- "Embrace your hunger, your lust, your desire. The universe is ours for the taking!"
- — Sanctifer LeVay, Cult of the Sacred Union
Slaanesh, also known as the Dark Prince, the Prince of Pleasure and even the Prince of Chaos in the Imperium of Man, is the Chaos God of Pleasure, Passion, and Decadence. Lust, pride and self-indulgence are the hallmarks of all who follow him. He is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, having come to full sentience within the Immaterium only during the 30th Millennium. While generally referred to as a "he" by humans and as a female by the Eldar, Slaanesh is actually neither gender, combining characteristics of both and perfecting them. Slaanesh typically appears in an androgynous form in which it is a woman on the right side and a man on the left with two sets of devilish horns growing from its head. Slaanesh can assume any form; male, female, hermaphrodite or no gender at all, but it prefers male bodies. Its sacred number is six and the colours associated with Slaanesh are purple, pink and black. The name Slaanesh is a corruption of the Eldar term Slaaneth (Slaa meaning "ecstasy" or "pleasure" and Neth meaning "lord" or "prince" in the Eldar Lexicon; hence, the Prince of Pleasure), though ironically, the Eldar refer to this foul entity only as "She Who Thirsts."
Slaanesh is the Lord of Pleasure, the Dark God dedicated to the pursuit of earthly gratification and the overthrow of all decent behaviour, as well as hedonism and pleasure for its own sake. He is the God of Obsession, the Master of Excess in All Things, from gluttony to lust to megalomania. Wherever mortals are ruled by their own unquenchable desires, the Dark Prince of Chaos is there in the shadows, whispering, tempting, and feasting on a banquet of souls. But this is true in all things, not just carnal pleasures. Those who desire to indulge in the finest culinary delights, the most beautiful artworks, even the most sensual clothing, could all be amongst Slaanesh’s disciples. Just as importantly, Slaanesh is also the god of perfection. The singer striving for the most beautiful song or the warrior who seeks the perfect fighting techniques, both could be devotees of Slaanesh.
Slaanesh was given life by the immorality and hubris of the ancient Eldar empire. As their empire reached its zenith, the Eldar became lost in their own decadence, for they experience sensation and emotion to a far greater degree than any other intelligent species of the galaxy. The capabilities of their highly advanced technology meant that the Eldar did not need to labour or wage war. Instead, they were able to dedicate their lives to whatever idle pursuits took their fancy. Over several generations, this indolence came to rule and pervert their spirits. In the Immaterium, the collective psychic reflections of their indolence and hedonism caused a new Chaos Power to stir, beginning in the 25th Millennium of the Terran calendar. Created by one species' pure dedication to indulgence, the first motes of what would become Slaanesh began to coalesce.
The dormant Slaanesh fed upon the unchecked collective psyche of the Eldar, drawing on their lusts and ambitions, their artistry and pursuit of excellence in all things. In turn, as Slaanesh grew, its nascent dreams trickled into the minds of the Eldar and fuelled their desires, pushing them ever onwards towards their eventual doom. Eventually, the Eldar civilisation devolved into little more than pleasure cults dedicated to every act of physical, mental and spiritual fulfillment. Blood stained the statuary of their plazas as crowds of drug-addled maniacs sated their violent desires in the streets of the Eldar homeworlds. On one particularly depraved night, the debauchery reached a terrible crescendo that tore out the heart of the Eldar empire and left it ravaged beyond recovery. The Fall of the Eldar in the early 30th Millennium was signalled by the birth-scream of Slaanesh, a tsunami of emotion that heralded the Prince of Pleasure arrival in the Realm of Chaos. The psychic implosion caised by Slaanesh's birth swallowed hundreds of worlds at the heart of the Eldar empire in what is now the Imperium of Man's Segmentum Obscurus, killing billions of Eldar in a single instant and devouring a great section of the galaxy in the process. Such was its ferocity that it overwhelmed the barrier between the material and the immaterial, forming the massive, permanent Warp rift later named by men as the Eye of Terror.
Rampant and hungry, Slaanesh devoured the minds and souls of the Eldar, and across the galaxy, that ancient race was almost wiped out. Slaanesh slew most of the Eldar and their Gods in the Immaterium, except for the Eldar God of War Kaela Mensha Khaine, whose energy was dispersed into many separate pieces scattered across the various Infinity Circuits of the Eldar Craftworlds, the Laughing God Cegorach, who fled into the Labyrinthine Dimension of the Webway, and while she was defeated Isha was not destroyed outright and absorbed by Slaanesh like the rest of the Eldar Pantheon after his birth during the Fall of the Eldar. Slaanesh vanquished her as he had all of the other Eldar Gods within the Warp, but only took her prisoner rather than absorbing her energies outright. What fell purpose Slaanesh had in keeping Isha alive, none amongst the Eldar now know, but the Prince of Pleasure was ultimately denied his spoils: for some reason Nurgle, the Plague Lord, waged war against Slaanesh to "rescue" the Eldar Goddess. Why Grandfather Nurgle intervened is unclear, although some Eldar savants believe that the oldest of the major Chaos Gods wanted to give the youngest amongst them a good lesson about his proper place in the order of things. What is known is that Nurgle's daemonic forces proved victorious and he took the Eldar Goddess back to his domain in the Realm of Chaos. Only a relative few Eldar survived Slaanesh's birth-feast. Other Eldar survivors included the Harlequin, and those Craftworld Eldar who were very far away from the Eldar homeworlds when the Warp rift formed. Most of the survivors that remain have become sworn enemies of the Dark Prince, and yet a few of them have formed isolated cabals that still behave as their ancestors did, perversely following the downward spiral of excess.
That is how events are viewed from the chronology of the material universe. In the Warp, things are different, for the Immaterium is not bound by linear four-dimensional time, and events do not occur in a strict sequence of cause and effect. As his rival gods reckon it, Slaanesh has always existed in the Warp, and yet has never existed at all.
Some say that is it impossible for mortals to look upon the divine face of Slaanesh without losing their soul to him, for all who see it become willing slaves to the whims of the Dark Prince, embracing his ways with wild abandon. The mere knowledge of Slaanesh's existence can cause a world to topple into corruption and hidden depravity. Not even the agents of the Inquisition know for sure how far his influence spreads, for wherever the lust for power and temporal gain exists, the talons of Slaanesh dig deep. Despite their best efforts, it is almost certain that the Imperium is rotten to the core, just as the Eldar empire was before it. How long before it succumbs to a similar fate?
Birth of the Dark Prince
Slaanesh was given life by the immorality and hubris of the ancient Eldar civilisation. As their vast interstellar empire reached its zenith in the late 29th and early 30th Millennia of the Terran calendar, the Eldar became lost in their own decadence, for they experience sensation to a far greater degree than any other known intelligent species of the galaxy. The capabilities of their highly advanced technology meant the Eldar did not need to labour or wage war. Instead, they were able to dedicate their lives to whatever idle pursuits took their fancy. Slowly, over many centuries, the intense, psychically-projected lusts and desires of the highly-psychic Eldar species coalesced in the Warp to create the new Chaos power. As the mascent entity grew, the Eldar themselves were increasingly affected by its influence, driven to new heights of depravity in pursuit of their jaded lusts. The spiral downwards into decadence and amoral hedonism became tighter as the increasingly frenzied activities of the Eldar spurred Slaanesh towards full wakefulness, even as its dreams stirred their darkest desires.
The Eldar race became trapped by its own dark nature, one that asserted itself more and more as Slaanesh's influence grew. The more it drove them into moral, social and artistic decadence the more the Eldar fought against it, but it proved a hopeless struggle. Slaanesh was like an expanding balloon, straining outwards as pressure built inside, and it was only a matter of time before it burst. In the moment of Slaanesh's birth in the early 30th Millennium, the golden empire of the Eldar was irrevocably shattered. The terrible psychic scream of the newborn Chaos God shattered heaven and earth, its shock-wave spreading outward through the Immaterium to deal a numbing blow to the soul of every living thing in the galaxy. It was too much for the psychically-attuned Eldar to endure. Their souls were drawn into the growing power of Slaanesh and their bodies evaporated as Chaos boiled into their minds. The Warp energy unleashed by Slaanesh's birth tore out the heart of the old Eldar empire and transformed into it the vast region of Warp-realspace overlap now called the Eye of Terror. Wherever Eldar populations were densest, the Warp literally spilled through their minds and into realspace, creating new areas of Warp overlap all over the galaxy. The once-proud Eldar were left a broken, hunted people scattered through space, bitter with the knowledge that if not for them, Slaanesh -- the Depraved One, the Great Serpent, She Who Thirsts -- would never have been born.
That is how events are viewed from the chronology of the material universe. In the Warp, things are different, for the Immaterium is not bound by linear time, and events do not occur in a strict sequence of cause then effect. As his rival Chaos Gods reckon it, Slaanesh has always existed within the Warp, and has yet to come into existence.
Cult of Slaanesh
- "Take care lest your protests become tiresome. I have asked for so little! Anyone would think that I had asked you to sacrifice yourselves and your sons! And yet, in Slaanesh's boundless and pleasing mercy, I have asked only for your daughters. Surely you would not deny me my small enjoyments?"
- — Tyrell, Renegade Lord of Arden IX
Slaanesh is the youngest of the Chaos Gods and alone of all the Ruinous Powers, the Prince of Chaos is divinely beautiful. He is as seductive as only an immortal can be, disarming in his innocence, utterly beguiling in his manner and irresistibly tempting with his words. Slaanesh can assume male, female or hermaphroditic form at will and it is impossible for a mortal to look upon him without losing his or her soul and becoming a slave to the Prince of Pleasure's slightest whim. Mortals that seek charisma and fellowship turn to Slaanesh, for his gifts can make one popular and inspiring. Poets and artists are drawn into his gaze by the promise of inspiration and fame, while even the hardiest warriors might seek the adulation of the masses and the ironclad loyalty of their followers. Yet, as one continues in the service of Slaanesh, such pleasures soon grow stale and his servants are driven on to search for ever greater sensations and ever more self-fulfillment until only the most decadent and debased of acts can stir their emotions or provide the pleasure they have come to crave in the purest form of addiction.
Seductive in the way that only an immortal being can be, Slaanesh is the Chaos God of pleasure, passion, luxury, art and indulgence. He is the manifestation of all hidden vices, cruel passions, and secret temptations that men hide fearfully in their hearts. This abject lack of restraint, and pursuit of pleasures, lures many mortals to his side, often gathering in places of carnal pleasure to pay homage and praise to their depraved lord. A notable Slaaneshi cult is the Eldar Cult of Pleasure which partly caused the Fall and also created the Eldar's evil cousins, the Dark Eldar, though those foul beings fear the Prince of Pleasure will devour their souls as much as their more noble counterparts. Slaanesh's followers seek pleasure in every experience, and quickly become inured to more mundane things, including sounds and colours; thus they frequently wear garish, brightly coloured armour or clothing which is extravagantly decorated.
The followers of the Prince of Chaos pursue ever-greater heights of experience, seeking pleasure in increasingly extreme and outrageous fashion. Slaanesh's influence often reaches into the upper echelons of hierarchies where the greatest luxury and privilege resides, corrupting nobility and the wealthiest of Imperial families. It can be seen at its most insidious among those that strive for rectitude, as if the Prince of Chaos takes particular joy in corrupting those that dare to proclaim themselves as upright souls. Even the most pious pontiff of the Ecclesiarchy must rest sometime, and when he does the unconscious desires in his dreams betray him to the Master of Carnal Joys.
The more civilised a society becomes, the more frequently seeds of corruption planted by Slaanesh sprout within it. As leisure becomes widespread, the unconscious wants of the many are led down dark paths by the subtle influence of Slaanesh. His worshippers engage in great orgies involving every vice and perversity to praise the Lord of Pleasure, where the death of many through exhaustion and over-stimulation is taken to be a sign of the Prince's favour. His devotees say that any extremity of sensation or emotion can open communion with Slaanesh, for the echoes of his birth scream reside in every mortal soul. They pursue a rapturous, tortured, orgasmic drug-fuelled state of hyper-sensuality, their souls burning bright and hot like shooting stars as they plunge ever deeper into the psychic maelstrom that is Slaanesh.
Countless worlds have fallen into complete anarchy when Slaaneshi pleasure cults became so widespread that all order was lost in an insane frenzy of self-gratification. On many, the Fall of the Eldar is reenacted in microcosm as society collapses and the howling winds of Chaos ravage the world through the minds of its psykers. The handful of gibbering survivors that are sometimes left behind are so changed by the experience that they can no longer be called in any sense mortal or sane. Certain Inquisitors of the Imperium have cultivated a particular loathing of the followers of Slaanesh for the corruption they spread so readily through the God-Emperor's mortal realm. Their efforts to suppress the pursuit of pleasure inevitably brings an ever-widening wide circle of recidivists, smugglers, criminals, and black marketers into contact with Slaanesh's mortal adherents.
Servants of Slaanesh, by their incantations, conjuration and accursed crafts, have seduced, depraved and corrupted both Man and Beast, bringing them low in the sight of others. Numberless are their enormities and horrid offences; heinous and wicked their every action. Revelling in perversity and debasement, twisted in mind and body, these insidious servitors of the Pleasure Lord take delight in all manner of abominable and unclean deeds. The denizens of Slaanesh spread the depravity of Chaos to the unwary and uncaring with heretical crimes that cry out against nature and the true order of the world. Amassed on the field of battle, the electric colours of their contorted forms offend the eye as their diseased lewdness offends the mind. Half-bared torsos of pink and blue boast of unreined lust; others display limbs of glistening greens and yellows -- pale shades of corruption which belie the darkness they hide inside. They have abandoned the last vestiges of true decency and sacrificed their humanity to serve the Dark Power of the Master of Carnal Joys and spread his corruption amongst the innocent.
Worshippers of Slaanesh are known for their complete lack of fear, as they see even losing a battle or their own lives as a new experience to be enjoyed. While not interested in the dirty warfare of Khorne's narrow-minded berserkers, Slaanesh does enjoy combat of the artistic sort, taking pleasure in watching extremely talented gladiator battles, where the act of fighting is transformed from a means to an end into an art form all its own. Slaanesh bestows his favour upon any who act on an interest for an art, whether the art is that of combat, of painting, of poetry or of passion. The favour of Slaanesh will aid the artist in creating, amplifying everything created to immeasurable levels, while at the same time corrupting them indescribably, such that any mortals who look on them are at once both entranced and terrified.
The Mark of Slaanesh combines the conventional human symbology for male and female, although it is seldom worn openly by his followers. In its place they often wear items of jewellery bearing erotic motifs. Followers dress in robes which are often opened to leave the right side of the chest uncovered, a requirement of many of the rituals involved in his worship. Pastel and electric shades are the chief colours, although white is often used as well. These colours are also sometimes carried over into everyday wear, although they may be modified to fit in with current fashions. Regardless of any other considerations, all Slaaneshi followers wear garb of sensuously high quality. Slaanesh is served uniquely by the Chaos Space Marines of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion, hedonistic psychopaths who wield unique sonic weaponry in battle.
While Khorne is a frightful and terrible warrior, Tzeentch's sorcery forces his form to defy mortal logic, and Nurgle is the ultimate embodiment of his own decaying creations, Slaanesh alone is divinely beautiful. In physical form, Slaanesh is perfection. A long-limbed, elegant, androgynous figure with a haunting, almost frightening beauty, Slaanesh's appearance depends more on the observer than the observed, changing eagerly to please and seduce the eye of the beholder. Depictions of Slaanesh show it as an androgynous or hermaphroditic being of unearthly, unnatural and disturbing beauty. Two pairs of slender horns rise from the god's flowing golden hair. Slaanesh is often depicted wearing luxuriantly lined, form-fitting armour and bearing a jade sceptre that is said to be his greatest treasure. Rumor amongst his cultists says that to look upon Slaanesh is to forfeit your very soul to his every whim.
Slaanesh is said to have little interest in the other Chaos Powers, being too caught up in his own pleasures to be interested in alliances or co-operation. However, the followers of Khorne with their boorish beliefs in bloodshed for its own sake are particular enemies. Cults dedicated to Khorne and Slaanesh clash frequently in the mortal realm just as their daemonic legions are believed to battle endlessly in the Realm of Chaos. This relationship has an effect upon the nature of the armies dedicated to either God. Slaanesh's comparative weakness in direct confrontations is balanced by his endless capacity for corruption, often even leading Khorne's faithful astray through their own battle lust. A widespread and technologically advanced conflict is particularly vulnerable to Slaanesh's influence as a single well-placed convert can have the means to wreck a fleet or destroy an entire city. Wherever Khorne's followers become most strident those of Slaanesh can be found working subtly in the background to bring about their opponents' downfall. While he is the youngest of the major Chaos Gods, Slaanesh is still a crucial player in the incomprehensible Great Game that they play for dominance. Although he cannot yet hold his own against any one other major Chaos God, his support in an alliance is often enough to swing the balance, allowing Slaanesh considerably more influence than his absolute level of power would otherwise allow.
Palace of Slaanesh
Few Chaos Gods welcome intruders into their empire, but there is one who loves to tempt visitors to his unnatural domain in the Realm of Chaos. This is Slaanesh, the Dark Prince and Lord of Pleasure. Those that dare enter his territory risk becoming trapped in its warped delights for eternity. The Dark Prince's realm is divided into six domains, arranged in concentric rings about the central Palace of Pleasure. While they might be mistaken for paradises, but nothing here is as it seems. Each region is not only a celebration of Slaanesh's desires, but also his chief defence. An intruder can only reach the Palace of Pleasure, in the very heart of Slaanesh's territory, by passing through all six of the circles -- an act of will beyond the reach of most souls, both mortal and daemonic.
The circle of Avidity forms the outermost boundary of Slaanesh's domain. The temptations within its borders play upon an interloper's greed. Gold is found here in abundance. Mountains of stacked gold reach towards rainbow mosaics of gemstones in the marble vaults high above, glittering ingots and diamonds beyond counting litter the ground. Any who attempt to take this wealth are doomed to spend an eternity counting and polishing the hoard. The circle of Avidity is divided by tall marble walls studded with gems of every colour of the rainbow. These jewels are the lairs of daemonic spirits that invade any wanderer who touches them, devouring his soul and destroying his body from within. At every corner and crossroads stand gilded statues, some of beautiful Slaanesh, others of daemons and mortals trapped in blissful ecstasy. A trespasser who lays even the slightest touch upon these golden statues will join them, turning to gold while his soul remains trapped within his immobilised form.
Should greed not ensnare the unwary, the next circle is Gluttony. Here is a vast lake of dark wine, dotted with pallid islands formed from the backs of giants, each linked by criss-crossing bridges. The backward hands of each giant hold aloft a table creaking under a lavish banquet, each more delectable than the last. A single taste of the smallest morsel, a simple sip from the lake, entraps the soul, filing it with a hunger even the most sumptuous feast cannot sate. Here, mortal men gorge themselves on the banquet, wide-eyed and desperate in their hunger as others frantically try to gulp down the lake itself. The bloated and obese groan in pain as they cram ever more food into their wine-stained mouths. Eventually these intruders gorge themselves so much that their bloated bodies simply expire from strain, or explode in a shower of gore and half-digested food.
Beyond lies the circle of Carnality, a debauched place where all manner of fleshly pleasures may be sampled. Lissom maidens and beautiful youths frolick near-naked in the hallucinogenic musk of the lithe beasts that cavort with them. The faces and fertile forms of the dancers are impossibly sensual, moulded to the perfect desire of the heart. Yet to engage with such a creature is utter folly, for the pleasing appearances of these lovers are simply glamours cast by the vicious Daemonettes of Slaanesh, who will tear apart any who lay a hand upon them.
Upon entering the next circle, the traveller is greeted by roars of adulation. This is the circle of Paramountcy, where intruders are tempted with power over others. For the visitor with martial ambition, an army so vast its number is beyond counting awaits upon an endless plain, in fevered anticipation of his commands for conquest. To the politically minded, the circle appears as a great chamber of debating and governance, from which he can rule entire worlds and command the respect of their populations. In this place of personal aggrandisement every whim is obeyed, every command fulfilled. Yet to linger within this circle is to eventually succumb to eternal, nagging paranoia; to see contempt beneath every smiling face and hear conspiracy in every obsequious response. Surrounded by the adoring throng, the visitor's own self-doubts become a tortuous prison from which there is no escape.
Beyond lies the circle of Vainglory, a mesmerising garden, its maze of paths thick with beautiful flowers and heavy with thorns. The gentle, fragrant breeze whispers of past glories, reminders of achievements great and small. Still, mirrored pools reflect the visitor as he see himself, presenting him with the ideal self-image. In the distance, a traveller can make out tortured figures staring intently into mirror-pools of their own, each held immobile by the undergrowth as whispering thorns insinuate themselves into their flesh. Hubris is the snare in this domain, for each step an intruder takes whilst feeling boastful pride leads him further from the true path. As his pride swells, he is drawn into the depths of the wild garden and eventually becomes entangled in the choking undergrowth. The braggadocio swiftly falls prey to thorns whose pricks sting for all time, whilst around him the devil-dryads laugh scornfully, turning his glorious deeds into an ironic eulogy.
The last circle is the most perilous, after all of the terrible ordeals already faced. It is the serene domain of Indolency; a never-ending beach where heavenly choirs sing soothing lullabies and the perfumed sea dulls the mind. The warmth of a summer sun calms the soul and the gentle washing of the lapping tide stills the heart and begins to erode one's will. The bone-white sand beneath a traveller's feet is made from the dessicated remains of those who had rested here and fallen into a coma of blissful indolence. If the visitor traverses this final and most insidious of circles, he comes before almighty Slaanesh.
Beneath elegant spires, the wanderer comes before the beguiling Dark Prince of Pleasure. Statuesque and divinely glamorous; long-limbed and elegant, with a haunting androgynous beauty. Some say that Slaanesh can assume male, female or hermaphrodite form at will. He usually manifests himself as a young man -- clean limbed and fresh with the vigour of youth. Indeed, Slaanesh is seductive as only an immortal can be, disarming in his innocence, uttering beguiling in his manner. Even the purest flame can be extinguished by the tide of affection one can feel towards the Prince of Chaos. In that single moment of doubt the wanderer is lost as they usually kneel, bowing their head in obeisance, and a single touch of the being's glowing sceptre on each shoulder seals their fate for eternity. Some say it is impossible for mortals to look upon that divine face without losing their soul, for all who see it become willing slaves to every whim of the Dark Prince, embracing his ways with wild abandon.
Slaanesh and the EldarThe birth of Slaanesh at the end of the period that Imperial historians call the Age of Strife in the early 30th Millennium marked the downfall of the Eldar, who refer to Slaanesh in the feminine form as "She Who Thirsts," an epitaph that refers to Slannesh's constant hunger for their souls. The Eldar's most populous homeworlds were destroyed by the realspace shock wave of the Prince of Pleasure's birth during what they call The Fall, along with many of the Craftworlds created by the most forward-seeing among them to escape this cataclysm of their own making. But the destruction of their homes and the death of their brethren was not the only disaster for the Eldar. Slaanesh proceeded to combat the very Gods of the Eldar in the Warp, slaying all but three: Khaine, Cegorach, and Isha, who is held captive in the decaying garden of Nurgle.
Born from the dark side of the very essence of Eldar being, Slaanesh has fed on that race ever since. When most Eldar die, if no Soulstone is present to receive their soul, it is consumed by Slaanesh in the Warp. The Eldar have taken many steps to defend themselves against the attacks of Slaanesh, including a strict code of "Paths" or ways of studying a particular aspect of life or occupation to avoid unbridled seeking of pleasure or knowledge, and Spirit Stones that shield the souls of the fallen against the predations of Slaanesh.
The enigmatic group of Eldar called the Harlequins go through what is known only as "The Ritual" to free themselves from this fate, and it is believed they are then under the protection of Cegorach or "The Laughing God" or "The Great Harlequin" (also a title used for a high ranking leader of the Harlequins). The even rarer beings known as the Solitaire, who are alone in their ability to play Slaanesh in the most rare of the Harlequins' dances, are said to already belong to Slaanesh. For this they are considered cursed, although it is also said that when a Solitaire dies, Cegorach will emerge from the Webway to fight Slaanesh for his or her soul.
The sadistic Dark Eldar do not protect themselves against Slaanesh, and their souls are devoured by Chaos even while they live. Unlike the Craftworld Eldar, they continued the hedonistic and sadistic acts in the Eldar domains of the Webway that brought about the creation of Slaanesh, and so the Dark Prince can draw upon their life forces in the Warp even while they are alive. To slow the drain of their souls by the Prince of Chaos and embrace immortality as the only defence against the predations of She Who Thirsts, the Dark Eldar drink the souls of others, thus prolonging their lives and requiring their constant slave raids across the galaxy.
Being by far the youngest of the Dark Gods, the daemon host of Slaanesh still pales in comparison to those of the other Ruinous Powers. However, the numbers of Slaaneshi daemons grow with every passing moment and they are not to be taken lightly. The daemons of Slaanesh possess some elements of the perverse and unnatural beauty of their master, a beauty that provokes loathing and desire in equal measure. Their very presence evokes a tide of sensuality strong enough to drown a living soul, while their seductive promises can enslave even the stoutest heart. Their physical forms are both beguiling and monstrous, fairness and foulness intermingling to blast the soul of the viewer with their monstrous dichotomy:
- Daemonettes - Known as the Maidens of Ecstasy, these feminine-looking Lesser Daemons' seductive bodies are a startling contrast to their grotesque claws. They are lightning quick, and fearful foes in hand-to-hand combat. They serve as courtiers and courtesans in the Palace of Pleasure, created to fulfill Slaanesh's every passing whim. They fill Slaanesh's throne room, lounging upon silken cushions, gossiping endlessly as they scheme to earn greater favour from their wilful master. They also serve as their master's warriors and messengers beyond his realm.
- Seekers of Slaanesh - Seekers of Slaanesh form the vanguard of the Dark Prince's legions, Daemonettes who ride ahead on the disturbingly graceful daemonic mounts known as Steeds of Slaanesh.
- Steeds of Slaanesh - The Steeds of Slaanesh are lithe, bipedal, smooth-skinned creatures with prehensile tongues, vaguely resembling seahorses. Their heads have long tubular snouts that contain their long, poisonous tongue. Steeds of Slaanesh represent the favoured means of transportation for Slaanesh's mortal chosen.
- Fiends of Slaanesh - A Fiend of Slaanesh is a bizarre daemon, appearing as an unholy mixture of creatures, chimerical beings from a Warp-induced nightmares given physical shape. These hybrid creatures combine reptilian, insectoid and anthropomorphic characteristics. It has a segmented body, a tail covered in fine scales, and two pairs of humanoid legs that end in cloven hooves. Each Fiend also has a pair of claw-tipped, gangly arms that it commonly uses as front legs. A Fiend does not have the necessary intelligence to apply these arms as grasping appendages, although it can employ them as weapons to deadly effect.
- Keepers of Secrets - These are the mighty Greater Daemons of Slaanesh, huge and indescribable creatures whose very presence is capable of bringing the bravest warrior to his knees in anguish and ecstasy. They are the closest companions and servants of the Lord of Excess. They typically have four arms -- two which end with human-like hands, and two tipped with large crab-like claws decorated with brightly coloured lacquers. A Keeper of Secrets is a very powerful foe in close combat.
- The Masque of Slaanesh - The Masque of Slaanesh was once the most favoured of the Daemonettes, serving as the Dark Prince's chief handmaiden. Yet for all of Slaanesh's indulgence, the Masque was to become the most despised of all the Prince of Pleasure's servants. Due to an unfortunate series of events, the Masque was cast aside by her master, condemned as a traitor and cursed forevermore. It was in this very moment that her life was to change as she was cursed to forever dance, unable to rest her weary limbs.
Those corrupted by Slaanesh at first experience every sensation and new situation with an unbridled sense of wonder and flush of pleasure, feeling every aspect of life as if through new eyes tinted with wonder. But as time goes on, it requires ever more extremes of sensation to feel the same bursts of pleasure, soon leading to a need to be constantly surrounded by extremes of sound or garish color, particularly bright pinks and purples. In time, moral degeneration sets in as an individual corrupted by the Prince of Chaos engages in only the most extreme behaviours, such as sadistic murder or highly degrading sexual practices in order to feel the enhanced pleasure offered by Slaanesh. By this point, an individual is usually so beholden to the Chaos God that he or she will begin to be granted mutational "gifts" by the Dark Prince intended to enhance their pleasure or physical "perfection." Groups that have been knowingly or unwittingly corrupted by Slaanesh often engage in radical body modifications using makeup or clothing or even begin to surgically alter themselves if the technology is available, intending to increase their "perfection" or ability to experience pleasure with every sensation. Ultimately, even death itself becomes an experience of immense pleasure, both dealing it out to others and in the end, undergoing it oneself, a final moment of orgasmic pleasure before the soul is absorbed by Slaanesh in the Immaterium. The enhanced pleasures and sensations experienced by every soul corrupted by Slaanesh, and all the corrupt things they do to service to this need for pleasure, strengthen the Dark Prince in the Warp, where the psychic emanations of such deeds feed the young Chaos God's power.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 11, 15-17, 24-25, 31-32, 82, 85-86, 217-218, 299-300, 322-323, 336, 339, 353, 356, 359, 371, 373
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (6th Edition), pp. 6-17, 53
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 26, 29
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 14
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pg. 58
- Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter (RPG), pg. 20
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 79-80
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos, pp. 104-105
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse, pg. 97
- Imperial Armour - Update (2006)
- Index Astartes I, "Children of the Emperor - The Emperor's Children Space Marine Legion"
- Liber Chaotica: Slaanesh
- Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pp. 16, 30-34
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, pg. 80
- The Art of Warhammer 40,000
- Warhammer 40,000: Battle Missions, pg. 17
- White Dwarf 368 (UK), pg. 27
- White Dwarf 341, pp. 16-29
- White Dwarf 273 (US), "Index Malleus: Infernal Threat -- An Investigation into the Foul Daemons of the Warp", pg. 93
- White Dwarf 291 (US), "Innocence Lost: John Thompson's Emperor's Children"
- White Dwarf 255 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Children of the Emperor"
- White Dwarf 150 (US), "'Eavy Metal: Epic Daemons - Fulgrim: Primarch of Slaanesh", pp. 68-69
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The Primarchs (Anthology), ""The Reflection Crack'd" by Graham McNeill
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- What Price Victory? (Anthology), "The Beguiling" by Sandy Mitchell
- Forgeworld - Keeper of Secrets, Greater Daemon of Slaanesh
|The Major Powers of Chaos|
|Khorne • Nurgle • Slaanesh • Tzeentch|