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"My Master is the Beginning and he is the End. He is the Master of Mortals, and the core of our Dead Hearts. Deny him and you deny yourselves. Honour him, and acknowledge he to whom we owe it all."

—The Saga of Khorne[3j]

Khorne, also known as the "Blood God,"[3a] the "Lord of Murder"[3k], the "Lord of Skulls," "Hunter of Souls," and "the Hound"[5] in Norsca, is the major Chaos God of war, hatred, wrath, rage, murder, blood, strength, courage and martial honour.

Khorne is the second eldest of the major Ruinous Powers and his waxing strength in this time of constant conflict often renders him the mightiest of the Chaos Gods in his effect on the mortal world and in the Great Game between the gods.[1f][2a][2b][3a] His domain encompasses the most basic and brutal of sentient emotions -- hate, anger, rage, the desire for destruction and the joy of killing one's enemies. Every act of killing or murder in the mortal world feeds and empowers Khorne; the more senseless, vicious and bloodthirsty, the better.[3g]

However, though Khorne is the god of bloody slaughter, he is also the god of martial pride and honour, of those who set themselves against the most dangerous foes and earn victory against the odds.[3g] His warriors, though gore-maddened berserkers all, take no artful approach to killing, for such indulgent displays serve only to empower Slaanesh, the honourless adversary of Khorne amongst the company of the Chaos Gods.[1f][2a][2b][3a]

Khorne is known by a thousand, thousand names in the northern lands of the Chaos Wastes. He is called "Kharneth,"[3l] "Akhar," "Kjorn," "Khorgar," the "Axefather," the "Bloodfather," the "Wolf-Father," the "Bloodwolf," and yet other uncounted multitudes of titles and aspects.[1f] The Blood God is worshipped by almost every tribe of Men in the Northern Wastes, for the Northmen are warrior-peoples who exalt in the contest of arms, particularly those of Norsca, who most eagerly of all embrace Khorne's call to eternal warfare.[2a][2b][3a]

A man that has put his faith in Khorne, however, is just as likely to be a blood-crazed killer as he is an honourable warrior, and oftentimes he will be both at the same time. Khorne, like all the Chaos Gods, has two sides, for he is the embodiment of martial honour and courage,[1f][2a][2b][3a] said to smile upon all feats of valour, strength, and blood-drenched warrior skill.[3g] Yet Khorne is also the divine patron of proud warriors who set themselves against the odds and emerge triumphant through the display of savagery, murderous wrath and unending bloodlust.[3g]

Khorne is said to exalt the brave of both sides of a battle, while at the same time laying his terrible vengeance upon the cowardly and craven.[1f][2a][2b] According to the warrior-code of his devotees, it is the solemn right of every warrior to die an honourable death in battle, with sword and axe in hand.[1f][2a][2b][3a]

It is not uncommon to see Khornate Chaos Warriors and Champions of Khorne fighting amongst themselves, duelling to the death to prove their skill in combat and rise higher in the eyes of their lord. Khorne ultimately cares not from where the blood flows and the skulls are taken, only that such acts are done in his name. Only bloodletting through physical combat is acceptable however, for Khorne disdains the use of all magic. None of his followers are permitted to be sorcerers, although some will carry magic-imbued weapons or armour in order to augment their killing ability.[4a]

All of Khorne's Daemons are built to kill quickly and efficiently. While the troops of the other Ruinous Powers may fall back to recover or bring other talents into play, the Daemons of Khorne always fight to the death. Cursing their enemies, their mounds of sinewy muscle carving their last steps through the front lines, Khorne's Daemons continue to spill blood and claim skulls until the last roar of defiance and rage from their gaping maws has been silenced. Then their bodies, further sacrifices to the lord they served so faithfully, are crushed to dust and ash by the next wave of his blood-crazed troops, all screaming endlessly "Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Throne of Khorne!" as they pour into glorious combat.[4a]

Manifestation

"Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!"

—From the diary of a Crimson Skull Cultist, found by witch hunters in Talabheim[1d]

Khorne upon his brass throne in the Blood God's Domain in the Realm of Chaos.

No mortal would be able to lay their eyes upon Khorne and survive, but various heretical writers have suggested that the Blood God looks somewhat like one of his mighty Bloodthirster Greater Daemons, only infinitely more terrifying, his eyes burning with endless fury in the centre of his dog-like face. Khorne is often referred to as a "he," with the masculine gender, though in fact, like all the entities composed of magical energy called the Chaos Gods, it in fact has no true gender.[4a]

Khorne's domain in the Realm of Chaos, the Blood God's Domain, is said to have mighty forges and armouries that run for leagues, belching sooty filth into the lightning-cracked air, yet he will forever favour a single combination of arms. He is encased in his brass plate armour, capable of deflecting any blow, and clutches his colossal sword that could carve continents in half with a single stroke.[4a]

Khorne's mighty throne room, built at the very top of his great Brass Citadel, is supported by eight gigantic brass pillars in honour of the sacred number of the Blood God. Khorne sits resplendent in his rage upon his brass throne, resting atop a mountain of bloody skulls, built from the countless heads of great champions his followers have slain over an immeasurable number of eons. The tower itself rises leagues into the blackened sky, surrounded by a moat of molten blood, filled with the screaming enemies of Khorne, whilst the blackened brass walls are covered with monstrous carvings that depict the endless rage of the occupant within.[4a]

Khorne's Bastion Stair in the Blood God's Domain

The throne room itself is filled with the Blood God's favoured Flesh Hounds, including the greatest of their number, the mighty Karanak, blessed with three heads and far more powerful than the rest of his kin.[4a]

Some have described these loyal beasts as a bodyguard for Khorne, but to him they are but pets, as the Blood God has never been bested in mortal combat and thus needs no protection. Even if another of the Ruinous Powers were to enter the Brass Citadel, Khorne knows that he alone would prove triumphant, such is his infinite strength and skill.[4a]

Khorne is the least subtle of the Chaos Gods. He puts none of his will into any endeavour that does not cause bloodshed. His lands in the Realm of Chaos are barren, cracked and dry save for the ceaseless rivers of blood fuelled by the endless combat that occurs on them. Throughout his domain, legions of warriors fling themselves into combat purely for the sake and glory of battle.[4a]

Philosophy and Methods

"The mouth is opening, red creatures pouring from the maw. The land is burnt and bare. The sky is ablaze. Men are fallen and armies scattered by his might. And then there comes a hero and he wields the weapon of the lord and he does smite his enemies. And the hero and the weapon become one, and the land is lost."

—Old Yak's Rant[1i]

Goals of the Blood God

A Khornate army on the march.

Khorne may not be the subtlest of the Ruinous Powers but that is not to say that he does not have goals and ambitions to fulfill beyond seeing blood spilled in his name. His rage may be endless, his fury immutable, but Khorne has a savage intelligence, seeing the need to lay seeds for his destructive plans to pay off in the future.[4d]

Khorne revels in a mortal who seeks glory; for in Old World society, this leads frequently to feelings of anger at one's enemies and a need to see them dead. Others may turn to the service of the Ruinous Powers in order to have their ambitions fulfilled. Examples of those drawn to Khorne include the militiaman who simply dreams of having the strength to repel his foes in order to see his wife and young child again, or the aging knight who wishes the strength of his youth still coursed through his veins.[4d]

At the same time, many despair at their fate, and whilst Khorne finds this pathetic, he may still bestow blessings upon these wretched souls. Sometimes, there is no better servant than one who is picked up at the lowest ebb and given their wish. The hearts of this kind of mortal often burn most fiercely for Khorne.[4d]

Some servants of Khorne come willingly; others are slowly drawn in. There is a fine line between justice and vengeance, and in seeking revenge many people cannot control the nihilism and anger within themselves, which spills over into a fury that cannot be purged from their body. This leads them into direct exposure to the principles Khorne espouses and far too often wrath and rage has so consumed the person that inevitably the Blood God then consumes their very soul.[4d]

For Khorne's will to be imposed across the Empire, he first requires anarchy.[4d] If the established order of Emperor Karl Franz, the Grand Theogonist, and the Holy Temple of Sigmar has been overthrown, the Old World will be critically and permanently weakened. More and more it appears as if the elder races -- the Dwarfs, the Elves, and the Slann -- no longer have the numbers to withhold the advances of Chaos without relying on the relatively undeveloped but numerous Humans.[4d]

Anarchy itself gives special pleasure to Khorne in comparison to his rival Chaos Gods, because in times of anarchy there is inevitably conflict, and when there is such widespread bloodshed, it is also inevitable that skulls shall be lifted into the air by screaming, muscled warriors offering their sacrifice to the Blood God.[4d]

A Chaos Cultist of Khorne

Khorne loves to see mindless destruction and violence; the looting, decay, and devastation that come with the fall of organised society all feed his lust for wanton destruction. Khorne is not in any way associated with subterfuge, quite the opposite, but from his Brass Citadel in the Realm of Chaos, the will that he imposes upon his followers has been confused by many a mortal. In the heat of a raging battle, warriors call upon their gods for strength, but it may not always be the guiding hand of Ulric or Sigmar that answers the mortal men who petition the deities, but the Blood God.[4d]

Equally, Chaos Cultists of Khorne can occasionally show a modicum of patience and foresight compared to their patron. Throughout the Empire, Khornate cults such as the Crimson Skull, the Flayed Blood and the Wrath of Khorne scheme and plan.[4d] These sects secretly corrupt the minds and souls of Imperial warriors until they have become mindless minions of Khorne dedicated to slaughter. Often, soft-minded warriors are their target, lured into a group they initially believe worships more palatable deities of war such as Sigmar or Ulric.[4e]

All of the Ruinous Powers strive to achieve dominion over the mortal world and the life that crawls about its daily drudgery there have no concept of the beings of pure magical power that inhabit the Realm of Chaos. Khorne, however, strives for more than simple control. He looks for utter dominance.[4e]

This is a trait often found in his followers, as they have been known, even in battle, to turn upon each other, duelling till the death. For aspiring Champions of Khorne, there is no goal, no feat, that is more desirable than inflicting utter defeat upon another champion of the Blood God, and Khorne actively encourages this attitude amongst his followers.[4e]

Khorne is not a being that any mortal can claim to have seen; yet his very name inspires fear. Those unlucky enough to have set eyes upon his Daemons will no doubt suffer nightmares until their dying day and know that their very survival was a miracle, even if the mental scars remain. Those that have faced his mortal warriors in battle know of the frenzy, the bloodlust and the almighty strength and power that lets these brutes carry on even after receiving what would be a mortal wound to an average man.[4e]

And the stories of these fearful battles inspire fear in the citizens of the cities, towns and villages across the Empire, and across the Old World. And Khorne can profit from fear. Whole battalions of elite troops have been known to turn tail and attempt to escape from his daemonic hordes, but this inevitably leads to their slaughter.[4e]

Sometimes this fear can even attract followers to the Blood God's cause. Some can no longer see the influence of Sigmar, Taal, Shallya, Rhya, or any of the other Imperial gods upon the land, but they have witnessed the ravening power of the Chaos Gods. Thus, believing that the world as they know it must be nearing its end, this kind of person seeks to worship Chaos in an attempt to save their soul when that inevitable end finally arrives.[4e]

Through this reputation, and the furious rage of his daemonic and mortal servants in battle mimicking the personality of their liege, Khorne has become a far more dangerous and powerful foe, and he seeks to spread this fear -- and the power it brings him -- throughout the Old World.[4e]

Plots and Purposes

The Norscan Chaos Lord Egil Styrbjorn offering up the skulls of his enemies to the Blood God.

Khorne requires blood. Khorne requires skulls. Khorne requires violence, destruction, and utter subservience to his cause. His blessings are not a sign of kindness, love, devotion, or even care. [4h]

They are nothing more than a means to an end, designed to increase the efficiency of his mortal killing machines, driving them on to greater acts of ferocity. If Khorne does not care about the lives of his minions, the minions themselves seem to care even less. The hate and rage that fills them eventually dominates their every thought. Driven onwards in battle, Khorne's followers eagerly sacrifice themselves to the enemy's blade and retreat is never an option.[4h]

The Blood God himself sits impassively; he simply seeks out destruction and bloodshed and cares not from where it comes or who delivers it. His indifference to his mortal servants does, however, mean that Khorne is always in need of new champions. There is a dual purpose to this need. When a warrior falls, a new one is needed to step into the breach, to take his predecessor's place so that Khorne can gain the upper hand in his struggle in the Great Game against the other Ruinous Powers.[4h]

Secondly, the introduction of new blood can be used to test his existing champions. If new and old Khornate warriors meet in a challenge, then Khorne can only benefit. If the existing champion emerges victorious, then this warrior will have learned something from the foe he has just defeated, increasing his already impressive skills with his chosen weaponry. If the challenger walks away alive from the combat, then the defeated warrior was a weakling and unfit to serve Khorne. His body will make a meagre sacrifice to the Blood God, but no more.[4h]

Through this brutal and bloody system of natural selection, Khorne slowly builds up the strength and power of his forces, waiting for the moment he can unleash them upon the unknowing mortal world. Khorne does have other plans besides defeating his rival Chaos Gods and destroying mortal civilisation, however.[4h]

Khorne realises that it is unlikely that the mortal world will fall in one swift action and so he looks to build his influence slowly, spreading destruction, anarchy, and death wherever possible. The Blood God's dedicated Chaos Marauders and Chaos Warriors look to test the boundaries of the Empire and Kislev in particular, probing for weaknesses and identifying suitable invasion points. These raids gradually weaken the defences of these two strategically vital realms of the Old World, which takes time to rebuild, whereas Khorne has an endless supply of eager warriors ready to seek bloodshed and sacrifice skulls in his name.[4h]

Khorne knows the Beastmen will flow out from the forest homes, carving paths of destruction through the Empire and distracting the Empire's generals at key moments. His Daemons march to keep the other Ruinous Powers at bay, driving them back across the Realm of Chaos. Khorne looks greedily at Kislev in particular, so close to the lands of his Norse and Kurgan warriors. Once, the empire of Chaos stretched deep into these lands, and during the Great War Against Chaos in the early 24th century IC the Kislevite city of Praag was turned into a living nightmare where warped Daemons and horrifically mutated souls roamed the streets. It is said that living flesh even fused with stone and mortar to create cursed, wailing buildings.[4h]

For some time, rumours about troops massing in the Northern Wastes have circulated throughout the Empire. If these sporadic and unverified reports do contain any truth, then it is likely that Kislev will be their target. Praag is an uncomfortable bastion, covered in snow for much of the year; some say it has never fully shaken off the taint of Chaos since its liberation by Magnus the Pious.[4h]

Rivals

The daemonic legions of Khorne further the bloody cause of their master.

The Ruinous Powers often spend more time concerned with besting their rival gods in the Great Game played between them for power and influence in the Realm of Chaos than trying to implement their carefully crafted plans upon the mortal world. The conflicting desires and ideologies of Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch are so opposed that it becomes clearer why these immense divine powers spend so much of their energies in conflict with each other.[4c]

Khorne, however, has an understandably difficult relationship with the other major Ruinous Powers in that his philosophy and nature is so different that the others find it difficult to understand him. The Blood God loathes magic and those who wield it, for example, and yet all of the other powers are wielders of powerful sorcery by their very natures as entities comprised of magical energy, and so this trait alone sets Khorne apart from his peers.[4c]

Among the other Chaos Gods, Nurgle is abhorrent to Khorne. The Lord of Decay sits and waits for his diseases and the despair they create to overwhelm the mortal world, and if it were his way, would wait for eons for his plans to come slowly to fruition.[4c]

Nurgle is quite happy for his followers to avoid direct combat, instead allowing them to simply spread disease and plague. To Khorne, this approach does not have the honour of bloody combat. Khorne revels in direct action and the passive approach of Nurgle is totally at odds with the Blood God's very essence. Nurgle is a god who believes that his goals will be achieved through careful planning and stewardship of his blessings, whereas Khorne only cares for immediate destruction.[4c]

For his part, Tzeentch delights in baiting Khorne. The Changer of Ways is the most confusing, subtle and maddening of the Ruinous Powers. Khorne is not unintelligent, but he has no time for subtlety, and his rage tends to consume more complicated emotions like ambition and the hunger for knowledge. Tzeentch therefore plays tricks upon Khorne for his own amusement, which Khorne responds to in the only way he knows how: wrath-fuelled violence.[4c]

The Changer of Ways is also the greatest source of magic and patron of magic users amongst the Chaos Gods and Khorne does not look kindly upon this fact. Tzeentch, in Khorne's estimation, is a coward cringing behind a wall of trickery and simple conjuring instead of having any real power. Khorne views Tzeentch as a weakling, sustained only by the power of the Aethyr. If his source of power were to diminish, then Khorne would raise his forces and crush the home of the Changer of Ways -- the Impossible Fortress in the Realm of the Sorcerer.[4c]

One might imagine that Slaanesh, being the Prince of Pleasure and Pain, possesses the ideology closest to Khorne's. However, while no one can deny that Khorne's daemonic and mortal legions cause unbelievable pain, Khorne does not actually aim to cause suffering. Indeed, of all the major Chaos Gods, Slaanesh is the most diametrically opposed to Khorne as a patron of the arts and a lover of aesthetically pleasing objects.[4d]

Slaanesh's focus is inward, acting on his followers through their taste for decadent pleasures. He ingratiates them slowly to his service, their taste for pleasure or pain becoming ever-harder to satiate over time and requiring more and more perverse acts in order that they might feel anything at all. Decadence begets perversion, which begets abomination and eventually utter, amoral depravity. [4d]

And it is this methodology that is alien and truly offensive to Khorne. The Blood God has no time for pleasure or eroticism; indeed all emotions are wasteful to him save for rage, hate, and the desire for vengeance. Slaanesh corrupts mortals from within, building on their inner thoughts and desires, while Khorne always builds from without, focusing on the pursuit of physical strength and power.[4d]

Slaanesh would delight in a grotesquely obese follower gorging themselves upon expensive delicacies, but Khorne cares only for muscle and sinew to give strength in battle. Slaanesh lets his followers enjoy life to the fullest, fulfilling their most perverse desires; Khorne simply seeks to cause death. These two gods are constantly at war with one another, each believing that they have the upper hand, or can soon gain it, in their endless struggle.[4d]

It is to the constant relief of the people of the Old World that these rivalries of the Chaos Gods have prevented them from remaining permanently united in pursuit of their common aim of destroying all existing mortal civilisation.[4d]

Khaine Controversy

It should also be noted that some authors in the Old World have argued that Khaela Mensha Khaine, the god of murder in the Elven Pantheon, is simply an aspect of Khorne, and that they are one and the same entity. These same "scholars" have been known to argue that certain groups of Elves worship Khaine, and thus implicate them as heretical folk. Khaine, being the god of murder, is not widely worshipped amongst citizens of the Old World, for rather obvious reasons. It must be noted that these accusations are all pure speculation and hearsay, and that the Imperial authorities, particularly the witch hunters, pay meticulous attention to those who write such "alternate" tomes.[4c]

Needless to say, many of these writers do not get the chance to pen a sequel to their works or a defence of their ideas.[4c]

Khorne and Magic

Like all of the Chaos Gods, Khorne is inextricably linked with magic. His Daemons are magically created from portions of his own divine power -- itself simply a form of magical energy -- and his favoured mortal servants bear magic-infused weapons and armour. However, Khorne regards the use of spells as contrary to his warrior code. He expects his followers to slay in his name with sword and axe, not with magically-conjured fire or lightning. This principle extends to a general disdain for spellcraft and wizardry.[4k]

The magic users in the forces of Chaos ally themselves with the other major powers of Chaos and feel somewhat nervous around the followers of Khorne, knowing that they regard the killing of a wizard as a particular honour. Only the most extreme of circumstances would lead a magic-user to dedicate himself to the Blood God.[4k]

If for some reason a magic-user should wish to become a worshipper of Khorne, they may do so but may only rely on martial prowess from that day forward. If the individual casts any sort of spell Khorne will withdraw any gifts he bestowed on the individual and will undoubtedly seek revenge for such dishonourable behaviour. The most usual form this revenge takes is in the despatch of a pack of Flesh Hounds to track down and kill the magic-user.[4k]

Cults of Khorne

"Our Blood Lord has given us many great blessings this night. The sacrifices must have appeased his almighty rage, for the blood in our skull chalice became still. I drank deeply from the cup, and felt renewed with almighty strength. I have no recollection of what occurred next, but when I woke, the other seven were all dead. They were ripped to shreds, reduced to ooze upon the floor, bones ground to dust! What almighty power has my Lord gifted to me? There is still blood left in this sacred vessel. Tonight, I shall sip once more, and let the great wrath of Khorne descend upon this city. I will sacrifice myself and all others who try to oppose me."

—From the diary of a Crimson Skull Cultist, found by witch hunters in Talabheim[1e]

Many people turn to the Ruinous Powers because they are upset with their lot in life. They feel that their original patron deity has failed to answer their prayers and left their hopes and dreams unfulfilled. Others are lured in by their actions, whether it be the murderer or warrior who revels in bloodshed or the noble who has everything, but needs their sadistic vices in order to become satiated. Whether the prayer comes from the destitute or the depraved, people have been known to speak in hushed whispers about the "blessings" some have received. Anyone living in the northern provinces of the Empire has probably experienced firsthand how the rage of Khorne has transformed the already fearsome marauders from above the Sea of Claws into terrifying Chaos Warriors that could cleave a tree from its trunk with a single swipe.[4b]

Students of the Colleges of Magic have seen the awesome sorcerous power that Tzeentch can offer deep within the Winds of Magic, physicians can appreciate the immense knowledge of disease and physiology that Nurgle possesses, whilst Slaanesh offers every perverse pleasure that one could ever imagine.[4b]

Some scholars wonder why the Chaos Gods will choose to "reward" some Humans and other mortals and use them as instruments to do their will when they clearly hate Mankind and all of the mortal races. Even unsubtle Khorne realises that his goal of turning the mortal world into a barren wasteland where there is only war and slaughter can be made easier through the machinations of those who wish to turn away from their fellow man. Foolish mortals think that they will be rewarded in the twisted eyes of their new liege but the reality is that while some benefits may come to these traitorous beings, Khorne and the other Chaos Gods exist purely to tear civilisation apart and put an end to existence itself. If tempting weak mortal souls to help their cause speeds their plans, then Khorne and the other Ruinous Powers will use the opportunity, despite their loathing of Humanity.[4b]

Rewards of Service

Most Chaos Warriors of Khorne wear crimson plate armour and wield battleaxes, Khorne's favoured weapon, as a symbol of their allegiance to the Blood God.

Certain groups are often attracted to one of the Chaos Gods in particular. Acolytes of the major faiths, hedge wizards, and sorcerers may be drawn to Tzeentch, the wealthy and pleasure-seekers to Slaanesh, physicians, alchemists and barber-surgeons to Nurgle, and warriors to Khorne. Khorne, however, draws fewer true Chaos Cultists than the other Chaos Gods. Tzeentch can provide great magical prowess, Slaanesh can bestow gifts of intense pleasure or pain, and Nurgle can provide mastery over plague and disease as well as respite from death itself. Khorne provides less subtle gifts than the other three but the strength and power that he can bequeath make him an obvious temptation for warriors.[4f]

Of course, like all mortals, many of the Blood God's followers do not realise the true corrupting power of Chaos, and have no idea that eventually they will be fully consumed by the gift of murderous rage that Khorne provides. Some people can resist longer than others, but weaker minds are quickly overcome by the strength writhing within them and become mindless killing machines. The weakest succumb to the energies of the Realm of Chaos completely, warping into a mere parody of their former selves as slavering Chaos Spawn. If a warrior pleases Khorne, he has been known to continue to bless his chosen so he might better carry out the will of the Blood God. While one Chaos Cultist in a million may eventually step upon the path to becoming a Daemon Prince, the rest will, at some point, have their bodies fail to accept the mutational changes thrust upon them.[4f]

For instance, Scyla Anfingrimm was once one of Khorne's greatest champions, a warrior of immense strength hailing from the Northern Wastes. He killed by the thousand and received many "gifts" from Khorne until, at last, his wasted body collapsed from the physical strain of so many mutations and transformed into a Chaos Spawn. He now walks across the blasted, snowy wastelands of the north, mindlessly consuming all that he encounters.[4f]

Khorne's power to transform and recreate flesh should not be underestimated, as the story of his consort, Valkia the Bloody, also demonstrates. Once a great warrior queen of Norsca, Khorne looked upon her with something almost approaching fondness until she perished in battle. Wracked with a rage that could have carved kingdoms in two, Khorne set about rebuilding Valkia's broken body. He raised her from death and made her a Daemon Prince, so that she would never fall again. Her body now sprouts great leathery wings, and from her forehead burst forth two massive horns, adding to her already considerable might. She now stays with her lord, master and consort, often commanding his armies within the Realm of Chaos. The day she faces the forces of Men once more will be a day untold thousands breathe their final breath, such is the power Khorne has infused in her.[4f]

Cult of the Crimson Skull

Within the Empire, there are thought to be very few established Chaos Cults of Khorne. There are several reasons for this. Khorne expects his followers to be sacrificing skulls and blood to him at all times, making it difficult to maintain the secrecy which cults of the other Ruinous Powers rely upon to survive. Secondly, due to the levels of violence seen in Khornates, many cults quickly collapse due to the cultists vying for leadership or just the eruption of an all-out conflict that decimates the membership.[4e]

Some followers of Khorne also don't realise themselves that they have given their souls over to the Blood God; still others that do know the true purposes of their dark master refuse to lower themselves to joining with others with the same beliefs.[4e]

That is not to say that cults of Khorne do not exist among the denizens of Imperial society. One of the most established, and most secretive cults that exists today is the Cult of the Crimson Skull. Utterly devoted to Khorne, they yet realise that continuous acts of violence will have them burned by the Templars of Sigmar. So instead of focusing their hatred and rage on the innocent citizens of the towns and villages of the Empire, they instead look to infiltrate military organisations, turning the hearts and minds of the great leaders, generals, knights and politicians of the Empire over to the worship of Khorne by inciting bloody acts of revenge and violence.[4e]

Others choose to sow the seeds of war in other brutal and bloody ways, such as murdering a scout and planting false evidence on his corpse. By doing this, they prepare for the day when the River Reik flows with the blood of a million foolish peons who thought it wise to worship the man-god Sigmar and the streets of Altdorf are paved with their skulls.[4e]

Originally formed several centuries past, the cult now has various splinter groups, operating in groups of eight throughout major Imperial cities and making pilgrimages to Middenheim at least once a year. Here they worship Khorne, making sacrifices to him and venerating their symbol of reverence to him -- a skull, dripping with the blood of those slain by the cult.[4e]

The initiation ritual of the Crimson Skulls is certainly not for the faint-hearted; initiates are forced to butcher a priest of Sigmar and drink from the victim's bloody skull. Those that cannot, or will not, go through with the ritual, are butchered and sacrificed, unworthy of worshipping Khorne.[4e]

Mark of Khorne

A variant Mark of Khorne

Individuals who have been granted the Mark of Khorne by the favour of the Blood God are fearsome warriors filled with a lust for killing and lured into the service of the Lord of Skulls. The bearer of such a mark has been filled with a portion of Khorne's divine rage, driving them endlessly into combat to sacrifice more skulls or die a glorious death. Individuals who bear this mark are likely to be extremely antisocial, with a short temper, using brawn rather than social skills in all situations. As with all Chaos worshippers, revealing a Mark of Khorne among the realms of the Old World usually leads to arrest and execution by the witch hunters.[4j]

For some, a Mark of Khorne can be hidden -- it is usually a skull-shaped scar that constantly weeps blood, but can also manifest as a reddening of the whites or pupils of the eyes, or even a rapidly improving physique. Some will be given inhuman strength or a raging bloodlust that turns the bearer of the Mark of Khrone into a dervish on the battlefield.[4j]

However, Khorne will bless some of his most devoted servants with far more impressive gifts. Some will receive tentacles or additional limbs to hold extra weapons or to lash out with sharp edges to cause gory wounds on an opponent. The Blood God abhors the use of magic and wishes to see life ended by physical combat alone. Some minions will gradually become resistant to magic, allowing them to slaughter enemy sorcerers and wizards with contemptuous ease.[4j]

Gifts of Khorne

A Khornate Chaos Lord

The greatest of Khorne's servants sometimes ascend to daemonhood as a Daemon Prince. While others will not have the physical or mental fortitude to last long enough in the Blood God's service to achieve this ascension, they will accept an abundance of mutational "gifts" from the Lord of Skulls. Eventually, some mortals accept more such alterations than their physical bodies can endure, and ultimately devolve into mindless, gibbering Chaos Spawn.

Still others of more limited promise will gradually take on a more impressive physical stature, growing ever more free of their mortal shackles. For instance, the physical body of Valkia the Bloody, a Norscan woman who became a Daemon Prince and the consort of Khorne, has been almost totally transformed; her upper body has grown horns and wings while her lower torso resembles that of a Bloodletter more than a Human woman.

Whatever gifts are bestowed, those who bear the Mark of Khorne seek out and challenge others worthy of combat, especially those devoted to the worship of Khorne. The Blood God especially favours those who sacrifice their friends, allies, and enemies alike to him, and there is no greater trial than to destroy another Khornate warrior in mortal combat. Any servant of Chaos can be gifted with a Mark of Khorne, a symbol of the god's blessing, although this special gift is most often given to the strongest and most ferocious among them.

Additionally, Khorne can also bestow his gifts upon certain Chaos Warriors and Chaos Marauders. These mighty warriors, called Chaos Chosen, are filled with a mere portion of Khorne's rage, yet it propels them into battle like they have been possessed by a Daemon. Warriors bearing the Mark of Khorne are more muscled than their comrades and have some other outward sign of the blessing they have received, such as red eyes, the ability to shed tears of blood, or great brands often in the skull-shape of the Mark of Khorne burned into their chests and arms.

The Gifts of Khorne that can be granted to one of the Blood God's champions include the following:

  • Gift of Arms - The Gift of Arms is the grant of a weapon of great power sacred to the Blood God to his worthy Chosen. This can include the provision of mighty magical weapons and Chaos Armour or even possession of a Daemon Weapon that is inhabited by a Daemon of the Blood God for the most favoured of his Chosen.[6a]
  • Gift of Beasts - A Chosen of the Blood God is sometimes granted the service of a daemonic beast or other daemonic servant of Khorne to aid their quest for blood and skulls. The most valued of all such gifts are the daemonic beasts of Khorne's own packs: the Juggernauts and Flesh Hounds. Khorne does not give his Chosen innate mastery over these creatures, for if they are not worthy to tame and break the beasts themselves they are not worthy to call themselves his Chosen. For those that fail in this task, the Blood God will allow his "gift" to tear their bodies apart and break their bones to marrow.[6a]
  • Gift of Flesh - The Gift of Flesh is the name given to the mutations sometimes granted to Khorne's Chaos Chosen. The mortal frames of the Chosen of Khorne will always be perverted and twisted by the warping forces that rise through them through constant exposure to the corrupting power of Chaos. Some of this physical corruption will be of the sort that might be found in any deformed infant of the Old World, but some will have special significance to those who worship the Skull Throne. Thus these Gifts of Flesh may be given to bring these mortals closer to the idealised image of Khorne and his Daemons. Such mutations include superhuman strength, where the muscles of the Chosen will bulge and swell in a most unnatural fashion, or the onset of a regenerative capacity that allows the Chosen to heal deep cuts and even wounds that would otherwise prove to be mortal. Their skin will turn black or red or brass, the sacred colours of the Blood God, and their eyes become as dead and white as those of his Daemons. These Chosen's very faces may become identical to the bestial likeness of Khorne, or that of a Bloodthirster, Bloodletter, Flesh Hound or Juggernaut. The Blood God may brand the Mark of Khorne into their forehead, claiming them for all to see as his Chosen, or mutate one of their hands into a bloody, clawed replica of his own.[6a]
  • Gift of Will - The Gift of Will represents the bestowal of an indomitable spirit and a savage bloodlust upon a Chaos Chosen of Khorne that can conquer the greatest adversary. While they gain in skill with the sword and axe and bow, when battle is in the offing they lose all rational thought and reason and wish only to close with the foe and tear them limb-from-limb with whatever comes to hand. They become able to ignore wounds and injury to the point of death in order to continue the fight. Such Chosen become a fearsome opponent in battle but that is all they are. Away from the battlefield, without the stench of combat to fill their nostrils, they become empty shells of men, as though their souls had already been taken from them.[6a]
  • Gift of Title - When a Chaos Chosen has performed beyond all expectations in shedding rivers of blood and dedicating mounds of skulls to the Blood God, Khorne may inscribe upon their souls their true name as a Daemon, by which he makes known that the recipient may one day join the ranks of his immortal legions as a Daemon Prince, as is the wish of every mortal servant of the Chaos Gods. Some Chosen trumpet this boon to all that would hear it, while others conceal it, for fear that knowledge of their true name will grant others power over them as it does for those who summon Daemons.[6a]

Notable Servants of Khorne

Daemons

  • The Mardagg - The Mardagg, also known as the "Death Elemental," is a Greater Daemon who serves Khorne. When the Mardagg is summoned, it does one thing and one thing only -- it kills. The killing spree of the Mardagg can only be ended by banishing it to its home plane, either by "killing" its physical form or by magical means. It was last seen in the city-state of Remas in Tilea.
  • Ka'Bandha - Ka'Bandha, also called the "Huntsmaster," is a powerful and high-ranking Bloodthirster of Khorne. He served under the leadership of the thirteenth Everchosen Archaon, commanding the daemonic servants of the Blood God during the conflicts of the End Times. Ka'Bandha is said to be above even Skarbrand in status in the eyes of Khorne. Ka'Bandha personally considers the hunt for new victims more enjoyable than the actual kill.
  • Skarbrand the Exiled One - Once, the Bloodthirster known as Skarbrand was the greatest of Khorne's daemonic servants, having battled long in his lord's name and having won victories beyond counting. In all the infinite years of Khorne's existence, none had placed more skulls at the base of his throne than Skarbrand, or spilt more blood of warrior and innocent alike for the Blood God's glory. Thus did Skarbrand enjoy Khorne's favour like no other. Yet, pride proved Skarbrand's downfall, as Tzeentch secretly fanned the fires of the Bloodthirster's ego until he sought to usurp Khorne as the Lord of Battles, and one day, while the Chaos God's back was turned, Skarbrand summoned all his strength for a single strike upon the Blood God. Though Skarbrand was mighty beyond all mortal comprehension, a destroyer of worlds who had slain entire cities with single sweeps of his axe, he still could not hope to harm the Blood God, who was the embodiment of wrath itself. Enraged at this insolence, Khorne's furious gaze fell upon Skarbrand. Cursing the Daemon's name, Khorne took the Bloodthirster up in his armoured fist and crushed him, throttling all rationality and thought from the Daemon before throwing the Skarbrand far from the Blood God's Domain and deep into the Realm of Chaos. For 8 days and nights, Skarbrand flew through the sky of the Realm of Chaos, lighting a trail of flaming blood until he finally slammed back to the earth. Now bereft of all reason and inhibition by the curse of Khorne, the Bloodthirster is a witless embodiment of unreasoning fury, and slaughters entire worlds daily in his unholy madness. Khorne spares no more thought for Skarbrand, but laughs as he sees the Bloodthirster serving him more completely in disgrace and exile than he ever did in glory.
  • Urlfdaemonkin - A Daemon Prince of Khorne, and formerly one of his mightiest mortal champions, Urlfdaemonkin, born as Urlf, was once a chieftain of the Snaegr tribe of Norsca, ardent worshippers of Khorne and savage warriors who were the scourge of all southern lands. Urlf was reckoned to be the greatest warrior and leader amongst them, and was raised up to daemonhood by Khorne for his strength. Urlf became venerated by his tribesmen as a lesser Daemon-god of Chaos in his own right, and he is summoned by his tribesmen under the moon of his ascension to bestow the blessings of Khorne upon the tribe's acting chieftain on the eve before the warriors of the Hall of the Snaegr take to the south to harvest great tithes of blood and skulls for the Blood God.
  • U'zhul the Skulltaker - Travellers in the Realm of Chaos tell of a fearsome wanderer who appears before the various strongholds dotted throughout that twisted, nightmare landscape. There, he bellows out a terrible challenge, demanding that the greatest warriors of that fastness emerge from it and face him in battle. Those who do are inevitably slain by the wanderer's berserk fury, for he is U'zuhl, the Skulltaker, first amongst Khorne's Bloodletters. Astride his great Juggernaut, Khul'tayran, U'zhul seeks to face the greatest warriors of the mortal and immortal realms and claim their skulls for Khorne's throne. He is swifter and stronger than his fellow Bloodletters, and is said to possess knowledge of every weakness an enemy bears. It is said that Skulltaker knows the weakness of every enemy. He fights cruelly, shattering his opponent's limbs one by one until they are rendered powerless. He then takes their heads in his clawed hands and burns the flesh from their skulls. He takes such trophies back to Khorne's Brass Citadel and mounts them upon the parapets beside the skulls of his other victims. In the Known World mortals also fear the Skulltaker. It is said he is drawn to tales of prowess and is keen to pit his skills against the mightiest of mortal champions. Within these tales there is a glimmer of hope however, for the Skulltaker bears a permanent scar upon one of his horns, the mark of the hammer blow of the sacred warhammer Ghal Maraz, a legacy of the Skulltaker's challenge of Sigmar Heldenhammer to battle in the early days of the Empire over two millennia ago. In that ancient duel, U'zhul was bested for the first and only time.[4n]
  • Valkia the Bloody - Foremost amongst the dread lords of Chaos who follow the Blood God is this fell former warrior-queen of Norsca's Schwarzvolf tribe now ascended to become a Daemon Prince of Khorne -- Valkia the Bloody. Known also as the "Shield-Maiden of Khorne" and the "Gorequeen," she is said by the Norse sagas to currently be the paramour of the wrathful Blood God who he raised from death to serve as his immortal consort. Khorne is not known for his affections, his passions being chiefly rage, hate, and bloodthirst. Yet the sagas of the Norse teach that he looks upon Valkia with something approaching fondness, the warrior he returned from the dead to carry out his will. It was in the year 1396 IC that the civilised races of the Old World first came into contact with Valkia. At the head of an army of violent madmen she overran the Dwarf positions surrounding the stronghold of Karak Ghulg. Valkia ordered her warriors to perform a grotesque practice upon their defeated foes. They unfolded their victim's bloody red ribs, made naked their hearts and spread out their lungs. With their bleeding lights about their bodies the Dwarfs looked like they bore strange fleshy wings, and so this torturous execution was termed the "Blood Raven." It was an audacious attack that made the Gorequeen a subject of fear amongst the civilised peoples, but within the violent societies of the Norse she was already notorious. Valkia was famed as the warrior queen of her tribe, ensuring her position by slaying any who were foolhardy enough to question her right to rule. The Daemon Prince Locephax was a servant of Slaanesh, driven by the wanton appetites so characteristic of the followers of the Prince of Chaos. Excited by the beauty and athleticism of the warrior queen he visited Valkia and suggested that she might suit the life of a slave better than that of a queen. So insulted was the Gorequeen that she took up her magical spear Slaupnir and attacked the leering Daemon in a berserk rage. Locephax was a fearsome foe, and the sagas tell that the two fought for days before Valkia finally felled the daemon and decapitated him. She set the Daemon Prince's head upon her shield as a trophy. Valkia took leave of her tribe then, saying that she was going to travel to the top of the world, to find her way to Khorne's realm and lay Locephax's head at his feet. Great were the bloody deeds Valkia performed on her quest, but even one as mighty as the Gorequeen could not prevail against all the perils set in her path and soon her corpse joined those of innumerable other champions of the Dark Gods that litter the Chaos Wastes. The sagas say that Khorne's bellows of rage were so thunderous that they woke Valkia from death. They say Khorne took the Gorequeen in his grasp and bent her body into a form more pleasing, forging her anew in the heat of his own wrath. He moulded great horns from her head, and gave her the long bestial legs of a Bloodletter. He pulled great bat-like wings from the muscle and skin of her shapely back. These days Valkia is charged by her master to descend onto the battlefield each dawn and to pay more tithes to his Skull Throne, and also to choose those warriors who will fight on in his halls after their death. When Valkia arrives on the battlefield in her armour of dripping gore and bearing her barbed spear Slaupnir, the Warriors of Chaos who honour Khorne fight with even greater vigour, for they know the Blood God watches them, testing their strength, judging their worth, and that to kill and die forever in his realm is a prize beyond all measure.[4p]
  • Karanak - Daemonic beasts such as Flesh Hounds might seem to be made with such clear purpose that there is little to mark one from another. This is untrue, and followers of the Blood God claim that there are Flesh Hounds of particular import, such as the massive Hound of Khorne that has been ridden by some of his favoured champions, or Karanak, the three-headed Flesh Hound that prowls Khorne's grand throne room in the Brass Citadel of the Blood God's Domain in the Realm of Chaos. Karanak is Khorne's chosen hunter, and the Blood God unleashes him to search out those who have transgressed his warrior creed or otherwise insulted his immense pride. Each of Karanak's heads is said to track the chosen prey in a different manner. The first head tracks the quarry through the physical realm, the second tracks them through time, and the third is said to track them through the tangled trails of their own minds. To be hunted by Karanak is to meet with an inevitable confrontation with the beast, for he never tires and never sleeps. He anticipates all possible moves and chases his quarry swiftly. When the hunt is over he returns to his lord's throne room with the quarry, leaving the skull with Khorne and retreating to a corner to devour the rest of the corpse.[4n]

Mortals

  • Scyla Anfingrimm - The life of Scyla Anfingrimm is a cautionary tale of what happens to the vast majority of the mortals who end up in the service of the Blood God. Anfingrimm was once one of Khorne's greatest champions, a warrior of immense strength hailing from the Northern Wastes. He killed by the thousand and received many rewards from Khorne until, at last, his wasted body collapsed and transformed into a Chaos Spawn. Although Scyla still somehow retained enough intelligence to curry the favour of Khorne, he is now fated to forever walk across the blasted, snowy wastelands of the north, consuming all that he encounters after unleashing upon them a bloody slaughter.[4f]

Notable Forces of Khorne

"And then those sails appeared on the horizon. White, but dripping with the bloody symbols of their foul gods. And then came the black wood of the boats, dragged through the froth by tireless, muscled arms pulling on a hundred oars. I rang the warning bell from my lookout, and me lads formed up, each one sweating at the arrival of these beasts. The crossbowmen loosed bolt after bolt, and many fell, but still the howling fiends ran up the beaches, with no care for armour or shields. They looked like rabble, but fought like Daemons, crashing through our lines, butchering men left and right, clubbing limbs into gore, and hacking heads from bodies like they were attached with butter. I'll never forget that morning..."

—Account transcribed from an Ostland sergeant, 2517 IC[4g]

Compared to the other servants of Chaos the followers of Khorne are the least inscrutable. There is a lack of subtlety to the Blood God's minions, and a purity of purpose. His Daemons exist to kill in his name, and his mortal followers regard wholesale slaughter as the highest form of worship.[4l]

The typical conception of a follower of Khorne is that of a frenzied psychopath who impatiently bides their time between bouts of unrestrained violence. In the main this figure is representative. Khorne cares not from where the blood flows providing it does so often and generously. His mortal devotees and Daemons have a single-minded purpose and if the legions of Khorne could be marshalled together they would surely sweep any rivals before them in an orgy of violence.[4l]

Fortunately for Khorne's enemies his followers are so indiscriminate in their violent urges, and so keen to pit their warrior skills against a worthy foe, that they engage in combat with one another with the same bloodlust as they do the Blood God's rivals.[4l]

Chaos Marauders

A Khornate Norscan Chaos Marauder

Over the centuries, Human raiders from above the Sea of Claws in Norsca have always targeted Kislev and the northernmost provinces of the Empire. These raids have become increasingly brutal and deadly as the taint of Chaos spreads across Norsca and the Northern Wastes. In times gone by, these battle-hardened Chaos Marauders and Kurgan forcibly settled in the areas they targeted for pillaging and claimed a local wife. Over time, as the grip of the Ruinous Powers upon the mortal world has increased, their strength in the northlands has grown exponentially. The taint of Chaos is ever-increasing and has always been stronger in the north due to the close proximity of the ruins of the Polar Gate that leads into the Realm of Chaos.[4f]

For this reason, the hard warriors of the north have always worshipped the Chaos Gods, even if the names of these gods has been warped along with the minds of the Norscans, Kurgan, and other tribes of Men that periodically launch raids on the civilised settlements to the south. While all of these tribes recognise the Chaos Gods as their masters, they may pray and shout to a different name, but it is always Khorne or one of the other Ruinous Powers that is listening and responding to their cries. Thus, the raids from the north not only seek to find women, food, and gold for the sake of survival, but also blood for the Blood God. When the fur-cloaked warriors emerge from their longships onto the beaches of the south, their aim may not be to pillage, but to kill, maim and destroy in the name of Khorne or one of the other Chaos Gods.[4f]

The northlands are a savage wasteland; few who choose to live there have any ambition other than to become a great warrior and face the judgement of their god by travelling to the far north, into the Chaos Wastes where reality and the nightmare landscape of the Realm of Chaos intermingle. Those few that return often come back bearing a great scar, brand, or tattoo, a mark of the favour they have received by becoming a mortal servant of their deity, one of the Chaos Chosen. Faith and honour have been wiped from the mindset of these peoples, thrown away for a craving for the blessings of the Dark Gods. Most of the livestock brought back from raids on the south is sacrificed and any weaklings found among them are thrown onto the same pyres.[4f]

The northern tribes are in a state of constant strife, both with each other and with the civilised lands to the south. In Kislev, where the border is less constant than the sea, the Ice Queen has been forced to reinforce the defences of the cities of Praag and Erengrad against the increasing ferocity of Norscan attacks. Despite the greater quantity of raids and incursions, the only facet of the original Norse society that has survived the corrupting influence of Chaos is loyalty to kin. Few among the northmen dare to displease their family elders, for to do so will lead to being cast out into the wilds, with little chance of being accepted by other tribes.[4g]

Khornate Influence in the Old World

A charge unleashed by Juggernauts serving with the other savage forces of Khorne.

The Old World is a grim and dark place for all of its inhabitants. It is a bloody and violent continent, where not a day passes without conflict and bloodshed somewhere within its bounds. From the snow-covered north, to the wastes and deserts of the south, thousands lose their lives each day as the engines of war march ever onwards.[4g]

Magical entities are summoned, both by accident and design, into the mortal world to wreak havoc. Bestial creatures retreat only to gather their strength for renewed assaults. The Human inhabitants of these lands, despite thinking themselves civilised, are just as brutal as some of the peoples they dismiss in their arrogance as the "lesser races," from the Kurgan and Norscan Chaos Marauders in the north, to the scimitar-wielding troops from Araby in the south.[4g]

The Empire may be the greatest of these realms in terms of raw power, but its citizenry is also the most ripe to be turned to the service of Chaos. It has warred, at times, with all of its neighbours, spilling the precious blood of other Men rather than focusing on the far greater threat posed by Chaos. Peace rarely lasts long, as Men are ambitious, greedy for power and wealth, and thus all too willing to break treaties. Surrounded by enemies, the Empire must also guard against attack from Orcs, Goblins, Ogres, Beastmen, Skaven, and the Undead of Sylvania and its ruling Vampire Counts.[4g]

The Blood God cares not for pleasure, leaving such ridiculous emotions to his rival Slaanesh, and feels only rage and hate. Yet, the constant strife of the Old World brings what might be described as pleasure to Khorne. The constant destruction and war energizes him, feeding his hate, and he then uses that energy to incite greater acts of murder and slaughter from his followers.[4g]

Beastmen

All the Chaos Gods find that Beastmen make useful minions. The cloven monstrosities are born of the power of Chaos, yet unlike Daemons, they have all been birthed in the forests as mortals, and so can wander freely, unlike Khorne's daemonic servants, who require some proximity to the Realm of Chaos and its magical energies in order to be sustained. Inside the Drakwald and other forests of the Old World, the uncounted herds of the Beastmen build herdstones to worship the Ruinous Powers, bleating their obscene cries as prayers.[4h]

As warped parodies of Men and beasts, Khorne finds the Beastmen's innate brutality and savagery most pleasing. Filled with an innate loathing for their parent race of Mankind and the other mortal peoples of the Known World that has only increased with time, these creatures live to hunt, kill and eat Human flesh. The Blood God enjoys that the Beastmen are built for battle; whether it is the lowliest Ungor, or the greatest Doombull, the destruction caused by the cloven race can only further the cause of Khorne. Khorne knows that these beasts will continue their quest forever and, like the other Ruinous Powers, rarely pays attention to or bestows his favour on such lowly creatures. Beastmen serve Chaos regardless, neither comprehending the power of their foul deities nor realising their lowly part in the plans of the four major Chaos Gods.[4h]

Even so, sometimes Khorne, or one of the other Ruinous Powers will take a particular interest in a single Beastman. This creature will be little more than a disposable pawn to its god, but some Beastmen have been known to receive blessings and mutations specific to one of the Ruinous Powers, though this is not common. Beastmen are already ferocious, superhuman warriors that are fast, agile, tough-skinned, and fully capable of delivering crunching blows with their crude and rusty weaponry.[4h]

Chaos Warriors of Khorne

Scholars of daemonology debate the issue endlessly, but some speculate that Khorne is mightiest of all the Chaos Gods, at least in the present era. Some even posit that at one time he may have been less powerful than the sorcerous Tzeentch, but such a time is long passed and now no other power of Chaos seems to eclipse the Blood God. Amongst the savage Norscans, or the Kurgan or the Hung, there is barely a tribe whose warriors do not include those who honour the Blood God. They know him by many names, such as Kharnath, Khorghar, Akhar or the Hound, and a hundred honorifics, such as the "Lord of Battle" or the "Master of the Skull Throne."[4o]

Khorne is rage incarnate and his appreciation of strength and warrior prowess, and the rewards he provides to those who slaughter in his name, makes him a popular god amongst the savage warriors of the northern lands. The lifestyle of the Chaos Marauder societies present in places such as the Troll Country or the Eastern Steppes dovetails neatly with the behaviour the Blood God expects of his followers. Those who choose to worship Khorne simply view his patronage as a practical consideration, and so it often is to begin with as those who pay their dread lord tribute quickly find themselves blessed with superhuman strength and ferocity. However, every devotee of Khorne finds themself on a road to an all-consuming bloodlust that only the most strong-willed can resist, and only the very best can hope to sate.[4o]

The Chaos Warriors who devote themselves exclusively to Khorne show their devotion through their dress, preferring the Blood God's sacred colours of red, black and brass. His Chaos Warriors often forgo the use of shields in favour of a second melee weapon or a massive two-handed weapon, all the better to shed blood in the Blood God's name. Their banners are brass-bound icons decorated with dismembered body parts and soaked in arterial blood. They display the skull-like Mark of Khorne rune on their standards and embossed on their breastplates.[4o]

There are no known temples to Khorne in the northern lands, and his worship is accompanied by little ceremony. Battlefields and the sites of massacres are regarded as his holy places, and the only prayer his followers utter is to bellow "Blood for the Blood God!" as they charge into battle.[4o]

The Chaos Warriors of Khorne regard a day without slaughter as a day wasted. An army that contains many troops devoted to the Blood God needs to find fresh enemies on a regular basis, as each day that passes without bloodshed sees a rise in tension within the ranks. Without a clear objective or the promise of further battles the warriors of Khorne may even turn upon their allies or each other in order to slake their thirst for violence and slaughter.[4o]

Chaos Champions of Khorne

Khorne is the patron of warriors and as such many of the mightiest Chaos Champions throughout the history of the Known World have paid him particular honour. Arbaal the Undefeated, who rode upon the back of a gigantic Flesh Hound, is said to have shattered the gates of Praag during the Great War Against Chaos. Norse sagas also tell of Scyla Anfingrimm, warlord of the Ironpelt tribe, who so pleased Khorne that he refashioned the raider into the form of a great raging beast. Hogan Headhacker, Kurt the Wolf, Zinbar Sicklesword and the dreaded Chaos Brothers, all have won infamy as fell warriors slaying in the Blood God's name.[4o]

Champions of Khorne are regarded with distrust by other follow�ers of Chaos, for the Blood God cares not who dies in his name and is even said to take a particular delight in the slaying of allies and friends. Those high in his favour are even feared and hated by other Chaos Champions. Khorne's Champions are highly competitive, and unless they are working together for some greater purpose, two Champions of Khorne who meet each other are likely to engage in a deadly duel to prove which is more worthy to continue to serve the Blood God. Some of his Champions are so devoted to killing in his name that they lead entirely solitary lives, staking out a position in some forlorn corner of the Chaos Wastes and slaying any who approach them.[4o]

Those who please Khorne through their devotion to death and war are soon rewarded with suits of arcane armour or magical weapons which aid in the business of slaughter. They may even be blessed with a clanking and steaming daemonic Juggernaut to ride, or provided with hunting companions in the form of Flesh Hounds.[4o]

Chaos Knights of Khorne

Riding from the Northern Wastes atop dark stallions tainted with Daemon blood, the Chaos Knights are justly feared throughout the Old World. Few other mortals can suffer their deadly charge and survive. The Skullcrushers of Khorne are among the most devout Chaos Knights dedicated to Khorne and whose legendary skill at arms and warfare has earned them the right to ride the fearsome daemonic Juggernaut into battle.[4o]

Skullcrushers are unsubtle Chaos Warriors who revel in battle and live only for the shedding of blood in the name of Khorne. Only those Chaos Knights who devote themselves utterly to the Lord of Slaughter and offer to him a mountain of skulls are destined to become Skullcrushers. Anyone or anything foolish enough to stand before them is destined only for a short and brutally violent fate, for Skullcrushers are completely without mercy and leave only a trail of broken bodies and a river of spilt gore in their wake.[1t]

So favoured in the eyes of Khorne are these murderous knights that the Blood God has gifted them with Juggernauts to carry them to war. These massive daemonic mounts are made of living metal and pure rage; they are dealers of untold destruction who grind their foes beneath steel sinews and brass hooves. As formidable as a Chaos Knight is, when mounted upon a Juggernaut, he is nigh-unstoppable.[1t]

As the blood-crazed knights bellow their battle cries, their fearsome mounts snort steam and paw out divots the size of shallow graves before stampeding towards the ranks of their enemy and flattening anything in their way. The Chaos Knights themselves are no less brutal, hacking their opponents apart with axes and cleavers, or else running them through with jagged lances. Mightiest of all their number is the Skullhunter, he who has spilt the most blood in Khorne's name and who has gifted his dark patron with the skulls of mighty kings and great heroes.[1t]

Skullcrushers can be seen roaming the Realm of Chaos and the lands of Norsca and the Northern Wastes, butchering all who cross their path. Such is their need to kill that Skullcrushers will charge the moment a foe is sighted. Only the will of a truly mighty Chaos Lord can hope to quell their thirst for battle with the promise of an even greater and more bountiful battlefield in return for their service.[1t]

Daemons of Khorne

The Daemons of Khorne seek the destruction of the mortal world in a tide of unending gore and slaughter.

The Daemons of Khorne are their Chaos God in microcosm: raging, bloodthirsty, and incomparably deadly, unrelenting embodiments of fury and bloodthirsty martial honour. Even the least of their number is a truly terrible foe, whether this is because they are such skilled warriors, wrathful, uncontrolled beasts who will engage in any behaviour that leads to slaughter, or both.

Despite being creatures fundamentally birthed from pure magic, as all Daemons are, the Daemons of Khorne utilise no sorcery, serving as embodiments of the Blood God's teaching that martial honour demands only physical combat, for the use of magic is only for the weak. Most, if not all Khornate Daemons, also possess an impressive resistance to assaults of an arcane nature as a form of compensation.

It is a terrible fate for a mortal to face a Daemon in battle, even moreso when the Daemon is one of Khorne's vile brood, for their overriding purpose as dealers of violent death is all too obvious. They are the most physically powerful and single-mindedly vicious of all daemonic creatures. They are beyond any bargaining, are possessed of the keen martial and strategic intellects to rival those of great generals and cunning huntsmen, and bear a colossal martial pride that does not easily suffer wounding.

Lesser Daemons

Even the least of Khorne's daemonic servants are fearsome foes, whether this is down to them being skilful fighters or raging beasts, or both. For a mortal creature to confront a Chaos Daemon is always a frightening experience, but all the more so when that Daemon serves Khorne, as its overriding purpose as a dealer of violent death is only too obvious.

  • Flesh Hounds - Flesh Hounds are rapacious, wolf-like Daemons, with heavy heads marked by great jaws that lend then both a vaguely reptilian as well as a savagely lupine aspect. Their razor-sharp teeth and sword-like claws can tear apart both armour and flesh with ease. They are lithe, yet powerful, able to dart aside from a swordsman's strike and pull a rider off his saddle in the same motion. The hide of a Flesh Hound is tough and ruddy, with rows of iron plates run into their flesh by iron rivulets in the shape of Khorne's rune. The Flesh Hounds are implacable hunters and they are loosed from Khorne's domain in the Realm of Chaos to track down and kill those beings who have earned his ire. They are peerless trackers, able to hunt a foe through marsh, woodland or mountainside. It is believed that they know the scent of every mortal creature. Upon open ground a Flesh Hound can keep pace with a galloping horse and once a pack is upon its prey they have little hope of escape, for these daemonic hounds are rapacious carnivores as adept at slaughter as any servant of the Blood God. Each Flesh Hound bears a brass circlet about its neck, hammered out by the Blood God's own daemonic artisans in the heat of the massive forge that lies in the shadow of his Brass Citadel, powered by the flames of Khorne's own fury. Thus outfitted, the Flesh Hounds of Khorne are immune to the effects of hostile magic as long as they wear the brass collar, for Khorne is loathe to see his servants felled by the perfidious and cowardly practices of the arcane. The brass collars are usually fixed around the necks of Flesh Hounds, but are sometimes also awarded to mortal champions and other daemonic servants of Khorne as a reward for the slaughter they carry out in his name.
  • Bloodletters - Known also as "Khorne's Chosen," the "Naked Slayers," and the "Takers of Skulls," Bloodletters are the primary Lesser Daemons of the Khornate daemonic armies, deadly warriors believed to have been the foremost of Khorne's mortal warriors in life and whose will is as implacable and blood-hungry as Khorne himself. The Bloodletters make up the rank-and-file of Khorne's legions. Sharp, needle-like teeth stud these humanoid Daemons' slavering jaws, and rippling muscles lie barely concealed under their scaly red hides the colour of gore. These knotted sinews give the Daemon enough strength in its jet black claws to rend apart even the strongest armour. Their elongated heads bare a pair of sharp twisted horns, and slavering tongues worm their way past the jagged teeth of their skull-like visages. Whether the stories of them once being mortal followers of the Blood God are true or not, it is certain that each Bloodletter is a superb warrior, able to make a red ruin of most opponents with their wicked magical Hellblades. The Bloodletters' might is guided by a killer instinct that surpasses that of mortals, for a Bloodletter's thoughts are free of any desire or compunction other than to slay Khorne's foes and reap skulls for their lord's Skull Throne. Each Bloodletter bears a jagged, magical, black steel blade known as a Hellblade, a melee weapon that appears in many different forms that is always wreathed in fire and said to be able to feed on the souls of the mortals it kills. In truth the weapons are not objects in and of themselves, but a portion of the Daemon's own essence objectified in the form of the sword. Hellblades are wicked weapons, their razor sharp and jagged edges capable of inflicting horrible wounds even were it not for the baleful runes etched into them.[4k]
  • Juggernauts - Juggernauts are massive creatures -- part Daemon and part ensorcelled steel and sinew. In silhouette they may be mistaken for the great Rhinoxen that live upon the distant Mountains of Mourn, but to see one is to realise they are as much machine as beast. They are mighty beasts of groaning iron and brass, taller than a man and possessed of crushing mass. The hide of a Juggernaut is composed of riveted and fused metal plates, decorated with the Mark of Khorne and bathed in the lifeblood of its victims. As they trample the earth they belch fire and smoke, powered from within by the heat of a daemonic furnace. Khorne often gifts Juggernauts to his most worthy champions as riding beasts and they are most often ridden into battle by elite Bloodletters or especially favoured mortal Chaos Chosen and Champions of Khorne as a form of daemonic cavalry. Within the Blood God's daemonic legions, Bloodletters riding Juggernauts often make up a core of shock cavalry, known to those with a knowledge of daemonic lore as Bloodcrushers. Such creatures make potent mounts for a warrior, as they are as furious and bloodthirsty as any of Khorne's daemonic servants. Their metallic bodies are tough enough to withstand great punishment, and heavy enough to mete it out in turn. [4k]
  • Bloodcrushers of Khorne - The Bloodcrushers are the most favoured of all Bloodletters, the Lesser Daemons of Khorne, as they have been gifted with a Juggernaut to serve as their steed. Bloodcrushers thus serve as the heavy shock cavalry of Khorne's daemonic legions. When the Khornate legions go to war, bellowing hordes of Bloodcrushers stampede across the battlefield, trampling the Blood God's foes into unrecognisable pulp.[7a]
  • Heralds of Khorne - Greatest and most fearsome of the Bloodletters are the Heralds of Khorne, vicious specimens of their kind driven on by their overwhelming, perpetual need for slaughter. The Heralds are the leaders of the Bloodletter hordes, who have gained that position by dint of raw strength and skill in battle. They attack their foes with a fury that eclipses that of lesser Bloodletters, and as their battle-rage grows, those around them become gripped in the throes of berserker frenzy that lends even greater strength to their blows. They hack and cleave their foes until naught remains a mound of corpses and limbs lying adrift a pool of blood, and another victory in the name of Blood God.

Greater Daemons

  • Daemon Prince of Khorne - Ultimately all Champions of Chaos walk a path to glory, hoping to earn the eye of their chosen patron and be found worthy of transformation into a Daemon Prince. These are large and powerful Daemons, second only to the mighty Greater Daemons of their Chaos God. In order to please Khorne a mortal has to become a killer of men, slaying his foes without compunction or pause and hunting down magic-users in particular. If a mortal is found worthy in the eyes of Khorne to ascend, they undergo a transformation. The recipient of daemonhood grows in size, becoming a hulking creature over ten feet tall and bulging with slabs of iron-hard muscle. They sprout a tail and horns and fearsome claws. Those gifts of Chaos and mutations the mortal earned in life remain, only scaled up to suit their new size. The Daemon Princes of Khorne are far from uniform, for each represents the personalities and trademarks of the Chaos Champions they were in mortal life, but there are some factors they hold in common. Many of them have large, leather wings like those of a Bloodthirster, scaled skin the colour of blood, and the heads and faces of massive hunting hounds. Many Daemon Princes bear arcane weapons or suits of magical armour. Because Khorne is the patron of warriors, his daemonic servants are even more likely to bear such wargear than the Daemon Princes of the other Chaos Gods. Like all of Khorne's servants, his Daemon Princes never wield magic, and may well wear items that ward them from spells such as the brass collars used by Flesh Hounds.[4m]
  • Bloodthirsters - Bloodthirsters are not only the greatest of Khorne's daemonic creations as his chosen Greater Daemons, but also the greatest of Daemonkind entire. They are gigantic winged beasts, with massive and heavy horned heads. Their gaping maws resemble the snouts of a wolf and are lined with rows of sharp canine teeth. Bloodthirsters are heavily muscled and in terms of raw power they are the strongest of the daemonic entities of the Aethyr. Each wears a suit of brazen armour decorated with Khorne's skull-shaped mark and the heads of their victims and they each bear a massive, ensorcelled battleaxe that thirsts after death and slaughter and a long, wickedly barbed lash that can flay away the flesh from a victim's bones with a single crack. Virtual gods of war, they stride the battlefield, their battleaxes meting out death and ruination with even the least of strikes. They are the fury of war given physical form, the unfettered primal rage of the mortal world made manifest. Such is to be expected of a creature whose only master is the ultimate god of bloodletting, slaughter, and murder. A Bloodthirster's iron-hard flesh is covered in coarse fur and brass plate armour slick with the blood of innumerable victims. The face of the Bloodthirster is like that of a snarling hound, a visage alive with horrific savagery. Unlike the Greater Daemons of the other Chaos Gods, Bloodthirsters work no magic, for their lord abhors the practice of sorcery. However, they cannot be said to be in any way inferior to their daemonic counterparts. Bloodthirsters may well lack the subtlety and versatility of other Greater Daemons, but they more than make up for it in brute force and single-minded devotion to the aims of the Blood God who gave them existence, for they are driven purely by the urge to slaughter. Other Daemons may be reasoned with by the cunning, or bargained with by the foolish, but a Bloodthirster cares not for rhetoric or promises. Some say that the single-mindedness of the Bloodthirster can be used as its undoing, that they can be lured away from the vulnerable by a challenging decoy or clever ruse. However, a decoy must be beyond swift to escape retribution, for the Bloodthirster runs quickly upon its sharp hooves, and can fly through the air upon its great leathern wings. As for those who construct ruses, they must be ingenious indeed for a Bloodthirster is in fact no fool. Beneath the blazing fury and hatred there is a keen huntsman's intellect and a warrior pride that will not bear wounding.[4m]

Videos

Total War: WARHAMMER - Blood for the Blood God - Trailer
Trial by Fire - Total War: WARHAMMER III
Enter the World of Khorne- Total War: WARHAMMER III

Sources

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    • 1b: pg. 6
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    • 1d: pg. 8
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    • 1f: pg. 10
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    • 1j: pg. 23
    • 1k: pp. 24-25
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    • 1m: pg. 27
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    • 4h: pg. 10
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    • 4j: pg. 11
    • 4k: pg. 18
    • 4l: pg. 16
    • 4m: pg. 19
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    • 4p: pg. 23
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    • 7a: pg. 30

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