Slaves to Darkness
|Associated factions||Blades of Khorne|
Daemons of Chaos
Disciples of Tzeentch
Hedonites of Slaanesh
Maggotkin of Nurgle
|Mounts||Chaos War Mammoth|
Mutalith Vortex Beast
|Spell lores||Lore of the Damned|
|Endless spells||Darkfire Daemonrift|
Slaves to Darkness are the mortal followers of the Chaos gods, from barbaric warriors riding across burning plains or hidden cultists plotting the downfall of their own city.  Their Tribes are the most prevalent human culture in the Mortal Realms, with many of them numbering in the hundreds of thousands.[6a]
Across all the Mortal Realms creatures of all races and hues may turn to the dark gods. Many are their reasons and excuses but their path can only end three ways: by death, by becoming a Chaos Spawn or by ascension to immortality as a Daemon Prince.
Most lands beyond Sigmar’s nascent cities are domains of the Slaves to Darkness. Here the wind carries the scent of death, the ground is wracked with tectonic agony. Piles of stacked skulls mark the passage of Chaos hordes and grim monoliths raised in tribute to the Dark Gods intermittently pierce the horizon and radiate a sinister aura. Since the Age of Chaos the Slaves to Darkness are the most widespread human inhabitants of the Mortal Realms, even more in more primal realms such as Aqshy and Ghur. While outnumbered by the dead, Skaven, Grots and the Beasts of Chaos they have conquered much more vigorously. While most mortals assemble into barbarous tribes they also include fallen arcane sects, cursed knightly orders and degenerate cults.[7a]
The vast majority of them are not necessarily evil and are still humans that feels all emotions and experiences. But their gods and the acts performed in their service are fundamentally corrupting. To rise among the ranks of the Slaves to Darkness is to truck with daemons and sorcerers, courting fell powers from beyond and basking in their fickle attention. The power of Chaos is not to be used for noble causes and those who do will find their soul remade as the gods’ plaything due to the nature of Chaos being to despoil and defile even the purest of intentions. Worshippers of Chaos are eternally bound to walk a road that leads to their own demise, or being remade in the image of their god for evermore and losing the essence of who they once were. Thus the price of walking the Path to Glory is always the soul. As a result all those who bear the brand of Chaos are "Slaves of Darkness', All, but the Three-Eyed King, Archaon the Everchosen.[7a]
The empires of the Slaves to Darkness can be found in every realmsphere except Azyr and some tribes have even ranged towards their realm’s Perimeter Inimical, into the lands where the power of magic resonates most strongly although few return. The lands of the Slaves to Darkness are in constant territorial warfare and it is through these conflicts that many champions walk the Path to Glory Often multiple warbands, tribes and far-ranging hordes dwell within the same dark domains and each area will typically be ruled by a single overlord with warbands and lesser champions sworn themselves to these rulers through a complex, semi-feudal structure defined by the power and favour of each subordinate champion. The boundaries of these territories are constantly shifting and champions must constantly prove their worth while looking out for rivals. Despite this they would set aside their differences at least temporarily and join forces when at war with their enemies. Many of the dark tribes are nomadic but most tribes have their own favoured hunting grounds and the overlords of the Slaves to Darkness solidify their control over these territories by raising various fortifications from dark metal and blackened bone. These strongholds are known by various names, such as blackspires, dreadholds and monolith-forts heavily defended with daemon-bounded weapons glowing with sinister light.[7a]
Most Slaves to Darkness belong to a Horde, an assemblage of warbands and champions under a single master known as the Godsworn Overlord.
Hordes are akin to cults of personality of theur Godsworn Overlords and their inner circle. The composition and tactics of the warbands of a Horde depends on how its champions choose to walk the Path to Glory. A Horde does not always require unthinkable numbers to be considered as such by the dark tribes as both a tight-knit force of Chosen or Chaos Knights can be considered a Horde as well as thousands upon thousands of howling tribesmen.[7e]
Hordes can be categorised into three archetypes:[7e]
- Ravagers Horde: The most numerous Hordes that consist of many savage tribes are drawn to the warpath of a Ravager Horde, eager to share in the spoils of their pillaging and victories. [7e]
- Cabalists Horde: Those Hordes are led by covens of sorcerers who have studied the secrets of blood magic and enact dark rituals through the sacrifice of their servants.[7e]
- Despoilers Horde: Those rare Hordes are amongst the most dreaded armies of the Slaves to Darkness as they are commonly led by Daemon Princes - only the mightiest can withstand the presence of a Daemon Prince for long. Alongside them march hideous, mutated monsters, drawn to the chaotic aura of a Daemon Prince and invigorated by the dark energies that surround them.[7e]
- Host of the Everchosen: Those are the forces of chaos united under the banner of Archaon. They are often joined by one of the circles of the Varanguard.[7e]
Most Hordes contain a many warbands each devoted to a different aspect of Chaos but there are entire Hordes that have dedicated themselves to a single Chaos God. Those dedicated to a single Chaos God is known as the Godtouched and these warriors all bear their patron’s mark although not in the same manner as Bloodbound or Arcanites but have shown enough promise to draw the attention of their god.[7e]
- The Bloodmarked are the Godtouched of Khorne and are the most savage of all Slaves to Darkness. Bloodmarked champions will bring eight bands of followers as eight is the sacred number of Khorne. As the master of the warband slaughters their enemies, the Bloodmarked are infused with even greater fury. [7c]
- The Fatesworn are the Godtouched of Tzeentch. Each was once an important figure amongst their tribe as Tzeentch craves the worship of the powerful and influential first and foremost and after seeing a sliver of Tzeentch’s true face they have been driven mad and drawn into the service of the Architect of Fate. Their warbands are divided into groups of nine warriors according to Tzeentch's numerological obsession. Magic clings to the Fatesworn and flickers of arcane power surround them at all times allowing them to unleash incantations drawn from Tzeentch's realm.[7c]
- The Plaguetouched are the Godtouched of Nurgle that seek to grow closer to their foul patron as they plunge deeper into the embrace of decay. The Plaguetouched warbands are organised into seven groups as Nurgle has a strange fixation with this number. They are bestowed with all manner of bloated blessings and given swollen bodies filled with caustic bile that condemns any it touches to a painful and particularly disgusting death.[7c]
- The Pleasurebound are the Godtouched of Slaanesh who in their increasingly perverse attempts at satiating their darkest vices have become attuned to Slaanesh as even though Slaanesh is bound his power cannot be fully restrained. Most did not actively seek the attention of their patron but naturally fell into the circumstance somewhere along their path of depravity. Each warband is made up of six warrior-bands, one for each of the Circles of Seduction found within Slaanesh’s kingdoms and are a scourge on all that is pure and decent[7c]
- Tzeentchian Warband
- Bleak Horde: A Tzeentchian warband composed of cruel-hearted warriors that go into battle bellowing praises to Tzeentch, so that he might twist fate into glory and conquest.
- Brethren of Moeraix: A Tzeentchian warband that were once the trusted aldermen of the Mortal Realms, but since then swore their fealty to Tzeentch and their lord Moeraix.
- Slaaneshi Warband
- Court of Vain Rapture: They are truly dedicated to finding the Slaanesh, wearing armour of garish pink covered in luxuriant golden sigils.
- Clamour of Bliss: They find the abhorrent sounds of battle as a sublime symphony, believing themselves to be both its orchestra and composers. They wear violet-hued armor and amethyst colored capes.
- 1: Grand Alliance: Chaos pg 18-22
- 2: Tzeentch Painting Guide
- 3: Slaanesh Painting Guide
- 4: The Sacrifice by Graeme Lyon.
- 5: Malign Portents Website Characters - Marakarr
- 6: White Dwarf Vol 3 No 38
- 6a: Worlds of Warhammer: Forty Facts about the Age of Sigmar.
- 7: Battletome: Slaves to Darkness (2019)