Considering the Chaos Gods are all fueled by negative emotion, and Slaanesh is fueled by one of the most base of all emotions, Lust, I would have expected Slaanesh to be the oldest of the lot.

However, people keep telling me Slaanesh is the youngest, born somewhere past the current RL date while the other Chaos Gods were born in the middle ages of our history.

Can anyone explain to me how this (to me) unexpected situation came to be?

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Slannesh is young compared to the other Chaos Gods because his existence was due to a particular event called the Fall of the Eldar at the end of the Age of Strife. His/Her birth was caused through the unrestricted hedonistic activities of the psychically-aware, technologically advanced, culturally decadent and far-reaching Eldar Empire.

enter image description here

In the early history of the galaxy, the powers of the Warp had yet to form into distinct entities. At this time, the emotions of mortals flowed and ebbed as water does in a stream. As the mortal races grew and prospered, so did the strength of their emotions. Eventually, the gods grew to such a point where they could act independently of the general flow of emotions and thus became the Gods of Chaos. They reached into the dreams of mortals and demanded praise and servitude in order to increase their own power, as the of more one emotion is exhibited (in both thought and action) the stronger that god becomes.

The four main Gods of Chaos are:

  • Khorne - The Blood God
  • Tzeentch - The Changer of the Ways
  • Nurgle - The Great Lord of Decay
  • Slaanesh - The Prince of Excess

The first three gods became sentient by the end of M2 (Second Millennium, Earth-time) but Slaanesh didn't fully awaken until the Fall of the Eldar in M29 (29th Millennium, Earth-time).

enter image description here

The Eldar, an ancient race, when most of the mortal races of the galaxy were young, are known for their works of unfettered beauty and acts of unparalleled cruelty. For the Eldar, with their very long lifespans, their awareness of the nature of their psychic powers on the underside of the Universe, were very careful to keep their psychic powers under very strict control. Unfortunately, it was this very control that allowed the dark aspects of their powers to take root as Slannesh.

The Eldar understood their psychic effects on the Warp were dangerous and regulated the activities of their populace carefully, directing them in lifestyles of artistic creation, contemplation, mental discipline and physical rigor. It was this lifestyle that delayed the emergence of Slannesh. Unfortunately, even in a society that is highly regulated, cultural decadence can slip in and the psychic residue of their hedonistic lifestyles eventually reached critical mass, Slannesh (or She Who Thirsts) was born.

The psychic essence of the Eldar was so subtle and yet so powerful that when it was released and Slannesh was created, the release caused the rupture in space-time known as the Eye of Terror and killed many of the earlier but less powerful Chaos gods. The Eye of Terror's creation destroyed a significant part of the Eldar civilization, adding to Slannesh's power through the absorption of those Eldar spiritual essences. The Eye of Terror is now a focal point by which many of the Gods of Chaos now enter directly into the Universe of the 41st Century.

enter image description here

Slaanesh is the God of hedonism and excess. But this is true in all things, not just carnal pleasures. Those who desire to indulge in the finest culinary delights, the most beautiful artworks, even the most sensual clothing, could all be amongst Slaanesh’s disciples. Just as importantly, Slaanesh is also the God of perfection. The singer striving for the most beautiful song or the warrior who seeks the perfect fighting techniques, both could be devotees of Slaanesh. --Warhammer 40K Wiki

  • To add a little detail to this answer - the Eldar followed a strict discipline, but there was a large number of those who didn't - that group was based in the center of Eldar empire, while old-fashioned purists migrated (or rather ran away) towards the edges. The former essentially partied themselves into oblivion in their search for extreme experiences and pleasures. It wasn't a species-wide effort, the Eldar were pretty much split in two different lifestyles, one where you would keep calm, and one where murder and rape was a form of art. – Petersaber Apr 7 '16 at 18:04
  • 1
    Thank you, Peter. When this answer was written, the SF&F stack was going through a transition period. As such, I was trying to write more concise treatments while still reaching the bulk of information needed. I agree your enhancement was quite accurate and considered at the time but left out due to cultural pressures. I may revisit it and add your text with your permission, of course. – Thaddeus Howze Apr 7 '16 at 18:13
  • Go ahead - and I forgot to include that party-Eldars far outnumbered the purists – Petersaber Apr 7 '16 at 18:17

Khorne basically results from the emotion of fear and a desire to rid ourselves of enemies, threats to our life. Tzeentch results from the emotion of our curiosity about the world around us and our desire to organise and manipulate it, ensure we have enough food, shelter, warmth and resources. We are only free to do this when we don't feel threatened.

The power of Nurgle of course wanes and rises with illness and effectively results from our desire for comfort. When we are ill our desire to organise and ability to work, plan and think is weakened and when we are really ill we may even neglect to defend ourselves.

But only when we feel safe, healthy and lack need are we free to indulge in our lust. If this only comes from stolen moments between one threat and the next, this is not enough for Slaanesh to be born. Only when society advances to a state where this becomes common is this Chaos god born.

Your Answer

 
discard

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.