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Saalacious Speculaation about a Slaanesh release

Klamm

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 SLAANESHI SPECULATION: A Fan Unit & Lore Wishlist

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This is a slight remix of some other posts I've written about Slaanesh, compiled as my overall 'pitch' for the direction I want the faction to take. Slaanesh is overall my fave faction in Warhammer, as I find their philosophical and existential potential immediately fascinating, more so than the other chaos gods (though I like them too). The following post will aim to explore some of those facets and, hopefully, demonstrate how they can translate into fun mechanics and iconic new units. 

My key proposals are a) separate the 'aspects of pleasure' into six distinct modes in conflicting pairs ( Indulgence/Neophilia, Vanity/Artistry, Dominion/Submission) and b) focus on Slaanesh's Ulgu/Hysh contradiction.

Slaanesh is interesting in that, mirroring how the god itself is trapped between the realms of light and shadow, so are the god's themes (there's one rumour engine picture which appears to depict this light/dark duality on a yet-unreleased model).  It's not simply a realm of origin but the 'manifested sentiment' of worship, how the varying followers act.

There are two major 'modalities' of the Slaanesh aesthetic which have been used throughout Warhammer: the perverse saaadism (I'll be adding etra As to academic words which trigger the swear filter) of the Dark Eldar-like body-horror, and the elegantly elaborate warriors bedazzled with glistening gems (which I prefer, but I get that some people prefer the Hellraiser angle). While of course the objective should be to synthesise the two (the Hellstrider kit, with its choice between mutilating mutations or intricate helms, accomplishes this), I think that leaning into the Hysh/Ulgu duality would open the design space for exploring the spectrum.   

One more brief addendum: I have no preference on whether Slaanesh's grand return involves the god being broken out of captivity or not. I mean, sure it would be nice to see Slaanesh ascendant, but the current storyline involving mortals dealing with their absent god is compelling too. More important, to me, is to nail the ideology and proclivities of the worshippers. I guess this factor is relevant to the question of whether it is possible to become a Slaaneshi Daemon Prince while their liege is in captivity, but that's a lore post for another day. 

6 Aspects of the Pleasure God

The aspects are not rigid categories, and indeed a follower may embody many simultaneously to varying degrees. Each aspect describes a form of hunger for pleasure; the desire that serves as an avenue through which a person comes into the Slaaneshi fold. They're also arranged in three pairs, with each representing a contrasting duality of ways in which Slaanesh may be worshipped. Invariably, these splits exhibit similarity with the Ulgu/Hysh tension, and so the aspects will usually favour the sensibility of light or shadow. 

 

1.    Indulgence 
The Glutton, The Hedonist, The Debauchee

Indulgence is perhaps the most commonly manifested aspect of Slaanesh, yet still comes in a variety of forms. It may be expressed through gluttony of food, drink, carnal activities or other sense-pleasures. The commonality of all such pursuit is excess; overstimulation of corporeal pleasure. Within this aspect, there is a thin yet profoundly meaningful line. It is the difference between the proudly hedonistic bon vivants and the compulsively overstimulated; the slaves to their own addiction. It is usually only the former category which has a chance to rise to the status of champion. The latter group is likely doomed to an eternal, unrestrained sensory excess. The Prince of Pleasure is grateful for this self-sacrifice, and he looks upon his thralls of addicts with fondness.  

Indulgence is the aspect of addiction and obsession; the kind of single-mindedness that thrives in the light of Hysh. The Indulgent Champion is rarely stated by 'enough' of something, and would likely have a mechanic for multiplying attacks over prolonged combat. 

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2.    Neophilia 
The Thrill-Seeker, The Adventurer, The Explorer    

The neophile shares with the glutton a desire for overstimulation, but seeks it through the novel discovery of the-not-experienced. The insatiable thirst for newness means they rarely over-indulge in any one thing, but quickly tire of one activity and are thus spurred to seek another. Slaaneshi neophiles are perhaps the least reliable followers,  given their penchant to abandon their masters in order to seek new adventures. They tend to favour mounts, as a good steed will allow them to cover more ground and explore more lands. They tend not to get too attached to their mount, though: there's often some strange new creature to tame just past the next hill...

Neophilia has its home in Ulgu, where sensation is fleeting and the purpose is to break through the shroud of 'numbness' to find new excitement. The longer a champion who embodies this aspect lives the fewer new sources of bliss they find, which tends to drive them to erratic bouts of manic sadism. On the table, the Neophile is desperate to get stuck in with their new foe, gaining run and charge. However, after a round of fighting, they may have already become bored of their combatants, and so gain retreat and charge in order to move onto their next quarry. 

Aestreth the Magpie Lord, great plunderer of Ghur, was a notoriously fickle Slaaneshi champion. His military exploits earned him the favour of his patron in the form of a Demonic sword, said to have been forged from a shard of Slaanesh’s fingernail. This formidable blade earned him yet more victories… for a time.

As the novelty of the weapon began to wane, so too did Aestreth’s enthusiasm. One day, he stumbled across a particularly fluorescent warpstone blade, which he pried from the dead claws of a Clan Skryre Emissary. Any Duardin could have told him that a Skaven blade isn’t worth a Grot’s pimple. However, mesmerised by its jade glow, Aestreth dropped The Prince’s Nail into his massive hoard of trinkets and decided to use this new blade instead. 

Aestreth had the misfortune to christen this warp blade in a duel with an Orruk Megaboss. Aestreth's first sweep glanced off the brute’s iron pauldron and the second shattered the Skaven-forged blade to the hilt. Aesthreth soon found himself splattered into a cautionary tale about valuing one’s gifts. It is said that, following the Orruk massacre of Aesthreth’s Chaos horde, Aesthreth’s trove of exotic treasures languishes still somewhere in the Ghur. The Prince’s Nail waits impatiently for a new wielder. 

-  Tale of Aestreth, a Slaaneshi legend 


3.    Vanity
The Handsome, The Aesthete, The Paragon    

Slaanesh’s vain followers are numerous, and it is rare for any disciple of the Dark Prince to truly not care about their appearance. However, the true path of vanity is not simply a superficial one. It is those who strive toward self-centred perfection in intelligence, grace and a thousand different skills who truly embody the path of the vain. While those who embody the aspect of dominion strive toward leadership, those who embody Slaaneshi perfectionism often become leaders as a product of their quest for mastery. Thus, the selfish desire for perfection creates some of the most powerful and important leaders within the faction. This aspect's desire for power invites the lure of Tzeentch, but while the changer can only offer diverting boons and obstacles to their ambition, Slaanesh lavishes the fruits of their vain ambition with admiration which is, of course, the real prize. Yet the path of vanity is an unhappy one: as the acolyte reaches heights of greatness,  much-prized admiration can only come from those 'below' (thus unworthy of respect), and so the continuum of selfish ego and contempt for others means no amount of attention satisfies their need for approval.

The aspect of Vanity is oft-embodied in Hyshian sentiment, where exhibitionist displays of knowledge, skill and power act as an insidious impetus for the worship of Slaanesh. Vain champions no doubt would gain additional traits or artefacts to demonstrate their accumulation of talents. 

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4.    Creativity
The Artist, The Poet, The Musician     

Least likely to worship Slaanesh via the blade is the artist. Painters, musicians and poets pay homage to the dark prince with their craft tools instead. The creative aspect is similar to ‘vanity’ in a preoccupation with aestheticism. However, instead of focusing on themselves, the object of the creative follower’s aestheticism is transposed into the art. The creative aspect is perhaps most reverently respected among the Slaaneshi hosts, even if this doesn’t always extend to the creator himself. Every self-respecting Lord has a chronicler, chef and musical band: one of the perks of leadership. Most common are the various types of musicians who serve in the command of units, and these individuals invariably take more pride in their craft than the crude hornblowers and drummers of the other gods' armies. Slaanesh is the patron of all aestheticism. No piece is too explicit, too strange, or even too Heretical. 

The aspect of creativity is perhaps closest to a balanced synthesis of Ulgu and Hysh, manifesting both the instinctive sensuality of the former and perfectionism of the latter. However, when understood as opposed to the narcissism of Hyshian vanity, creativity can be seen as curiously non-egoist, and this 'obscuring' of the self in favour of the created object embodies the temperament of Ulgu. Creative appreciators of art would likely fixate on particularly impressive specimens on the battlefield, so a Creative Champion could gain the power to 'mark' an enemy model for study, and receive bonuses against them. 

Slaaneshi artisans revere the Slaaneshi Sorcerer Lord Sylch, who currently resides in the Realm of Hysh. She is rumoured to have gazed upon a vision of Sigmar and has since dedicated himself to painting the god king’s likeness in a portrait. Though perceived by the other chaos gods as heresy, Slaanesh has blessed Sylch for her work. The Dark Prince understands that examining and re-creating beauty is a worthy task, even if such a pursuit glorifies the great enemy. For, if Sigmar's glory can be painted on canvas, perhaps his power can be understood...

- Excerpt from the Liber Epecuria


5.    Dominion 
The Tyrant, The Patriarch, The Mentor

This aspect is embodied both by the sadistic tyrant and the benevolent protector of his people, for the aspect does not dictate HOW the dominion is exercise, only that an individual's power/influence exerted upon others.  Indeed, many a benevolent voivode who think they know best for their subjects falls into the worship of Slaanesh, who encourages them to take pleasure in their power and control. Yet this can also entail sadism and tyranny, for how the master plays with his pets is up to them. What matters is the impulse to assert one's will onto another. Mortals who embody this aspect feel the temptation of Khorne but it is only Slaanesh who allows them to savour the experience of control, while Khorne encourages domination for its own sake.  

The aspect of Dominion is tied closely to Hysh. The scrutinizing light of rationality invites a desire for order and control.  In the heat of battle, a Domineering Slaaneshi champion would be able to throw command abilities around with near-impunity. 

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6.    Submission
The Acolyte, The Servant, The Maasochist 

Opposite the aspect of dominion is that of the submissive. These souls are often insecure or fearful, wishing to transcend their sad existence by dedicating themselves fully to a rapturous cause. Few who worship Slaanesh recognize their 'death drive' enough to articulate it, but the dark prince senses their existential terror and gives them what they truly want: a warm, accepting oblivion. Such despondent souls might also be tempted by the embrace of Nurgle, who will free them from their pain if they give into despair. However, Slaanesh offers them something more: if they relinquish not 'sensation' but their very 'self', they can experience the rapture of oblivion. These zealots form a foundation for any Slaaneshi revolt of civilization and they serve in the armies as loyal minions to the cause. 

The aspect of Submission thrives in Uglu, where shadow magic instils a kinship with 'oblivion'. A Submissive servant of Slaanesh knows no fear but their god's disappointment, and so are untroubled by battleshock. 

 

The Unhappy Prince - A Slaaneshi Poem

In slumber did A Great Prince lie,
Fatigued from deeds, achievements high,
Yet dreamed uneasy, craving more
And drew the hungry gaze of four.

The red one said: “I’ve seen you fight.
“Honour me and I’ll grant you might!”
But of his foes, The Great Prince said:
“I have no drive to see them dead”.

The blue one spoke: “I offer skill.
“Being the best will joy instil!”
But The Prince knew well of the ennui 
That comes from insecurity.

The green one said: “I grant relief.
“From pain or fear I’ll spare you grief.”
But no: "simply leaving 
pain behind,
“Will not help me escape my mind.”

So The Great Prince, dissatisfied,
Heard the three and then denied.
The curse of ‘self’ was unaddressed,
Until the purple phantasm pressed:

“I’ll give you more but make you less,
"Senses honed. Ego repress.
"From existence, you'll be free
"To experience, but not to ‘BE’.”

And so The Prince bequeathed his soul,
Ceding mind to make him whole.
To only SENSE, forevermore,
Never again to dream of more.

Azryte scholars have observed this poem recited by Slaaneshi Warriors honouring 'Oblivants', a sub-sect of Unsated Pleasurehosts who completely submit their minds to Slaanesh. In exchange for this oblivion, their senses are unimaginably intensified.

 

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Slaaneshi Armies

Okay, so having set the table in terms of faction theme, it's time for a good ol' new unit wishlist. 

I think it’s realistic to go by recent factions (either brand-new or significant additions to a few older kits, NOT INCLUDING terrain or endless spells): Idoneth Deepkin (11 total: 5 unit kits, 6 hero kits), Kharadron Overlords (11 total: 6 Unit kits, 5 Hero kits), or the upcoming Gitz (10 total) set the precedent that we can expect at least 10 new boxes of stuff, not counting terrain and spells.  Okay, let’s work with 10.

My assumption and hope is that, given that Slaaneshi Daemons currently have 10 units (5 units, 5 heroes), most of the new models will be Slaaneshi mortals. That said, I can see 2 ‘slots’ going to round out the Daemons. First is the inevitable centrepiece Keeper of Secrets, which will almost certainly be a dual kit for a special character. As for who the alternate build will be, well, they could very well be a Rotigus style new invention. But if they were to take someone more established (like Kairos) N’Kaari may be a perfect oldie to make a comeback, given his history with Tyrion and Teclis. 

 

Spoiler

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The only other addition that the Daemons need is one more generic hero. My idea would be a ‘Vice-Sribe', a Scriviner-style scribe Daemon whose responsibility is to be a database of mortal vices, which would translate to buffs for Daemonette units. 

The Mortal Hosts

One thing I want to get right up front. I really REALLY REALLY don’t want the army to focus on chaos-tainted Aelves. It seems like the lazy choice that doesn’t really make much sense (as Morathi demonstrated, even Aelves who work for Slaanesh just end up as food anyway, so there’s no incentive to give into the Dark Prince). And when you think about it, the reason many mortals would turn to Slaanesh is that they desire grace, perfection and beauty, all inherently Aelven traits. Wouldn’t it be more interesting and make more sense if Slaanesh’s followers were vain mortals who wished they could be LIKE Aelves? I don't mind chaos elves being a thing, but human Slaaneshi worshippers are the subject of this post. 

Light and Darkness

So, I wish to draw on the 6 aspects and Ulg-Hysh duality as explored by the previous lore section. I envision a Slaaneshi mortals roster being divided into three, subtly differentiated themes: Shroudrapt (Ulgu themed), Resplendants (Hysh themed) and Profligants (an unaligned synthesis of the Ulgu and Hysh).

Hellstriders are the only currently available basic Slaaneshi troops, and I think their aesthetic would serve as a 'baseline' for the factions style as a whole: ornate soft-angled armour with a light Greek theme. The Hysh theme would run with the ornate, resplendent plate gilded with pristine cloaks and buckets of gemstones, to represent a vain perfectionism (the current Sigvald model would fit in this niche). In contrast, the Ulgu theme would take cues from some of the older Slaanesh champions models with a bit of Dark Eldar thrown in: pallid, sadomasochist mortals with claw-like mutations and armour painfully fused to their bodies. These two aspects represent the contrary desires within the faction, and we might consider those which manifest both in equal measure as ‘unaligned’. And it doesn’t even NEED to be codified to the extent of keywords, merely the lore enriching gameplay in an unobtrusive way.

Oh, and two other prescriptions for overall aesthetic: unit musicians carry more elaborate, skill-based instruments than simply horns, and the entire army is mixed gender (which should be the case for the other three gods but applies here too). 

 

Profligants - Ulg-Hysh Synthesis

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Porfligants are the hedonistic cultists and determined seekers of Slaanesh. In their rapturous chaos, they freely embody both the light and dark aspects of their god. 

Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic mount - The proud, staple general of the faction. As the current Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic mount is somewhat dated, I can see them releasing a multi-part kit with which you can build a mounted Slaaneshi Lord, Pleasuremage and named character on Daemonic Mount.

Pleasuremage – As the faction lacks a mortal wizard, this would be the Slaaneshi sorcerer lord choice, with a potent augmenting spell capability. These mages deal most intimately with the Ulg-Hysh synthesis, and so I can imagine that their fine robes are emblazoned with icons of duality. 

Hellstriders (Slaanesh Battleline) - we all know and love these chaps. Their current rules are strange but work, so changing the warscroll is unnecessary. However, if you were to lean into the Hysh/Ulgu divide, you could turn the box into a dual-kit: the crested helmet and whip assembly could be a Resplendant warscroll retaining the Soul-hunter rule while the mutated, bare head claw-spear version could be a Shroudrapt warscroll with different rules.

Shroudrapt - Ulgu Themed Units

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The Shroudrapt are morbidly perverse nihilists, flesh studded and pierced in displays of maasochistic devotion to the Dark Prince. 

Blissflayer (Hero) - This would be a lightning fast assassin, a loner who takes enormous pleasure in the murder of great heroes (a Chaos inversion of the Tenebrael Shard). Both in the lore and on the table, this would be your depravity point engine, and would likely have some nifty deployment shenanigans that enable him to get to protected enemy heroes. Blissflayers are usually derived from the ranks of particularly ambitious and successful Unsated (see below). 

Agonic Impressionist (Hero) – Where the Pleasuremage derives power from positive sensation, the Agonic Impressionist paints pure torment onto the world’s canvas. A jovial saadist clad in studs and blades, this character would come as part of the same behemoth kit as the foot Pleasuremage (as in unmounted, not a foot fetishist. Though maybe... Slaanesh cares not from whence the-- I'm not going to finish that sentence).

Unsated (unit of 10, Battleline) - Though we already have one example of basic infantry in Daemonettes, it is absolutely essential for there to be a mortal ‘grunt’ unit. There needs to be a clear ‘entry level’ rung on the totem pole, a version of the everyday Slaaneshi acolyte (this is the most glaring absence in Maggotkin, detracting from the ‘papa Nurgle welcomes all’ lore). This marauder equivalent would be more *slightly* elite than your bloodreaver, with combat stats closer to Idoneth thralls or Witch Aelves. The Unsated are perennially unsatisfied hedonists, their search for extremes having left them numb and impatient for sensation. They also have a rather unique unit composition:  2 in every 10 are 'Oblivants'.

Oblivants are those who have submitted their very BEING to Slaanesh. In return for obliterating their identity, Oblivants gain a state of blissful oblivion where there is only sensation, and rapturously intensified sensation at that. These beings of pure hedonism attract groups of Unsated, who follow them into battle. The Oblivants do not command them per se (indeed, they lack the very ability), but their instinct for excess garners trust: Oblivants can reliably find the most succulent tastes, caustic scents and sublime sights. However, should these 'mascots' die the Unsated devolve into erratic frenzies impatience, flitting from foe-to-foe and sometimes losing interest before they've even slain their enemy. 

On the TT, the 2 Oblivants in every group of 10 are particularly strong unit champions. While they are alive, the Unsated have increased bravery. However, should both Oblivants die, the unit loses its bravery buff but also receives the retreat and charge ability, representing their desperation for combat and tendency to get bored of their current preoccupation (playing into the Neophilia aspect). I think this creates a fun mechanic, as while you generally want to keep your high damage unit champions alive, there may also be times where you choose to remove them as casualties in order to pull off some hit-and-run tactics (and, conversely, if the opponent has "pick a model" abilities they may want to reduce the unit's bravery). 

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Yaester's comrades tend to make fun of him for his "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" mantra

Valourbane Brigands – This will be one half of an important dual kit for the army. It seems to me appropriate for Slaanesh to be a proud cavalry faction, and so the Valourbane are the Shroudrapt elite, riding redesigned versions of the classic 'booob-snake' mount for the Slaaneshi lord: tougher (4 wounds) and more fighty older siblings of the Slaaneshi steed. The first of these dual kits are Valourbane Brigands:

Some mortal souls wish to dedicate themselves to the prince of pleasure but are hampered by one crippling obstacle: FEAR. These frightened acolytes, scorned as cowards by those around them, are put to work in a very particular way. Slaanesh augments the failings of these troubled souls and makes them Valourbane: a class of ranged cavalry armed with magical bows that feed on courage. The physical properties of the weapons shifts according to the strength of will of their target. The bolder the quarry the greater the spiritual reward reaped by both demonic bow and its wielder if they succeed in shooting them down, and so the Valourbane are spurred to seek out the most courageous foes and riddle them with daemon-blessed arrows. 

I think that the premise of the Valourbane has the potential for fun stories but also interesting gameplay. They’d have a role similar to Skyfires (hyper-mobile ranged snipers with good CC attack from their mounts) but with some quirks. Their bows have an okay attack profile (perhaps 2 shots 3+/4+ R-1 D1), but its range is variable: the base is 6” plus the bravery characteristic of the target multiplied by two. This has the fun effect of having a 14” range targeting Grots but a 24” range against Scar-Veterans. Furthermore, the damage rises to 2 against models with a bravery of 7 or more. Essentially, these become ideally suited to sniping heroes or undead/daemon armies.  


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Resplendants - Hysh Themed Units

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Resplendant Slaaneshi champions are walking exhibitions of gems, gold and silk; vain effigies of elegance that stalk the battlefield with heads held high. 

Lord Paragon (Hero) - the old Sigvald model still looks great and would represent a vain, elegant leader perfectly. He could do with a rules boost, though, to put him in line with the Mighty Lord of Khorne or a Lord Celestant. He is a resin model, true, but GW hasn't been too studious in avoiding the carrying over of outdated kits (cries in Eshin). 

Sychala The Unquenched, Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic Mount - This would be the alt-build for the lord on Daemonic mount. 

Sychala was once just another Slaaneshi champion with a thirst for perfection. During the Realmgate wars, her retinue was part of a grand Everchosen army, and it was here that she first encountered the lure of Tzeentch. Sychala was unable to resist sneaking inside the Tzeentch legion’s Silver Tower in order to pilfer its arcane secrets. However, she would be unprepared for the interest that the Warspire’s captive Daemon prince Zaarich would take in her.

Sychala slew the tower’s Curseling castellan and ransacked the library, but in so doing accidentally broke Zaaritch’s arcane bonds. Sychala eluded the claws of the Daemon Prince as she fled the tower. And yet, right on the threshold of the warpstone gate, Zaaritch’s talon grazed Sychala’s cheek. She may have escaped the tower, but the Daemon’s magic had forged an unbreakable bond. For the first time though certainly not the last, Sychala heard the whispers in her mind: offerings of power in exchange for fealty to Tzeentch. Thus had she become the unwilling host to a Daemon Prince. 

Sychala’s power and reputation grew over the decades, but she would be forever changed after her encounter at the Silver Tower. Where once she exhibited a vain but pure desire for excellence, her ambition had been tainted. Once a hedonist, she now has difficulty re-capturing those pleasures. Sychala wishes, more than anything, to serve Slaanesh faithfully, and so her existence is a constant struggle. She must work harder than ever to find the ‘joy’ in perfection, for if she finds herself motivated by selfish ambition then Zaaritch grows in power and could perhaps take over…  

Sychala would be a powerful mounted Slaaneshi lord as well as a wizard. She’d get access to a Slaanesh-themed spell but also a more powerful Tzeenthian spell, except the latter risks Zaaritch becoming dominant (perhaps a casting roll of a double means you lose command points). 

Soulwring Sommelier (Hero) - a rotund lady clad in finery. She isn't quite a wizard per se, but has studied the arcane in order to master the ways of soul extraction and infuses fine wines with the captured souls of Aelves, Daemons and Mortals. These intrepid artisans are highly honoured in Slaaneshi retinues, with their infusions considered holy delicacies. This would be a versatile but short ranged support hero, with her various vintages functioning like prayers. 

Slaaneshi Paragons (unit of 5, Resplendant General Battleline) - Clad in gleaming plate, these are the faction’s elite warriors. One or two in this unit are rotund gluttons, and not grotesque blightkings, rather Bon vivants who enjoy feasting almost as much as they enjoy fighting. Paragons are conceited and prideful, thus fight hardest against elite foes in order to prove their superiority. They would be the tabletop equivalent of high-tier elite infantry (such as Skullreapers or Paladins), though their superior attacks stats is tempered by having 2 wounds rather than 3. Perhaps the unit champion also has access to a limited choice of magic items, emphasizing their lofty status. 

Quartzblind knights (unit of 3) - The other half of the Valourbane kit, these resemble the paragons riding Slaaneshi Daemonic mounts. They do, however, have a particular gimmick:

In their arrogance, each knight has undertaken to the closest thing Slaanesh has to a vow of chastity: they don daemonic circlets which spread a layer of Slaaneshi crustal across their eyes, blinding them but for the vaguest shapes and lights. They do this for two reasons: to prove their superior fighting prowess by volunteering to a handicap, but also to force themselves constantly on the 'brink' of pleasure. The transparency of the crystal gradually clears with each foe they slay, and so they battle with a mad intensity to bear witness the glorious pay-off of their destruction. Quartz clarity does not last long, however, for Slaanesh soon withdraws the gift of vision to entice more fighting out of them. 

These warriors are built for destroying hordes, with a multitude of attacks which, in the inverse of the Hellstriders, improve in QUALITY as slain enemies bestow clarity of sight. They'd probably have a similar power level and cost to the Idoneth eels. 

The Behemoth

Many recent armies have more than one centrepiece model, and the mortals deserve something distinct from the Keeper of Secrets. My concept rejects the obvious ‘big beastie’ in favour of a large, mobile shrine (similar in scope to the Cauldron of Blood or Arkanaut Ironclad) which manifests the Ulg-Hysh duality in two builds. Either version is a large, ornate mobile shrine. It would be cool if it was a wagon pulled by a crowd of Slaangor, so that even if they aren’t represented in the core army there would exist models to use for conversions. As for what is on top of the wagon, the platform would be modular enough to allow for the following variants:

The War Banquet (Hysh) – This would be what it sounds like: a mobile feast of decadent food and drink. Honoured champions of the Slaaneshi army would be rewarded with this privilege, and the sight of them eating and drinking on the war banquet would fuel fellow warriors to the height of jealous zeal.  

Agonist Orchestra (Ulgu) – Replacing the banquet table would be an orchestra platform. Taking cues from the Enrapturess, the band’s instruments would be gory perversions of the mortal form: a cacophony of painful music. This would be a damage dealer, rather than the Hyshian buff engine. The orchestra’s conductor is the Agonist Impressionist, and so her infantry model is a spare from this kit.  It’s also where we could get the infantry version of the Pleasuremage (considering that’s how the Cauldron of Blood and Magmadroth do it).

 

Other

Terrain – Repository of Vice, an ornate structure of shelves filled with tomes and locked chests, each holding within them guilty secrets and hidden addictions. This could have some kind of fun temptation mechanic, wherein after the opponent sets up deployment their units have a chance to be drawn to this terrain piece rather than where the opponent wants them, and perhaps dazing nearby units. Or, alternatively, it could force the opponent to reveal secrets (e.g. hidden units or being forced to commit to a specific use of command abilities a turn early).

Endless spells. For the predatory mortal wound machine, I'm thinking the Lash of Slaanesh, which would translate onto the table as a quicker version of the pendulum. Phantasmogoria could be a roving de-buff AoE, a host of demonic illusory temptations. For the last, I think some sort of Arcane Mirror would round things out, which inspires nearby Slaaneshi units to fight harder so they can admire themselves. 

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Faction Summary:

Slaaneshi Mortals (7 New Kits)

With matched play point ballpark approximations

Heroes

  • Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic Mount (160pts, Unalinged)
  • Pleasuremage on Daemonic Mount (180pts, Unaligned)
  • Pleasuremage (120pts, Unaligned)
  • Lord Paragon (100pts, Hysh)  
  • Sychala, Lord on Mount (220pts, named character, Hysh) 
  • Soulwring Sommelier (100pts, Hysh)
  • Blissflayer (80pts, Ulgu) 
  • Agonic Impressionist (100pts, Ulgu) 
  • Pleasuremage on Agonist Orchestra (300pts, Behemoth, Ulgu)

Units

  • Unsated (120pts for 10, Ulgu)
  • Valourbane Brigands (160pts for 3, Ulgu)
  • Agonist Orchestra (200pts, Behemoth, Ulgu)
  • Hellstriders (unaligned, though could divide into the Ulgu and Hysh Variant) 
  • Slaaneshi Paragons (160pts for 5, Hysh)
  • Quartzblind Knights (160pts for 3, Hysh) 
  • War Banquet (260pts, Behemoth, Hysh)

Other

  • Endless spells: Lash of Slaanesh, Phantasmogoria, Arcane Mirror
  • Terrain: Repository of Vice

So, that’s 7 new mortal kits and 2 new Daemon kits (the Keeper of Secrets and the 'Vice Scribe' Daemonette) plus the obligatory spells/terrain. I think that’s a realistic quantity to hope for, and not impossible that the Ulg-Hysh angle is what GW will focus on. Well, those are my prediction/dream-picks. Anyone have anything they want to add/disagree with?

This was a slightly rambly post, I apologize, I'm super excited about the army releases. I've also hit a wall with painting at the moment, so paradoxically hope the release comes later so I can finish some current projects. I'm a compulsive wishlister. Funnily enough, I made a private wishlist last year for Beast of Chaos and while none of the new models I hoped for came to pass, my idea for Dragon Ogors as exiles from Azyr did. I think that has instilled in me a strange belief that if you wishlist hard enough, some of it comes true (Christ, I sound like The Secret AKA the chaos god of the self-help industry :P). Well, I hope some of the above shots in the dark land too!

Well, those are my prediction/dream-picks. Anyone have anything they want to add/disagree with?

 

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