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Chaos can refer to the following:
- The Warriors of Chaos and other Chaos-aligned factions.
- Chaos Corruption which is spread by the above.
- The Chaos Invasion that happens in campaign mode.
- The Realm of Chaos, from the lore.
- The Chaos Gods, from the lore.
See below for more details.
Chaos can refer more specifically to the races who are aligned with the power of Chaos. These races tend to be hostile to non-Chaos races, but especially hate those races which uphold civilization and order.
The main Chaos races:
Factions which are sometimes considered to be Chaos-aligned:
Realm of Chaos
The Realm of Chaos (also known as "the warp" and "the aether") is another dimension beyond the Warhammer world. The Realm of Chaos is home to gods, malevolent daemons and the souls of mortals. The Realm of Chaos does not follow the physical laws of our universe, and thus when the Realm of Chaos seeps into the Warhammer world it is perceived as magic. To put it another way, the Realm of Chaos is the source of all magic in Warhammer Fantasy. Due to the unpredictable and corrupting nature of the Realm of Chaos, all magic use (even by well-intentioned spellcasters) is tainted by Chaos and inherently dangerous. This is represented in the game as miscasts, though in the lore spellcasters will sometimes accidentally open portals to the Realm of Chaos, summon Daemons, or spontaneously explode.
The Chaos Gods
The Chaos Gods, also known as the Dark Gods or the Ruinous Powers, are powerful deities which dwell in the Realm of Chaos and command daemonic servants. There are four main gods (Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh), sometimes called the "Ruinous Powers". The blessings of the four main Chaos Gods are represented in the game via Marks of Chaos. The Chaos Gods represent fundamental aspects of our nature and draw power from the emotions of mortals. As such, they can never be truly defeated. However, their followers may be stopped, at least temporarily.
There are also two minor Chaos Gods:
- The Horned Rat - God of the Skaven.
- Hashut - God of the Chaos Dwarfs.
The main Chaos Gods:
The Changer of Ways, The Deceiver, The Eagle
Tzeentch represents change, hope, scheming, ambition, knowledge. Change is neither malevolent nor benevolent; it is merely not the same as it was before. Tzeentch has plans within plans, he gives villains devious schemes and heroes the cunning to stop them. His followers tend to be seekers of knowledge and power, and often have bizarre mutated forms. Tzeentch is associated with the colour blue, fire and birds (particularly ravens and birds of prey).
The Lord of Decay, Grandfather Nurgle, The Crow
Nurgle represents despair, resilience, resignation and acceptance in the face of inevitable decay, death and entropy. Among mortals, Nurgle appeals to the downtrodden and hopeless. His followers are often cheery even while visibly rotting, bloated or infested by maggots. They delight in spreading Nurgle's gifts (horrifying diseases) to others. Nurgle despises the undead, who resist the end. Nurgle is associated with the colour green, flies/maggots, slugs and toads.
The Blood God, the Lord of Skulls, The Hound
Khorne represents killing, violence, hatred, rage and primal survival. Strength and skill matter most to Khorne, but he also has more positive aspects: honor and courage in battle. He is associated with brass metal, the colour red, blood, skulls and hounds/dogs. Khorne favours melee combat, tolerates ranged combat and utterly despises spellcasters. His followers are usually heavily muscled warriors whose famous war-cry is "Blood for the Blood God!".
The Dark Prince, the Prince of Excess, She Who Thirsts, The Serpent
Slaanesh is the youngest and weakest. He/she/they represents desire, pleasure, pain and excess and is associated with the colours pink and black. Slaanesh breaks minds and inflicts untold incredible suffering but also instills joy, creativity and extreme pleasure. Among mortals, he appeals to the egotistical, the obsessive, artists etc. His followers are graceful, beautiful, cruel and often androgynous. Slaanesh is said to desire Elven souls above all others, and devours them hungrily.