Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tzeentch: Why all the Surfin' Bird?

Good Morning Everyone,

Today we will be looking at the Great Deceiver Himself, Tzeentch.
(Note I do this article of my free will... A finger is not pointed at my head ready to cast Doombolt...)

So to start things off, if you are confused on what Surfin' Bird is please follow the link below... Play it on repeat I bet you'll love it 😀. (let me know if the link doesn't work...)
But anyways, moving swiftly on...  I find myself sat thinking about Tzeentch and his place within the Chaos Pantheon, and the question of why all the bird motifs when it comes to the imagery of the Greater Daemons and their ilk.

As a species, humanity's second greatest love is our curiosity and our drive to learn more things.  Yet knowledge is a double edge sword... How will you use what you know? Will it detrimentally affect other or aid them? Will what we learn be our downfall.  Our quest for knowledge has done both great and terrible things.

And so we get to the dichotomy that is Tzeentch, the giver of truths and lies, sometimes all in one statement.  For at the end of the day what truly is truth?  For perspective can change many things.  Change is progress, and  progress can be regression all in the same moment depending on the outcome. I think Games Workshop have touched on this briefly but I want to see more of the knowledge as a danger aspect, and less of the scheming. Knowing something shouldn't necessarily be enough to damn you, what you do with the knowledge should.

Tzeentch should be all about the wierd and the wonderful, abstract images and designs, and yet we get, fish, little angry and happy blobs with arms, and all the birds...  Why all the birds?  Shouldnt the greater daemons of Tzeentch be each and every one different in scale, concept and design?

Its easy to see the bird motifs have been inspired by the Egyptians and the depictions of birds of prey and their connotations of knowledge in many cultures, however where is the other animal designs for the greater daemons?  Where's my Hippo or Squirrel Greater Daemons of Tzeentch...  (Hmmm... Maybe that last one is going a wee bit mental...).

Now I'm going to segue a bit here, but I will make sense (hopefully).  If any of you have ever watched Neon Genesis Evangelion, you will be aware of the angels from both the film and television series.  The angels were in the simplest terms during the series, creatures that evolved different forms to attempt to kill humanity.  Each concept was different and unique.

So why can't Tzeentch even just have greater daemons that are uniquely different? Why not a Greater Daemon that's a Giant Prismatic horror, a great juxtaposition to Tzeentchs' Labyrinth? I understand the concept of design cues and formats, but maybe something a little different here and there?

Oh and when the rumoured new Daemon Primarch Magnus, and new Rubricae hit, I so want to be over all of that 😸 (Must impeach the Wife...).

Well anyways I might be talking mental again, but let me know what you think in the comments, what are your ideas on Tzeentchs place and his daemon tralls?

Until next time


  1. I wholeheartedly agree!
    Why indeed would the god of change obsess of avian forms? As much as each god has its own 'feel', and I understand why they may want to do this (to make it more themed appearing in armies and clearer on the tabletop who's faction you're fighting - especially in daemon on daemon games) but I think, when they asked themselves what the 'theme' should be for Tzeentch (and slaanesh - same issue) they ran out of ideas.

    Khorne - blood red, big muscular brute daemons and angry faces. Really angry faces.
    Nurgle - decaying and green - yet note that Nurgle's daemons look quite varied despite their common theme (and the flies make actual sense, where used).
    Slaanesh - crab arms and purple/pinks. Nothing here makes any connection with my mind with a god of excess, unless we're talking seafood here... What could we have? Daemons that show various forms of excess? Gluttonous fat daemons (but somehow still fast), attractive daemons, not sure, but you could play on sins of excess, and along the lines of seductive (not sexual) fallen angel tropes.
    Tzeentch - I'm with you - keep the colour scheme (because there has to be some theme) and perhaps have 'eyes' be the common element. other than that, go wild - abstract forms, prisms, tentacled creepy things, giant spiders (because the weave webs like plots, a theme often seen in folklore). I think Tzeentch could do well to take motifs from the Cthulhu mythos, as it has all of these somewhere in the pantheon.

    And the idea of dangerous knowledge. I suppose it could be argued that this is reflected in the tragic story of the Thousand Sons, who's thirst for sorcerous knowledge and (for Magnus) prophecy led them to disaster. I do think, however, that just because the Thousand Sons were egyptian themed, it shouldn't mean Tzeentch is too. I don't see anything *especially* Tzeentchian about Egyptian mythology, any more than other cultures...

    Maybe model versions of this image..

    And this kind of eye-in-a-pattern type stuff, which I've always found a little creepy (like the eye on the pyramid thing - isn't this image on one of the American money notes)?

    You get the idea.

    But yes - it's time we had better theming for Slaanesh and Tzeentch...

    1. Just to add - I suppose we should consider that these gods are formed from the ideas and associations of other species and cultures as well. Maybe the Eldar associate their sealife with excess, or somesuch... Maybe whoever's big on Tzeentch (no-one's coming to mind at present) have folklore associating change, progress and ambition with birds... Although really, it has to be a species who fell to these particular gods in sufficient numbers to define that god's nature. With Eldar and Slaanesh, that would be the case, arguably. But Tzeentch...? I'd imagining humans having a big defining factor on him.

      Or maybe the GW folk simply ran out of ideas...

    2. Hmmm... You draw on an interesting point, it is hard for many to disassociate their normal perspective and mould it to the norms as seen by other possible species. Maybe there is a deeper connection with the other races of the 40k universe that have never really been touched upon outside of the Fall of the eldar... Definitely food for thought and one I didn't consider myself.

      It beings to mind then whether there is any unexplored connections for example with say the Hrud and Nurgle? The setting cam go deeper than it currently is from my personal experiences, and I'd love to see a bit more expansion.

    3. Interesting link - the hrud use plasma technology, warp tech and have a kind of shrouding - all of which remind me of plague marines (the use of plasma) and Nurgle daemons (shrouding). yep.
      I suppose the chaos gods could also have been 'formed' by civilisations which are no longer present in the galaxy for one reason or another (mostly due to the Imperium probably), as the gods are supposed to be 'outside time' in the Warp. However, it'd be nice if someone from Black Library actually fleshed that out - "The True and Secret History of Tzeentch" type of thing.
      But birds though... I think the galaxy can do better...
      Imagine if Tzeentch was based on spiders instead, if we had to use one 'real' lifeform as basis. Or Octopuses? Hell, just do Cthulhu. It's what we want :)

    4. I support your hypothesis, how much should I donate to the Cthulhu awakening cult? 😝 haha

    5. We are reasonable - merely a single soul, preferably unsullied, per donor, will suffice.

    6. Yeah... About that... I've really only got this Piers Morgan fella and I think he might be a bit... Dirty...