Order is the term used to refer to the universal and sometimes benevolent metaphysical force that lies in direct opposition to Chaos. Order is a force that seeks to impose structure, stability, harmony and hierarchy upon the universe. Order is served by certain entities that exist within the Warp, such as the Emperor of Mankind or the former Eldar Gods who were mostly lost during the Fall of the Eldar. At the present time, Order is a waning force in the Milky Way Galaxy, as Chaos becomes ever stronger and more omnipresent, both within the Immaterium and in realspace. The term also encompasses those mortals who have thrown in their lot with Order, such as the devoted servants of the Imperium of Man, the Eldar of the Craftworlds and the Exodites, the Tau Empire and even the soulless Necrons and their former C'tan masters, though the Order they would impose on the galaxy is very different from that of the other factions.
Order is a great force of stability and power, and is neither physically nor spiritually corrupting like Chaos, though it is not in itself necessarily "good." While its adherents and servants act in ways that could sometimes be considered benevolent, some devotees of Order like the Necrons are more dedicated to the service of structure, stagnation and imposing their will upon the galaxy than the selflessness that Mankind and most other intelligent species define as righteousness. However, more often than not, the service of Order rewards sacrificing one's own desires and wants in the service of a larger group in such a way that the implementation of stability and structure leads to forms of self-sacrifice, heroism and compassion for others that most cultures characterise as benevolence. Unlike Chaos, which is the very embodiment of the Immaterium, Order is best represented and embodied by the physical universe of realspace. Realspace is defined by concrete natural laws and a stable reality that does not constantly shift to match collective psychic whims like that of the Warp.
The most powerful current entity of Order is the Emperor of Mankind, whose potent mind resides within the Warp, always acting to circumvent the growing power of the Chaos Gods and their attempts to have the power of Chaos bleed into and destroy the stability of realspace. The collective pantheon of Eldar Gods was also once a powerful representative of Order, but of its number only Isha, Khaine and Cegorach remain. However, a nascent Eldar God and perhaps a force for Order equal in power to the Emperor is even now gestating within the Infinity Circuits of the Craftworlds, known as Ynnead, the Eldar God of the Dead. The C'tan are also powerful forces for Order, though they serve what other species might consider the "evil" incarnation of Order, determined as they are to impose a regime upon the galaxy in which all sentient organisms feed their never-ending hunger for living energies.
There is no generally accepted iconic symbol for Order, but the Eldar have often used a rune in the Eldar Lexicon that stands for "Harmony" as a representative symbol of Order. As this symbol was also once used by ancient groups of humans to represent the order of the universe brought about by balance, it could be considered a universal symbol of Order just as the Chaos Star is the universal symbol of Chaos.
Ultimately, Order and its servants seek to strengthen the rules and architecture that bind the physical universe together. They seek a universe defined by a rigid structure of natural laws and a hierarchy in which everything in existence knows its rightful place, whether it is living or inorganic. In general, Order is a spiritual force that can represent the more benevolent, selfless impulses that exist within the psyches of every sentient being in the galaxy, though it can also lead to stagnation, repression and corruption, as has happened over the last 10,000 Terran years to the Imperium of Man. Because Mankind is by far the most populous intelligent species in the galaxy of the late 41st Millennium, the greatest embodiment of Order is the Emperor of Mankind, who serves as the God of humanity. The Emperor is known as the "Anathema" to the Chaos Gods and their servants because he alone represents the greatest current obstacle to the overwhelming victory of Chaos over Order in this corner of the universe.
With all the obvious dangers associated with Chaos, such as mutation, daemonic possession, and spiritual damnation, some might wonder why anyone would willingly choose to turn their backs on Order to serve the Ruinous Powers. The answer is actually simple. Chaos judges its servants solely on their abilities and their records of success and failure in promoting the agenda of the individual Chaos Gods and of Chaos Undivided as a whole. Chaos also offers those who serve it the opportunity to perhaps one day wield power and respect far beyond the dreams of most mortals' avarice.
For so many people, particularly in the oppressive, feudal Imperium of Man, whose untrammeled Order has ultimately bred stagnation and corruption, too often family connections and inherited wealth are rewarded rather than ability. It is impossible on too many Imperial worlds for a talented individual to ever better their lot. As such, Chaos actually offers a substantial degree of freedom and the only real meritocracy that many citizens of the Imperium have ever known. But Chaos is not a benevolent force, and for the vast majority of those who fall to Chaos' temptations, they will never know either power or position and will be little more than faceless puppets in the endless schemes of the Dark Gods.
While Chaos may reward success with power, even the mightiest Chaotic servant becomes a slave of Chaos, never its master. Most Chaotics will fail, eventually ending up as possessed daemonhosts mindless Chaos Spawn, or simply as just another corpse in the heap, a pawn whose usefulness to the Ruinous Powers has ended. Those who serve Order may never know the sheer power and freedom that a devotee of Chaos can wield, but neither will he fall to damnation. His body and soul will always remain his own, and in service to something larger than himself he may actually earn the mantle of the hero.
Forces of Order
The Forces of Order are generally those factions in the galaxy that stand against Chaos directly or whose pursuit of stability, harmony or just sheer domination enhances the power of Order within the universe. The Forces of Order include:
- Imperium of Man - All of the Imperium of Man's major factions, including the Space Marines, the Imperial Guard, the Inquisition, the Imperial Navy, the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adepta Sororitas are powerful servants of Order.
- Eldar - The uncorrupted Eldar of the Craftworlds and their Exodite counterparts who have chosen to live a more rural existence are all servants of Order.
- Tau - The Tau Empire and its many human and xenos allies, in pursuit of its ideology of the Greater Good, is a growing force for pure Order in the galaxy. The Tau Empire might become a potent ally of the Imperium against Chaos if the two species could forge some form of cooperation rather than constantly seeking to defeat the expansionary plans of the other.
- Necrons and C'tan - The Necrons are also powerful servants of Order, as they wish to impose their control over the entire galaxy and forever cut off the Immaterium from realspace, thus dramatically reducing if not outright destroying the power of Chaos. However, the Necrons would do this only so that they could reestablish their own ancient empire over the galaxy. The Necrons see little place in their reborn realm for the other star-faring races, save perhaps as slaves. This makes the other servants of Order more likely to stand against the Necrons and their imprisoned Star Gods than aid them in their fight against Chaos.
Forces of Disorder
The Forces of Disorder, in the eyes of a servant of Order, are generally those factions in the galaxy that directly serve Chaos or whose pursuit of disruption, destruction and sheer instability enhances the overall power of Chaos in the universe. The Forces of Disorder include:
- Forces of Chaos - The Forces of Chaos is a term applied by Imperial scholars to all the myriad servants of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos who seek to destroy the Imperium of Man and the other servants of Order and replace them with the utterly anarchic predominance of Chaos, a state of affairs that would likely result in the eventual extinction of the human race and indeed of all sentient life in the Milky Way Galaxy. For clarity's sake, most scholars divide up the Forces of Chaos into three major components, including the inhuman daemons that are native to the Warp and only rarely impinge upon the physical universe, the Lost and the Damned which includes among their numbers Chaos Cultists, Traitor Guardsmen, mutants and the other mortal devotees of Chaos and finally, Chaos' most potent servants, the Traitor Legions of the Chaos Space Marines and their counterparts among the Traitor Titan Legions of the Dark Mechanicus.
- Orks - The Greenskins of the Ork race are powerful servants of Disorder, for while they do not serve Chaos directly, their love of battle and destruction for its own sake directly serves the goals of Chaos to spread anarchy across the universe.
- Dark Eldar - Those Eldar who walk the Path of Damnation as raiders, pirates, torturers and dark hedonists directly serve the interests of the Chaos God Slaanesh, and so indirectly enhance the power of Chaos across the galaxy.
- Tyranids - The Great Devourer seeks to consume all other lifeforms in the Milky Way Galaxy so that it might simply reproduce itself and create ever more perfect bioforms. By attacking all structure and existing hierarchies in the galaxy, the Tyranids are a potent force for the spread of Disorder, even as they would not hesitate to devour all the servants of Chaos as well as those of Order. Though the Tyranids are more a force of nature than servants of any ideology or philosophical force, their actions have only further weakened the Forces of Order across the galaxy and so they are rightly counted among those who perpetuate Disorder.
- Codex Imperialis (2nd Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader (1st Edition)
- Codex Eldar - Craftworlds (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Ancient Lore"