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It should not be confused with the Chaos Wastes which are part of the physical world. It is a place of dreams and nightmares made real, where effect need not follow cause; within its bounds anything is possible. It is the home dimension of Chaos that is comprised entirely of magical energy, given shape and form only by the desires, thoughts, feelings and passions of mortals.
Here there are no physical laws akin to those that dominate the mortal world. Within its confines hopes and fears become real, and reality is reborn as fevered hallucination.
Gravity, shape, space and reason -- all are in flux and utterly mutable to the will of the Chaos Gods. Few mortals are capable of perceiving the Realm of Chaos in its true splendour, for the living mind recoils from its otherworldly landscapes.
Thus, no two visions of the Realm of Chaos are exactly alike, and are often contradictory. If there is anything that can be called the truth, it is this; the Realm of Chaos is but a mirror reflection of the misery, pain and horrors of the material world, created in its current form by the destruction unleashed and the suffering endured by the mortal races of the Warhammer World.[2a]
The Dark Gods of Chaos each have their own particular spheres of influence, their own daemonic servants, and their own territories. Yet the Realm of Chaos is not merely the home of the Dark Gods. It is also their battlefield, the arena for a Great Game of supremacy.
The brother gods are constantly at war with one another, vying for power amid the planes. Despite their myriad differences, the Chaos Gods share a common goal: total domination of all that exists. But such absolute power cannot be shared, even amongst gods. So it is that this peculiar world is burdened by constant wars of attrition. Vast daemonic armies swarm across crystal plains, venomous forests, bone-choked swampland and rivers of churning gore, battling to the death to claim and counterclaim territory and the magical lifeblood that goes with it.
In the Realm of Chaos, where magic is the stuff of being, the breadth of a domain is not merely a symbol of power, it is indeed power itself. As the minions of one god seize advantage, captured territory is moulded to the whims of its new master. If Khorne overruns a portion of Nurgle's festering garden, the diseased foliage swiftly decays down to nothing, leaving only ruddy wasteland. Similarly, should Tzeentch manage to wrest that same territory from Khorne, crystalline structures burst forth from the parched firmament.[2a]
Alliances in this eternal war are complex, but far from unknown — in fact, the Dark Gods often seek advantage through common cause. Though Khorne is the greatest of the brothers, he is not all-powerful. Tzeentch is his closest rival, but if the circumstances are right then Nurgle -- and sometimes Slaanesh -- can rise to be his equal or eclipse him entirely.
As if this were not complicated enough, there are deep-seated rivalries amongst the gods that can further influence matters. Khorne most despises Slaanesh, whose dark designs are an affront to the Blood God's sense of honour and martial pride. Similarly, Tzeentch and Nurgle -- respectively the manifestations of mortals' hope and despair -- need little spurring to come to blows.[2a]
Each god strives for dominance over the others, and though one may gain ascendancy for a while, no god has yet succeeded in vanquishing another. As one god gains mastery the others combine against him, and as the allies grow in power they divide, forming new pacts of necessity until another conqueror emerges to be vanquished in his turn.[2a]
Travelling to and from the Realm of Chaos
- The Polar Gates - these large portals lie at the north and south poles of the Warhammer World, beyond the Chaos Wastes. They were created by the Old Ones in the ancient past to allow instantaneous travel between the Warhammer World and far-off locations among the stars. When they collapsed and shattered, it allowed the Realm of Chaos - raw chaotic magical energy - to pour into the realm world, in an event known as the Great Catastrophe.
- The Paths of the Old Ones - pathways using similar technology of the Polar Gates that allowed instantaneous travel across the world. Some of these have become contaminated after or during the Great Catastrophe and now lead into the Realm of Chaos.
- Mirror of Nightmares - an enchanted object which acts as a portal to the Realm of Chaos. Marius Hollseher passed through the mirror of nightmares, explored the Realm of Chaos and managed to escape, penning the Liber Malefic to describe his experience.
- The Great Vortex - a magical maelstrom located at the centre of Ulthuan on the Isle of the Dead, it was created by Elven Archmages led by Caledor Dragontamer with the remote help of the Slann. It drains magical energy away from the world, back into the Realm of Chaos. It is the only reason that the Polar Gates have not unleashed enough energy to engulf the world.
- Temporary portals can be created by magic users, intentionally or unintentionally, allowing Daemons and raw chaos energy to escape the Realm.
- Blood God's Domain - The domain of Khorne
- Dark Prince's Realm - The domain of Slaanesh
- Land of the Plaguelord - The domain of Nurgle
- Realm of the Sorcerer - The domain of Tzeentch
Possible Neutral Territories
- Bad Moon
- Court of Covenant - Neutral territory between the Gods set apart for negotiations
- Great Sea