omnibus, read the Guant's Ghosts series (to see what merely human chaos forces can do *conquer an entire sector, which the Imperium then has to attempt to reclaim)

agurus1
23-01-2013, 03:42
I guess i will stick to reading the books instead of Expecting a major time jump in the fluff.

best idea, the 40k setting needs to be kept at the 11th hour to midnight to retain its grim-dark aura. Where every battle must be waged to the last bullet, and to the last drop of blood. There can be no respite, nor forgiveness, only war. There will be no major fluff change along those lines that I could foresee. I think thats why they have begun exploring the 30k universe, its a whole 10K worth of years that they can now exploit, and make fluff advances (or fill in the blanks) with instead of treading the same old water.

MvS
23-01-2013, 09:54
The long war...

The first thing to bear in mind is that a shattered Legion doesn't mean a defeated Legion or a Legion that's losing numbers necessarily. It means that the Legion lacks coherence and is no longer controlled by one person. This applies to the World Eaters and the Night Lords for example. Some Warbands of the same Legion may grind down to nothing while others may be particularly successful with more resources and sustainable recruitment.

There's also the point that time runs differently in the Eye of Terror and Maelstrom, so for many Chaos Warbands it has been considerably less that 10,000 years since the Heresy. I wouldn't hang too much on this, but it does count for something.


The thousand sons attacked the fang, and magnus lost a lot of assets he had committed to the fight, if i recall correctly he committed most of the remaining thousand sons.

This is an important one actually as we're told that the Thousand Sons are just that: a thousand. This doesn't sit comfortably with me and I like to believe that the Thoiusand Sons themselves are actually quite rare and powerful but that they can draw on any number of mutants, aspiring mortal sorcerers and warpcraft of such immense power that they are easily a match of much larger forces.


The word bearers are more focused on spreading the unholy gospel, than fighting the long war.

Don't underplay this or misjudge what it means The Book of Lorgar and the ambitions and purposes of the Word Bearers IS the Long War in many senses. It is the horrific 'truth' exposed by the Word Bearers and their faith in their 'new' religion that brought the Heresy into reality and they haven't changed their basic plan since those days. They don't simply preach a new religion, they seek to fundamentally change the existence of all mortals in the galaxy, making them directly enthralled to the Chaos Gods and for the physical realm to become one big Eye of Terror.

This is a very big deal.


The alpha legion pursues their own agenda for what its worth. The iron warriors, ehhhhh not really covered in any way.

The Alpha Legion, as far as we know, is still relatively unified as a Legion, as are the Iron Warriors - although there's still infighting in the latter. But their power hasn't been undermined, in fact we don't know how powerful the Alphas are at all. They just appear to have their fingers in far too many pies.


Abaddon is probably getting pretty content with failure, honestly 13 black crusades and every time not a dang thing to show for it. The chaos gods are really merciful because I honestly thought he would have been turned to a chaos spawn by now.
As others have pointed out, Abaddon isn't a failure. He is playing a long game. Yes many of his crusades have ended when the Imperium threw everything at allaying them, but that doesn't mean that Abaddon needed to continue those conflicts. It strikes me that after he's achieved his objectives he withdraws while leaving forces he regards as expendable to fight to death. He's ruthless, megalomanic and to all intents and purposes evil beyond comprehension, but then again he has a strength of will that eclipses almost any other mortal we know of in the imagery. He actually manages to fend of mutation, spawnhood and even daemonhood through force of will alone. he can actually resist raw Warp and push back the attentions of the Gods simply because of his sense of purpose and the absolutism of his character.

I'm not certain many Primarchs could have done that, or had the presence of mind to try it.


The daemon primarchs need far to much energy to sustain them so that's a no go.

Yes, but when there is enough local Warp crossover to sustain them, the whole Imperium quakes. This is part of the threat of the Black Crusades. If the Eye of Terror spreads enough, or if enough is done to rip holes into the Warp across the Imperium, the Daemon Primarchs can manifest more and more powerfully for longer periods of time, and all Hell is dragged along with them.


Do you think the long war is beginning to run out of gas?

Actually I think it's heading towards its end game...

Plague Lord
23-01-2013, 10:27
Don't forget that the Deathguard Legion is still intact and probably close to full strength (new plague marines are made and deathguard casualty ratios are low as they rely mainly on traitor guard and zombies to spread their plagues.

They also have a few rather strong fleets and some nigh indestructible plageu ships.

The imperium has on the other hand a Daeomn primarch killing Draigo :shifty:

Excessus
23-01-2013, 10:42
and I like to believe that the Thoiusand Sons themselves are actually quite rare and powerful
Too bad their rules doesn't reflect that... :(

blackcherry
23-01-2013, 15:58
One point to make. There have been quite a few Black Crusades that weren't lead by Abaddon. It seems to be a general catch all phrase the Imperium uses for any large gathering of Chaos that comes from the Eye of Terror that manages to break through the defenses the Imperium have placed around it. So whilst Abaddon may have been offered demonhood quite a number of times, not all of them may have been for his Black Crusades.

As for your original question, no. Whilst some of the original legions may have splintered, they are still large enough that, when gathered together by a particularly charismatic warlord (Abaddon being one of the few to unite all the legions) it can still cause untold damage before they are driven back. Chaos by its very nature is eternal. It can afford to play the waiting game.

narrativium
23-01-2013, 16:18
One point to make. There have been quite a few Black Crusades that weren't lead by Abaddon.
The Thirteen that count numerically were his. You're right, there were others.

Megatron
23-01-2013, 23:49
Interesting stuff everyone, I participated in the eye of terror event. I can't wait on another full scale event like that, it was great to create added fluff. Where does it say that abandon resisted becoming a chaos spawn and ascending to daemonhood. I did not find that in my readings.

Harwammer
24-01-2013, 00:14
It's an in universe theory (some imperial scholar, no doubt bound for execution) that he must have been offered daemonhood for the sheer scale of his wanton destruction, and yet is still human (well, chaos marine) so must have turned down ascention.

Kingsbridge
24-01-2013, 09:25
The other major problem the Loyalists would have in exacting a final victory over Chaos is the sanctuary that the Eye of Terror offers. The only significant attempt I can think of to attack the worlds within the eye was the Abyssal Crusade. That was a total disaster for the Imperials, 30 Chapters either heavily depleted, totally destroyed or converted to serve the Dark Gods and all at the behest of a Saint who, it turned out, was a Chaos worshiper all along....

Chaos is far more insidious than simply the blunt meat grinder battles of the Black Crusades, Treacheries of the Space Marines has a short story about the Alpha Legion instigating a sector wide insurgency, lasting nearly a century at the cost of millions (possibly Billions) of Imperial lives (not to mention the losses in equipment) - effectively turning your enemies strength against them.

Although the forces of Chaos are happy to fight with each other on occasion, if a handful of Alpha Legion can accomplish this kind slaughter whilst committing so few resources to it - Chaos is far from beaten...

- Kingsbridge

TheDungen
24-01-2013, 15:18
why couldnt abbaddon fend of mutation, if chaos could mutate anyone they wanted without their consent then why don't they jut do that to all space marines in the universe? No i belive you must accept the gifts of chaos, the reason some become spawn is that their minds are affected and they cant see that they are heading down the path of spawndom until its too late.

Muad'Dib
24-01-2013, 17:43
why couldnt abbaddon fend of mutation, if chaos could mutate anyone they wanted without their consent then why don't they jut do that to all space marines in the universe? No i belive you must accept the gifts of chaos, the reason some become spawn is that their minds are affected and they cant see that they are heading down the path of spawndom until its too late.
To gain God's attention, you generally need to do one of those things:
-Directly worship them
-Be close to place of real space and warp overlap (or outright warp)
-Feel the emotion under a God's purview to extreme degree. (Dark Heresy has example of someone giving in to extreme depression becoming patient zero for plague outbreak followed by Daemonic incursion; artists going into extreme forms of expression can attract Slaanesh or her servitors etc.)
Hence, they can't mutate just anyone because, for lack of better term, it's against the (loose) rules governing Warp metaphysics.

The reason Abbadon avoids spawn/Daemonhood is that his ultimate goal is toppling down the Imperium. This means his emotions/self focus less on giving in to Chaos.
The Imperial Truth during Great Crusade was starving Chaos Gods for related reason(s) - by giving humans some other direction to thoughts/emotions than the extremes that feed Chaos Gods.

Hengist
24-01-2013, 18:10
Is the long war running out of gas? Well, to a extent yes, and it's all down to some poor decisions by GW's fluff writers over the years. However much they try to build up the Traitor Legions as a credible threat, it's difficult to ignore the simple fact that 10,000 years of their 'long war' have passed, and the Imperium is still there. It hasn't helped that Chaos has gone from being emphasised as the principal existential danger to mankind to being just another 'greatest threat' alongside the Tyranids, the Necrons, the Orks and pretty much everybody else but the Tau.

Abbadon is another victim of the same mistake; introducing him as having launched eleven previous Black Crusades without succeeding in his stated goal - that of returning to Terra to complete the task Horus began - inevitably makes him look incompetent. However much we may try to handwave his (now twelve) previous efforts as limited strategic successes or whatever, he still ends up looking like Skeletor - thwarted every week by our heroes in his plans to take over the universe. The fluff amplification of Loyalist uber-warrior-generals like Dante, Calgar and bloody Draigo hasn't helped either, since every one of them makes Abaddon look like a muppet.

If the writers had been wiser, they would have emphasised both a steady growth of the Traitors' dominions, and introduced Abaddon as having reappeared after millennia to claim the title of Warmaster and reunite Horus' forces. They would also have done well to surround him in a little more mystery, perhaps by pushing forward the suggestion that he might in fact have been a clone of Horus all along - which would make him a far more credible threat than he is right now.

SomeRandomEvilGuy
24-01-2013, 19:04
Is the long war running out of gas? Well, to a extent yes, and it's all down to some poor decisions by GW's fluff writers over the years. However much they try to build up the Traitor Legions as a credible threat, it's difficult to ignore the simple fact that 10,000 years of their 'long war' have passed, and the Imperium is still there.
It's an incredibly harsh way to judge Abaddon and the Traitor Legions though. Because he hasn't defeated the single most powerful faction in the galaxy he's incompetent. It's not as if Abaddon has the combined assets of the forces of Chaos anyway. He's just the one who can unite most of it.

Besides, it's not just the Traitor Legions that are doing damage. Chaos isn't just blunt strength. Essentially, I think that Chaos is portrayed as a credible threat just not one that's single-handedly going to overthrow the Imperium. Nothing seems close to doing that.

TheDungen
24-01-2013, 19:56
I repeat the greatest danger of chaos is the whispering of the chaos gods in the mind of every human not the traitor legions.

Megatron
24-01-2013, 20:00
he still ends up looking like Skeletor - thwarted every week by our heroes in his plans to take over the universe. The fluff amplification of Loyalist uber-warrior-generals like Dante, Calgar and bloody Draigo hasn't helped either, since every one of them makes Abaddon look like a muppet.

There is a kernel of truth to that statement, he is the lex luthor of the 40k world. Abaddon has all the power, tool, and resources to get the job done, but at the end of the day a character come from obscurity to thwart him. I understand what you all are saying about bleeding the imperium slowly, but if your not going to fight like your going to achieve your overall goals, then when the real fight comes you will lose. GW has also done a crappy job with evil characters in general. You have Draigo over there beating up daemon primarchs, and then there is abaddon a poor mistreated step child. I just don't know what it is, but I feel that a lot of the evil characters of 40k need more depth.

@dungeon Yes, that is true, but gw put far more emphasis on the traitor legions, and even then they are meehhhhhh.

SomeRandomEvilGuy
24-01-2013, 20:08
Abaddon has all the power, tool, and resources to get the job done.
Does he? He doesn't have the resources of the Imperium, or the sheer military power. He unites fractured forces but he can't keep them together permanently. What do you expect? Him to smash the Cadian defences and the vast number of reinforcements and simply forge a path to Terra? He can't just bulldoze his way through. Part of his forces are Daemons, which are difficult to bring to bear in large numbers (and more importantly, sufficient power). The Traitor Space Marines aren't in sufficient numbers simply to break out. The Dark Mechanicus doesn't have the same ability to mass produce as the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Chaos-aligned humans in the Eye of Terror are outnumbered by the the Loyalists in the Imperium. The only numerical advantages he actually possesses comes from Daemons, who again have great restrictions, and the fact that the Imperium also has to defend against other threats. Basically, he doesn't have the power, tools and resources to simply take the Imperium head on.

Megatron
24-01-2013, 21:16
So then he must content himself with a black crusade here and there, to reach certain objectives to overcome the imperium. I said this earlier, but my bet is that an xeno's race will succeed before chaos.

Hengist
26-01-2013, 14:55
It's an incredibly harsh way to judge Abaddon and the Traitor Legions though. Because he hasn't defeated the single most powerful faction in the galaxy he's incompetent. It's not as if Abaddon has the combined assets of the forces of Chaos anyway. He's just the one who can unite most of it.

Well, I'm judging the writers, not Abaddon. They've told us that he's an existential threat to be taken with the utmost seriousness, but what they've shown us is somebody who's had thirteen tries over ten millennia and hasn't yet got past Cadia. This is a textbook example of bad writing, one which GW have continued to try to handwave away, rather than biting the bullet and retconning it to something more threatening.


I repeat the greatest danger of chaos is the whispering of the chaos gods in the mind of every human not the traitor legions.

This is, or rather should be true, but GW have systematically pushed 'the threat within' to the background of the, err, background. Presumably this is because it's more challenging to sell plastic men to represent the slow corrosion of the human psyche leading mankind to its doom than it is to do so with the premise of huge spiky men encompassing mankind's destruction. That they don't care for the former is a shame, but an explicable one, that they have failed to make credible the latter can only be interpreted as colossal incompetence.

TheDungen
26-01-2013, 15:28
are you kidding me abandons forces cant hold a candle to what the imperium has got, its a david vs goliath scenario. and like his counterpart is this analogy abbaddon keeps challenging Goliath hoping that his god(s) will interfere.

and the whispering of chaos is the reason loyalist armies can fight each other. Most battles both in fluff and in flesh is fought between two imperial factions. (though in fluff its usually Ig on Ig while in flesh its SM on SM)

Duke_Leto
26-01-2013, 18:19
We know that time passes at a different pace within the Warp/Immaterium/Eye Of Terror (ie it might be that 10 millennia has passed since the HH in realspace but only maybe a century for the Traitor Legions).

I know this isn't the way it works but I always liked the idea that...

Time within the Warp/Immaterium/Eye Of Terror does not correspond to the linear timespan in realspace meaning that while there may have been 13 Black Crusade that to the Imperium came one after the other they were not actually launched in the same order by Abaddon - meaning to the Imperium they appear somewhat random and unconnected but if reordered as per the design of Abaddon they made more strategic and tactical sense.

If indeed what I wrote just made sense!!!!

Inquisitor Engel
26-01-2013, 19:04
Well, I'm judging the writers, not Abaddon. They've told us that he's an existential threat to be taken with the utmost seriousness, but what they've shown us is somebody who's had thirteen tries over ten millennia and hasn't yet got past Cadia. This is a textbook example of bad writing, one which GW have continued to try to handwave away, rather than biting the bullet and retconning it to something more threatening.

It's also been said time and time again that each Black Crusade (not all of which have been led by Abaddon, IIRC) has had a very specific purpose, the vast majority of which have succeeded.

Harriticus
26-01-2013, 22:18
The "Long War" isn't a war Chaos especially cares about. It's a continuation of the Horus Heresy, a struggle for honor and revenge that Chaos Space Marine veterans wage. CSM who become too attached to the Chaos Gods or become Daemon Princes tend to "forget" the Long War and do other things, such as take part in the Great Game in the Warp.

Basically, the long war is something "secular" and independent CSM wage in the name of their Primarchs, not something Chaos really gives a **** about. That is why it's often presented as so hopeless.

Phunting
27-01-2013, 01:29
As others have said, according to every piece of background, Chaos is still very much a credible threat.

I do believe, however, that in actuality such in-game statements are insufficient. We have to judge the threat by what is presented to us. And what is presented is a faction that can never do anything significant. The Skeletor/ Luthor analogy is apt: they can be stated as a credible threat as often as you like, but if they fail to ever achieve anything then this means little. Case in point is the 13th Crusade. Cadia was overrun, but GW's policy that nothing changes ever meant that this was ignored. I personally think this is why people like the Heresy; a completely static background is boring and IMHO pointless. The Heresy allows change and dynamism. But GW are not changing this policy for 40k anytime soon, hence Chaos can never be anything beyond a pantomime villain.

Lothlanathorian
27-01-2013, 03:34
Well, I'm judging the writers, not Abaddon. They've told us that he's an existential threat to be taken with the utmost seriousness, but what they've shown us is somebody who's had thirteen tries over ten millennia and hasn't yet got past Cadia.

Except for the handful of times (see: Every Black Crusade he's led that wasn't the 13th) he totally ignored Cadia? Best example is the Gothic Sector War. If he hasn't gotten past Cadia yet, then, do explain what he was doing in Segmentum Pacificus instead of futilely throwing himself against Cadia once more in Segmentum Obscurus?

And, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Abaddon has yet to fail to achieve his goals during one of his Black Crusades. If this is 'The Long War', then, each Black Crusade he's led is the equivalent of a battle. If he wins all of his battles (see: achieves his objectives), then, at what point, is he losing the war?

Inquisitor Engel
27-01-2013, 05:06
Don't forget "The Long War" for many Chaos Astartes has lasted only a bit longer (and for some, less time) than they were on the Great Crusade. The Night Lord's 10th experienced about 200 years since the Heresy. I don't recall Abaddon saying how long it had been for him in "Soul Hunter" but it can't have been that long, compared to the greater 10,000 year span of time the Imperium has experienced.

On the one hand, this time discrepancy puts Abaddon at a disadvantage, entire Chapters can be built from scratch, reach peak numbers and go through an entire generation or two of new recruits in the Imperium in the time it might take him to microwave his breakfast. Chaos doesn't quite have the time to plan, but they also have the advantage of allowing their foes to get relatively complacent. It's an interesting dynamic.

Lord-Caerolion
27-01-2013, 10:56
As others have said, Hengist, the "stated goal" of each Black Crusade have been met, because they haven't been to capture Terra. They've been to retrieve Drach'nyen (a success), or to capture the Blackstone Fortresses (another success, which was done far, far beyond Cadia).
So no, he hasn't failed 13 times, and he hasn't been stuck in the Eye of Terror. He's broken out repeatedly, achieved his goals, and returned.

TheDungen
27-01-2013, 13:55
there are plenty of ways out of the eye, the cadian gate is only the most stable. controlling it is nesseccary for a long time war effort, the black crusades have really been surprise attacks with overwhelming force that have been over before the imperium have mustered to retaliate.

Phunting
27-01-2013, 23:09
But the reason his 'stated goals' have always been met is that GW sets the goals, and thus they are constantly things of utter insignificance to the Imperium. This is an utter cop out. Sure he's 'never lost' but only because he's never been allowed to try to win.

ntw3001
28-01-2013, 00:06
Saying he achieved his goals doesn't make him a great villain. It's easy to say he's terribly successful, but the goals he so effectively achieves aren't appreciably threatening. Yesterday evening I undertook a quest myself, to travel to Cambridge and attend a party. I succeeded easily, crushing my car battery's laughable efforts to oppose my will! But the fact of having succeeded in something I was doing isn't enough to make me a credible antagonist.

Kakapo42
28-01-2013, 01:22
But the trouble then is that there is the danger of being too successful. Assume that he does achieve something 'significant'*, and rolls over Cadia and ploughs headlong into Terra. The Imperium shatters and the entire setting largely collapses.

I think the problem with Abaddon's background is that it's written at too large a scale. By writing him up as this brilliant world crushing warlord people expect no less than him steam-rolling out of the entire Imperium and grinding the heart of the Imperium to dust, or some other suitably big thing. What I think instead should have been done is to built up background for him at a smaller scale. Highlight his cunning and power in localised instances. An entire Guard platoon or Space Marine squad defeated almost single-Handley here, a brilliantly planned and executed strike against a crucial location there. Have him actually match wits with Creed and the Imperial leadership, instead of threatening them and jumping in to slaughter them directly (not that he can't do a bit of that as well mind you).

*Significant appears to be highly subjective. I personally think capturing several ancient alien doomsday devices and sacrificing a large amount of geneseed to the dark gods, amongst other things, is very significant.

Palvinore
28-01-2013, 01:58
I would say outwitting Creed and winning the Eye of Terror campaign, and taking the majority of Cadia significant.

Just that GW can't let their IG poster boy Creed look like bad so have downplayed, ignored, or retconned things.

Inquisitor Engel
28-01-2013, 06:23
I would say outwitting Creed and winning the Eye of Terror campaign, and taking the majority of Cadia significant.

This has been brought up before, but taking Cadia is a bit of a pyrrhic victory for Abaddon. A lot of Chaos momentum was lost by the defense of Cadia and Chaos had almost zero space assets at the end of the campaign. The 13th is possibly his least successful (but most impactful) campaign. Chaos forces will have a tough time getting off or past Cadia still. The space lanes and warp routes are well-held by the Imperium's forces.

MvS
28-01-2013, 09:19
With the risk of starting a rather circular argument, the specific victories attributed to Abbadon are not as significant to his success or the scale of the threat he poses as the simple comments from GW that he is a massive existential threat to the Imperium.

Simply put, the setting is poised on the brink of 'The End' and this 'End' will be overwhelmingly caused by Chaos, spearheaded by the Traitor Marines, unified and led by Abbadon. Abbadon isn't simply an enemy trying to 'gain ground' over millennia. He is the inheritor of the greatest scions of the Chaos Gods in the galaxy's history and he is aiming for a pre-ordained end point. Even if he could have crushed more planets in whichever engagement, the "the stars weren't right" (as it were).

Abaddon is tactically opportunist, but strategically he has a very specific goal which relies on a very specific 'build up'.

For Chaos and the Chaos Gods, symbolism, ritual, prophecy and emotive responses to these things are hard and physical 'facts' that dictate strategy and reality in tangible ways. This sort of thing is discussed at the start of Know No Fear and at various points throughout ADB's Heresy books. Abbadon's actions, attacking and withdrawing or whatever else, can be seen as largely deliberate within this context. This doesn't mean that Abbadon can't be and hasn't been driven back before now, but such victories against him are moot until after the Last Battle / Rhana Dandra. Even by his own way of measuring things he isn't meant to win until this Last Battle, so why try harder than he absolutely needs to?

That said, I would like to see more stories and discussions about the many thousands (millions) of planets within the Eye of Terror that Abbadon has conquered, rules, influences or has alliances with. The scale of the EoT hasn't been explored sufficiently, nor yet the number of daemon worlds and Chaos-tainted civilisations within it and just how powerful Abbadon and his Legion are within this 'home territory'.

Hengist
28-01-2013, 17:33
As others have said, Hengist, the "stated goal" of each Black Crusade have been met, because they haven't been to capture Terra. They've been to retrieve Drach'nyen (a success), or to capture the Blackstone Fortresses (another success, which was done far, far beyond Cadia).
So no, he hasn't failed 13 times, and he hasn't been stuck in the Eye of Terror. He's broken out repeatedly, achieved his goals, and returned.


Except for the handful of times (see: Every Black Crusade he's led that wasn't the 13th) he totally ignored Cadia? Best example is the Gothic Sector War. If he hasn't gotten past Cadia yet, then, do explain what he was doing in Segmentum Pacificus instead of futilely throwing himself against Cadia once more in Segmentum Obscurus?

And, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Abaddon has yet to fail to achieve his goals during one of his Black Crusades. If this is 'The Long War', then, each Black Crusade he's led is the equivalent of a battle. If he wins all of his battles (see: achieves his objectives), then, at what point, is he losing the war?

The problem with this answer is that reducing Abaddon's goals to such a small (on the galactic level) scale basically reduces Abaddon to a nuisance, rather than, as he's been built up to be, the Imperium's Antichrist. So he's got a magic sword with a backstory - hasn't practically everybody? The Blackstone Fortresses? Never mentioned again.

Moreover, this in fact highlights another problem with the writing: either the Cadian Gate is vital or it isn't. GW need to make their minds up. As for the Gothic War, the Imperial won in the end, Abaddon lost his planet killer, and his Blackstone Fortresses have never been mentioned again.


Saying he achieved his goals doesn't make him a great villain. It's easy to say he's terribly successful, but the goals he so effectively achieves aren't appreciably threatening. Yesterday evening I undertook a quest myself, to travel to Cambridge and attend a party. I succeeded easily, crushing my car battery's laughable efforts to oppose my will! But the fact of having succeeded in something I was doing isn't enough to make me a credible antagonist.

You put it better than I could (or did). GW (in the person of Andy Chambers c1996) had the opportunity to make Abaddon credible by showing us some concrete demonstrations of his badassery on an appropriate scale, say by giving him a 'Traitor Imperium' carved out of the Segmentum Obscurus, or even within the Eye. Instead they tacked him on to the Chaos Codex without rewriting the background to integrate him (a strange decision, given how much unnecessary retconning went on in that book). GW tell us that 999.M41 is the beginning of a new age of darkness, the 'end times' of the Imperium, and have done a reasonable job of showing us the Tyranids' and even the Necrons' part in that, but have relegated Abaddon, created to be the figurehead of Chaos - supposedly the real enemy - to the sidelines.

m1acca1551
29-01-2013, 04:38
The problem is that Chaos has been defanged in it's current guise, especially when compared to the following:

- Tyranids are now really the greatest threat to the imperium, they smashed maccrage and left the ultramarines in a serious spot of bother
- Orks, they have managed to do something that Chaos has not, a state of unending war on one of the imperiums greatest worlds

Chaos used to be very similar to WoC in WFB where they are the force that can wipe away the old world and they are going to be the only real victors, in 40k there are to many other factions that can destroy chaos. The 'nids if they wipe out humanity, chaos dies, if the orks win, chaos cant win but will be locked in a similar state that they are in now but will evetually die due to humanity no longer providing fresh servants etc.

There needs to be a change of direction for the forces of chaos, at the moment they are like the pirates of 16th/17th century, forces to be reckoned with but in the grand scheme of things more of a irritant than something really serious, as opposed to chaos cultists etc who are a serious threat.

Lothlanathorian
29-01-2013, 06:15
The problem with this answer is that reducing Abaddon's goals to such a small (on the galactic level) scale basically reduces Abaddon to a nuisance, rather than, as he's been built up to be, the Imperium's Antichrist. So he's got a magic sword with a backstory - hasn't practically everybody? The Blackstone Fortresses? Never mentioned again.

Moreover, this in fact highlights another problem with the writing: either the Cadian Gate is vital or it isn't. GW need to make their minds up. As for the Gothic War, the Imperial won in the end, Abaddon lost his planet killer, and his Blackstone Fortresses have never been mentioned again.



You put it better than I could (or did). GW (in the person of Andy Chambers c1996) had the opportunity to make Abaddon credible by showing us some concrete demonstrations of his badassery on an appropriate scale, say by giving him a 'Traitor Imperium' carved out of the Segmentum Obscurus, or even within the Eye. Instead they tacked him on to the Chaos Codex without rewriting the background to integrate him (a strange decision, given how much unnecessary retconning went on in that book). GW tell us that 999.M41 is the beginning of a new age of darkness, the 'end times' of the Imperium, and have done a reasonable job of showing us the Tyranids' and even the Necrons' part in that, but have relegated Abaddon, created to be the figurehead of Chaos - supposedly the real enemy - to the sidelines.


Given the 8 hours between MVS's post and your post following it, I'll just assume you missed it since it was practically like he inserted it all ninja like and refer you to it.

Hengist
29-01-2013, 16:50
Given the 8 hours between MVS's post and your post following it, I'll just assume you missed it since it was practically like he inserted it all ninja like and refer you to it.

Well, if you insist... perhaps you could also adopt a less supercilious tone, particularly since your own posts have made it clear that you either didn't read or failed to comprehend mine.


With the risk of starting a rather circular argument, the specific victories attributed to Abbadon are not as significant to his success or the scale of the threat he poses as the simple comments from GW that he is a massive existential threat to the Imperium.

Simply put, the setting is poised on the brink of 'The End' and this 'End' will be overwhelmingly caused by Chaos, spearheaded by the Traitor Marines, unified and led by Abbadon. Abbadon isn't simply an enemy trying to 'gain ground' over millennia. He is the inheritor of the greatest scions of the Chaos Gods in the galaxy's history and he is aiming for a pre-ordained end point. Even if he could have crushed more planets in whichever engagement, the "the stars weren't right" (as it were).

Abaddon is tactically opportunist, but strategically he has a very specific goal which relies on a very specific 'build up'.

For Chaos and the Chaos Gods, symbolism, ritual, prophecy and emotive responses to these things are hard and physical 'facts' that dictate strategy and reality in tangible ways. This sort of thing is discussed at the start of Know No Fear and at various points throughout ADB's Heresy books. Abbadon's actions, attacking and withdrawing or whatever else, can be seen as largely deliberate within this context. This doesn't mean that Abbadon can't be and hasn't been driven back before now, but such victories against him are moot until after the Last Battle / Rhana Dandra. Even by his own way of measuring things he isn't meant to win until this Last Battle, so why try harder than he absolutely needs to?

All of which is very intelligently thought-out and nicely-written - but it's still handwaving, and the fundamental problem with Abaddon and the Long War is that handwaving is necessary in the first place. (Your explanation also invites the problematic assumption of an unexpected level of meta-narrative awareness on Abaddon's part, and - more pertinently - robs all of his actions prior to the actual 'last battle' of any real significance.) The problem remains the dissonance between how GW tell us Abaddon should be seen, and what they actually show us of him.

Harwammer
29-01-2013, 19:44
Lack of details on 'Baddy's exploits do give room to write a story driven campaign to fill out details of why the long war is such a threat to the imperium. Silver lining

MvS
29-01-2013, 20:14
the fundamental problem with Abaddon and the Long War is that handwaving is necessary in the first place.

I think we probably agree on the fundamental points, but I also think there's more that can and should be teased out of the totality of the imagery. I think that I'm of a similar view as ADB, in that in his books he shows and states Abaddon as being both the man in relation to the Chaos Legions and that the 'last war' is just around the corner - as is the paradigm of the setting.

ADB also makes it clear that Abbadon knows this and is expecting it. I suppose this doesn't have to mean that Abbadon has been building towards an end goal and has instead just been bumping from engagement to engagement, but there are good (and stated) reasons why this would be a rather limited view of him.

It's also worth noting that it isn't just Abaddon's 'Long War'. The other Legions also regard it as such. They don't see the Heresy war as ever having ended (and, as a side point, don't regard it as heresy in the first place). Abaddon is the lynchpin in any Long War end game, and all the Legions know it, but he isn't the sole proprietor of the Long War as a concept and obsessive drive.

The Word Bearers and Alpha Legion seem to be doing much as they have done since they first rebelled, albeit from staging posts far outside the Imperium. The Night Lords are split between those fighting the Long War and those who have decided to simply throw in their lot with Chaos and/or Abaddon simply for the personal glory and chance at daemonic immortality that doing so offers. In fact the way Abaddon is portrayed in ADB's books is as a being who can demand the presence of even the disparate and extremely independent and cynical Night Lords, and they obey. They do so out of a cocktail of respect, fear and opportunism, but they still obey. This tells us something.

The mono-maniacal Legions dedicated to each one of the Chaos Gods are more disparate, simply because they pursue only the agenda of their patron deity, so they aren't thinking of the Big Picture necessarily. Even so, they heed Abaddon's call and accept his ultimate leadership when necessary - although doubtlessly each Legion will seek to get whatever they can out of such deals at the expense of Abaddon (if they can). But then Abaddon can make daemons cower in fear and pain and he's not simply another Chaos Warlord who got lucky - or, at least, not for many thousands of years now.


Your explanation also invites the problematic assumption of an unexpected level of meta-narrative awareness on Abaddon's part

I don't think there's a problem with saying that Abbadon, with all that he is, does, and stands for, is aware of the 'Last Battle' prophesied by the Eldar and any number of mystics, Sorcerers and daemons. The 'End' being 'nigh' is a cornerstone of the imagery and it isn't a secret to those in the know. Abaddon is certainly one such character. How could he not be? The precise details of the future may still be up in the air - 40K imagery goes to great pains to show that nothing is written with 100% certainty - but the general point of an 'End Time' and 'Last Battle' for the Imperium (and Eldar) is certain, even if the precise nature of this 'end' - the nature victory and defeat - is not.

Abaddon may not have always known this, or he may have tried to hurry it along whever he could, but it will arrive soon and when it arrives Abaddon, the Chaos Legions, the Daemon Gods, the Inquisition, the High Lords of Terra and the few Loyalist Chapters who are particularly well informed know that Abaddon will be at the head. They know that it will be he who steps onto Terra with bloody murder in mind, with Hell following beside and behind him.

In fact with regard to Chaos and how it responds to mortals, absolute and even blind certainty is what chains and sculpts it best. Abaddon isn't the Warmaster of Chaos and 'Anti-Emperor' because he was pre-ordained to be even before he knew it. It's the other way around. He is 'pre-ordained' to be because he believes with a force of will that cannot really be fathomed by others that he is, always was, and absolutely should be the Warmaster and Anti-Emperor. His absolutism and his many sacrifices have echoed through the Warp and past and future history, making him the pre-ordained one - although admittedly that's just how I view the upshot of his imagery rather than a stated fact. The fact that he has done the impossible by gathering all the Marks of Chaos onto himself shows that he has something uniquely special and powerful going on.

He has managed to stave off ascension to daemonhood, and presumably any number of debilitating mutations over the millennia, simply because he absolutely doesn't want to be taken from what he sees as his unique and incredible destiny. What other Chaos Warlord has ever been able to lay claim to that for over 10,000 years? He regards it as an unalterable fact that he will personally destroy the Emperor and set up a new Imperium in his own image once he has done so. Nothing else, not the power of the Warp or the designs of the Chaos Gods are relevant to his absolute self-belief, and because he believes this so totally and has managed to do so much to make it THE truth, it has effectively become the truth. It's the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.


more pertinently - robs all of his actions prior to the actual 'last battle' of any real significance. The problem remains the dissonance between how GW tell us Abaddon should be seen, and what they actually show us of him.

But then this dissonance is slowly being addressed alongside the Heresy imagery. In-narrative reasons that can be applied to why Abaddon hasn't killed everyone and everything yet (or at least made an all-out effort to do so, win or lose) are already being developed.

The 'ritual as strategy' idea isn't mine, it is lifted directly from Know No Fear and ADB's books. The idea that some things can be done, and done on a truly horrific scale, but still won't really effect the big picture unless it is done properly - 'when the stars are right' - is becoming well established. The same applies in reverse - seemingly small and unimportant events, one done 'correctly' in terms of sorcery, theology, theosophy and daemonology, can have profound effects that echo through the Warp and Realspace.

The symbolism of the timing, number, targets and techniques of Abaddon's crusades are as important as the deaths they cause and territories they ravage. Has this been stated outright in relation to Abaddon? Only in part, and I agree nowhere near clearly or extensively enough. We can extrapolate it ourselves though, and it doesn't take a lot of gymnastics to do so.

I agree wholeheartedly that Abaddon has been underused by writers thus far and he has not been shown (in terms of story) to be the threat and terrible galactic power he is described as being (in terms of background 'blurb'), but even this is slowly changing, thanks in no small part to ADB and others. I think a description/exploration of his empire within the Eye of Terror would be a good starting place. He is stated as being much more powerful than the Red Corsairs, and we know they control a truly vast region of space within the Maelstrom and have numerous planets within their empire, along with countless Traitor Astartes, human heretics, mutants and even aliens.

Just to be clear though, I'm addressing the question whether the Long War is running out of gas. No, very much not. And not just because we can wriggle that idea out of a mass of other stuff. It's the very crux of the imagery. I agree, though, that Abaddon, the Black Legion, its vassals, territories, treaties, goals and strategies have been very under-explored in terms of stories, which has led to this notion that the Long War is diffusing and that Abaddon is a failure at worst or just another successful pirate warlord (like Huron) at best.

Scribe of Khorne
30-01-2013, 01:00
MVS, as always, knocking it out of the park.

Inquisitor Engel
30-01-2013, 02:26
MVS, as always, knocking it out of the park.

Never argue with the man who wrote the definitive guide on the Chaos Powers. ;)

Hengist
30-01-2013, 09:47
I think we probably agree on the fundamental points, but I also think there's more that can and should be teased out of the totality of the imagery. I think that I'm of a similar view as ADB, in that in his books he shows and states Abaddon as being both the man in relation to the Chaos Legions and that the 'last war' is just around the corner - as is the paradigm of the setting.

ADB also makes it clear that Abbadon knows this and is expecting it. I suppose this doesn't have to mean that Abbadon has been building towards an end goal and has instead just been bumping from engagement to engagement, but there are good (and stated) reasons why this would be a rather limited view of him.

I'd agree that on most of this we indeed do, and thank you for putting the effort into crafting such a well-considered reply. You're certainly right to make the case for ADB having done a good job of rescuing Abaddon from 'armless failure' territory, though it would be fair to point out that the Despoiler has not fared so well in the hands of other writers; Gordon Rennie - admittedly ten years ago - depicted him with every ranting, underling-zapping, Ming the Mercilless-esque cliche in the book. Nonetheless, I don't doubt ADB could repair Abaddon's reputation, though it remains a shame that he needs to do so.


In fact with regard to Chaos and how it responds to mortals, absolute and even blind certainty is what chains and scultps it best. Abaddon isn't the Warmaster of Chaos and 'Anti-Emperor' because he was pre-ordained to be even before he knew it. It's the other way around. He is 'pre-ordained' to be because he believes with a force of will that cannot really be fathomed by others that he is, always was, and absolutely should be the Warmaster and Anti-Emperor. His absolutism and his many sacrifices have echoed through the Warp and past and future history, making him the pre-ordained one - although admittedly that's just how I view the upshot of his imagery rather than a stated fact. The fact that he has done the impossible by gathering all the Marks of Chaos onto himself shows that he has something uniquely special and powerful going on.

He has managed to stave off ascension to daemonhood, and presumably any number of debilitating mutations over the millennia, simply because he absolutely doesn't want to be taken from what he sees as his unique and incredible destiny. What other Chaos Warlord has ever been able to lay claim to that for over 10,000 years? He regards it as an unalterable fact that he will will personally destroy the Emperor and set up a new Imperium in his own image once he has done so. Nothing else, not the power of the Warp or the designs of the Chaos Gods are relevant to his absolute self-belief, and because he believes this so totally and has managed to do so much to make it the truth, it has effectively become the truth. It's the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.

As much as clever handwaving is still handwaving, I'll concede that this is certainly an impressive take on Abaddon - indeed one which does more to make him a plausible archenemy of the Imperium than anything GW have ever directly written. Likewise, you're right to emphasise that Abaddon is indeed a remarkable - indeed unique in ten millennia - champion of Chaos, not merely - as he is often lazily portrayed - a spiky warlord with lots of spiky Space Marines. For the sake of bitter amusement, however, go and contrast your work with the drab 1/3 of a page Abaddon gets in the latest Codex: Chaos Marines. Then note that in contrast Kaldor Draigo receives two whole closely-written pages in the Grey Knights book... (And this is no isolated example: if you count the 'examplary battles' bits , Calgar, Imhotep, Dante, Ghazghkull and even Commissar Yarrick have all been written-up in significantly more depth, and have enjoyed vastly more 'on-screen' success.)


The 'ritual as strategy' idea isn't mine, it is lifted directly from Know No Fear and ADB's books. The idea that some things can be done, and done of a horrific scale, but still won't really effect the big picture unless it is done [I]properly - 'when the stars are right' - is becoming well established. The symbol of the timing, number, targets and technique of Abaddon's crusades are as important as the deaths they cause and territories they ravage. Has this been stated outright in relation to Abaddon? In part, but I agree nowhere near clearly enough. We can extrapolate it ourselves though, and it doesn't take a lot of gymnastics to do so.

The notion of a symbolic, hermetic logic to Abaddon's campaigns is an convincing idea; the image of Abaddon writing the false Emperor's doom in burned worlds across the Imperium is a powerful one. I concur that ADB can be assumed to have applied it with a very deliberate intention - when I read the opening of Know No Fear I immediately thought "Aha! Here's a clever in-universe excuse for all those times the baddies' plans have made ostensibly no sense.". I do feel obliged to return, however, to the point that the necessity of applying 'Chaos works in mysterious ways' logic - even if it is somewhat appropriate, given the context - underlines the nonsense that has been made of Abaddon by the codex writers from Chambers onwards.


I agree wholeheartedly that Abaddon has been underused by writers thus far and he has not been shown (in terms of story) to be the threat and terrible galactic power he is described as being (in terms of background 'blurb'), but even this is slowly changing, thanks in no small part to ADB and others. I think a description/exploration of his empire within the Eye of Terror would be a good starting place. He is stated as being much more powerful than the Red Corsairs, and we know they control a truly vast region of space within the Maelstrom and have numerous planets within their empire, along with countless Traitor Astartes, human heretics, mutants and even aliens.

Just to be clear though, I'm addressing the question whether the Long War is running out of gas. No, very much not. And not just because we can wriggle that idea out of a mass of other stuff. It's the very crux of the imagery. I agree, though, that Abaddon, the Black Legion, its vassals, territories, treaties, goals and strategies have been very under-explored in terms of stories, which has led to this notion that the Long War is diffusing and that Abaddon is a failure at worst or just another successful pirate warlord (like Huron) at best.

Again, I've no real disagreement with these sentiments; I can only hope that somebody has a 'Lords of the (Chaos) Space Marines: Abaddon' in the works to give him (and the Long War) the central place in the setting they've always deserved, but as yet never enjoyed.

MvS
30-01-2013, 11:04
No real arguments with you there. Abaddon's fitful gestation in the minds of various GW writers has been disjointed, painfully slow and crippled (in the past) with periodically poor writing.

To bring it back to the initial question of this thread, though, the poor attention he has received is a nuisance and crying shame, but it shouldn't be taken as evidence that the Long War is burning out or that Abaddon isn't a 'Big Bad' figurehead for the Chaos imagery. Grey Knights and the Inquisition languished in the bowels of the background for years before being brought to the fore once more with Abnett, the Inquisitor game and the Demon Hunters Codex. Then they were changed inside and out to be very different, even while right at the centre of the buying public's/fans' eyes. Abaddon has been (and I hope will continue to be) slowly recfeiving a similar treatment - although he certainly could and should have received more attention in the latest Codex.

Although in himself he isn't as strong as a Daemon Primarch within the Eye of Terror, he is as strong (and more) in the sense of being a figurehead and more widely acknowledged leader with access to a wider range of troops, slaves, materiel and resources, and with relatively free access to Realspace that the Daemon Primarchs do not. We should have seen evidence of his empire, or at least hegemony, within the EoT, and I personally would have loved to have seen references to him parlying with Daemon Primarchs (who probably regard him with a confusing mix of utter contempt and incredible envy), the Soul Forge, the Dark Mechanicum and so on and so forth.

Ah well, I hope we don't go from underuse to him suddenly being Kaldor Draigo on steroids and crack, but with even better PR...

Hengist
30-01-2013, 11:52
Although in himself he isn't as strong as a Daemon Primarch within the Eye of Terror, yet he is as strong (and more) in the sense of being a figurehead and more widely acknowledged leader with access to a wider range of troops, slaves, materiel and resources, and with relatively free access to Realspace that the Daemon Primarchs do not. We should have seen evidence of his empire, or at least hegemony, within the EoT, and I personally would have loved to have seen references to him parlying with Daemon Primarchs (who probably regard him with a confusing mix of utter contempt and incredible envy), the Soul Forge, the Dark Mechanicum and so on and so forth.

Very definitely this. An Abaddon established as being the ruler of thousands of worlds in and around the Eye, acknowledged as Horus' successor by the Dark Mechanicus, hordes of pacted Daemons, the Traitor Titans, the Traitor Fleet, significant factions of the Legions, et cetera would be one much more visibly worthy of the status which presently sits rather hollowly upon him. Establishing how and why he became recognised as the new Warmaster rather than another of the Traitor Primarchs wouldn't hurt either, and would give him the opportunity to show off some badassery - crude though it would be, seeing him get one over on Lorgar, Angron et al would do his reputation no end of favours. Perhaps we'll get to see that someday when the Horus Heresy series moves on to the Scouring and the post-Heresy settlement in the Eye.


Ah well, I hope we don't go from underuse to him suddenly being Kaldor Draigo on steroids and crack, but with even better PR...

GW being GW, of course, we are indeed regrettably most likely to see Abaddon cementing his status by etching "You Suck! Cheers, Abaddon." on Fulgrim's liver.

totgeboren
30-01-2013, 12:34
Establishing how and why he became recognised as the new Warmaster rather than another of the Traitor Primarchs wouldn't hurt either, and would give him the opportunity to show off some badassery - crude though it would be, seeing him get one over on Lorgar, Angron et al would do his reputation no end of favours. Perhaps we'll get to see that someday when the Horus Heresy series moves on to the Scouring and the post-Heresy settlement in the Eye.

I am interested in this too, but the only Primarch that could potentially lead the Legions is Perturabo, though he is a Daemon Prince with all the implications that brings.
The four god-aligned ones are the pawns of their gods in many ways, making them unfit for leading all the legions.
Night Haunter and Horus are dead.
Lorgar seems to be occupied in meditation (a bit unclear if he leads his legion in any way or not. I prefer to think he blesses his sons with visions and dreams, like a mini-Emperor, but that is just my own fanfic).
AlphariusOmegon are not really leader-types, and it is even unclear just how chaos-aligned they are.

So I would like to know why Perturabo bows (ok, exaggeration I know) to Abbadon? Or was Perturabo really that disliked that none of the other legions would follow him over the first captain of the Black Legion?

Drakcore Bloodtear
30-01-2013, 15:42
Again, I've no real disagreement with these sentiments; I can only hope that somebody has a 'Lords of the (Chaos) Space Marines: Abaddon' in the works to give him (and the Long War) the central place in the setting they've always deserved, but as yet never enjoyed.

I believe that ADB's next series of books is based around Abaddon, although AFAIK he isn't the protagonist.

Judging by what Abaddon was like in Soul Hunter, it should really add some depth to him

daveNYC
30-01-2013, 16:04
So I would like to know why Perturabo bows (ok, exaggeration I know) to Abbadon? Or was Perturabo really that disliked that none of the other legions would follow him over the first captain of the Black Legion?

Just from my reading of Angel Exterminatus and Dead Sky, Black Sun, I'd say that Perturabo probably doesn't have any interest in leading the legions. He never really played nicely with others, and his main motivation for joining Horus seems to have been a combo of PTSD with the guilt of burning Olympia being the breaking point. He was more invested in following Horus (who he felt was honorable and understood him) than he was in crushing the Imperium. Not that he wasn't down with crushing the Imperium, just that now that it's 10,000 years later, I don't think he feels some deep seated need to go back to Terra. Especially since per the current fluff, he probably thinks he showed Dorn who was boss.

Hengist
30-01-2013, 17:18
I am interested in this too, but the only Primarch that could potentially lead the Legions is Perturabo, though he is a Daemon Prince with all the implications that brings.

It's a good question, and I look forward to BL getting around to it (provided I'm still paying attention, and my growing contempt for GW's rules, miniatures and background hasn't driven me permanently elsewhere). If I were a betting man, my money would be on Fulgrim, riding high after killing Guilliman and essentially ending the Imperium's post-Scouring resurgence, trying to dominate the Legions with the limited objective of making an empire within the Eye, and Abaddon forging an alliance - the proto-Black Legion - to topple him, ironically succeeding in overthrowing an Emperor. With luck we might finally get some insight into who the 'golden-skinned being' was too - I know the Deceiver is the number one candidate, but personally I suspect the Cabal.

Imperialis_Dominatus
30-01-2013, 17:51
Fulgrim would be a good choice. Would enhance the battles between them for Horus' corpse; Abaddon's final victory in that regard might be what cements his supremacy over them control over the Black Legion. Good spot for Fulgrim to disappear into the Eye looking for a Daemon Pleasure World to soothe his ego.