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    Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    I quote from the Tzaangor entry in the Silver Tower book:

    "These savage avian beastkin have been warped into shapes more pleasing to Tzeentch."

    So I guess the cat's out of the bag. It's official: Tzeentch is into birds.

    However looking at his range it was kind of an open secret. The Lord of Change has always had a distinct avian shape. Recently the Horrors have started picking up the trend, sporting (fake-looking) beaks and feathers. The Gaunt Summoner has a feather skirt any Skink Priest would be jealous of. Though birdified Screamers and Flamers have not been spotted (yet), the Kairic Acolytes too wear all sorts of birdlike accesories.

    So Tzeentch likes birds. Why not, aviculture is a fun hobby after all.

    Except it makes no sense in this case.


    One has to keep in mind that Daemons are, by and large, just facets of their creator. One has to think of them as tiny god clones really. So we know that Khorne is obsessed with dogs, and that's fine because he is described as having dog-like traits and features himself. Nurgle is just a pile of rotting dross, and naturally his Daemons resembe just that. Slaanesh favors lithe and adrogynous Daemons because, again, this matches his own nature.

    Problem with Tzeentch is, he's just an amorphous shapechanging blob. The older Horror models seemed to emulate this aspect after a fashion, but no more. There is really no fixed shape associated with Tzeentch, so logically there shouldn't be one for his Daemons, either. Especially not birds.

    Why you ask? Well, does anyone remember which Symbol/animal Nurgle is mostly associated with among the northern tribes? It's the Crow. Yup, exactly. The Crow, or in other words, a bird, is the sacred animal of Nurgle. So why on earth would Tzeentch form his Daemons into a shape resembling the symbol of his archenemy? This is completely beyond reason and logic and can probably only be explained with "Chaos is illogical".

    If anyone has ever come acrooss a piece of background clearing up this matter I would deeply appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Librarian Tarrell's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Tzeentch favors Intelligence, those that seek knowledge by any means usually stumble across references to the power of change, change of fate, life and death, etc etc.
    Ravens and birds of prey are known for their shrewd intelligence and cunning, traits Tzeentch regards highly.
    Don't forget GW borrow heavily from ancient myth and legend, especially Norse mythology.
    In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse "thought") and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin.
    Many times prophecy that featured a raven or crow usually meant ruin and death was to come.
    Lastly Tzeentch is change, and what species has changed through evolution most, birds.
    Last edited by Tarrell; 15-06-2016 at 03:25.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarrell View Post
    Tzeentch favors Intelligence, those that seek knowledge by any means usually stumble across references to the power of change, change of fate, life and death, etc etc.
    Ravens and birds of prey are known for their shrewd intelligence and cunning, traits Tzeentch regards highly.
    Don't forget GW borrow heavily from ancient myth and legend, especially Norse mythology.
    In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse "thought") and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin.
    Many times prophecy that featured a raven or crow usually meant ruin and death was to come.
    Lastly Tzeentch is change, and what species has changed through evolution most, birds.
    I like a lot of this. One change could be from that from fish to amphibian to reptile to mammals or birds, birds are that different direction from humans/mammals, a distinct change in evolution.
    Looking down on us for certain, but how bout the reputation of birds eyes to see better than other creatures.
    And what are some creatures known for massive yearly migrations? Birds.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperHappyTime View Post
    I like a lot of this. One change could be from that from fish to amphibian to reptile to mammals or birds, birds are that different direction from humans/mammals, a distinct change in evolution.
    Looking down on us for certain, but how bout the reputation of birds eyes to see better than other creatures.
    And what are some creatures known for massive yearly migrations? Birds.
    I also felt that Tzeentch's connection with birds was related to evolution. The fact that modern birds are closely related to the dinosaurs is a demonstration of change for the sake of survival.

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    Chapter Master de Selby's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    All the gods have some kind of associations with animals. Slaanesh has the bull. Nurgle also has the fly and the maggot; I guess that the association with the crow is purely due to its carrion-eating. In general chaos worship will involve different doctrines in different places, so there can be some overlap.

    The ability to fly and look down on the world is probably a universal power fantasy. It's as good a symbol as any for Tzeentch.

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    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Mmh? In one of the realm of chaos books (don't remember which one), Tzeentch is clearly like an horror, not a blob. Iirc there's even a drawing of him.
    As for the birds things, well, why not, it fits. In tales and stuff, crows often outsmart other creatures. Could have been a fox (foxes outsmart even crows in this regard, see La Fontaine), but I guess it wasn't as interesting a theme to give.

  7. #7

    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Yes, I know the drawing you speak of, and it always struck me as odd because the background has always said he has no clear shape. That is because the future is always uncertain and in flux. I suppose the "Horror" form is the one he deigned to take on for the class picture. Even if we consider the "Horror" form his Default form, it doesn't solve our Dilemma, i.e. why he recently puts feathers and beaks over everything, especially if it makes the Horrors resemble him less.

    The Lords of Change have a similar problem; even as late as 8th Edition the background clearly states that they can take on any shape they wish, yet they are consistently depicted as avian in each and all media. I suppose at one point it just turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy; you say "Tzeentch" and everyone thinks "bird". That's where the beaks come from.

    In truth I believe it's because the old background is being forgotten as we speak. Even in the odd chance that GW would relaunch Warhammer, it would never be Rick Priestley's Warhammer again.

    To add insult to injury, all Greater Daemon models have more variability to them than the Lord of Change. Even the Great Unclean One. The LoC gets to choose between a fancy cap and Bald Eagle style, that's all. Just like despite being supposedly the God of Magic, Tzeentch almost always has worse spells than the rest. Tzeentch is the only God who consistently violates his own background. I say this guy has some serious issues and GW needs to sort it out. Or maybe he's truly Malal in disguise?

    It's no wonder GW doesn't like Tzeentch. The concepts he represents are hard to grasp for the human mind as is, and far more difficult to represent on tabletop. But who is being killed off? Slaanesh. Way to go GW.
    Last edited by Ultimate Life Form; 16-06-2016 at 00:30.

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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Probably because unlike you, no one at GW have asked themselves this question.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    This is more because GW use diferent inspiration to the chaos gods: sometimes they are loveacrafnian horror, sometimes as typical devil/satan analogue(the great enemy) and other they are sterotypical pagan gods(Khrone as war god, Tzeetch magic one,Nurgle as death/life bringer and Slaanesh as hungry sex gods), here is where there is some weird odd choice to give like sacred number(Malal-11.Tzeetch-9,Khorne-8,Nurgle-7,Slaanesh-6) and the sacred animal(Malal-locust,Tzeetch-Birds, Vultures more than anything,Khrone-Wolfs,Slaanesh-Serpent,Nurgle-Fly and depending,Hashut with Bulls)

    In many cases this made sense: Fly are simbol of corruption so it fit with Nurgle, Serpernt are see as symbol of tempention and sublety,Wolf is usuall the go with blood and Locust fit well with Malal genocidal mentality, in this case birds are usually sociatie with magic, some of them are pacient and wait before to strike just like Tzeetch does

    So in short, sacred animal fit better when the fluff use as pagan gods wannabe and in that case Bird show Tzeetch domins of Magic and being pacient before striking a prey

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    Chapter Master Denny's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    When the Maruaders were first introduced to Warhammer fantasy their religion was described in detail. Each God was represented by an element and animal. Tzeentch was the eagle and the air, as he flies above all and knows everything.

    So at least some of Tzeentch's worshippers see him as a bird entity. And perception influences how gods and their daemons manifest. If we think his daemons look like birds then they will look like birds.
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    Commander stainawarjar's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Life Form View Post
    Though birdified Screamers and Flamers have not been spotted (yet),
    The original flamer models had beaks.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Life Form View Post
    ... Lord of Change has always had a distinct avian shape.

    Why you ask? Well, does anyone remember which Symbol/animal Nurgle is mostly associated with among the northern tribes? It's the Crow. Yup, exactly. The Crow, or in other words, a bird, is the sacred animal of Nurgle. So why on earth would Tzeentch form his Daemons into a shape resembling the symbol of his archenemy? This is completely beyond reason and logic and can probably only be explained with "Chaos is illogical".

    If anyone has ever come acrooss a piece of background clearing up this matter I would deeply appreciate it.

    Nurgle is mostly associated with the fly.
    The fly/maggot fits well with the thematic aspects of nurgle, being a creature birthed from
    decay.

    similarly, birds have an alien intelligence that we the human reader (as mammals) find scary. Birds also fit into the Egypt theme that sometimes appears in tzeentch fluff, as the bird is a important symbol in Egypt mythos.

    dogs/hounds have featured heavily in the khorne background. Flesh hounds, juggers, FW daemon prince, even the bloodthirster previously had a dog alternative head.

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  13. #13
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Looks, at the end of the day Tzeentch is your everyday geezer. He just wants a simple life of manipulating everyone in existence and causing constant change. Can you blame him after a few aons for wanting to settle down with a bird or two?

    Guy's gotta worry about getting a mum for all those Horrors and Flamers running about - he hopes they'll be less disruptive with a cohesive family unit.
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    Chapter Master jtrowell's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    I like the idea that Tzeentch true form is that of a simple lowly horror (well, a very powerful horror, but still).
    I imagine him as having started as one of the lower creatures in the warp/realms of chaos, slowly growing more powerful.
    The bird image would then simply be his dream, from a protoplasm-like inform being to a great bird able to fly above and dominate all creation.

    After all, aren't many of the people that seek change the most those are are the less satisfied by their own nature or lives ?

  15. #15
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    I think we're seeing GW struggle with Tzeentch and Slaanesh. Khorne and Nurgle have had outstanding aesthetic style since inception. Conversely, Slaanesh has suffered from the "adult" theme and Tzeentch has suffered from the distinct difference between the Lord of Change (a bird) and his followers. Tzeentch is a mix of lovecraftian horror, the movie Dark Crystal and some other dark twisted fantasy. GW obviously wanted to narrow the theme to make it easier to copyright. This was clear with the plastic horrors, which most agree were not as good as the previous metal horrors, with the bird influences brought in. This is reflected by difficulties in 40k, where the Space Marines associated with Tzeentch (Thousand Sons) are clearly not fitting with the theme unlike the other 3 chaos gods legions.
    Personally, I liked the ogres in the box set of Silver tower, but feel that the bird theme over all is spoiling the original Tzeentch aesthetic. I would much rather see a return towards some of the more lovecraftian elements (thousands of screaming faces, two bodies merging into one, etc) that truly epitomized the horror of chaos, and reflected on how what a chaos god saw as a gift or blessing, was rarely received that way. The lack of grim dark in both universes currently is detrimental to the brand, reducing one of its defining features.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Very interesting discussion so far. Interestingly I have found this picture of ancient Horrors which clearly depicts them with beaks, as well as the beaked Flamer that stainawarjar mentioned. So I think it can be stated that the aviann imagery has always been part of Tzeentch's mix and had only more recently been faded out. Which in turn means that the newer models are actually more true to his roots. A very satisfying result (though I still prefer the previous Generation of Horrors for their sublime looks).

    Still the essential question remains, why the bird? I liked jtrowell's idea of it being Tzeentch's dream (hey, even gods have dreams). It could indeed be that Tzeentch was once a minor warp entity. After all he embodies hope, and in the early days of the world hope was not so important a concept I would figure as for example the more immediate need of salvation from disease as Nurgle can offer. Only when the world grew ever more dire and people started hoping desperately could Tzeentch grow to rival the likes of Nurgle and Khorne. Maybe.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Life Form View Post
    Very interesting discussion so far. Interestingly I have found this picture of ancient Horrors which clearly depicts them with beaks, as well as the beaked Flamer that stainawarjar mentioned. So I think it can be stated that the aviann imagery has always been part of Tzeentch's mix and had only more recently been faded out. Which in turn means that the newer models are actually more true to his roots. A very satisfying result (though I still prefer the previous Generation of Horrors for their sublime looks).

    Still the essential question remains, why the bird? I liked jtrowell's idea of it being Tzeentch's dream (hey, even gods have dreams). It could indeed be that Tzeentch was once a minor warp entity. After all he embodies hope, and in the early days of the world hope was not so important a concept I would figure as for example the more immediate need of salvation from disease as Nurgle can offer. Only when the world grew ever more dire and people started hoping desperately could Tzeentch grow to rival the likes of Nurgle and Khorne. Maybe.
    I think those may be conversions. I have a few of the old horrors and never saw the beaks, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. The first horrors and flamers didn't have beaks I believed.
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    It is interesting that the "soaring bird" is a theme linked to hope quite strongly. Similarly, birds are often a symbol of ancient religions and civilizations, so connecting that veneration with Tzeentch is fun (the suggestion that the Ancient egyptians were Tzeentch/chaos worshippers, via the Thousand sons iconography in 40k always tickles me). Similarly, the Imperial Eagle (two headed at that) in 40k links to this symbol of hope. In fantasy it is less clear. No faction is connected with birds except the wood elves, who undergo a natural change with the seasons, but I'm getting tenuous here (several other animals undergo similar levels of seasonal change). I guess we have to seperate it out into three categories really, what makes birds fit with Tzeentch: (i) due to real world influences, (ii) warhammer fantasy influences (and now AoS if you have quotes) and (iii) 40k influences. I think hope is clearly a more (i) category. We've not seen anything in Fantasy that indicates the birds are held up to similar level of esteem compared to our own historical societies.
    Overall, I don't believe that a bird is the worst fit. GW clearly want to theme the faction. The lord of change is definitely one of the most iconic oddities in GW's main line.

    I personally don't feel that theming Tzeentch on this isn't true to the first incantations of the models (see links), nor really fitting to the idea of change being mutable and never constant. I feel bird demons just diminishes the faction, which should have greater strength in its eldritch nature, rather than the bird part. But at this point, we come down to personal opinion. For me, the definitive horrors were the previous metal set, with the current set being better than the first gen, but poorer overall. The previous flamers were great, but I feel that both this and the last generation of screamers are great. I loved the moon faced Herald and would love to see a plastic lord of change, but similarly, I would hate to see it all "go to the birds"
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    Chapter Master Rogue Star's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Life Form View Post
    Still the essential question remains, why the bird?
    In mythology, birds are often associated with trickery, stealing shiny objects, but also magic and wisdom... so naturally that's going to have an influence on Tzeentch.

    In northern Northwest Coast mythology, Raven is the powerful figure who transforms the world. Stories tell how Raven created the land, released the people from a cockle shell, and brought them fire. Raven stole the light and brought it out to light up the world. Yet Raven is a trickster—often selfish, hungry, and mischievous. He changes the world only by cleverly deceiving others in his never-ending quest for food.
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    Re: Why is Tzeentch obsessed with Birds?

    Bird where consider gods of prophecy and magic which is one of Tzeetch domain, even the Norse in fantasy call him the "Raven god" also hawk,vulture where show as diferent messenger from the gods which fit well with him as changer of fate

  20. #20
    Horror 022712 has a beak
    And maybe 022707 too

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    Last edited by Arnizipal; 05-07-2016 at 22:54. Reason: Merged double post

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