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An Argument for Chaos

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A potentially in character argument for Chaos.

 

Chaos is often portrayed as the ultimate villain of the galaxy, the epitome of evil. In fact, all sorts of atrocities are committed with the justification that the terrible might possibly prevent some degree of Chaos incursion. Well, I would argue that Chaos isn't a villain at all and that it is the enemies of Chaos which are the true villains. 

The Chaos gods are the true gods of mankind. It is the very nature of humanity which gives the Chaos gods their form. It is the courage, tenacity, ferocity and fighting prowess of humanity which empowers Khorne. It is mortal passion, our love of pleasure and desire for perfection which empowers Slaanesh. It is human intellect, curiosity, and drive to lear and explore which empowers Tzeentch. And it is our mortality itself, the briefness and hardship of each human life and the struggle against our inevitable demise which powers Nurgle. All of what is unique about humanity, all that makes us special, is personified in the gods of Chaos.

It is the Imperium and the followers of the God Emperor which suppress these natural elements of humanity in their fight against "Chaos." People's freedoms are tread upon, billions are killed as though their lives were worthless. People are not free to act or think as they desire. Even more insidiously, the true potential of human is suppressed. The destiny of human is to take their place along side of the gods as beings of the Warp, to become a powerful psychic race which can coexist with the Warp in perfect harmony. Yet the Emperor prevented this, it was his greatest fear that humanity might transcend its mortal frailty and become something greater. This is why for millennia countless psychics have been killed, why those who have been allowed to exist have been terribly persecuted and enslaved. These are the greatest among humanity, why are they so mistreated? Because of fear, because small minds fear humans becoming something greater than they are now.

Many of the problems of the Imperium stem from fear of Chaos, which is ultimately fear of the unknown or dogmatic adherence to policies created out of such fear. If humanity could coexist with the Warp, think of the ease of travel they might experience, think of the ease of communication. Imagine the strength humanity could wield on the battlefield if they embraced the powers of Khorne and allies with the Warp, which is essence part of themselves, instead of fighting against it. Think of the knowledge that could be gained if humanity opened itself to all learning and embraced the wisdom of Tzeentch, instead of clinging to past knowledge and rejecting new ways ideas.

If humanity embraced its true nature, embraced its true gods, then it could join those gods of the Warp and ascend into a new and greater race, one which were both masters of the materium and the inmaterium. Beings who could draw upon the power of the Warp and give the thoughts power and form. Beings which could move between worlds and across time effortlessly. Beings which would never need to fear the Xeno or even death itself, for the Warp transcends death and the greatest masters of the Warp - those who are called daemon princes - have become truly immortal. Imagine all of humanity ascending to this level.

Humanity already worships Chaos in its heart of hearts. An admiral gives an offering to Khorne with each battle he wins. A lover's every tender act of passion expression of affection is a prayer to Slaanesh. When every a scholar uncovers a new mystery, he is as a priest of Tzeentch. And all of gain the favor of Nurgle when we frantically struggle in the face of our mortality. No wonder the powers of the Warp are called "chaos" - you have chaos when people are at war with themselves and their own nature. You have destruction when people resist change and advancement. When we embrace Chaos, we embrace ourselves, we embrace a future where we can be better than what we are, we embrace hope.

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That's pretty much the point of the Game.  the Men of Low Character Design Diary outright says it.

 

There's good and bad inside it.  We just tend to see the bad parts.  But Khorne can be the Honorable warrior as well as the savage berserker.

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The latest design diary seems to suggest the game is about playing villains to me. It makes it clear the Vortex is a horrific mess of never ending internecine wars, hellish daemon worlds, and rampaging war bands who all hate one and another.

I'm not knocking that. It fits the vast majority of what we've seen of Chaos since 40K first came out. I also like that the aim of the game is firmly stated not to be freedom (as some have suggested) but the quest for power. 

This is clearly a game where you are expected to play 'villains'.

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Heh, nice Word Bearer propaganda. Unfortunately the facts look a bit different. Demons eat souls. That's the only reason the Emperor exists. That's the reason why the Eldar (who never persecuted psykers) are nearing extinction. And look at the champions of chaos. A mindless killing machine, a sorcerer who has killed and enslaved the biggest part of his own battle-brothers, a wandering, plague-carrying flea-infested terminator armour that needs a few cans of bug spray and an immortal sadist. If humanity is supposed to become like that killing them all before it happens begins to look like a sane course of action.gran_risa.gif

 

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Very true. You can be a follower of Chaos who is not a villain but merely misled, aligning himself with the wrong allies out of a honestly good cause, but Chaos in itself is Evil Incarnate.

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Lynata said:

Very true. You can be a follower of Chaos who is not a villain but merely misled, aligning himself with the wrong allies out of a honestly good cause, but Chaos in itself is Evil Incarnate.

Yep, there's nothing more tragical than someone who asks Khorne for help in a hopeless battle to protect his loved ones only to be the one who later offers their skulls to his new lord. Because Khorne doesn't care whose blood flows....

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Freedom, the definitive argument

Most of the warriors of the Imperium fight for their families (Guardsmen) or to save the undefended (Speeesh Mrhins) but....what happens when you realize that maybe Imperium is not the good organization you thought?

When you see the Inquisition merciless Exterminatus in action over your home? When you see the Hive worlds workers die working for riches that will go to lazy nobles? When you see a suicide charge of Guardsmen for taking 20 m of terrain?

And those are the powers I serve? Go to hell!enfadado.gif

gran_risa.gif

Maybe you start as a renegade, trying to acumulate power to "free" galaxy from tyrants and save the people. After this, you see that Chaos is one of the ways that will give you that: Maybe Word Bearer's propaganda will convince you about that Chaos is Mankind true religion; maybe you see Dark powers as a tool...And 200 years after, you have a great empire and an enormous army...but in the way you have forgotten why you started all of this. You have effectively become a Chaos Gods tool

That could be a good argument and a good history for a chaotic. Even that, it would be the history I will use for a future Dark Heresy campaign

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Mjoellnir said:

Heh, nice Word Bearer propaganda. Unfortunately the facts look a bit different. Demons eat souls. That's the only reason the Emperor exists. That's the reason why the Eldar (who never persecuted psykers) are nearing extinction. And look at the champions of chaos. A mindless killing machine, a sorcerer who has killed and enslaved the biggest part of his own battle-brothers, a wandering, plague-carrying flea-infested terminator armour that needs a few cans of bug spray and an immortal sadist. If humanity is supposed to become like that killing them all before it happens begins to look like a sane course of action.gran_risa.gif

1) The God-Emperor eats souls;

2) The Imperium carries out xenocidal wars, which have also helped the Eldar get closer to extinction;

3) Heroes of the Imperium include such people as Inquisitors (who wipe out entire planets), Missionaries (who kill any who don't believe as they do), Witchhunters (who kill people just for being born different) and a variety of other military leaders who have killed billions between them.

Now, to me, there doesn't seem to be all that many differences between the two gui%C3%B1o.gif

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MILLANDSON said:

Now, to me, there doesn't seem to be all that many differences between the two gui%C3%B1o.gif

 

True.  Neither the Emperor or his followers are what could truly be called "good people".  There are some who believe, perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly, that the Emperor is in fact the fifth Chaos God.

And with the way the Warp works, giving form to the hopes, dreams, and fears of mortal minds ... who's to say that after 10,000 years of fervent worship by a large hunk of humanity that the Emperor hasn't become a god, even if he wasn't originally?

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Repost due to formatting failure

Mjoellnir said:

That's the reason why the Eldar (who never persecuted psykers) are nearing extinction.

 

The Eldar can't persecute psykers, because they as a species are psychic, and have been psychic since their creation countless of millions of years ago - every single Eldar is innately and potently psychic, requiring only training to develop that power. Persecuting psykers would have seen them wiped out by their own actions millions of years before, as opposed to being almost wiped out due to the metaphysical consequences of their own hedonistic hubris a mere ten millennia ago.

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MILLANDSON said:

 

 

 

1) The God-Emperor eats souls;

True, however he is very selective. He only eats the souls of psykers that are considered too weak to defend themselves against possession or other perils of the warp.

MILLANDSON said:

 

2) The Imperium carries out xenocidal wars, which have also helped the Eldar get closer to extinction;

 

The Imperium isn't nice, but that Eldar souls have to be entombed in an infinity circuit instead of being reborn is not their fault. In fact you could argue that they should thank Slaanesh that they have a chance against the Eldar.

MILLANDSON said:

 

3) Heroes of the Imperium include such people as Inquisitors (who wipe out entire planets), Missionaries (who kill any who don't believe as they do), Witchhunters (who kill people just for being born different) and a variety of other military leaders who have killed billions between them.

Now, to me, there doesn't seem to be all that many differences between the two gui%C3%B1o.gif

 

There is an important difference. People in the Imperium still have their own free will, with very few exceptions. Even the most hypno-indoctrinated Space Marine can choose to screw the Emperor and Imperium and go renegade. The Imperium is by no means nice. In fact they actively destroyed human societies that were better than them. However at the moment it is the only thing that keeps Chaos in check. (Even though that it is that strong is 100% their fault.) And regardless how facist and evil the Imperium as an institution and many of its "heroes" are, there's hope that one day they can get rid of the Emperor and his lackeys and be free again. It's kind of ironic. The Imperium is oppressive but preservers the potential for freedom. Chaos promises freedom, but will change you in a way that makes you a willing slave.

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

The Eldar can't persecute psykers, because they as a species are psychic, and have been psychic since their creation countless of millions of years ago - every single Eldar is innately and potently psychic, requiring only training to develop that power. Persecuting psykers would have seen them wiped out by their own actions millions of years before, as opposed to being almost wiped out due to the metaphysical consequences of their own hedonistic hubris a mere ten millennia ago.

 

Well, the Dark Eldar do persecute psykers now because they are afraid that they'll draw Slaanesh to them. So it seems to be all about being trained or not. Otherwise I don't get why both on the tabletop and in the RPGs only a tiny fraction of Eldar is psychic. Humans awaken and then they are psykers. Eldar can choose?

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SubtleCadaver said:

Hot off the press - there are no good guys in 40k! Who would've thought?!

Well there were the Sensei from the Realms of Chaos books... though I think they went the way of the squats.

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Lynata said:

Very true. You can be a follower of Chaos who is not a villain but merely misled, aligning himself with the wrong allies out of a honestly good cause, but Chaos in itself is Evil Incarnate.

Possibly, but no more so than the imperium really.  When you have reached a stage where you are prepared to wipe out the entire population of a planet, you have pretty much crossed the moral event horizon.

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Mjoellnir said:

 

There is an important difference. People in the Imperium still have their own free will, with very few exceptions. Even the most hypno-indoctrinated Space Marine can choose to screw the Emperor and Imperium and go renegade. The Imperium is by no means nice. In fact they actively destroyed human societies that were better than them. However at the moment it is the only thing that keeps Chaos in check. (Even though that it is that strong is 100% their fault.) And regardless how facist and evil the Imperium as an institution and many of its "heroes" are, there's hope that one day they can get rid of the Emperor and his lackeys and be free again. It's kind of ironic. The Imperium is oppressive but preservers the potential for freedom. Chaos promises freedom, but will change you in a way that makes you a willing slave.

They have their free will (ish), but they are not free. They still have to conform to a totalitarian, theocratic dictatorship, and should they step out of line by an inch, they are dead for treason or heresy.

In many cases, people who follow Chaos are free, because they do not have that oppression. A large portion of Chaos followers (likely the majority) don't follow any particular god, and are not the slaves you would make them out to be.

People in the Imperium are no more "free" than any Chaos follower, but at least a follower of Chaos can make his own way in the world, choosing his own path, rather than being in a state, as many Imperial citizens are, of being a near-endentured worker.

Of course though, almost all the fluff previously released is from a pro-Imperial/anti-Chaos perspective, which just reinforces the belief that Chaos is, and always will be, evil.

I also note that you justify what the Imperium does (re: Emperor eating souls, etc). Why can't Chaos make the same justification? If they do, they are no more evil than anyone else.

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I found it funny that the character of Gregor Eisenhorn - a member of a galaxy spanning organisation composed of the paranoid, zealous and downright genocidal - is actually portrayed as a pretty decent bloke in the novels. In fact, he's far more reasonable and rational than any of the inquisitors that crop up as NPCs in the various bits of Dark Heresy fluff; who seem on the whole to be members of the torch-wielding, fire and brimstone brigade. You would imagine that if more inquisitors were like him, then people would be more inclined not to turn to chaos worship.

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Radical environments breed radical people (not necessarily referring to the "radical" path as explained by the books now). Personally, I think that novel characters should generally conform to that instead of appearing like an "average bloke" from our modern society, because that is quite simply another world. Exceptions are okay, depending on their motivations/background/origin/position, but - without having read the Eisenhorn novels now, mind you - I'm always wary when somebody with a description like that comes across.

 

vandimar77 said:

Possibly, but no more so than the imperium really.  When you have reached a stage where you are prepared to wipe out the entire population of a planet, you have pretty much crossed the moral event horizon.

The difference is motivation. Whilst unnecessarily cruel and tyrannic, the Imperium's end goal is the protection of the human race as a whole. Chaos has no such objectives. Whilst you may have a percentage of Imperial leaders who only think about themselves or are outright evil and conversely may have a few Chaos worshippers who signed up out of despair and hope for a better life for everyone, the teachings of both sides are ultimately drastically different. The Imperium is about the sacrifice of one or the few for the good of all, whilst Chaos is about the selfish one exploiting everyone else for his personal gain and encouraging internal strife because "might makes right" - maximum freedom ... for the one who is on top.

That's not propaganda - in this aspect, the setting just is that simple. I would advise against seeing more than there really is.

In short: Name one non-evil Chaos God or Daemon and we can talk. ;) You may argue that Chaos just has an "alternate" set of morality (Nurgle in particular doesn't seem as uncaring as the others), but in the end, life in a Chaos Warband is about wanton destruction simply because it's fun for the one doing it, not because Chaos would gain anything from it other than delicious suffering. And even for the ones who began as righteous rebels fighting oppression it is just a matter of time until they become just as tyrannic - or rather moreso - than the Imperium they fought as they become corrupted by the forces they have aligned themselves with.

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I'd recommend you read them Lynata. They're pretty good books. My 2nd favourite Warhammer fiction after the Warhammer Fantasy based Drachenfels in fact (oh, and the story from the old Space Hulk expansion Death Wing as well actually). Eisenhorn is a bit of a unique character for sure, but he is also a highly regarded inquisitor - even by some of his more "hardcore" colleagues.

Can I name you a good chaos god? Not really sure if the term good or evil really applies to them as much as you could apply it to the actions of their followers. I would say that the least destructive to the physical/mental health of the average imperial citizen would probably be Malal. Oh wait... he got retconned. Still exists in my 40k universe though :)

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Lynata said:

The difference is motivation. Whilst unnecessarily cruel and tyrannic, the Imperium's end goal is the protection of the human race as a whole. Chaos has no such objectives. Whilst you may have a percentage of Imperial leaders who only think about themselves or are outright evil and conversely may have a few Chaos worshippers who signed up out of despair anhttp://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_responder.asp?efid=231&efcid=3&efidt=468967&efidc=470144d hope for a better life for everyone, the teachings of both sides are ultimately drastically different. The Imperium is about the sacrifice of one or the few for the good of all, whilst Chaos is about the selfish one exploiting everyone else for his personal gain and encouraging internal strife because "might makes right" - maximum freedom ... for the one who is on top.

From what I have got from FFGs WH40k lore, the majority of imperial rulers are more massively self centred than anything else. Since the 40k universe has developed into a sort of crazy, cyber-medieval (I'm trademarking that term if nobody's used it before) setting over the last 20 or so years, your average citizen has become a sort of space peasant, or serf. They do what they are told, and work **** hard or they get beat down by the iron jackboot of imperial authority. Their leaders are usually portrayed as exploitative and uncaring (there was an exception of a benevolent ruler as a potential antagonist in the Ascension book I think). Also, Rogue Traders are usually pretty tyranical in their dealings with their thousands of pressed ganged crew... and indeed pretty much everyone they meet. Some are in fact not above carrying out a good ol' planetary bombardment or two from time to time (when the natives of some planet they are exploiting get a wee bit uppity). I don't really get the sense that the imperium are an institutiuon where the sacrifice of a few is made for the good of all, but rather that the inverse is true. Hence you will have whole regiments of imperial guard dying in futile daylight charges, across the minefields, repeated time and again, because some planetary governer got beaten by a rival noble, over a game of cards.

It's a great setting for satire though.

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MILLANDSON said:


They have their free will (ish), but they are not free. They still have to conform to a totalitarian, theocratic dictatorship, and should they step out of line by an inch, they are dead for treason or heresy.

Yep, it's really sad for 40k that they are still one of the nicest factions around. :D

MILLANDSON said:

In many cases, people who follow Chaos are free, because they do not have that oppression. A large portion of Chaos followers (likely the majority) don't follow any particular god, and are not the slaves you would make them out to be.

People in the Imperium are no more "free" than any Chaos follower, but at least a follower of Chaos can make his own way in the world, choosing his own path, rather than being in a state, as many Imperial citizens are, of being a near-endentured worker.

Maybe they don't have that special kind of oppression. They have the rule of the strongest. Look at the possible goals of Black Crusade.

"Games set within the anarchic Screaming Vortex are all about power. The player characters seek to gain dominance over their rivals, earning as they do so the dark blessings of the Ruinous Powers."

Yes, you can choose your own path. If you are powerful. Otherwise? Well, if someone wants to wear your skin as a cloak on an Imperial world he will be hunted down (with a bit of delay depending on your importance). On a chaos world? Wearing skin becomes fashionable, as long as the people you skin can't defend themselves. And people who stay between all four chaos powers not being as crazy as the ones who focus on one, well that doesn't really speak for Chaos, does it? And I don't think that more loyal Space Marines turn traitor then traitor marines leaving Chaos has to do with Nurgle's awesome dental plan.

MILLANDSON said:

Of course though, almost all the fluff previously released is from a pro-Imperial/anti-Chaos perspective, which just reinforces the belief that Chaos is, and always will be, evil.

It's not as if Chaos-worshippers would be nice to each other. The other traitor legions turned on the Sons of Horus to get Horus' body etc. It's that way from a pure chaos view point (Codex Chaos Space Marines, Chaos fluff from BFG etc).

MILLANDSON said:

I also note that you justify what the Imperium does (re: Emperor eating souls, etc). Why can't Chaos make the same justification? If they do, they are no more evil than anyone else.

The difference is that for the Imperium the ends justify the means. For Chaos the ends are the means. The Emperor eats souls to stay "alive" and keep the Astronomicon running (even though I have no idea how the Imperium navigated while he still wandered around.) Chaos eats souls because they are tasty and nourishing. The Imperium destroys worlds to deny Chaos access to human souls, Tyranids to biomass etc. mostly after other, more conventional, defenses have failed. Chaos destroys planets because it's an easy and effective way to kill large groups of opponents. Don't get me wrong. I hate the Imperium. I wouldn't shed a tear if someone would blow up Sol in the 40k universe. But it's still the lesser of two evils.

Lynata said:

In short: Name one non-evil Chaos God or Daemon and we can talk. ;)

That's an interesting an funny question, because I have been wondering for a long time.... What the hell were the Eldar gods? Avatars of Khaine count as demons for rule purposes. In the Codex chaos demons there is seemingly a story that Isha survived Slaanesh's birth, was taken prisoner and later "freed" by Nurgle and now is caged next to his plague cauldron and whispers the cures for the plagues into the warp. Now you could argue that Khaine is evil, and that he's not a full god anymore but did he ever mutate Eldar? And as what would an Avatar of Isha count? Is demon just a label for beings from the warp like what works against "witches" works against all psykers? Questions over questions.

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The Imperium is by no means nice. In fact they actively destroyed human societies that were better than them. However at the moment it is the only thing that keeps Chaos in check. (Even though that it is that strong is 100% their fault.)

 

Which Chaos Gods did The Imperium give birth to ?

Didn't the Imperium only come about because the Eldar collapsed the previous civilisation when their screwing around caused warp storms across the galaxy ?

Didn't those warp storms only end when the Eldar exploded their civilisation and created Slaanesh ?

 

How can anyone other than the Eldar take the majority of the blame for chaos ?

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Bilateralrope said:

 

The Imperium is by no means nice. In fact they actively destroyed human societies that were better than them. However at the moment it is the only thing that keeps Chaos in check. (Even though that it is that strong is 100% their fault.)

 Which Chaos Gods did The Imperium give birth to ?

Didn't the Imperium only come about because the Eldar collapsed the previous civilisation when their screwing around caused warp storms across the galaxy ?

Didn't those warp storms only end when the Eldar exploded their civilisation and created Slaanesh ?

 How can anyone other than the Eldar take the majority of the blame for chaos ?

 

 

The C'taan via the Necrontyr can with the Slaan sharing the blame as well. It comes down to the law of unintended consequences. Prior to the galaxy spanning war between the Slaan and the Necrontyr the Warp was relatively benign. The Slaan engineered a multitude of races to aid them in their war against the Necrontyr. It was the fear, pain, loss and other negative emotions generated from the proxy races of the Slaan during the war that changed the fundamental nature of the Warp. So you can blame the Slaan, Necrontyr and C'taan for the state of the Warp as it stands today along with the coalescense of Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch.

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Bilateralrope said:

The Imperium is by no means nice. In fact they actively destroyed human societies that were better than them. However at the moment it is the only thing that keeps Chaos in check. (Even though that it is that strong is 100% their fault.)

 

Which Chaos Gods did The Imperium give birth to ?

Didn't the Imperium only come about because the Eldar collapsed the previous civilisation when their screwing around caused warp storms across the galaxy ?

Didn't those warp storms only end when the Eldar exploded their civilisation and created Slaanesh ?

 

How can anyone other than the Eldar take the majority of the blame for chaos ?

The Eldar are only responsible for Slaanesh as far as I remember. The Imperium however is guilty of the creation of I think 9 chaos space marine legions and a bunch of traitor chapters. And I know that I would prefer fighting Chaos Guard to Chaos Space Marines.....

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Mjoellnir said:

 

The Eldar are only responsible for Slaanesh as far as I remember. The Imperium however is guilty of the creation of I think 9 chaos space marine legions and a bunch of traitor chapters. And I know that I would prefer fighting Chaos Guard to Chaos Space Marines.....

However, if it wasn't for the Eldar creating Slaanesh, the Eye of Terror wouldn't have been formed, and the warp storms that plagued the galaxy, and prevented mankind from spreading and uniting into the plague that is now the Imperium, wouldn't have been blown out, which would have meant that humanity wouldn't have been able to become powerful enough for there to have been a Horus Heresy.

If it wasn't for the Eldar, none of that would have happened.

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