From the lost Old World to the Grimdark of today, the Chaos Gods are not alone. Look upon those who are committed to their destruction, including one from within.
The year was 1986 and it was really, really early times for world-building at Games Workshop. Warhammer Fantasy’s Old World was just taking shape and GW’s first real attempt at an RPG had been released: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Years before the Grimdark was a thing, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) was alive and well. This early RPG was in effect the stone age of modern Warhammer. It was a giant stew of ideas, the early concepts of the entire Warhammer universe were in there, but nothing had quite gelled into what would come decades later. It was actually a very good RPG, and fairly different from anything else out at the time. Here’s a sample character sheet and one of the over 100 career paths in the game:
Ahh the glory days…
Let me tell you of the days of HIGH adventure!
But it was the world-building where things got really interesting. Taking a look at the Religion & Belief page 210 gives us this EYE-POPPING page:
Khorne, Nurgle & Malal. Sorry Tzeentch & Slaanesh
Meet the Gods of Law
So some baselines. Not only are there Chaos gods, but there is also an opposing pantheon of Law. The interesting part is the background of how the domination of the gods of Law would be just as cataclysmic for the world with nothing ever-advancing or changing. Neither of these pantheons were “good guys”, and you got the impilication that followers of either were not popular with the followers of the “normal gods” of the Old World.
Malal – The Lost Chaos God
Malal flitted around the edges of GW games during the 1980s like a ghost, never quite solidifying. Designed as an aspect of Chaos so … well chaotic that he turned on his own and was utterly unpredictable. He was doomed to oblivion due to a legal issue in the 1990s, and all formal mention quietly dropped down the memory hole. But he briefly made his mark. Still, reflections and homages of Malal still show up here and there in the GW universe – such as the Sons of Malice renegade chapter and their homage black and white livery, and the tale of Kaleb Daark, Champion of Malal from the 1986 Citadel Journal – who even had his own comic and miniature.
They Could Live Again
Ten years later by 1996 the Gods of Law and so much more would be only memories – remembered by only loyal scribes such as myself. To me, the interesting thing about the rare but technically still there Gods of Law is that they would have been freed & reincarnated with the Old World’s END TIMES. Just as the Sea Elves were there all along in the World That Was – undiscovered, only to be reborn as the Idoneth Deepkin, Arianka could rise again and begin reforming souls to her will. If GW wanted, they would reach way, way, way back and pluck them from the dust – reimagine them, and give them a faction in the Age of Sigmar!
As for the Grimdark, well as any old-timer will tell you, the galaxy is a big place, and anything could happen. If the gods of Law are the opposite of the Chaos gods, would they best be represented by long-forgotten powers in the Warp, waiting for their moment to return? Or perhaps the Old Ones themselves, or from a certain perspective, the original C’Tan themselves?
~What in the 8 Realms would followers of the gods of Law even look like?