Chaos is a generic term for anything related to the warp, including the warp itself, its denizens and the effects it has on those who enter it as well as those who live by Chaos. Anybody can fall to the 'taint of Chaos', becoming a follower of one of the Chaos gods or of Chaos Undivided.
They were referred to as Kaos by the Interex species.1
The Forces of Chaos Edit
The forces of Chaos are made up of three types:
Daemons are entities of the warp, horrific creatures brought to the battlefield by the whims of sorcerers. They are often armed simply with claws that rip and tear the enemy to shreds; some use psychic based powers. The lesser daemons tend to be very poorly armored and fall in great numbers to rapid fire weaponry. The Lost and the Damned are a broad range of renegades and mutants, including degenerated humans and mutants of the Daemon Worlds and renegade Imperial Guardsmen. They are also often poorly armored but come in vast numbers. The Chaos Space Marines are those who fell under the sway of Warmaster Horus and rebelled against the Emperor in an attempt to bring the material galaxy under the control of Chaos. A full nine legions left the side of the Emperor and joined Chaos, some choosing specific deities to worship while others went to Chaos Undivided. One legion which rebelled, the Alpha Legion did not specifically join a Chaos god, but is still treated as a traitor legion due to its rejection of the Emperor's ways.
The Horus Heresy Edit
The Horus Heresy took place at the peak of the Emperor's reconquest of the Galaxy at the end of the Great Crusade. The Space Marines, the Imperium's elite and the mainstay of the conquering forces, became divided under Warmaster Horus and turned on the Emperor and his remaining forces. This attempt at conquering the galaxy and bringing about a new age of Chaos failed and the traitor legions fled to the warp after Horus was killed by the Emperor on his Battle Barge. Since then the Chaos Space Marines have attempted to destroy the Imperium through raiding and occasional so-called Black Crusades in mock of the Great Crusade.
Chaos fleets Edit
Chaos fleets are made up of the original vessels involved in the Great Crusade, which tend to be older and therefore use much more advanced technology than their Imperial counterparts. Chaos vessels also include renegade vessels from over ten thousand years of Imperial history, as well as some manufactured in the Eye of Terror, such as the Infidel destroyer and the infamous Planet Killer
The Gods of Chaos Edit
There are four great Powers of Chaos. Originally there were five, but Malal has since disappeared from the background. The Chaos gods were created by mankind and the other sentient races of the material universe. Each is a reflection of an extreme emotion: such as hate, fear, lust and ambition.
The Chaos Powers and the emotions that gave rise to them:
- Khorne is born of hate and rage.
- Nurgle is born of a perversion of mortals' hope for eternal life.
- Slaanesh is born of lust and hedonism.
- Tzeentch is born of ambition, hope and the desire for change.
Tzeentch is pure ambition, divorced from all other emotions and concepts that would otherwise get in the way of achieving a goal. While hope is not evil, Tzeentch is pure hope (or ambition) without conscience or compassion.
- Malal is the renegade God of Chaos and represents Chaos turned upon itself. He is, however, absent from the most recent editions of Warhammer publications for copyright reasons. Though Malal is not named, the Renegade Chapter Sons of Malice, who are known to fight other Chaos followers, display his colors and heraldry.
Ancient History Edit
At the dawn of time, the Old Ones took some of the primitive races, guiding their development to suit whatever purpose they had. The warp at this time was not the hostile place it was in later ages. Once the Necrons arose, the Old Ones created races to battle the threat they posed, creating races with stronger ties to the warp, giving them psychic power to turn the tide against the Necrons. One of these races was the Eldar.
Just before the birth of the Emperor, three of the Chaos gods, Khorne, Tzeentch and Nurgle, had already begun to take form in the warp, although it would take until the end of earth's middle ages for them to fully awaken. Slaanesh wasn't born until around M29, marking the end of the Eldar empire and the end of the Age of Strife, as well as the beginning of the Great Crusade and the rise of the Imperium.
A question not answered is why the positive emotions of the races in the galaxy such as love, courage, honour or compassion haven't manifested yet (though it is possible that they are channelled through the Emperor - when applied to humanity, anyway - or the Chaos Gods simply devoured them in a similar manner to the Eldar pantheon).