Every Saturday night, without fail, the Emperor, Tzeentch, Cegorach and the Deceiver get together with drinks and snacks and sit down to enjoy another thrilling game of Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth-Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker, or “paradox poker” for short.
The very epitome of trolling, dickery and awesome in all its glory, the game is an intense battle of wits to outfuck your opponent's minds until only one remains. Since it is impossible for a point of space to maintain its form with so much concentrated Just As Planned in one spot, they create a new sub-reality to play their game in every week. However, since the reality collapses very quickly, no-one ever truly wins at paradox poker and the intent is more of having a good time with some bros and keeping their minds sharp. Should anyone ever actually win... it is said that men would look good in ponytails, dogs would mate with cats, and Games Workshop would lower their prices shortly before the known universe implodes on itself.
Mortals such as Asdrubael Vect, Lady Malys, Ahriman, and Eldrad Ulthran keep trying to peek in through the window to catch a glimpse at this sheer awesomeness but the guard Spawn around Tzeentch's bungalow deter everyone, lest they get nommed. A good thing too, since most mortals can't view this without... well, without imploding at the sight of this godly game.
There is a dumbed-down version of this game for mortals called Munchkin which involves great levels of dickery between players. Similarly, If The Emperor Had a Text-To-Speech Device also introduces the game as the focal point of an episode or two, where it's revealed to be Yu-Gi-Oh of all things, as a riff on the seemingly increasingly complex nature of the game.
- The Emperor: The straightforward logicfag, the Emperor can plan ahead but prefers plans involving direct action and keeping tightlipped about his overall goals. This means that he may not be open to play with others even if this suits him and he can get blinded to the obvious if he is too focused on the task at hand.
- Tzeentch: The chancing gambler, Tzeentch is the king of dick moves. He is an expert of making plans within plans alongside existing plans and while small victories against him may be gained, he is rarely put into a disadvantaged position. He does play the game though for the sake of playing and can take big risks for seemingly no apparent reason. But then it is all fun to that old bird.
- Cegorach: The wild card, completely unpredictable and likes to play moves just to screw up the games of the others. However he is so obsessed with having fun that he usually kneecaps himself halfway through the second round.
- The Deceiver: The grand illusionist, he's been playing poker with peoples' lives back when the others were just wee nippers. His play style is a long haul gamer, using tricks and traps to lure his enemies in. When asked how he's still here, even after being sharded by the Necrons, he gave the interviewers the answer in riddle form that turned them irredeemably insane after obsessing to solve it.
Great historic moments in the paradox poker games
- The Emperor readies a new powerful card, Magnus the Red, for use. Tzeentch reveals what he showed was a weak hand to be fake and he had the Magnus card and the Thousand Sons cards in his hand all along and what the Emperor had was a dud! The Emperor looks at his rapidly diminishing hand with worry.
- The Emperor sees that Tzeentch is gonna wreck him so he uses Stop Timeline card. Tzeentch uses card Expand Past Timeline. Emperor creates the series known as If The Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device.
- The Emperor pulls the wool from under Tzeentch by toppling the entire Horus Heresy in one stroke. In turn however Tzeentch declares this means the Emperor must do a dare or a forfeit. The Emperor wusses out and does a forfeit, in which he has to stay seated to a gold toilet for 20,000 years. Much laughter is had at the table and the Emperor goes bright red with embarrassment.
- Cegorach tries to trick the C'tan into eating each other. The Deceiver, not to be outdone, joins in. Laughing at it all, Tzeentch decides he'll have a go too. Only the Emperor holds back his hand, eyeing the weird brain shaped warp creatures crowding outside the table warily....
- The Deceiver tricks Abaddon the failure into attacking the Gothic Sector, so that the weapons Cegorach seeded there in the past couldn't be used against him in a later turn. Cegorach shakes his head and smiles, all the while stroking two cards he had placed in waiting in his hand.
- The Hive Mind (see below) uses the entirety of it's Hive Fleet Behemoth deck in conjunction with the Swarmlord card then challenges the Emperor. The Emperor uses all of the 10 Ultramarine Battle Company cards and forfeits the 1st one to stop the Hive Mind.
- For giggles, Tzeentch keeps using the Abaddon and Black Crusade cards in combination, to try and confuse the other three into thinking some great big plan is in operation. While the Deceiver and Cegorach are not fooled the Emperor buys it hook, line and sinker and continues to keep foiling Abaddon's plans, which leaves him in a fluster, Tzeentch soiling himself in amusement and the other two wondering if they are going to keep getting into a loop over this.
- Just for once the Deceiver plans to do something totally unexpected and opens a Necron portal right inside the Emperor's place, causing a full scale Necron invasion of Terra, forcing the Emperor to respond, getting Chaos mixed up and threatening the centre of the Imperium to drown in legions of its enemies. Just before it all comes to pop, GW swoops in and informs everyone that move is no longer considered canon and resets everything, leaving a lot of sore asses everywhere.
The game gets old a bit fast, so once in a while, the Parthenon tries to invite new players into the game to liven things up. Some guests, however, tend to be a bit more disruptive than most.
- Creed - Unanimously barred from ever participating at a game after hiding a Titan legion behind everyone's hand.
- Trazyn the Infinite - Also unanimously banned after trying to loot everyone else using a Tesseract Labyrinth.
- Sly Marbo - Unanimously banned (not that they could stop him if he decided to show up). In his first (and only) game Tzeentch went first and played the GW Retcon card, removing Marbo from the lastest
Astra Miltrium*BLAM* Imperial Guard codex. This made Marbo flip the table and declare himself the winner. Everyone was too scared to deny him his victory thus making it the only game of Paradox Poker ever to be won by someone. Marbo hasn't bothered turning up again as he didn't think it was a challenge.
Some guests show up more frequently than others to add to the game but for whatever reason, aren't quite capable of becoming fully fledged players.
- The Hive Mind - While certainly smart and canny when it wants to be, the Hive Mind's voice of a thousand mental patients gargling a million nails in motor oil and weird syntax gets on the other player's nerves in short order, resulting in it mostly being a guest player. When it does show up, the Hive Mind likes to go for quantity over quality plays, a large number of winning hands that don't get too much of a lead but don't cost it much when it loses are preferable to big all-or-nothing plays but occasionally mixes things up with displays of shocking intellect; often paired with the Swarmlord card. However when conversed with the only message that comes up is I can haz galaxy.
- Mork and Gork - Though usually busy with fighting each other. “Da boyz” are always fun to play with even if they do have a rather crude sense of humor befitting the gods of Orkiness. Gork prefers to lay low for a bit or fool his opponents into underestimating him, waiting for a bit before people have written him off and then smacking his enemy in the face with a crushingly good hand. Mork on the other hand prefers making it look like he’s going all out in the beginning while actually having an entirely different back up plan in reserve. Needless to say they are not to be underestimated. It can be hard to tell who is playing at times. But Tzeentch always knows and loves their company.
- Cypher - Constantly tries to rig the game whenever he shows up, by seeing the cards everyone else plays then travelling to an earlier timeline and trying to counter them. This causes Tzeentch to rage, despite the fact that the gods all have better cards in their hands than Cypher. The Deciever combos with Cypher to pull some impossible shit that gets everyone else scratching their heads. Some people think he's rigging the game in the Emperor's favour, others think he keeps trying to position himself next to Big Emps to poke him with a sword. No one is entirely certain though, nor do they know how his head hasn't exploded despite his mortality.
- The Primarchs - All of the Primarchs, at one point or another, have had a go at their old man's hobby. It usually ends badly for everyone involved, especially when Alpharius was invited and defeated, only for it to turn out that it was just a random member of the Alpha Legion, while everyone else was actually Alpharius in disguise, leaving the real players locked outside Tzeentch's bungalow, bewildered and confused. Magnus in particular, has a surprising penchant for the game on par with both of his adoptive fathers. Though apparently Lorgar, Edgar Allen Primarch, and even wolfman are all talented in their own ways. (That last one causes Magnus a great deal of discomfort.)
- The Horned Rat - While technically coming from another universe, the Horned Rat often finds himself invited for games. When the Horned Rat loses rounds it's because the cards he plays have a nasty habit of stabbing each other in the back, but he finds ways to put himself out on top in the end and isn't afraid of making temporary truces with other players to get what he wants. He earned his status of major chaos godhood thanks to some tricksy hands and clever bets made during a game, earning quite a lot of grumbling from Tzeentch who regards the vermin god as a dirty upstart.
- Nagash - Not invited all too often because he still needs to get his "just as planned" game up, Nagash is nevertheless a very patient player who isn't afraid of spending assets in huge amounts. His primary weakness is that he often lets himself be suckered into ego plays that prey on his tendency to get pretty mad when things don't go his way. But if he can keep his cool, he can flip seemingly valueless assets into much better cards, like when he took the wastrel Arkhan and made him into one of the greatest human sorcerers to ever live. He also has a habit of seemingly losing a round only to end up ahead of where he was anyway and never seeming to be more than temporarily set back by defeats, managing to play his cards right and win the true godhood deck even during the End Times Tournament.
- Lord Kroak - Collectively representing the Slann is Lord Kroak, who in fact died so he could spend more time playing the fantasy version of the game. When the old world went kaputt and he ascended to godhood he started getting invitations to Tzeentch's bungalow as well, though he's often busy with the plans within plans the Slann are working on. Lord Kroak tends to rely more on divination and having the right card at the right time and place over luck to win rounds, and very often seeming defeats turn out to have been the plan the whole time.
- Sigmar - Much like the Emperor, Sigmar's plans tend to be more straightforward, though he's rather more open than the Emperor with them and is more willing to use cards that aren't from the human race deck. He's also more willing to make truces with other players when it suits him. Overall he's not invited to every game because the other players basically feel that he plays the game a bit too similarly to the Emperor, just a bit kinder and more willing to cut deals.
- Asuryan - His Fantasy counterpart used to be a semi-regular guest player before the End Times card was played and got him killed as a result, which part of Tzeentch hoped wouldn't happen as he was pretty decent with his orderly and logical planning to contrast Cegorach's wild card antics. But another part of Tzeentch thought that Asuryan was one knife-eared git with plans within plans too many and got with the other regulars and managed to piss off Fantasy Khaine into doing his whole thing, and thus eliminated Asuryan entirely for the time being, leaving all four cackling in the process.
- Lileath - While her 40K counterpart is still stuck in Slaanesh's gut, her Fantasy counterpart managed to get into the game through virtue of her incredibly dickish manipulations of everyone fighting for order, especially her own species and the Bretonnians. Her plays tend to be callous and highly emotionally manipulative. Eventually got outgambited and seemingly died, removing her from the game more or less until she's discovered in the new universe at some point.
Foreign Company Players
Noncanon, but still show up, usually uninvited.
- Sir Humphrey Appleby - Never actually directly plays, but tries to pretend to be one or another player's employee, and tries to steer the game from that position. Since the players are more clever and observant than British MPs, this usually doesn't work, but his ploys are usually entertaining and useful enough that he's not actually banned.
- Batman - Some of the more Mary Sue versions of Batman sometimes show up in disguise, usually looking more for information on a case then to actually play.
- Ebon Dragon - Usually winds up screwing himself over, in the process of screwing everybody else. Theoretically banned, but he somehow keeps on backstabbin'.
- Papa Palpatine - Mainly notable for being really hard to get rid of. We mean, the man is hardier then a Nuglite cockroach infestation. Otherwise, a surprisingly conservative player whose main weakness seems to be a great love of hearing himself talk; be careful, though, as his double and triple bluffs are what keep him in the game.
- Thanos - Tolerated mainly because he's a sucker whose plays are fascinating and entertaining in their ultimately self-defeating nature. Constantly tries to get some incredibly broken card into play; almost always fails.
- David Xanatos - Usually plays penny-ante compared to the other players, but is used to being a minor player among the Big Boys; is tolerated mainly because each of the other players consider him one of theirs, although he winds up working with the Emporer and Tzeentch the most.