- "Woe, O world! The Age of Mortals is coming to an end. Time passes into oblivion, and the stars lapse in the sky. The dreadful breed of night is crawling out of darkness, to take possession of the world. Fools! Seek refuge in faith or madness, for there's no longer any other place to hide. The Reign of Chaos has begun!..."
- —Egrimm van Horstmann, Champion of Tzeentch
The Warriors of Chaos,[1a] also known as the Hordes of Chaos, the Followers of Chaos,[1e] Chaos Undivided, the Northern Barbarians or simply just Northmen,[3b] are the names given to a race of savage, warlike tribes of Human Barbarians that occupy the harsh and unforgiving lands of the uppermost North, known in the lands of the Old World as the dreaded Northern Waste.[1h][6b] To all those that faced them, the northern barbarians are considered by all to be the enemies of all the world, whose unwavering worship to an uncaring and sadistic pantheon of ancient and evil Gods has given them a single driving motive to usher in the inevitable downfall of all mortal-kind into their hellish enslavement.[6a]
Out of all the many threats that the Old World must face, none strikes such fear and misery into the hearts of Men like the Followers of Chaos. Slaves to darkness all, they have given themselves wholly to the Ruinous Powers, some willingly, others because they felt they had no other choice.[7a] Chaos itself is a corrupting influence upon the world, like a dark, malign cancer that eats at the minds of all those that live within the World. No single race, no matter how noble or powerful, will ever be safe from their barbaric invasions, nor are they safe from the seductive whispers of the Dark Gods. However, out of all the mortal races that Chaos has corrupted over the centuries, perhaps the greatest and most numerous of their followers are those of Mankind.[6a]
The race of Mankind is a paradox upon the World, for although they are considered the world's most greatest defenders against the darkness that is Chaos, they are nevertheless also one of Chaos greatest and most numerous servants. The corruption of Chaos runs deep within the blood of Men, and whose influence upon Human history has literally shaped the founding of entire Nations. From the Northern Waste, armies of the Dark Gods would attack the southern lands time and again, slaughtering without reason, pillaging that which is not nailed down, and just simply wrecking wanton destruction to the nations of the Old World. No matter how many of these marauders are killed, no matter how many invasions are pushed back and enemy armies annihilated, the Hordes of Chaos can never truly be defeated, and after a few years of relative peace, they shall once more come down south and begin the vicious cycle once again. So long as there is still Chaos within this world, they will also be those evil and greedy men that are wholly willing to serve them.
- "What makes them so dangerous is that they truly believe in the things they say they believe; that they are the chosen warriors of an ancient power whose sole purpose is to destroy any who oppose it. Such men cannot be reasoned with, for their every belief is enslaved to the idea that the destruction of our world is their sacred duty."
- —Tzarina Katarina, the Ice Queen[8a]
The origins of the Warriors of Chaos can be tied to the origins of both Chaos and Mankind itself. Long before the coming of Mankind upon the fertile lands of the Old World, the World was originally a lush paradise guarded by the powerful beings known only as the Old Ones. These intelligent and benevolent entities originally had a purpose for this worlds creations, and went about drawing it closer to the sun and seeding the earth with the first forms of life. However, a catastrophic event had occured in an unknown point in time that has since cursed the World to its inevitable damnation.[1b]
The Origins of Chaos
A great calamity befell. Something glorious, wonderful, and powerful died, and when it did, the Great Polar Warp Gates, once a marvel of technology, had collapsed, and with it, the raw stuff of Chaos flowed like a river upon the harsh lifeless lands of the northern and southern waste. Boiling out from the wound within reality itself were the Daemons and their warping powers of magic. The effects of the gate’s destruction created all manner of abominations, and from these abominations came the first Incursion of Chaos. Since those ancient times, Chaos has since corrupted all those that would dwell so near to the north, and whose influence on Mankind will forever plague their history till the end of time itself.[1b]
No one now knows when Humanity first entered the Old World or from whence they truly came, though the most ancient records of the Dwarfs record the steady movement of Humans over the World's Edge Mountains over a period of several centuries, sometimes fleeing more powerful tribes of Men, other times fleeing the rampaging hordes of Greenskins. Other sources say that Humanity spread north from the southern continents, and made the first true communities along the coast of the Tilean Sea and the Black Gulf. Some of these tribes have migrated so far afield that they've even colonized the territories of what is today the Darklands and the rolling plains of the Eastern Steppes, a frigid land bordering closely to the Northern Waste.[1b]
And though Chaos wended its ways into the hearts and minds of these people, and launched attacks from the swirling regions in the north, it was limited in its hold on Mankind. Throughout the millennia, Chaos would produce Daemons and let them loose, but these creatures were not of this world and could not venture to far south. The corruption of Warpstone and the lashing Winds of Magic created herds of Beastmen to inhabit the dim places, but still Chaos could not thrive within a world still filled with hope and peace, for without mortals to fear them, they could not sustain their will. It was then, however, that one of the first true follower of Chaos was born unto this world.[1b]
A savage primitive from an unknown land, Be’lakor is remembered as the first mortal to give his soul to the Ruinous Powers. A powerful warrior and stalwart Champion of Darkness, the Dark Gods favored him the most, luring him north to the Chaos Wastes, where he penetrated deeper and deeper into this bleak land until he came face-to-face with the maddening Realm of Chaos itself. The Dark Gods rewarded his courage by destroying his mortal shell and recreating him in their image: that of a Daemon Prince.[1b]
In this new form, he was a terrible force. He stood at the heads of his legions, destroying any and all who crossed his path, attracting mortals from all over to join his legions. In time, he was worshipped as a God. But, as his power and influence grew, so too did his pride. It was in his arrogance and his belief that he was an equal to the Greater Gods that spelled his downfall. The Four Powers cast him low, and Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways, cursed him, transforming him from a demigod to a confused and crazed spirit that would ever-after exemplify Chaos. He became the Harbinger, He Who Crowns Conquerors. He would never champion the cause of Chaos. He would for all time be a servant and thrall to those mortals who attracted the attention of the Ruinous Powers.[1b]
Ever since then, the shadow of Chaos has spread far into the northern lands of the World. Those Human tribes that cling to its borders were soon corrupted by its influence. Some of these tribes tried to fight back against the darkness, for no sane Human being would so willingly give up their souls to damnation. However, the honeyed whipsers of the Dark Gods had swayed them to their service and destroyed those that still did not bend to their will. In time, the northern people of the Hung, Kurgan and Norse were all swayed into eternal damnation.[1b]
- "Slumber now, child of mine, until they come with torch aflame. But do not run, your time has come, for the Men of the North make claim."
- —Children's Lullaby of Northern Kislev[3c]
In the very distant past, most if not all of the Northmen's ancestors were descended from Humans who ventured northward during Humanity's earlier migration. Whilst the more "civilized" tribes colonized the lands of Tilea, Estalia and the Border Princes, some of these tribes continued northward until they've reached the frozen tundra's that separates the rolling plains of the Eastern Steppes from the frozen wastelands of the Chaos Waste. Being in such close proximity to the Northern Warp Gates, it was inevitable that in time the Dark Gods began to slowly corrupt and enslave the minds of the Northern Human Tribes.[3b] Those that did not bend to the Dark Gods had since fled southward, such as the people of the Gospodar and Ungol, who themselves were once tribes living within the Eastern Steppes. Those that remained eventually grew ever-more warlike, forsaking the benefits of civilization and instead transform themselves into the ultimate warriors.[1h][1b]
The resulting centuries of Chaos influence eventually led to wide-spread mutation and social stagnation. While the people of the south developed into powerful semi-unified nations, the people of the North still regress to primitive savages living within isolated Tribes scattered all across the northlands. However, the centuries of harsh living within an even harsher landscape had since bred the Northmen's into unparalleled warriors,[3b] whose swollen frame and large stature had made them stand far taller then even the most powerfully-built southern warriors.[1h]
- "They come to claim, Child of Mine. They come to claim your life. With hearts of stone, And splintering bone, Their wake is deadly strife."
- —Children's Lullaby of Northern Kislev[3c]
The Norse are a race of powerfully built, hirsute barbarians from the frigid hellscape of Norsca. Long haired and bearded, hefting mighty axes, clad in fur and steel, the Norse are the very epitome of the Warriors of Chaos. Seafarers of unmatched skill, the ferocity of their longship raids is felt as far abroad as Cathay and the baleful dominions of the Witch King himself. Norse reavers are also credited with the discovery of the New World and the jungle continent of Lustria, where they have often clashed with the Lizardmen for the glory of their Dark Gods.[3d]
The Norse are the descendants of an ancient warrior race known as the Norsii,[5a] who are regarded in Imperial histories as the most brutal adversaries of Sigmar Heldenhammer. The Norsemen have continued their ancestral tradition of enmity with the Heldenhammer and his followers, having long since hated the Empire for having resisted their forebears' invasions and robbed them of their conquests in the south. With each brutal strike the Norsemen make against Sigmar's people, they repay the Emperor's heirs for their crimes and come one step closer to ushering the final, glorious battle to end all things. The Norse are also as much at war with their fellow Northmen, the Kurgan and Hung, as they are with the infidels to the south.[5b] Many a bloodthirsty raid have the Norse made upon the horse-tribes to the east, seeking to repay the hordes for depredations committed.[3d]
Such is the Norsemen's devotion to the gods and skill at arms that is from their ranks that the greatest champions of Chaos rise. Indeed, even the Everchosen himself is said to be of Norscan stock. Priding themselves on their physical strength and melee combat prowess above all else, and possessed of an unnatural psychotic bloodlust, the Norse venerate Khorne with the greatest fervour among all the tribes of Chaos. The most significant tribes comprising the Norse include:[3d]
- "So sleep tonight, Child of Mine. For tommorow morn, the sun won't shine. So stay aware, and offer prayer, for the Men of the North march time..."
- —Children's Lullaby of Northern Kislev[3c]
The Kurgans are a race of copper-skinned nomads native to the Eastern Steppes north of the Dark Lands and Kislev and east of Norsca. The Kurgans are the most numerous of the Northmen tribes, highly nomadic and equally capable fighters and travelers on horseback and on foot. During major incursions, the Kurgan make up a fairly significant part of a Chaos Army and have been known to raid Kislev, The Empire, Norsca and other nations alike. They are feared as incredibly proficient and savage warriors.[3e]
Due to their mobility and nomadic lifestyle, they are often the quickest to join a major Chaos incursion, usually as scouts and outriders. Even though they are fierce combatants in their own way, they truly excel at bowmanship and as skirmishing horse-archers. The Kurgan also share blood relations with the northern Ungols and to a lesser extent, with the Gospodars. Indeed, the Gospodar were once a part of the Kurgan people before their exodus into the lands of Kislev. The major tribes within the greater Kurgan people include:[3e]
The Hung are a nomadic oriental race of hunters and gathers, shorter and squatter than the people of Cathay but otherwise resembling them. The Hung inhabit the areas to the north of Cathay in the Far East and Naggaroth in the New World. Out of all the Northmen tribes living within the Far North, the Hung are perhaps the least well-known, for they have never been seen raiding the lands of the Old World. Instead, these marauding horsemen are only seen raiding the lands of Cathay and those of Naggaroth. Perhaps out of all the Northmen tribes, the Hung are by-far the most uncivilized, for their lifestyle is a primitive one that is more reminiscent of hunters and gathers then even tribal nomads.[3f]
The Hung are horsemen par excellence, and they breed tough, small horses on their cold mountain slopes which would survive where larger southern warhorses would starve. They ride these into battle when they attack the more civilised lands to their south. Indeed, they have all but overrun the fell fortresses of the Druchii on more than one occasion. The Hung are known infamously for their mischievous and treacherous nature, even amongst the people of the Northmen tribes. The major tribes within the Hung people include:[3f]
- Dreaded Wo
- "I have returned, father, to claim my birthright and my destiny. Once you spared me death, such was your folly. I shall not make the same mistake. By right of birth and conquest I claim leadership of the Khazag in the name of the true gods"
- —Speech of Tarok before killing his own Father with one deadly blow[4a]
There are no forms of Goverment amongst the barbarians of the north. Indeed, the very nature of nations, law and order goes against and sometimes outright contradicts the nature of Chaos itself. As such, the only forms of unity amongst these barbarian raiders are their oaths of allegiance to powerful Champions,[1l] blood-ties to their own Tribes[1h][1b] and a strict military hierarchy dominated by the concept of strength.[1s] Most if not all the barbarians of the northern waste had started out life as a member of a Tribe or Clan amongst the peoples of the Norse, Kurgan and Hung. These Northmen societies are usually comprised of many different cultures, traditions and their own respective versions of the Chaos Gods. Nonetheless, each of these Tribes usually follow the same type of social structure based upon the strongest ruling over all.
The Norse tribes living within the frigid lands of Norsca are each ruled by a King, who distributes hunting grounds and territory to his lords, who are known as Jarls.[5d] The Jarls in turn bestow gifts and favour upon their sworn warriors, who are known as Bondsmen.[5c] Warriors occupy the most vaunted and esteemed place in Norse society, due to the warlike nature of the Northern tribes and their insatiable lust for glory and battle. The rest of Norscan society consists of the elderly, the infirm and the women. At the very bottom rung of Norscan society lies the Thralls, slaves taken in raids for use as menial labor, as consorts, and worse, as sacrifices to appease the dark hunger of the Chaos Gods.[5c] Kurgan and Hung tribal society also follow a similar form of hierarchy, but instead of Kings and Jarls, these Barbarians are lead by powerful Chieftains known as Zars, perhaps in imitation of the Tzars of Kislev.
Outside of these tribal hierarchy, warbands of Chaos Warriors are usually united under the ruthless banner of a particularly powerful Chaos Warrior, known as Champions.[1s] These Champions are naturally the strongest and most powerful individual within the warband and often bore stigma of the Dark Gods favor. These Champions would often in turn, follow the command of an even more powerful Chaos Champion known as Chaos Lords,[1l] either out of admiration for his power and skill or by being forced into the ranks after being beaten into submission. The motives and ambitions of these Champions are widely diverse, but the most common goal is simply to gain more power and obtain the highest favor of the gods through acts of conquest.
- "Say what you will of us, call us heathens because we deny your weak pretender-god. Call us savages because we strike at you, but know this -- it is we who are closest to the Ruinous Powers. We, most favoured of the gods, shall burn your lands, revel in your suffering, and destroy you. Despair! For all that remains for you is the taste of northern steel and the end of your world. Such is the will of the Gods."
- —Hallbjörn, Norse Marauder
Perhaps the strongest unifying force amongst the Northmen tribes is there dedication and worship of the Four Gods of Chaos. Each and every living inhabitant within the harsh lands of the Northern Waste know full well the powers of these malevolent entities, for their influence can be seen all around the lands and its people. Corruption, mutation and warfare are but just a few signs of the Dark Gods influence upon the World. As such, Northmen religion is based primarily around the worship of the Chaos Gods, which are venerated by various local aspects and names both similar to and distinct to those they are known by to the scholars and priests of the Empire.[1d]
Commonly, the Norse, Kurgan and Hung, amongst other human tribes who dwell around the Chaos Wastes, venerate all the Chaos Gods in a single pantheon, as a purely practical consideration in order to draw upon all of the gifts and powers of the Four Gods in order to better survive in the harsh north. In spite of this, there are many tribes who do in fact take a single Chaos God to be their patron, who is then seen as both the father and protector of that tribe. Commonly, that god is also the Patron of the Chieftain, Zar or King that rules the tribe. In the vast majority of Northmen tribes, Khorne takes up this position, as he is by far the most popular amongst the pantheon for he represents the core aspect that is prevalent amongst the warlike tribes of the war-torn north.[1d]
In addition to the Chaos Gods themselves, the Northmen religion also incorporates various Daemons, fallen Chaos Champions, revered ancestors and various other lesser spirits into its traditions. Despite the presence of these additional deities however, it is always the Chaos Gods alone that are ever-present and as such, receive the highest degree of veneration. The various Northmen people have worshiped the Dark Gods since times immemorial, with the tribes simply have no concept of how to live without them otherwise. Far from being mindless slaves to darkness, the men of the North merely maintain that beings as powerful as the Chaos Gods simply operate on a level beyond mere human judgement or understanding, and are thus entitled to reward or destroy as befits their divine inclination.[1d]
The Northmen believe the path they have taken is the only one that is pure and true, and thus look down upon the gods of the southern lands; seeing them as corrupt, weak and false idols that are beneath contempt and worthy only of mockery. In the Northmen faith, there is no equivalent to the afterlife such as the Kingdom of Morr, for there is nothing after death save the Realms of the Dark Gods, and men shall only enter those domains to sit at the right hand of their gods if they were strong and true warriors in life. For the cowards, they are cursed by the gods and reviled for all eternity. Thus, every Norscan fights with an insane fervour driven by this belief, which molds them into the perfect warriors to their dark pantheon.[1d]
Followers of Khorne
- "My Master is the Beginning and he is the End. He is the Master of mortals, and the core of our Dead Hearts. Deny him and you deny yourselves. Honour him, and acknowledge he to whom we owe it all."
- —The Saga of Khorne[3j]
Khorne, also known as Kharneth,[3l] the Blood God,[3a] the Lord of Murder[3k] and the Hunter of Souls, is the Chaos God of War, Honor, Courage, Rage, Strength and Hate. His domain of power encompasses the most basic and brutal of sentient emotion and every act of killing is said to empower Him, the more vicious and bloodthirsty the better. He is said to smile upon feats of valour, strength and blood-drenched warrior skill, and is the patron of proud warriors who set themselves against the odds and emerge triumphant through strength and skill.[3g] Khorne is said to exalt the brave of both sides of the battle, while at the same time laying his terrible vengeance upon the cowardly and craven.[1f][2a][2b]
On one side of his nature, Khorne is the embodiment of honor and courage, and to those that has put his faith in Khorne are just as likely to be an honorable warrior as he is a blood-crazed killer, and often times it is that he shall be both at the same time. The Warriors of Khorne, though gore-maddened berserkers all, take no artful approach to killing, for such indulgent displays serve only to empower Slaanesh, the honorless adversary of Khorne amongst the company of the gods. It is also due to the warrior-code of the devotees of Khorne, who believe it is the solemn right of every warrior to die an honorable death in battle with sword and axe in hand. Khorne is the second eldest and perhaps the mightiest of the Gods of Chaos.[1f][2a][2b][3a]
Khorne is known by a thousand, thousand names in the North. He is known as Kharneth, Akhar, Kjorn, Khorgar, the Axefather, the Bloodfather, the Bloodwolf and the Wolf-Father, and yet other uncounted multitudes of titles and aspects.[1f] The Blood God is worshiped by almost every tribe in the North, for the Northmen are warrior-peoples who exalt in the contest of arms. Particularly the Norscans, who most eagerly of all embrace Khorne's call to eternal warfare.[2a][2b][3a]
Followers of Tzeentch
- "Do not ask which creature screams in the night. Do not question who waits for you in the shadow. It is my cry that wakes you in the night, and my body that crouches in the shadow. I am Tzeentch and you are the puppet that dances to my tune..."
- —The Book of Tzeentch
Tzeentch, known also as The Raven God, the Changer of Ways and the Great Conspirator is the Chaos God of Magic, Change, Hope, Destiny, Lies and Trickery. He is flux embodied, a daemon-god who alone truly embodies the terrible energies and momentum of Chaos. He bears a strong claim to all who profess to worship the Northern Gods, for without transformation, a warrior cannot ascend to greatness, the gods cannot grant their blessings, and the living cannot die. He is the Great Sorcerer of Chaos, and Bringer of Change, for make no mistake -- endless, broiling change is the truest nature of Chaos, and Chaos is the source of the eldritch energies that mortals, in their superstition, have named 'magic'.[1g][2a]
On one side of his nature, Tzeentch is also the embodiment of Hope, for the embodiment of Hope in its truest sense is that of Change, a change for the better. Tzeentch is also the God of Knowledge, as shown that when a person has an insatiable need to seek out knowledge and the answers to the mystery's of destiny and that of the world often fall sway to Tzeentch influence. It is Tzeentch alone who holds the true key to this terrible knowledge, and his price is very steep. To all those that truly worship Tzeentch, they very well know that each and every one of them are naught but pawns in his game to outflank his Brothers in Darkness and to bring about the downfall of all civilization. The Raven God rewards his followers with madness, insanity, and power and upon death their spirits are brought to his halls to serve him for all eternity. Yet, the Raven God does not scheme towards the accomplishment of some end, but instead, strives to create a never-ending turmoil for its own sake. After all, Tzeentch strives upon such anarchic change.[1g][2a]
Those that are the closest to this God of Magic and Change are those that dabble with the Dark Arts of Magic. Shamans and Sorcerors are perhaps the truest disciples of Tzeentch, for they possess and channel the very essence of Change, which is Magic and its corrupting and mutating influence upon the world and those that live within it.[1g][2a]
Followers of Nurgle
- "Buboes, phlegm, blood and guts! Boils, bogeys, rot and pus! Blisters, fevers, weeping sores! From your wounds the fester pours."
- —The Chant of Nurgle
Nurgle, also known as the Plague Lord, the Lord of Pestilence, the Fly Lord, and the Urfather is the Chaos God of Disease, Decay, Destruction, and Death by Rebirth. He is the eldest of the four Chaos Gods and is the most directly involved with the plight of mortals, particularly humans who suffer so acutely from a fear of death. Indeed, Nurgle is undoubtedly the oldest of the Chaos Gods, for the process of death and decay is as old as Life itself. When the first forms of life had lived upon the universe, they've lived and then would inevitably die, and from this death came the primordial Nurgle.[1f][2a][2c]
On one side of his nature, Nurgle is unexpectedly also the God of Rebirth. After all, decay is simply one part of the cycle of life, without which no new life could grow. In the same way, Nurgle is also the God of Perseverance and Survival. While those who wish to spread decay and corruption are certainly amongst his followers, there are also those who wish to endure, to become tough enough to handle the difficulties and opportunities presented by an uncaring world. Many of those affected by Nurgle's poxes usually turn to him in order to escape the pain caused by sickness and disease, and while the other Three Gods of Chaos have little care for their followers, it is Nurgle who places an uncommon love, admiration, and faith upon those that would follow his blighted footsteps.[1f][2a][2c]
Out of all the Dark Gods, Nurgle is perhaps the least worshiped amongst the tribes of the North. Nurgle's worship is only done when plagues and disease are prevalent amongst their people, for to do so otherwise would simply bring the same diseases upon their lands. In this dire state, the Northmen tribes would often appease Nurgle by offerings of gifts or sacrifices so that they would spare them from his diseases. Those that embrace these "gifts" are given unbelievable constitution against all disease and against even mortal weapons. Only the most powerful weapons or the most lethal of wounds can ever have a chance to bring a Follower of Nurgle down for good, and even to get close to such followers would often bring death to the aggressor himself.[1f][2a][2c]
Followers of Slaanesh
- "Through the souls of your brothers and sisters I take My place amongst the Three; through their pleasure I ascend my Throne. Pleasure, for Pleasure's sake!"
- —The Verse of Slaanesh
Slaanesh, also known as the Dark Prince, the Prince of Pleasure, the Lord of Excess, the Perfect Prince, and even the Prince of Chaos is the Chaos God of Pleasure, Passion, Love and Decadence. Slaanesh is the the Dark God dedicated to the pursuit of earthly gratification and the overthrow of all decent behaviour, as well as hedonism and pleasure for its own sake. He is the God of Obsession, the Master of Excess in All Things, from gluttony to lust to megalomania. Out of all the pantheon, Slaanesh is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, for the complex emotions of Love and Decadence can only exist within the minds of intelligent races.[1g][2a]
On one side of his nature, Slaanesh is the embodiment of Love, Passion and the vibrant Art. Those that dabble with such emotions are usually those of artisans, dancers and flamboyant nobles of the southern realms. However, he is also the embodiment of Hubris, Pride and Pain. Every breath is an opportunity to take in a new scent. Each glass raised is a chance to savour a new flavour. On every battlefield, each sword blow can entice a never before heard pain-filled scream. From his glittering palace, the Lord of Excess revels in each new sensation discovered. He guides and directs the inhabitants of the world to push ever onwards towards new heights of sensation with no forms of moral boundry.[1g][2a]
Unlike the influence of the other Chaos Gods, Slaanesh influence is more prevalent amongst the civilized nations of the Old World. The warlike tribes of the north have very little time to indulge themselves in their desires, for every waking moment is a simple fight for survival. As a result, perhaps the most numerous disciples of Slaanesh hail from the decadent peoples of the south. It is only from here that a person can indulge themselves in the pleasures of life, such as beautiful artwork, culinary delights, extravagant clothing, and the pleasures of the flesh. And none have the time and wealth to indulge themselves in such delights than the wealthy nobles of the nobility.[1g][2a]
- "From the harsh snowlands they come, blue of eye and blonde of hair and tattooed upon arms, face and chest. Their eyes are mad with bloodlust, for blood they thirst, driven forth on the whims of the gods they seek to appease. Clad in few garments and wielding clumsy and brutal axes and maces, they rage against the civilized lands of the south, burning, pillaging and looting all before them as a sacrifice to their uncaring masters beyond the gates of hell in the northern wastes."
- — Liber Chaotica, penned by Richter Kleiss, Priest of Sigmar, now declared insane[3b]
The northern barbarians are universally bloodthirsty, barbaric and fierce. War is their natural state and they wage it without prejudice, rejoicing in battle and strength at arms. When Chaos is ascendant, the men of the north are more willing to put aside their rivalries and disputes. As word spreads of a coming conflict, the tribes gather together in great marauding hordes under the command of a fell Champion of Chaos, whom they will follow to the ends of the earth in the name of conquest. To the Northmen, there is no greater honour than to fight and perish under the gaze of the gods.[1d] Though the risks are great, they are outweighed by even the smallest chance of gaining the ultimate gift of immortality. Without a second thought, they willingly walk a road that will either lead them to ultimate power or eternal damnation.
Chaos Armies as a whole are highly diverse yet extremely feared and horrifically powerful. A large diversity of tribes usually forms the bulk of many large Chaos armies, from the beserker-warriors of the Aesling's to the fleeting horse-archers of the Khazags.[4a] Each and every Northmen, from the lowliest Marauder to the most esteemed Chaos Lord was born and molded from birth to be the ultimate warrior. As a result, nearly every Northmen within the army is far more then a match for even the elite of the southern realms. Warfare and Conquest is considered the lifeblood of the Northern lands.
At its very core, the Armies of Chaos is simply a never-ending battle that happens to follow the same direction. A Chaos army usually consist of many different warbands, all hailing from a wide diversity of tribes and affliations. The warriors that comprises these barbaric warbands are unruly and violent, fighting amongst other rival warbands almost as much as they fight against the weaklings of the south. Only the will-power and brutality of a particularly powerful Chaos Lord can ever hope to quell such barbaric infighting, and even then, from every level of the army's hierarchy, each and every Warrior will constantly strive to defeat one-another in frequent bouts of violence and duels all for the sake of proving one's worth in the eyes of the Dark Gods. There is not a day that goes by within a Chaos Army without the spilling of bloodshed.
As befitting their barbaric existence, the bulk of most Chaos armies consist of primitive warbands of savages wearing nothing but fur-skin cloaks and crude war-axes. These lowly warriors are usually known collectively as Marauders,[1p] for such is their profession when journeying to the lands of the south. Although considered the weakest warriors, these Men are nonetheless exceptional if not unruly fighters. Above these primitives are the heavily-armored and disciplined ranks of the Chaos Warriors,[1q] known famously for wearing legendary suits of daemonic Chaos Plate Armor.[6a] These men are amongst the greatest Human Warriors within the northlands, for the process to obtain such magnificent armor means that the Warrior has conquered many challenges and was awarded a degree of favor from the Dark Gods themselves. Eternally encased within thick plate armor, these hulking warriors are considered the True Warriors of Chaos.
Above these warriors would then be the Champions that lead them. Champions are brutal warriors that have gained a greater measure of favor from the Gods then the rest of his brethrens because of his own personal deeds to their service.[1s] These Champions are usually accompanied by a retinue of Chosen,[1q] warriors that are favored above the common ranks of the Chaos Warriors due to their skills in combat. These Champions would in turn follow the banner of an even powerful Champion, known as Exalted Heroes,[1s] warriors whose deeds within the Northlands have since become legendary.
However, above even these mighty Champions are the legendary Chaos Lords,[1l] warriors whom have earned through blood and carnage the greatest favor amongst the Northmen tribes, whose deeds have destroyed armies at a whim and whose skills at arms have decapitated rival Champions in the dozens. To be a Chaos Lord means to command the utmost power amongst the tribes of the North, and with such power and favor within their grasp, these Lords of Chaos would lead the armies of the Dark Gods into their horrific crusades against the weaklings of the south. Against such a foe, it is said that only the greatest of heroes will ever have a chance at stopping his reign of terror before it washes over the lands of the Old World.
- Chaos Marauder - Chaos Marauders are tribal warriors hailing from the harsh lands of the North, fighting on behalf of the Gods and their Tribe. They fight alongside the Chaos Warriors, eager to earn the attention of the Dark Gods and join their esteemed ranks. These warriors are barbaric to the extreme, wearing almost nothing but fur garments, crude war-axes and wrought metal shields. Nevertheless, these Marauder's are feared rightfully so for their unnatural savagry and brutality in combat.
- Chaos Warrior - Chaos Warriors are considered by many to be the true Warriors of Chaos. Clad in thick Chaos Plate Armor, these Warriors have done a great many deeds to be blessed with wearing such a sacred armor in battle. Standing taller and broader then any southern warrior, these hulking behemoths form the core elite of all Chaos armies.
- Chaos Chosen - The Chosen are those amongst the ranks of the Chaos Warriors who bear the favor of the Dark Gods more so than their fellows. Known amongst their kind as Chosen, they possess supernatural abilities to aid them in their constant war against those that would dare to stand in their way.
- Forsaken - The Forsaken are warriors that have since lost the favor of the Gods and yet still possess the horrific mutations or "gifts" they received from them. Driven to insanity by the pain and torment of these gifts, these warriors were considerably too powerful to devolve into mere Chaos Spawn, and yet too weak to bear the brunt of their mutations and find their minds breaking under the weight. Lacking their former personality, they are now driven only by an unnatural hunger and madness.
- Chaos Ogres - Chaos Ogres are those insane Ogres that have willingly given themselves up to the Forces of Chaos and was rewarded with the horrific gifts of mutation. Used extensively as powerful shock troops, these heavily-armed Chaos Ogres would cleave a hefty toll of those warriors foolish enough to stand in their way.
- Marauder Horsemen - Marauder Horsemen are those tribal warriors that have a strong affiliation with horseback, such as the tribal warriors of the Kurgan and Hung. Riding on fast steeds, these warriors range ahead of the main columns, galloping around the enemy battle line and cutting off any chance of escape. Expert hunters and trackers, Marauder Horsemen are as swift as the wind and merciless as an ice storm.
- Chaos Knights - Chaos Knights are towering brutes clad in the thickest plate armor, and whose reputation is known throughout as the world's most feared horsemen. Riding ontop daemonic steeds that were gifted by the Gods, even the frightful reputation of the Chaos Knights is a weapon in its own right, crippling those who would stand against them with a single thunderous charge.
- Chaos Chariots - Chaos Chariots are more than just machines of war; they are symbols of status and power. They are drawn by a pair of huge destriers swollen to unnatural size by the corrupting energies of Chaos. They are bound by chains and iron rigging to a broad timber frame chariot, which sits atop massive metal wheels. From it seat lies a favored Chaos Warrior equipped with flails or powerful polearm weaponry.
- Skullcrushers - Skullcrushers are blood-mad beserkers that have earned the greatest favor within the Blood God's service, and whose deeds have since earned them the honor of riding Khorne's Juggernauts into battle. Ontop of such a monstrous metal-clad daemon-beast, Skullcrushers are an unstoppable force to behold.
- Hellstriders - Hellstriders are devotees of torment who hunt from the back of impossibly swift daemonic steeds. They fight to inflict pain and despair, landing mortal blows upon their victims where they are most likely to prolong the agonising moment of death. Only the most favored Slaaneshi Worshippers are given the honor of riding such beast into combat.
- Gorebeast Chariot - Gorebeast Chariots are even an heavier and sturdier version of the common Chaos Chariots. No normal beast would have the strength to pull such a massive instrument of war, and they are therefore pulled into battle by a Gorebeast – a muscular creature renowned for its violent temperament.
- Chaos Trolls - Chaos Trolls are those few trolls that have been mutated by the influence of Chaos far more greatly then their other brethrens. They sport all manner of mutations, making them even more hideous than their common cousins, and the power of the Winds of Magic stokes their natural aggression and strength, turning them from mere monsters into some of the most terrible beasts within the armies of the Dark Gods.
- Chimera - The three-headed Chimera is one of the most fearsome of all the children of Chaos, a beast whose progenitors were so warped that it is now impossible to say what manner of creatures they once might have been. Regardless of their exact form, all Chimerae share a savage and unpredictable nature that makes them easily the worst of all chance encounters.
- Manticore - Manticores are huge, leonine beasts that soar on leathery wings. They are amongst the most powerful of all the predators that live in the north’s mountain ranges. The mutating power of Chaos ensures that no two Manticores are truly alike. Some have manes of writhing serpents, others pelts of iron scales, and many sprout spiked tails with a poison strong enough to boil a man’s blood in his veins.
- Chaos Spawn - A Chaos Spawn is a term to describe a whole spectrum of mutated creatures warped into being by the corrupting influence of Magic and Chaos corruption. Once the first mutation takes hold, the creature that was once now faces the inevitable dissolution of his mind and will, becoming something less than yet more than mortal.
- Slaughterbrute - The Slaughterbrute is the epitome of violence and bloodshed kept tamed through means of ritual daggers and powerful magic. It possesses four front arms of differing sizes, a muscular body, a triplex tongue, and a massive head that contains a cluster of eyes and multiple rows of teeth. It possesses skin that is chitinous, creased and spiked, and the creature stands on hoofed feet.
- Mutalith Vortex Beast - A Mutalith Vortex Beast is an utter abomination of nature. It is a terrifying fusion of monster and magic, a creature mutated beyond all reason by the power of Tzeentch. The Mutalith Vortex Beast differs in a striking manner: a vortex of raw Chaos echoing the shape of the 8-pointed star looms up from its back. Nine huge tentacles extend out of its mouth, each of which is dripping with ichor. Finally, it possesses two tails that end in mouths, tongues and claws. The creature has no head, but instead has a gaping maw that can consume almost anything.
- Chaos Giant - Chaos Giants are twisted, monstrous humanoids that have divulge from the rest of the Giant race and became warped into a creature that possess a greater prodigious appetite for violence. They are single-minded engines of destruction, as dedicated to murder and mayhem as Champions of Chaos themselves.
- Chaos Warhounds - Chaos Warhounds are large, horrific creatures that were mutated by the powers of Chaos and now stalk the dark lands of the Old World in search of prey. They often stalk around encampments searching for scraps and lone creatures to attack.
- Dragon Ogres - Dragon Ogres are amongst the most ancient of the world’s living creatures. Their incredible longevity, as with almost all things supernatural, is the work of the Chaos Gods.
- Dragon Ogres Shaggoths - Dragon Ogre Shaggoths are living legends of carnage and devastation. As a Dragon Ogre ages, it becomes ever larger, growing stronger and more powerful. As long as it can find lightning to refresh its body and revitalize its mind, there is no limit to the size one can reach.
- Chaos Warshrine - Chaos Warshrines can vary wildly in design. Some are mere wagons, piled high with skulls, weapons and other offerings pleasing to their god. Others are vast altars mounted atop iron platforms and borne aloft by mutant beasts that roam the Chaos Wastes, creatures whose misshapen, over-muscled bodies are evidence of the Dark Gods’ favour.
- Hellcannon - A Hellcannon is a massive construct of metal that growls and shakes with daemonic sentience. In battle, these arcane engines heave crackling blasts of raw energy that soar through the air into their targets, liquefying anything they touch and sending the survivors insane with fear.
- Chaos Lord - A Chaos Lord’s indomitable will is forged in the fires of war, his skills are tempered and honed in the crucible of battle, and his blade is eternally quenched in blood.
- Chaos Sorceror Lord - Chaos Sorceror Lords are the very pinnacle of magical mighty. These mighty sorcerors have learned all the many secrets that Chaos has to offer, and in exchanged for his own soul and humanity, he has become a living conduit of dark magic.
- Daemon Princes - Should a Champion of Chaos survive the endless battles and the ravaging mutations granted by their fickle masters whilst still finding favour in their eyes, he may attain the ultimate reward. The patron of the champion will elevate him to his side as a Daemon Prince, a being of godlike power, forever bound to darkness and destruction.
- Exalted Heroes - An Exalted hero striding to war in full battle armor is a sight to strike fear into the hearts of even the most embittered veteran, for they are living engines of destructions, a warrior that is but a few steps away from become a turly destructive instrucment of the dark gods.
- Chaos Sorcerers - Chaos Sorcerers wield the wild energies of entropy itself, reshaping reality to better serve their whims and those of their dark masters. A word and a gesture from a Chaos Sorcerer can strip a man’s flesh from his bones, force a lover to murder his beloved, or cause a regiment of soldiers to burst into flame.
- Archaon - Archaon is the Everchosen, the Three-Eyed King, the Lord of the End Times and the self-proclaimed supreme champion of the four Gods of Chaos who was sent to command the last, and greatest Chaos Invasion during the apocalyptic age known simply as the End Times. Out of all the Everchosen of Chaos who have assailed the world over the ages, Archaon is by far the most ruthless and perhaps the most powerful. He is an individual that shall decide the fate of entire nations, whose sword can lay waste to heroes and armies and whose unbreakable will can break and dominate those of Gods. Archaon is truly the Herald of the Apocalypse, blessed with dreadful artifacts of ancient evil, each one bestowed as a reward for accomplishing impossible trials.
- Vardek Crom, Herald of Archaon: Also known as Crom the Conqueror. A powerful warlord of the Kul tribe, Crom is allied with Archeon. During the Storm of Chaos, Crom led his army to attack the Empire from the east while Archeon attacked from the north. Crom also defeated Waaagh! Grimgor in the beginning of the campaign, thus earning the honor of being the first mortal to fight Grimgor to a draw in single combat.
- Prince Sigvald: A Chaos Lord of Slaanesh who was the son of a powerful warlord and his sister. He was born beautiful at birth, save for a horned birthmark on the back of his neck, and was spoiled by his father. He was eventually disowned by his father and expelled from his tribe after his father discovered his fondness for human flesh. Sigvald then killed his father in his sleep and departed for the Chaos Wastes where Slaanesh became his patron. Now, Sigvaald marches at the head of an army devoted to himself and Slaanesh. He eradicates anyone he deems to be ugly, crude or irritating and burns down cities on a whim. One story suggests that he destroyed the town of Chamburg because the wine there was not to his taste. He is spoiled by Slaanesh and is described as being extremely self-centered. In fact, he and his elite body guard bear mirrored shields so that each may look at himself in the midst of battle. His gifts from Slaanesh have left him beautiful on the outside, but rotten inside. The ground literally reshapes itself for him and his feet float an inch above the world's surface. He wears an armor of ensorcelled gold that never rusts or gets dirty and fights with Silverslash, a rapier of silver forged from the sword of Slaanesh.
- Valkia the Bloody: A Daemon Princess of Khorne who is said to be the consort of Khorne. Valkia was once the queen of a great tribe. She gained the attention of Khorne when she slew anyone in her tribe to question her right to rule. She then moved on to killing other Chaos lords and mighty followers of the other gods. One such was Locephax, a daemon prince of Slaanesh who was attracted to her and asked her to be a slave girl for him. This angered her and she killed him in a duel then placed his head on her shield. Khorne was from then on her patron God and she made a pact to fight her way north to the Realm of Chaos and place her shield on the throne of Khorne. But on her journey north she was killed in battle. Khorne raged over her passing, brought her from the dead and turned her into a Daemon Princess. She has the legs of a Bloodletter of Khorne and the wings of a bat. Valkia carries the Spear of Slaupir, the Scarlet Armor, and her Daemonshield.
- Vilitch the Curseling: A Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch who was born a twin. He was born wretched and tiny while his twin brother was strong and so Thomin, his brother, was more favored by his family while Vilitch did the chores around the home and worked as an apprentice to the village shaman. After praying to Tzeentch one night, Vilitch was fused to his brother, who became mindless. Vilitch then destroyed the village, killed everyone, and is now the leader of a mighty army of Tzeentch. In battle, his brother counts as a magical item that can store magical power for his army and steals the other army's power.
- Festus the Leechlord: A Chaos Sorcerer of Nurgle. Festus was a once famous doctor of Nordland who sold his soul to Nurgle in exchange for knowing how to cure all disease. The knowledge made him mad, and now he spreads pestilence. He now travels the roads with his army of Nurgle. He has been known to take captives to test his experiments - that also is an effect in battle. His potions are magical items that give him and the unit he is in a regeneration save.
- Scyla Anfingrimm: A Chaos Spawn that was once a Chaos Lord of Khorne. Scyla is still favored by Khorne, so is greater than a normal Spawn. Many warriors wish to challenge him so, in battle, characters may challenge Scyla to a duel. He carries the brass collar of Khorne.
- Wulfrik the Wanderer: A great warrior who drank too much beer one night and boasted that he was the greatest warrior alive. Chaos Gods sought to punish him and he is cursed to hunt other great warriors until he dies. The gods gave him the gift of speaking any language and he must declare challenges on the battlefield. He has a flying ship called Seafang that allows him and a unit of marauders to deploy anywhere on the battlefield.
- Throgg, King of Trolls: A Troll who was given by the Chaos Gods the gift of intelligence. He was then named King of Trolls and one day decided to conquer everything. He now plans to lead an army of trolls and other monsters of Chaos to destroy the lands of men.
- Kholek Suneater: A giant Dragon Ogre who is believed to be the second eldest of his kind. He is consider a god by some and was once frozen in an ice glacier by Teclis until he was freed. It is known that during the Great War of Chaos, he was in Kul's army and was the one who destroyed Kislev's wall at the battle of Kislev's Gates.
- Arek Daemonclaw: A former noble of the Empire who became disillusioned with the Empire and slowly turned to Chaos, seeking out various forbidden tomes and gaining knowledge by infiltrating cults dedicated to Tzeentch. After journeying to the Chaos Wastes he pledged himself to Tzeentch and over the next century was granted many gifts for his dedication to the Changer of Ways. After meeting the mages Kelmain Blackstaff and Lhoigor Goldenrod he rose to power in the Wastes, gathering an army of hundreds of thousands before marching on Kislev. Slain at the Battle of Praag by Gotrek Gurnisson.
- Azazel: A Chaos Lord of Slaanesh who lived during the time of Sigmar. He was once a tribesmen of Sigmar's tribe, the Unberogens, and his name was Gerron. In fact, his twin brother, Trivonates was one of Sigmar's best friends, but was killed during a battle with Orcs. Afterward, Gerron blamed Sigmar for his brother's death. During this time, Sigmar fell in love with Gerron's sister, Ravena. Seeking help to avenge his brother's death, Gerron went to a witch, referred to as the Old Lady of the Breckenwalsh. She agreed to help, believing that doing so would guide Sigmar down the path needed to create The Empire. She gave Gerron a cryptic message and, when he finally understood it a few years later, he planned his attack on Sigmar. However, pretending to befriend Sigmar made Gerron realise he truly liked the man. But a corrupting power, whether that of Slaanesh or the witch can be debated, made him nearly kill Sigmar and kill Ravena, believing that by having relations with Sigmar no longer made her his sister. He escaped to Norsca, believing he escaped Sigmar's hunters when he never sent any. There he became a Chaos Lord of Slaanesh who aided Cormac Bloodaxe, a Chaos Lord of Khorne, in conquering the newly-formed Empire. He raided The Empire's coast, killed the witch, who hadn't foreseen Gerron becoming a worshiper of Slaanesh or a Chaos Lord, and helped Cormac in a siege of Middenheim. During the battle, he faced Pendrag, one of Sigmar's closest friends and Azazel's former best friend. He killed him, but felt remorse for his death and fled the battlefield weeping, before being shot in the shoulder with a crossbow by Myrsa, second-in-command of Middenheim. He then fled into the forest still weeping. Not much is known afterward, only that Slaanesh turned him into a Daemon Prince and he still fights in the Chaos Power's name.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos (8th edition)
- 2: Tome of Corruption (2th edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 3: Liber Chaotica (Volume I)
- 4: Chaos War Mammoth Background Rules (2nd Version)
- 4a: pg. 1 - 4
- 5: Tome of Corruption (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 6: Warriors of Chaos (7th Edition)
- 7: Old World Beastiary (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 8: With Ice and Sword (Novel) by Graham McNeil
- 8a: Chapter: 1