Past the Edge of Darkness
The main four deities of the Chaos pantheon exude from the “biggest” vortices of emotion and souls within the Warp and these vortices are the biggest because they are formed from the most basic and readily experienced emotions common to almost all intelligent sentient beings. Thus these entities are the strongest of all the many entities that can and have formed within the Warp. The four great gods are often used as antagonists in their respective settings, frequently sparking great wars against other factions with the aim of gaining total domination over the entire setting. The names and aspects of these four great gods are:
- Khorne – God of Blood, unrelenting fury and war. Empowered by Anger.
- Tzeentch – God of Change, Magic and endless schemes and plots. Empowered by Ambition.
- Nurgle – God of Decay, disease and physical corruption. Empowered by Despair.
- Slaanesh – God of Hedonism, excess, and pleasure. Empowered by Desire.
In many senses one could say that the Chaos Gods are akin to titantic empaths, drawn to the emotions and ideas that form their metaphysical “bodies” and identities. At the same time they can also be seen as titanic generators of the same emotions and ideas that form them, promoting these emotions and ideas in mortal creatures and pushing them to experience these things more and more acutely.  Khorne
Khorne is the Chaos God of blood, war, and martial valour. He acts outwardly by seeking the deaths of others, preferring close combat over ranged weaponry, and the only things he respects are strength and force. As such, he is completely opposed to the decadent Slaanesh. He is both the eldest and most powerful Chaos God.
Khorne was the first Chaos God to awake completely and achieve consciousness. Khorne is described as an extremely well-muscled, horned, beast-headed monster that stands hundreds of feet tall, seated on a brass throne atop a mountain of skulls in a field of splintered bones and lakes of blood and wielding a terrible sword, a weapon said to be so powerful that a single slash from it can tear open rifts in time and space, and destroy worlds with a stroke. The skulls are described as belonging to both his victims and his worshipers alike, as Khorne cares not from whom the blood flows, only that it does. Khorne’s personal rune takes the shape of a stylized skull. Khorne’s sacred number is 8. He and his followers abhor magic, and have wargear specifically made to punish those who rely on it. His followers, likewise, have zero affinity for magic.
the Chaos Space Marines who worship and completely devote them selves to Khorne are known as “Berserkers”. They typically come from the World Eaters Legion but are not exclusive to that legion. Or to put it another way; all world eaters are berserkers but not all berserkers are from the world eaters legion. Once used as shock troops in the armies of the Imperium, the Legion fell into the worship of Khorne, turning from hardened warriors into blood-frenzied psychopaths that only live to kill.
Aside from the Chaos Space Marines there are other forces that are instruments in fulfilling Khorne’s biding. “Daemons” are manifestations of their patron God. In the case of Khorne, and the other Dark Gods, most are Lesser Daemons; Khorne’s take the form of towering semi-humanoid figures of slabbed muscle and hard red skin. They have large horns atop pointed heads. Instead of hands and feet they more closely have claws and hooves. Most often they are portrayed carrying wickedly long spiked swords. Other Daemons of Khorne can take a variety of shapes. The most powerful is the Greater Daemon of Khorne, known as a “Blood-Thirster”. Blood-Thirsters have a some what satanic appearance and have massive wings and most often carry a massive axe.
The Great Blood-Fortress of Khorne is always geared for war. Massive forges and factories ring with the hammering of steel, and daemons pick up sword and axes, and don sheets of chainmail, which soon sink under their flesh, leaving bloody and tattered skin behind. Extending from the cliff high Iron walls, great sheets of fresh skin, both human and alien, flutter in a never ending gale, and a sea of splintered bones and half gnawed gobbets of meat extend for miles around the gates. Within is a massive pile of skulls that stretch into the raging sky, and upon the bone mountain is the Throne of the Blood God, Khorne.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE! (Common war cry for the followers of Khorne.)
Tzeentch is described as the Chaos god of Change, Ambition, Knowledge, Hope and Sorcery. His titles include the Changer of Ways, the Architect of Fate and the Great Sorceror. Tzeentch excels in subtle machinations and is patron to schemers and conspirators of all sorts and he favors the clever over the strong. He was once the strongest of all the Chaos Gods, due to his Crystal Staff. However, as a token of humility (and in fear that a stronger chaos god would overthrow him), he destroyed it, and unintentionally gifted the world with magic as the shards of the staff each turned into a spell.
The emotion that is most closely associated with Tzeentch is hope. Tzeentch represents the hopeful dreams and aspirations of mortals run entirely out of control. He is the will to change and evolve, to improve and to build, to cunningly outmaneuver others. Anyone who ever hoped to improve their station in life unknowingly empowers Tzeentch. It is in the hearts of those with the strongest desire to prevail that Tzeentch whispers his insidious promise: the means to life eternal for those unwilling to accept death and oblivion as inevitable. This refusal to accept the inevitable makes Tzeentch the opposite and nemesis of the Chaos God Nurgle.
Tzeentch is sometimes pictured as a cloud of Magic that constantly changes color, a huge bird with multicolored feathers,a creature with a staff or an impossible creature that constantly changes form. In the Games Workshop supplement volume The Lost and the Damned (by far the most complete reference book ever dedicated to the god) he was depicted as a treelike entity, whose branches and appendages constantly twisted and curled on themselves, originating maddening patterns. Tzeentch is also seen as a serpent. More so than any other Chaos god, he is associated with spectacular and varied mutations, and his Daemons are typically depicted in outlandish, ever-shifting shapes. Tzeentch’s personal rune looks like a stylized flame or serpent, usually blue in color. Tzeentch’s sacred number is 9.
The Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marine legion is dedicated to the worship of Tzeentch. Among them, Ahriman the sorcerer attempted to curtail the effect of his patron’s gifts of mutation to better preserve the legionnaires’ remaining humanity. While his spell did succeed in stopping the mutations and empowering the legion’s psykers, most of the marines who lacked psychic potential were rendered mindless automatons, entrapping and sealing their souls within their power armour and removing what lingering humanity they had left, leaving only a handful of dust. These ‘rubric’ marines are led into battle by the remaining sorcerers.
Tzeentch’s realm is insane and unpredictable, an endless maze of crystal bound to nine dimensions, constantly shifting and molding into new twisting paths and dead ends, and the great pulls of gravity and shifts of reality soon drive a man insane, kill him, or both. Tzeentch’s palace itself reflects the dark gods ideals constantly changing shape and form, at one moment a blazing tower of blue fire might rise out of the structure and the next the flames turn to crystal or water. Tzeentch can be found inside the deeper sanctions of the palace in the Library, this is where is kept the well of eternity in which the god’s loyal servants watch and record the twisting threads of destiny which the god changes to his own plots and schemes at a whim. It must be noted that these schemes are not a means to end (if there is an end it is beyond the ken of any being in the universe), it is the scheming itself that drives Tzeentch.
Change and change until change is our master, for nothing neither god nor mortal can hold that which has no form. (From the Libra Chaotica.)
Nurgle is the Chaos god of death and destruction, personified by stagnation, entropy, disease and decay. His power is said to come from the mortal races’ reaction to the inevitability of death and disease. The power in the acceptance of what is. He is the adversary of Tzeentch, who embodies not the acceptance of fate, but the hope and ambition to change it.
Nurgle is depicted as a large hulking figure covered in oozing sores and vivid marks of decay. His numerous Daemons all embody the same diseased aesthetic, from the powerful Great Unclean Ones to the gibbering hordes of tiny daemons known as Nurglings. Nurgle’s rune, a stylized depiction of a fly that resembles three circles adjacent to one another, bears a strong resemblance to the international biological hazard symbol. It is Nurgle who creates and lets loose the decay and disease that plagues mortals. Nurgle’s sacred number is 7.
Nurgle is revered especially by the Death Guard legion of Chaos Space Marines. Originally devoted servants of the Emperor, they fell to the worship of Chaos following a plague that spread through their spaceship. In desperation, they turned to Nurgle for succour from the agonizing disease, and became his most devoted servants, the Plague Marines. A favored weapon of Nurgle is the ‘Plaguesword’, that causes anything it touches to rot and decay. Nurgle’s domain is called the Garden of Nurgle, and according to some Eldar it has a very remarkable resident: Isha, the Eldar goddess of healing. Nurgle wrested her away from Slaanesh, saving her from destruction, but he dotes over her as only a god of disease can: by infecting her with diseases. Isha responds by curing herself and whilst he is busy working, Isha takes advantage of his distraction to instruct mortals on how to rid themselves of Nurgle’s poxes.
Despite being the god of despair, Nurgle is described as protective and almost benevolent to his followers, earning him the nickname “Grandfather Nurgle”. His daemons also seem to depict them all as part of one big family, where the Great Unclean One’s seem to be father figures, Nurglings as playful and mischievous children and even the Beasts of Nurgle are portrayed as having the mind of an over-excited, very friendly puppy. His gifts often have dual purposes, such as making the chosen immune to pain but having a zombie-like body, but they are still “gifts” from Grandfather Nurgle to his “children.”
The Garden of Nurgle is full of rotted plants, diseased animals, and fetid pools of slime. Within these horrid places, nurglings and Great Unclean Ones bounce and play, while Beasts of Nurgle bound and tumble in mock fights.
In the very center of the Garden, within the center of which is Nurgle’s great mansion where Nurgle stirs his Great Cauldron, pouring in new diseases, viruses, and clumps of fungi. He takes sips, smacking his lips and muttering approvingly, and pets his children who bound over to greet him.
Slaanesh is the Chaos god of desire, of the pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction and the need of and for sensations. A sensuous, androgynous deity associated with hedonism and decadence, he is known by many colorful names such as The Dark Prince, The Prince of Excess and The Fester of Pain, but by the Eldar however, she is often referred to as The Great Enemy, She Who Thirsts and She Who Is Not Named, amongst others. Those who yield to temptation becomes his/her/its slaves. Slaanesh’s followers revel in sensory excess, luxuriating in the varied sensations of the body and mind, embracing the many pleasures that existence can offer. Slaanesh’s followers may wallow in the delights of all the arts, of any and all narcotics and neurological stimulants and in any physical activities, ranging from the most refined, graceful and beautiful through to the most unimaginably depraved, coarse and violent. The arch enemy of Slaanesh is the Chaos God Khorne. In contrast to the wizened Khorne, Slaanesh is said to be both the youngest and weakest of the 4 Chaos Gods, though in it’s early life it was far stronger, capable of murdering nearly the entire Eldar pantheon.
Slaanesh is said to be able to choose whether he will appear as a god or a goddess. He is often depicted as a colossus which is male on one half and female on the other. Of all the Ruinous Powers, only she is said to be divinely beautiful. Slaanesh’s devotees and Daemons reflect the androgynous beauty and grace of their Lord, as well as her hedonistic nature. Slaanesh’s personal rune is a mixture between the two gender symbols. It is known by many adoring names. Slaanesh’s sacred number is 6.
Slaanesh is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, given life at the Fall of the Eldar. His birth ripped open the hole between dimensions known as the Eye of Terror. Slaanesh’s primary followers among the Chaos Space Marines come out of the Emperor’s Children legion. Weaponry unique to Slaaneshi marines includes sonic blasters that are tuned to blow apart flesh, Blastmasters, amplified to destroy heavily armored units, and Doom Sirens, which amplify the voices of their wearers to destructive levels. Such Slaanesh warriors are called the Noise Marines for their utter obsession with loud and harsh sounds. Only those noises make Noise Marines feel some kind of sensations, for they are true worshipers of Slaanesh and have already tried all and everything.
Slaanesh lives in a huge Castle, with six circles. Inside each of these circles the decoration and theme generally go towards a type of excess.
The first circle is covered riches in the forms of gemstones and treasure, which, if touched, will suck the soul from the victim, leaving the body a soulless husk.
The second is a massive indoor garden, filled with delicious fruits and meats, and entire lakes of fine wines and other drinks. To eat or drink is to be enraptured forever, and to eat and drink until the body gives out, or the stomach bursts.
The third is full of tapestries and statues of a sexual nature, to touch or look upon them is to become stone, or be sucked into the fabric of the tapestries.
The fourth changes depending upon the person, but reflects an excess of power, for the commanding warlord, an army of powerful soldiers await command, or a room full of heated debate, should the victim be a diplomat. However, the victim soon becomes insane with paranoia if they remain too long.
The fifth is full of beautiful women, men or androgynous (depending upon the viewer’s preferences), awaiting to fulfill every carnal desire. Every lustful act, from the most sensitive and (seemingly) caring to the most obscene sexual tortures, rape and any and all fetishes and deviance’s are all commonplace, and even expected, norms within this awful realm. The women (etc) are really Daemons, who will eventually rip the victims apart to feast upon their lustful souls.
The sixth contains a wide beach with bright white sand, a setting sun, crashing waves and light breeze which makes the person lethargic and want to just lie down and listen but in doing so will become more sand onto the beach as he is doomed to lie there until death.
Anyone, after passing the six circle, will reach Slaanesh’s private chambers, here men’s feeble grasp of reality is torn apart according to the fell god’s whim, they will endure an existence of combined torture and pleasure, ever dispensing their master’s will to rape, destroy and love. This chaotic mix is the nature of their unnatural but familiar god.