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Slaves to Darkness lore


stillness

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What's the story with these guys? I've read a bit of the "old world" story about the various barbarian hordes that became worshippers of Chaos Undivided, but I can't find a lot (online; I'm slowly collecting the books) on what their deal is in the Mortal Realms. 

As in, what kind of societies do these people have, why did they turn to Chaos, etc.

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In many ways they're not much more than a hangover from old Warhammer Fantasy, and they're lacking a real identity when compared to 'proper' AoS-era releases - both in terms of background and models. Even the name 'Slaves to Darkness' feels like a bit of a placeholder. I'd be very surprised if they get their own battletome when there are so many more interesting ways GW can go with Chaos in the AoS setting. I imagine they'll just skulk around in the background as a handy way to add more army building flexibility to newer Chaos factions until the kits eventually become obsolete and get phased out. I wouldn't get too emotionally invested in their lore.

I suspect GW will see more value in developing new Chaos stuff in line with the Bloodbound, Disciples of Tzeentch and Nurgle Rotbringers releases rather than rehashing the leftovers of Norsca. But then they did exactly that with the Flesh-Eater Courts to pretty good effect, so who knows.

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Damn. This makes me sad. The Slaves to Darkness kits are what got me interested in the game, and I've bought almost all of them at this point. I mean, they have their own SC box; they feel and are marketed as a "proper" faction. It would feel like a bait-and-switch for them to not get a Battletome. Nothing else in the game is very close to them visually, either (savage metal-album-cover horned-helm warriors F-YEAH)

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From the Grand Alliance Chaos book:

"To join the ranks of the Slaves of Darkness, a warrior need only dedicate himself to one or all of the Gods of Chaos.  Some go freely into such damnation.  The mad, the heartless, the damaged and the deranged, all willingly trade away their souls in exchange for the promise of otherworldly power.

But many more, whole tribes, cities, and nations, fall to the worship of the Chaos Gods through a desperate need to survive.  As the Dominion of Chaos spread ever further across the Mortal Realms, life became darker and more horrific for those beneath its shadow.  For many, the choice was simple; submit to the will of Chaos or be slain by those who did.  The Dark Gods are no saviors, however.  Those who swore to serve Chaos soon found themselves tearing down the very things they had made their devil's bargain to protect.

Lost to the corruption and madness of the path to glory, most no longer cared."

 

I don't think they are going anywhere.  They are the rank and file of the human based Chaos followers.  They do not necessarily follow a single God or maybe they do but are just starting on the path and have not progressed to daemonhood or elite warrior yet.  I always like the Chaos Undivided army and originally, there were many lesser Chaos powers beyond the Big Four including Deamon Princes of immense power.  I understand that GW would rather invoke their IP protected things as opposed to the more Moorcock based "generic" Chaos that it all started as but Slaves to Darkness give so many ways for the individual to forge the narrative so to speak that I doubt they will take it away.  Not sure if we will see a dedicated Tome though.

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44 minutes ago, stillness said:

Damn. This makes me sad. The Slaves to Darkness kits are what got me interested in the game, and I've bought almost all of them at this point. I mean, they have their own SC box; they feel and are marketed as a "proper" faction. It would feel like a bait-and-switch for them to not get a Battletome. Nothing else in the game is very close to them visually, either (savage metal-album-cover horned-helm warriors F-YEAH)

Aah, don't be sad! I was probably being a bit of a Negative Nigel there! They're still good kits and even though I can see them being phased out eventually GW have supported them enough for us to be pretty confident that it won't happen for a long time yet. They're a bit of a generic catch-all faction, but as Travis said, that gives you the scope to put your own stamp on them in a way that you can't do quite so easily with Bloodbound and the other new stuff. And actually, some stuff has been added to it quite recently - the Darkoath Chieftain and Slambo are both Slaves To Darkness.

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1 hour ago, Jamie the Jasper said:

Aah, don't be sad! I was probably being a bit of a Negative Nigel there! They're still good kits and even though I can see them being phased out eventually GW have supported them enough for us to be pretty confident that it won't happen for a long time yet. They're a bit of a generic catch-all faction, but as Travis said, that gives you the scope to put your own stamp on them in a way that you can't do quite so easily with Bloodbound and the other new stuff. And actually, some stuff has been added to it quite recently - the Darkoath Chieftain and Slambo are both Slaves To Darkness.

As is Sayl the Faithless, although he's FW. For me, just another NLHWI.

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15 minutes ago, Circus of Paint said:

Logically, if Slaves to Darkness ever got the Battletome treatment, it would be in combination with Everchosen.

Everchosen are basically the deluxe versions of Slaves to Darkness anyway!

I'm with you on this.  I think they'll go the way of Flesh eater court where the models will get re-purposed and re-fluffed.  i can see things like the marauders and chosen finecast getting phased out but the rest still have some life left in them.

I say that because the chaos book and its new models such as chariot, warshrine, etc came out in 2013, only two years before AoS.  This would mean that AoS was already in the background and I can't see that faction having new models if those new models didn't have a long term game plan attached to them.

Look at the fact that they have a start collecting box where beastmen don't as yet.  I'd like to think that there is still something in store for them, jsut not as the viking raiders of the old world.

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43 minutes ago, Tasman said:

As is Sayl the Faithless, although he's FW. For me, just another NLHWI.

Interesting. I just looked this model up; very cool. Looks like in the AoS app it's not listed as StD though, but rather "Tamurkhan's Horde".

 

EDIT: Oh weird, when I download the Warscroll it has the "StD" keyword, but he doesn't show up as an StD model when I search for all StD models in the app. I'm slightly confused, but chalk it up to me being new to all this. Am I missing any other StD models by only searching for StD in the app?!

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4 hours ago, stillness said:

I've read a bit of the "old world" story about the various barbarian hordes that became worshippers of Chaos Undivided, but I can't find a lot (online; I'm slowly collecting the books) on what their deal is in the Mortal Realms. 

As in, what kind of societies do these people have, why did they turn to Chaos, etc.

Do what I do: realize that the Mortal Realms are what you make of it, and there's nothing to say that there's a realm, or piece of it, that is exactly like the Old World. That way, you can enjoy a really good game system, as well as really good lore!

AoS has made my interests switch: pre-AoS I enjoyed reading the lore, but not so much paint and play. Now, I enjoy paint and play - not so much reading the lore.

As a thank you for making me to reach for my Realm of Chaos book from 1997 and read up on well written lore, I'll share a passage with you:

"The nature of Chaos is neither good nor evil, it simply mirrors the survivalist emotions of the intelligent beings in the real universe. Thus, the predatory entities of Chaos, be they gods or Daemons, exist because living things generate these emotions. So when the human mind turns to petty and evil thoughts the powers of the Chaos gods grow and coalesce into hideous forms shaped by human lust, greed, anger and fear.

Of all the intelligent races, humans prove to be the most eager to pursue the path of damnation. Man brings all his vigour and fanaticism to the service of Chaos. That service brings power to the gods of Chaos, and in return they corrupt and twist their followers.

Humans lust for change and this has led the present human dominance over many parts of the world. Although few men are aware of this, it is their drive and ambition that feeds and makes the gods of Chaos grow bloated with power."

Within this passage lies countless possibilities for your warlord to choose the path of Chaos. I hope. :)

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That's because he belongs to the Forgeworld Tamurkhan Compendium.  he was a character in awesomeness that was that book.  Well worth buying as it's an amazing read and a superb book to just own.

(factoid...

Tamurkhan was to be the first book of a set of four which would lead up to the end times had Rick Priestley not left GW. )

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5 hours ago, stillness said:

Chaos Undivided

No worries mate! :)

Happy to help a bro(or sis)-in-arms.

I found this one for you as well - speaking of Chaos Undivided - as one of the side stories scattered around the book, you know, often on some parchment-like background:

"Only fools claim to understand Chaos, for by definition Chaos is inhuman and incomprehensible. The mortal sages and mystics who dare to debate upon the nature of Chaos succeed only in attracting the attention of the creatures of Chaos. Many wise men have been carried alive and screaming to the charnel houses of the Realm of Chaos, there to write in eternal debate with the daemons of Torment.

Some of them have claimed that Chaos, in its eternal diversity, has spawned an infinite number of gods. Others say that all the apparently different gods are no more than different aspects and manifestations of one supreme being: The Great Unnameable One, The Abomination, The Unspeakable Beast, The Chaos Undivided.

But the true nature of Chaos is beyond any comprehension. No mere mortal can ever hope to understand these matters, and the wise do not puzzle too deeply over Chaos gods, or try to fathom their wars, rivalries and bickerings."

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The last one, probably, possibly, maybe. It's just so good!

The four largest tribes (citizens of the Empire call them marauders) of the Northern Wastes:

  • Tribe of the Hound - follows  Chron (Khorne), depicted as the Great Hound of War, eternally thirsting for blood. Fire is his element, and it is he who gave the gift of weapon making and the secret of steel to the marauders
  • Tribe of the Great Eagle - follows Tchar (Tzeentch), depicted as a gigantic eagle that soars high above the world, his unblinking eyes see all, and understands the hearts of men. Air is his element
  • Tribe Crow tribe - follows Nurgal (Nurgle), depicted as the Great Carrion Crow, a flightless skeletal bird with rotting flesh and diseases. Earth is the element of their god - thus they bury their tortured captives alive so that Nurgal can consume their souls while they slowly rot
  • Tribe of the Mighty Serpent - follows Loesh (Slaanesh), depicted as a Great Serpent, mysterious and exotic, which lives in the sea. Water is the element of their god

"... But not all of the slaves of darkness take such an obvious guise. Everywhere there are men willing to sell their souls for the promise of power. Many devotees of the Dark Gods lie hidden deep within human society.

In the Empire and other lands (perhaps a nation-city in the Mortal Realms?), decadent nobles bored with their lives, seeking excitement and self-gratification, turn to the worship of Chaos. Many powerful men crave immortality and pledge their souls to the Dark Gods in the vain hope that they may be elevated to daemonhood. The poor and desperate are willing to risk everything to gain an advantage in life. Taking the first step is always so easy.

Those who succumb to Chaos do not begin with any intention of doing so, but the lure of Chaos is buried deep to the subconscious mind of humanity. How many wizards in their yearning for knowledge have delved too deep and unwittingly opened their minds to Darkness? How many warriors have turned into raging berserkers, finding that the howl of Khorne the Blood God is the answer they are craving for? How many hedonistic nobles, craving for luxury, succumb to the lure of Slaanesh?

Throughout the Old World (Mortal Realms?) there are countless cults devoted to Chaos. Some are isolated pockets of corruption, while others, like the Coven of Delights and the Cult of the Purple Hand, are vast organisations...

... Many cults are not overtly dedicated to the Dark Gods: they are secret societies, gatherings of influential men, and many find out too late what they are involved in."

There so much inspiration here that I'd forgotten myself. I'm really eyeing the knights of chaos box now - despite their (disproportionally) small size compared to Stormcasts, they are such nice models!

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Excellent, excellent stuff.

I think part of the disconnect with the current fluff is that everything seems viewed from 10,000 feet above the action. Sigmar and his armies fight hordes of daemons and Chaos armies and rampaging Orruks but the Realms don't actually seem to...contain anything resembling normal human life. It's all just grand battles on vast plains. (keep in mind I haven't read much lore)

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1 hour ago, stillness said:

Interesting. I just looked this model up; very cool. Looks like in the AoS app it's not listed as StD though, but rather "Tamurkhan's Horde".

 

EDIT: Oh weird, when I download the Warscroll it has the "StD" keyword, but he doesn't show up as an StD model when I search for all StD models in the app. I'm slightly confused, but chalk it up to me being new to all this. Am I missing any other StD models by only searching for StD in the app?!

When I originally downloaded his scroll from FW, he was listed as StD. He was, and is listed there in Tamhurkhans hoard.

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2 minutes ago, Tasman said:

When I originally downloaded his scroll from FW, he was listed as StD. He was, and is listed there in Tamhurkhans hoard.

His scroll has the StD keyword, but when you search for the StD faction he doesn't show up.

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1 hour ago, Kaleb Daark said:

I'm with you on this.  I think they'll go the way of Flesh eater court where the models will get re-purposed and re-fluffed.  i can see things like the marauders and chosen finecast getting phased out but the rest still have some life left in them.

I say that because the chaos book and its new models such as chariot, warshrine, etc came out in 2013, only two years before AoS.  This would mean that AoS was already in the background and I can't see that faction having new models if those new models didn't have a long term game plan attached to them.

Look at the fact that they have a start collecting box where beastmen don't as yet.  I'd like to think that there is still something in store for them, jsut not as the viking raiders of the old world.

I'm going to hope that Warriors, knights and , yes, marauders continue to be part of the realm of Chaos. Those Marauders have won me a lot of games over the years.

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23 minutes ago, stillness said:

Excellent, excellent stuff.

I think part of the disconnect with the current fluff is that everything seems viewed from 10,000 feet above the action. Sigmar and his armies fight hordes of daemons and Chaos armies and rampaging Orruks but the Realms don't actually seem to...contain anything resembling normal human life. It's all just grand battles on vast plains. (keep in mind I haven't read much lore)

Yes, either 10,000 feet above the action, or right smack down in the middle of it. 

Another thing that just hit me is the question of how the beliefs and traditions would've transformed across all the time and space since the Old World.

In my Mortal Realms, there are lands that are exactly copies of the Old World. But, what if it also could be like when Europeans settled the Americas? In Neil Gaimans book American Gods he brings that interesting notion up. Humans carry their beliefs and traditions (read Gods) with them to a new world, but just like the people who carry them start to diverge, so too does the beliefs and traditions (Gods) with them. They still carry the same roots - but they have changed and adapted to new surroundings.

The Slaves to Darkness, Marauders and Warriors of Chaos might not be exactly the same as before (although some might), but their beliefs, tradition and culture could still have the same foundation/roots, right?

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Great topic and lovely to see how all that classic Slaves to Darkness background seamlessly integrates with AoS.

My personal approach with Slaves to differentiate them from the more definitive Bloodbound, Arcanites and Rotbringers, is that they are mortals who have always belonged to Chaos, rather than been corrupted. As such they are not given as great gifts as Skullreapers, Blightkings, Tzaangors and the like, they are simply the damned!

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I think that it's not completely seamless but then again AoS makes it no mystery that WFB was it's predecessor, which is only a great thing.

Because of that if your looking for inspiration on 'Chaos Undivided' I'd say look no further as the 5th to 8th edition. You could go deeper technically but there is more on the other gods covered. Basically since the arrival of Archaon Chaos Undivided became a thing. For all intends and purposes he is the WFB/AoS variant of 40K's Abbadon. 

Lastly I do hope/think that Everchosen, 'monsters of chaos' and Slaves to Darkness will eventually melt together into one Battletome, under a slighty different name, but I don't know which one yet :P 

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