I'm not talking in universe. If the big 4 were real, even if I didn't know about it, I'm sure myself and many others would at least be tempted by the whispers in the dark--by unnatural forces that have a mark on reality that science cannot or will not explain. Mark Bedford (former sculptor for FW and GW) once commented that people look like their pets, and that's why he was drawn to Ogre Kingdoms. What I would extrapolate from this is the notion that in personalizing one's army, its construction, utilization and display are all a way for us to relate to ourselves and our friend groups. One could even argue that the engagement in any hobby, but especially one that is multifaceted like ours, is a process of self-discovery or development. Like it or not, it is a process. You learn, you adapt, you practice and you create. But to what end?
Back in the days of Fantasy when I was growing up, I think I grew passionate about the Orcs and Goblins because I loved the brutal humor that surrounded the faction. There is literally nothing funny about watching fungoid monsters kill and eat all your mates and raze your hometown only to be buried head deep in a pile of their excrement. And yet, it was funny to me and anyone else familiar with the setting. But I think that what I liked most about the army was the directed anarchy that they represented--a gleeful nihilism that my friends accuse me of exhibiting to this day. The imposition of order in my family's house was a stop gap for the chaos of an unraveling marriage. In a sense, the anarchy of the green tide looked like freedom to me.
But then GW nuked the setting and created this game instead.
After navigating the various stages of grief, I finally came back around as my hometown friend group was starting up AoS. This time, I've chosen to play the Disciples of Tzeentch. It started innocently enough: the start collecting box looked like great value and buying three of them would be a solid core to a daemon heavy army. Not only that, i could theoretically play the same army in two systems! Bonus! I also liked the look of the daemons--these gibbering nonsensical masses of unreason. Furthermore, the horrors and flamers not only looked fun to paint, but easy too. For all these reasons, I jumped in with Tzeentch. Of course, once I was in, I was pulled in further. Now I have to paint Acolytes and Tzaangors with their horrid filigree, but I'll do it because I already bought into the faction. Then I read A Thousand Sons and realized it was time to pick up Ahriman and some Rubrics. More filigree and stuff I don't enjoy the process of painting. But I'm in, so I gotta do it.
One of the ironies about Tzeentch is that the god appeals to people's pride. When you are oppressed, it is your pride that provides the animus needed to compel others of like mind to shuffle the deck of power distribution. When you haven't fulfilled your potential, it is your pride that hurts and compels you to seek recourse, a do-over or to plot for the next time. When you get schooled on the tabletop and get butthurt, it is your pride that will blame the dice, or the game designers, or your opponent's character when in reality, it's just a game of wardolls based on chance with very little consideration given to the balancing process.
We all know the tale of others being caught and seduced by promises of power and scoff at them. "I certainly wouldn't fall for it," I used to tell myself. I am convinced now that if I was given executive power, I would likely be a tyrant despite my best intentions--I am unfulfilled as a person and therefore have some insecurities. Power--bestowed by the people's consent or by a god--can only magnify this. We hear tales of people losing their composure over trivialities and reassure ourselves that only the weak and pitiful would fall to such lows. What happens when you lose your composure over a triviality when you have a modicum of real power?
So why Tzeentch? My own representation on the tabletop--a Daemon Prince named Dichotomedes--is but a pawn in the Great Schemer's labyrinthine plot...but he's beyond fulfilled. He's beyond actualized. He's undergone Apotheosis. Yet he's a slave to the will of an unknowable god. I was drawn to Chaos for practical, real-world reasons: ease of painting, two games for the price of one army, vivid color palette, etc. I stay because I am caught in this existential loop. I think that's what happens to a lot of those who fall to Chaos in-universe.
What I cannot understand is what draws someone to Nurgle? In universe, it makes sense. You're afflicted and in your torment you supplicate for ease and big daddy Nurgle may hear your plea. But outside? How are the aesthetics so popular? What is being channeled in the mind of the Nurgle hobbyist? I need help understanding this. My art school friend who plays Nurgle can't give an answer beyond, "it's just frickin' cool, bruh."
Anyway, dear fallen brothers and sisters, what is your tale of damnation?