Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A brief thought about chaos and balance

With the publication of Tamurkhan: Throne of Chaos finally on the horizon I decided to whet my appetite for all things chaotic by reading my old Realm of Chaos books, particularly The Lost and The Dammned because I've always had a soft (and slightly slimy) spot for Nurgle. Interestingly, I'd completely forgotten about a piece of gaming advice that's given on the very first page of TL&TD:

Brother Paulo and I are often reminiscing fondly about the time when the different fractions of chaos were at war with each other - we both prefer the idea of armies dedicated to one chaos god to the combined chaotic forces that are now possible in both 40k and WFB. In addition, it's striking that back in 1990, the greater powers of chaos were recognised in game terms with the advice that they should only really battle each other; something that was of course feasible due to the narrative of conflict between the daemonic forces.


  1. I'd also like to point out that 'Chaos' is not synonymous with 'Evil' in the original Warhammer cosmosologies. Taking 40K as an example, it is hard to think of the Imperium of Man as anything but 'Evil' - space Nazis with a corpse god-king kept alive by mass human sacrifice. But they are forces of 'Order' or 'Law'.

    In fact, in the Gods of Law were originally as anti-human as the Gods of Chaos. The first would end progress, fix the social order, drain the world of luxuries, passions, and pleasure, essentially freeze the world, while the latter would reduce the world to a boiling mass of change and high sensation.

    The Gods of Chaos are winning, and will win, though - the entropic end of the universe.

  2. So... there would be nothing wrong with building a Chaos worshipping 'Good' character or army. Who could blame those who worship Nurgle in the middle of a plague, or Tzeentch when organising a revolution against a barbaric social order, or when inventing new technologies to improve human welfare, or Slaanesh in a sexually repressive society, or even Khorne when you find yourself in a desperate war?

  3. Absolutely right, of course. To quote the same book:

    "Chaos Powers also exist which typify fellowship, charity, law and other redeeming characteristics. Indeed, no Chaos Power is wholly on sided, for no creature is wholly good or evil, and likewise neither are their shadow-selves. For example, along with violence and blood-shed Khorne has inherited the warrior's sense of honour and martial virtue. Nurgle may typify decay and disease, but he also embodies the human hope and energy that defies the inevitable."


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