- – Thought for the Day
"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd."
- – Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays
"Aside from the occasional genocide, oppression, evil and torture, etc., it is inarguable that public policy could be implemented more rapidly in an autocracy."
- – David Harsanyi
In Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium of Man uses "xenos" as a catch-all derogatory term for any non-human life forms. For example, the Ordo Xenos is the branch of the Inquisition which deals with aliens, and they have whole litanies about what happens to Xenos they get their hands on, like "Mark of the Xenos" (also the name of a Deathwatch supplement).
Please note that "Xenos" is the plural AND singular spelling of the noun and adjective. This practise of using the unified form of this term for both singular and plural is inconsistent with the actual declension of 'xenos', which takes Greek inflections to reflect case and number as a noun, and case, number, and gender as an adjective. The technical plural form of 'xenos' in the nominative is 'xenoi' and accusative as 'xenon.' "xeno-" is a prefix used to denote the xenos origin of something, and Xeno is a character from Tau Quest whose name derives from "xeno-abomination".
If a scenario like that of Alien Nation or Men in Black happened in which extraterrestrials come to Earth in search of citizenship, the word Xenos would quickly become listed as Hate Speech due to the actions of /tg/.
Xenos in the Galaxy
The setting of 40k is full of Xenos that are completely original and in no way inspired by any other source (quietly kicks a copy of Lord of the Rings discreetly under the table). Despite being 'full' of them, though, the vast majority of these will never appear as anything more than a briefly mentioned group of corpses and are largely inferior to humans.
Each Xenos faction comes with its own rich and engaging history, play style and unique aesthetics that set them apart from their foes. They also bring a nice change of pace from the constant presence of the Adeptus Astartes. Do you play the brutish ramshackle Orks, the elegantly swift Eldar or the never ending chittering swarms of the Tyranids? The choice is yours.
Each faction presents a threat that could, maybe, possible, perhaps eventually prove to be the Imperium’s doom should the forces of the Emperor falter in their duty or waver in their devotion. To be a human in the armies of the 41st Millennium is to face numerous threats, to stand against such nightmarish enemies, that even now move to bring doom upon the domains of man, is to stare into the very face of madness and despair.
Although playing a support role within the setting, with the Imperium taking up the primary protagonist’s role and the main antagonist (now that the story advanced a little bit even more than ever before) being the forces of Chaos, Xenos do still have a role to play, predominantly as sidekicks or weaker enemies. Which is really a shame, as their are plenty of interesting Xenos with little information, like Kroot or Hrud.
Prior to the dawning of the Imperium there existed numerous Xenos species throughout the galaxy with their own hegemons, existing in the wake of the Old Ones war with the Necron. Of these Xenos hegemons the greatest was that of the Eldar Empire, which endured for an insanely long period of time with its only serious rival for power and ability being the nascent and much younger human dominions, which ended when the Eldar decided to have one too many orgies and create Slaanesh.
Xenos and the Great Crusade
However, with the Fall of the Eldar and the calming of the Warp storms that had up until then isolated the many human colonies that were spread across the galaxy, the Emperor took advantage of the newly created galactic power vacuum to launch his Great Crusade. During the Great Crusade the Emperor announced that Humanity had a preordained destiny to rule the stars and was the one to pen the phrase "Suffer not the alien to live", giving orders for the extermination of all sapient Xenos. So stringent were his orders that when Primarchs like Horus and Fulgrim did seek to interact with Xenos, their men protested that it was against the standing orders of the Emperor to do so.
The Emperor's reasoning for this rampant xenophobia was that during the Age of Strife humanity was uniformly turned on by every single one of its xenos allies, who proceeded to enslave, rape, and kill human worlds, and therefore xenos couldn't be trusted and must all be killed. However, it's implied that this claim should be taken with a grain of salt. While no one is going to argue that the Orks, Nephilim or Slaugth are really nice and cuddly, the idea that every single one of humanity's xenos allies, without exception, turned on us is a bit unlikely (from a math perspective if nothing else). Not to mention that the Great Crusade encountered many examples of humans enslaving humans, humans enslaving xenos, humans and xenos existing in harmony, and peaceful xenos civilizations that just wanted to be left alone. And killed most of them. If a xenos race were doing to a pocket of humanity what the Imperium does to its own people, the Great Crusade would have Exterminatused the fuck out of them, humans are dicks to other humans just as much as xenos are. Additionally, the only human who actually has first-hand knowledge of this xenos betrayal are the Emperor and his cronies, and the Emperor would never lie to people about something important in the name of getting the reaction he wants. Not to mention the Imperium's justification for xenocide is almost word-for-word the stab-in-the-back-myth the Nazis used to try and justify their treatment of Jews and the Holocaust, only replace "Aryan" with "human" and "Jew" with "xenos".
Master of Mankind also implies that the reason the Emperor wanted the xenos dead was not out of simple xenophobia, but because he couldn't control them like he did humanity and because xenos showed humanity that there were other ways of living than his design. All the while the Emperor used xenotech to create his better future for humanity. The same was true of non-Imperial humans, but at least the Emperor was willing to give them a chance to submit to his rule before wiping them out utterly. And, perhaps more pragmatically, because those civilizations may have had STC fragments and he couldn't afford to have those destroyed. Having a policy of absolute genocide towards all non-Terran humans in addition to xenos might have actually been more reasonable from the Emperor's standpoint, because it would have wiped out all those nascent Chaos-tainted civilizations and those who genetically deviated from the Imperial standard, but the Emperor needed those STCs. Ironically, the Age of Strife may have ended up saving a lot of lives in that respect.
The armies of the Emperor of Man spread across the width and breadth of the galaxy butchering all that stood in their way, including many human civilizations that had survived the horrors of Old Night and refused to bend the knee in submission to this man that claimed the title of Master of Mankind. The resulting genocides led to the extinction of hundreds of species, including many of the older races that had existed since before humanity had first looked up at the stars. Hundreds of alien races were wiped out, although barring Orks the majority of the Great Crusade seems to have been spent fighting against other human empires, as Xenos forces were comparatively rarer, indicating that they had perhaps fared even worse during the Age of Strife. Even groups such as the Diasporex, a combination of humans and Xenos living in harmony, were exterminated simply for their pluralistic ideologies, their human members slain as well for refusing to consign their Xenos compatriots to extermination.
By the end of the Great Crusade all major non-human powers and Empires had been broken, with only small and insignificant states, or weaker polities outside the Imperium's borders remaining. Ironically, the Craftworld (due to not needing planets), Exodite (due to Craftworld protection and simple obscurity) and the soon-to-be Dark (Webway) Eldar were likely the best off despite the fact that their main power was completely broken before the Crusade, besides the Orks who aren't a polity so much as a self propagating sentient (in the loosest terms) bio-weapon.
Xenos in the 41st Millenium
Since the Great Crusade the threat of Xenos has mostly remained a frontier matter, or a matter of small raids, with most noticeable concentrations of Xenos restricted solely to the outer reaches of the Galaxy, or contained in sectors where they posed little threat to the Imperium. The rest are either allies of the Imperium, neutrality accepted by the Imperium, or outright protectorate species of the Imperium. Keep in mind the Imperium wants to regulate aliens and directs its "Suffer Not The Alien" towards space monsters instead of the average Joe who minds his own business. None of these are ever named, though. Whether or not the average Imperial even knows these non-Kill The Alien xenos exist is also unknown. In effect the Great Crusade had succeeded in scouring most Xenos life from the Milky Way Galaxy, leaving them mostly clinging to the frontiers and outer zones in small numbers, with the noticeable exception of the Orks. Excluding the Orks, most Xenos have been eradicated or reduced to such small numbers that they present no significant threat to the Imperium, with the Xenos population of the Galaxy combined being inferior to that of the Orks or Humanity. Between the end of the Horus Heresy and the beginning of the 41st Millenium the only major Xenos threat to emerge was that of the Beast Waaagh!, a potent combination of powerful Ork Warlords and their armies, who assailed the Imperium briefly, before being slain and their forces totally destroyed in short order.
Aside from consistent and largely ineffectual attacks by Orks and the differing subgroups of Eldar, many xenos are simply too weak to make any noticeable impact on the Imperium and have never succeeded in any actual effort against the Imperium at all. Which makes you wonder why have xenos at all, really.
The beginning of the 41st Millenium did, however, see three new Xenos threats rise to actually endanger some parts of the Imperium; the extragalactic threat of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, the rising of the Necron Tomb Worlds, and the new Tau Empire. All of these pose a more considerable threat than any Xenos before them did, the scope of the Tyranid attack being impossible to know, the Necrons representing a species possibly as numerous, but far more technologically advanced then the Imperium itself, and act significantly less retarded in combat. Finally, the Tau,
not really because they could ever conquer the Imperium (though they have had their fair share of victories), but because they risk the possibility of repeating the same mistakes as humanity and feeding Chaos even more.The Tau'va does not support this propoganda. Through unity, we shall conquer the savage Imperium and make a way for our inevitable conquest of the stars. Just as soon as you manage to get out of that childs pool about to be raped by Tyranids, I will take you seriously blueskin. And by "take seriously" I mean send an actual Crusade instead of a handful of whatever was available to toss in your general direction. You do not want Ultramar to take you seriously.
Orks -The Orks are the endless green tide of homicidal space fungus made by the Old Ones ready to sweep across the galaxy in an unstoppable WAAAGH! should they ever one day unite. It is the saving grace of the other inhabitants of the galaxy that they are terribly prone to infighting and factionalism, and will gladly beat the shit out of each other if no other enemy presents itself. It is said that if a Warboss was ever able to unite the many Ork klans under one banner, then the very heavens would tremble in fear. This is debateable though, as when the Ork Warlords known as the Beasts did this, they (barely) failed to defeat even a greatly weakened Imperium. They are the most numerous Xenos species native to the galaxy, or at least most numerous until such a time as the Necron are all awakened as some fluff has implied the Necrons are just as numerous if all are awakened. Orks are actually a bio-engineered warrior race, or at the very least a degraded version of a bio-engineered warrior race, known as the Krork. Orks live for conflict and battle, their entire society and civilization revolving around it, and as a result are perpetually in conflict or, otherwise, seeking a conflict. This behaviour has also left the Orks disunited as a species, with Orks being prone to hitting each other with axes just as much as any other species. Orks primarily cling to the frontiers and fringes of the Galaxy, having long ago been purged from within the heart of the Imperium's territories by their many successful wars against the Orks. Due to the haphazard nature of Orkish Warp Travel, however, Ork Armies can appear anywhere and, quite literally, at any time as well, meaning that they often strike deep behind the borders of the Imperium despite their relative military weakness. Outside the borders of the Imperium several Ork Empires, such as Charadon, Bork and Octarius do exist, and some are older even than the Imperium itself. It also helps that the orks robust biology enables the greenskin menace to live in places that no other species could survive in; there have been reports of small tribes of orks living on the bombed out husks of planets which have been subjected to Exterminatus
Eldar -The Eldar are an old species (by old we mean 60 millenia at least, since they were Old One creations too) which, following the collapse of their empire, has splintered into a number of subfactions:
- Craftworld Eldar -The Eldar are the perpetually dying light in an ever darkening galaxy but even as their flame flickers they refuse to allow themselves to be extinguished, though their numbers dwindle constantly. Which has been going on for over 15. Thousand. Years. Honestly, for a dying race, coupled with their persistent defeats, it really makes you wonder how they are still around. Many among their kind seek to rebuild their empire, and to transform their weak flame into a burning light to bring about a new dawn for their race; but if this is to be their end then they will face the growing darkness standing with blades ready in hand. Come 8th Edition and, with the obsession for trademarked names, the Craftworld Eldar are known as the Asuryani. Craftworld Eldar live, predominantly, within enormous ships known as Craftworlds that at one time served as vast trading vessels for the Empire of old. Within the Craftworlds the Eldar try to preserve what remains of their Pre-Fall history and culture as best they can but even they cannot stop the slow and inevitable degradation of time as older generations are lost and the memories of their glories pass into myth and legend. Like all Eldar, they are survivors of the calamitous event known as The Fall, which destroyed the old Eldar Empire. Those who live on the Craftworlds attempt to control and direct their emotions and psychic power in order to prevent it from corrupting them like it did their ancestors, and thus have a highly regimented social system known as the Paths, founded by the first of the Phoenix Lords; Asurmen.
- Dark Eldar – The Dark kin are the very incarnation of cruelty in all its many forms. Ironically, they torture people for pleasure, and you would think that they'd like Slaanesh, but nope. They fear it just as much as normal Eldar. From their shadowy nightmare realm/BDSM porn studio of Commorragh, they strike out to bring misery, horror, and boners (Wyches only) upon an unsuspecting galaxy. Those who know of them know that it is better to die than be taken by these sadistic bastards. Pray they do not take you alive. Dark Eldar represent the portion of the population which has refused to give up on the cruel and barbaric lifestyle which caused The Fall in the first place. Instead, they have moved into the alternate dimension known as the Webway and mostly exist within the aforementioned
porn studioCity of Commorragh. Dark Eldar must feed on the pain and suffering of others to stave off their souls being consumed by She Who Thirsts, and as a result have developed a society and culture predicated on the capture and torture of others in increasingly inventive manners. Dark Eldar are among the most notorious corsairs and raiders of the Galaxy and are the bane of many an Imperial admiral.
- Exodites - The original Eldar exiles, the first to notice the decay of their old Empire and leave it, were the Exodites. Effectively Eldar Hippies/Amish of a sort who decided to renounce advanced technology in the belief that it had fostered decadence and spiritual corruption. Instead, they live lives in tune with the nature of their Worlds, attempting to eke out peaceful existences there. By that we mean the planets are Maiden Worlds and therefore psychic and a complete paradise requiring zero effort for the Exodites to live luxurious, pampered lives that makes the Garden of Eden look like Nurgle's Garden. Since it's not "technology", they believe it doesn't count as decadent. They live an almost nomadic existence following the great herds of “dragons” and although they may appear highly vulnerable to attack they are still capable of defending themselves with their Dragon Knights and their reptilian dragon mounts. They also in time of great need have their own guardian equivalents of the Wraithknights known as the Fire Gale’s, Bright Stallion’s and Towering Destroyer’s. Against greater threats such as a large Ork waaagh however they are still heavily dependent upon the Craftworld Eldar to defend them from harm.
- Harlequins - One of the smallest but also the most elite of the Eldar groups, the Harlequins are Eldar who worship the sole intact and surviving Eldar God: Cegorach. Masters of comedy and moving through the Webway, Harlequins are mostly devoted to attempting to find ways to defeat the Chaos Gods. Pretty funny
peopleelves too. They serve as negotiators between the different branches of the Eldar society, helping to forge alliances between the different groups in the name of a greater cause at times. Harlequins are also the Eldar with the greatest knowledge and mastery of the mysterious Webway, allowing them even more rapid movement than other Eldar possess.
- Ynnari - The smallest of all the Eldar's numerous subfactions, not even able to rival a minor Craftworld per their own leader, the Ynnari are Eldar dedicated to the worship of Ynnead, the newly born Eldar God of Death. The Ynnari have only recently emerged and follow what is known as the Seventh Way, a prophecy which supposedly reveals a way through which their god Ynnead can be fully roused without exterminating all living Eldar. The Ynnari are dedicated to the hunt for the fifth and final Crone Sword, with which they believe they can bring about the premature maturation of Ynnead to defeat Slaanesh whilst mortal Eldar still exist within the Galaxy. They have close ties with the Craftworld of Altansar, but most other Craftworlds, or their Seer Councils at least, are suspicious of the Ynnari. Many notable Eldar figures, such as Lelith Hesperax, Jain Zar, and that dick, have joined their ranks.
Necron Dynasties -They are the terror from a forgotten age (indeed, the very same enemy the Old Ones fought) that intends to reclaim the Galaxy from the weak parasitic races that now claim ownership of what was and always will be theirs. To the Necrons, there is not war in the future, only pest control. Among the oldest species of Xenos in the galaxy, Necron are a largely mechanical species who are beginning to awaken throughout the Galaxy. Due to a process in the distant past most Necron have become little more than mindless robots, with only their leaders displaying true self-awareness or intelligence. The Necron are an ancient and powerful species, who's numbers are bolstered by the constantly increasing number of their worlds which are reactivating.
Tyranid -Fear the shadow in the Warp for they are coming to consume all and when they are finished, nothing will remain. A Xenos race not native to the Milky Way Galaxy, the Tyranid are a voracious species of Xenos linked through a gestalt intelligence known as the Hive Mind which directs the species. The Tyranid are largely a predatory species, seeking to OMNOM as much biological matter as possible in order to make use of it for themselves. Thus far their forays into the galaxy have usually been blunted before they made significant headway, but due to the nature of their existence as a species outside the Milky Way Galaxy, it is difficult to know the extent of the Tyranid at current.
- Genestealer Cults - One of the most nefarious weapons deployed by the Tyranid are the Genestealer Cults. These cults, born from the intermingling of Genestealers with other beings, can emerge on numerous worlds and work to undermine the defenses of said planet due to a mistaken worship of the Tyranids as saviours, in turn making it far easier for the Tyranid swarm to consume.
Tau Empire - A recently emerging faction within the Galaxy, the Tau Empire is an expansionist weeaboo state which seeks to incorporate other Xenos into it where possible. Adept at technological advancement and well-known for their ideological commitment to the Greater Good, or Tau'va, the Empire is at current still very naive regarding what is waiting for them beyond their borders. Within the confines and safety of their borders the Tau confidently look towards the future but they are blissfully unaware that although they may be the big fish in a small pond at the moment, within the deeper waters there are leviathans waiting to be discovered. Now in 8th Edition they are the T'au, cause "Tau" was apparently not good enough for trademarking.
"And All the Rest" - There are millions of habitable worlds in the galaxy, as well as pockets of space or unreality capable of supporting life. The number of xenos species in the galaxy beyond those that have star-bound armies (and therefore codices) is staggering. Q'Orl, Scythians, Hrud, Ambul, Vampyres, Lacrymoles, and a thousand others are out there. Some act as traders, others pirates, others parasites. Some have never been offworld. Some have destroyed entire star systems. Most of these are too minor to matter individually, as even a single Company of Space Marines could wipe them out... usually.
Within the galaxy of Warhammer 40,000 Xenos are the least important and influential of the three main factions, rarely managing anything of note on their own other than catastrophic defeats at the hands of Space Marines. Whilst the Imperium are the Protagonists of the setting and Chaos the primary Antagonists, Xenos tend to fill a spectrum of lesser roles in between these two poles, usually only being important in the way they assist or impede these two larger factions. Part of this is also due to the fact that Xenos inhabit less of the Galaxy than anyone else, with the vast majority of the material galaxy being controlled by the Imperium and the majority of the Warp being controlled by the forces of Chaos, leaving Xenos as distinctly the weakest of the three factions. Overall it also means that the Human race, comprising both the majority of the Imperium and Chaos, is far stronger than all other Xenos, as even the combined Xenos races don't compare favourably to either human-dominated faction. Which is dumb, because the whole universe shouldn't focus exclusively on the Imperium, but we digress. Broadly speaking Xenos can be divided into three broad categories concerning their Role in the narrative of 40k;
These are the Xenos who tend to exist as a largely faceless horde of mooks who are gunned or chopped down in droves, usually with little dramatic tension, and more as a way to demonstrate how badass or awesome the protagonist is. These Xenos tend to play the role of a lesser antagonist, not as dangerous as Chaos, and having little true power, but an antagonist nonetheless. These are the antagonists against whom it is most common for the protagonist to win bloodless victories or overwhelming victories, to demonstrate the difference in strength between the protagonist and these lesser antagonists. Similarly the Chaff Xenos also often play the role of demonstrating how powerful Chaos is, without allowing Chaos to actually beat the Imperium, by either losing or being supplanted by Chaos at a point in a story line, to make clear the true threat was Chaos all along. Orks in particular are adept at this tactic of being an initial, and rather minor threat, who is then replaced by a more severe Chaos threat later.
Chaff are characterised by the fact that, no matter what, they will almost always lose the war in the end, regardless of all circumstances, and there will rarely be any long term negative consequences of battles with them. They will also usually be vastly inferior to the protagonists, being killed in one-on-one duels and such to showcase the superior fighting abilities of their foes. Ork Warbosses and Eldar Avatars of Khaine are two of the most commonly used examples of this, often dying to establish some or other protagonist as a badass.
Although Orks and Tyranid tend to be the most commonly used Chaff, as of late the Craftworld Eldar have seemingly become quite prone to being Chaff too, with battles such as the attack on Yme-Loc, the Battle of Orar's Sepulchre and more usually having the ancient and elitist soldiery of these factions gunned down in enormous numbers and absolutely powerless to do anything.
This type of Xenos usually poses little to no actual threat to the protagonist, although expect the story to usually start with the protagonist battling them to showcase the protagonist's superiority. The Ally is almost always in possession of some critical knowledge or device, usually relating to a Chaos Threat, which the Ally will prove impotent to handle on its own, instead resorting usually to giving the protagonist the role of actually ending the threat, often after trying and failing themselves. Although a betrayal is not always necessary, and more than enough of these alliances will not have a betrayal occur, expect at times a final twist in which the protagonist also kills the Ally before they can backstab them.
Although in general these alliances tend to be momentary and not have longer lasting ramifications, it should be noted that the recent plot development of the Ynnari subfaction of Eldar seems to have seen the Imperium gain a possible permanent vassal Xenos faction (or at the very least "Oh my fucking God there are four different apocalypses going on I will take anyone I won't need to shoot at this point.").
These are Xenos who fall into the same category as the oft-mentioned 'there was a Cult Uprising' fluff extracts in 40k. These are characterised by tending to be nothing more than a mention of their existence, before a quick mention that they are now all dead, usually due to some Space Marine force attacking. These Xenos tend to not even have an illusion of threat, such as Chaff Xenos, and are very much just hand-waved away the same way Cult Uprisings tend to be, being very quickly destroyed and without any significant impact.
Due to the very nature of their existence there are few examples of these types of Xenos, seeing as they tend to simply exist as a single name mentioned to have already been destroyed. Two common examples which are frequently reused, however, are the Genestealer Cults and Exodites. Exodites, in particular, are usually only brought up in a story to describe how they die awfully.
Separate to these well-defined roles, all Xenos play the part of the 'Worf Effect' role, dying or losing so as to establish their opponent's power. Whether it is to Chaos or the Imperium, Xenos will frequently only appear to be bested in some or other manner, usually to solidfy how powerful a particular character or faction of the Imperium or Chaos is. This category is very much often occupied by specific Xenos characters too, and tied to certain events, and can be found most frequently in Black Library novels, in which almost any Xenos antagonist introduced will be built up as a threat but, almost, inevitably be either dead or running by the end of the story.
Xenos and Chaos
As a whole, the Chaos Gods seem to have little interest in Xenos compared to humanity, as humanity on its own provides them with such an abundance of easily manipulated and corruptible beings that they have quickly become the Ruinous Powers primary playthings. Indeed it is worth noting that literally all the known favoured servants of Chaos are humans exclusively. With the sole exception of Slaanesh's desire to devour the Eldar, there is rarely much attempt by the forces of Chaos to corrupt any Xenos species. During the Great Crusade there were a number of Xenos who worshipped Chaos, but these have since been exterminated by the Imperium; but not before they had spread their teachings to those within the Imperium itself who proved to be far too easily swayed. By the 41st Millenium there are no known large or significant concentrations or factions of Xenos serving Chaos, mostly due to the ones that escape Imperial notice being as small and disorganized as any other Chaos cult. That being said, chaos worship is a fickle thing, and there are mighty civilizations who do worship chaos still at large in the galaxy in one form or another, some of whom, such as the Yu'Vath, have become so intertwined with chaos that even death cannot stop them. The Saruthi are also of note, while supposedly corrupted by a human chaos grimoire, the Saruthi have met with success following their corruption, and make use of tetrascapes that allow them to hide outside of the material universe even more effectively than the Eldar with their Webway.
- Eldar- Despite having souls and egos that burn brighter and stronger within the Warp, they are typically not taken by the other gods as they are the "sole property"/sex toys of Slaanesh who claims and devours their souls upon their deaths, unless precautions have been taken to avoid such a fate. Sporadic hints of Eldar who willingly gave themselves up to Slaanesh have been made, but are considered to be mere speculation both in-universe and out-of-universe. Even the Dark Eldar, who would otherwise be amazingly good slaves of Slaanesh, fear and despise it (if only for purely selfish reasons). One case of Nurgle-corrupted Eldar has been mentioned in the Death Guard's codex, so it might be possible for another Chaos Good to claim their souls under the right circumstances.
- Necrons – They are what you could describe as being the very opposite of what the Chaos gods are looking for due to not having souls. Without souls, they're absolutely worthless even as slaves, and their innate anti-Warp attributes make them a threat rather than a potential tool. Although they are not beyond corruption themselves, as seen with Lucius' capacity to possess them. Additionally, Chaos has been known to frequently possess advanced machines including their own Tomb Worlds, so it is possible they could be corrupted indirectly.
- Tyranids – Their minds are too alien for Chaos to corrupt them; an individual Tyranid can no more be turned against the collective than an individual cell can voluntarily rebel against the organism it belongs to ('voluntarily' being the keyword - cancer, anyone?), and without a true consciousness the Chaos Gods have nothing to tempt them with. When the two sides come into conflict, it’s like watching a battle between an immovable object and unstoppable force; the daemons are weakened by the presence of the Shadow, and the Tyranids gain nothing from victory other than continued survival. They each have so little to gain from combat with each that they both try to avoid each other whenever possible.
- Tau Empire – The Tau have a very weak presence in the Warp and possess a small fraction of territory compared to the other races of the galaxy; however, their disbelief in Chaos means that should the Ruinous Powers choose to move against them they will be as blindsided as the Imperium was during the Horus Heresy. However, it should be noted that due to the strict regimentation of their lives and space communism, it is extremely difficult for Tau to serve Chaos. The Kroot, on the other hand, have a much more robust warp presence, and actually have a clue that the warp is dangerous, unlike their Tau allies. Additional their biological proclivity to eating dead enemy's means they can be exposed to corruption in a whole diffrent manner than that of other races. All this aside, the events of the Fourth Sphere Expansion (and its rediscovery by the Fifth Sphere Expansion) have proven that they can still be corrupted in spite of their weak Warp presence and at least a few Tau have figured out that Chaos is strengthened by psychically active species.
- Orks - While there are sporadic examples of Orks turning to Khorne, Gork and Mork have been proven to be real gods and are highly unlikely to allow any sort of poaching in this manner. The other three Ruinous Powers simply have little appeal for Orks, as they lack any real ambition for Tzeentch to exploit (except the biggest baddest Warbosses, who are so steeped in WAAAGH energy they are fully immune) and do not fear death enough to turn to Nurgle's protection (they only fear not being able to fight anymore and getting eaten alive), and Slaanesh (excuse me, flash gitz), I mean really? That being said, being resistant does not mean immune, and corrupted orks do show up from time to time bearing the plagues of Nurgle and some of Khorne's daemons are green instead of red.
Despite this there are still a tiny few examples of Chaos affiliated Xenos in recent Fluff; a Genestealer Cult corrupted by Nurgle, a commune of Eldar worshipping Slaanesh, but these are never large or substantial groups, usually being very small and inconsequential incidents. It does, however, indicate the possibility of corruption. Most likely the lack of corrupted Xenos can be put down to either their resistance to Daemonic corruption, although it could also be that like the Imperium, who have their holy symbols that hold the Ruinous Powers at bay, that some xenos like the Eldar with their Runes and the Orks that create effigies to “scare” away the creatures of the warp, may be in possession of their own effective counter-measures against Daemons. (It is, however, equally possible that they simply have not been described by the fluff due to the preferred focus on humanity over the xenos races in general.)
Overall, however, the Chaos Gods seem to hold little interest in Xenos and tend to ignore them in favor of humans. Almost all, if not all, the greatest and most powerful servants of the Chaos Gods are themselves human, or were once human, with almost no Xenos counted among the ranks of Daemon Princes. The only possible exception to this is the Daemon Prince Be'lakor whose origin has never been explicitly confirmed but, considering his age, is presumably a Xenos of some sort. He is, though, the sole exception and other than this possibility all the greatest, most powerful and favoured of all the Chaos Gods Servants are purely human. Furthermore even the most powerful Daemons, such as Drach'nyen, despite being magnitudes younger than an enormous amount of Daemons, seem stronger than all others by simple stint of being born from human emotions; it's actually directly linked to the Emperor himself and was born from "the first murder." None of this changes the clear conclusion that, again, humans simply provide more power than all other beings, except possibly the aforementioned Slaanesh Eldar due to special circumstance.
|*Inquisitor log 17548.68|
|*After careful study of such heretical materials I have come to the conclusion that the Chaos Gods' lack of interest stems from the fact that humans, in particular, Space Marines, are simply far more malleable and powerful compared to any other lesser forms of life in the galaxy. Compounding this, humans have so effectively conquered the majority of the Milky Way that they provide the largest body of servants for the Chaos Gods to use, making the near-exclusive focus on them somewhat pragmatic. The poor deluded Xenos think to arrogantly "warn" us of the dangers of the Warp, little understanding that humanity is protected by the light of the Emperor. It can only be their jealousy of the lack of influence that the almighty Emperor has over them that they think to teach us, what breathtaking arrogance, but what can you expect from such filthy heathens.
*In sum humanity's natural superiority over all other races means that the Chaos Gods have chosen to rather exclusively focus on them and them alone, seeing Xenos for the most part as pointless and useless compared to humanity. Furthermore humanity is the only species that threatens the Chaos Gods, with no Xenos faction capable of in anyway challenging them, and thus humanity is also focused on as the only danger to their power. Basically the Chaos Gods focus on humans cause they're the only race that matters. (Spoken like a true son of the Emperor, you will go far in the Inquisition).
*Remember that the weak and foolish Xenos may look vaguely human in form but they are but mere imperfect imitations of the genetically perfect masterpiece that is the human form. Humanity is the ultimate life form, perfect in every way, and blessed by the God Emperor himself. The Galaxy is ours by right and we will purify the Xeno taint until only holy humanity remains. This truth is so absolute that even unspeakable horrors accept it and happily ignore the alien weaklings, barring certain exceptions like the Eldar's collective folly.
The Other Side
The irony of the setting is that, from the perspective of most of the Xenos species in the galaxy, the Imperium of Man is as dangerous and constant a danger to their existence as the Orks or Tyranid. From the Great Crusade onwards Xenos species such as the Tarellians, Demiurg and Eldar have been powerless to do anything as the Imperium constantly expanded its borders, genociding more and more Xenos every century, pushing them further and further out as all resistance in the face of the Imperium proved utterly futile.
Thus to the Tarellians, Hrenians, Tau, Galg and many more the Galaxy is a terrifying place since most of it is the Imperium, an all-powerful empire devoted to the relentless expansion of its domain and extermination of all other forms of life. For over 10,000 years, some of these species have watched Imperium has steamrolled everything in its path, and it has simply grown from strength to strength, overcoming all enemies and expanding its borders continuously, dooming to extinction untold numbers of sapient species and creating a galaxy where Xenos mostly live in hiding or cling to the frontiers, with the exception of the Orks (who are having the time of their lives), the Necrons (who are a superpower on their own, albeit highly divided) and the Eldar to a certain extent (both Imperium and Craftworlds are pragmatic enough to know that they don't need to destroy each other when greater dangers exist, with alliances between the two being unusually common and frequent, most recent example being Ynnari).
Not for nothing are the zones which contain the most Xenos limited to areas which the Imperium considers outside their control, the Ghouls Stars and Eastern Frontier for example. In the galaxy of the 41st Millenium to be born a Xenos is to be born within a Galaxy where the most brutal and vicious empire in history is determined to kill you, your family and everyone you've ever known, because it considers your existence as an insult to mankind.
To compound this fear for the Xenos there is also the fact that, as a species, humans always seem to outcompete all other species at everything. Due to their MASSIVE numbers(surpassed only by Orks, Tyranids and ALL Necrons) vaunted position within the setting and general favouritism directed towards the Imperium, and more importantly the Space Marines, they are unfortunately burdened with the dubious honour of always being the best at everything. No matter how stealthy a Xenos might be there is always a human stealthier than them, no matter how skilled a commander, there will be a human more skilled than them, no matter how strong a Psyker, there will be a human psyker within the setting will always prove to be the stronger.
The 41st Millenium is a dark and foreboding existence for the Xenos, one where the most bloodthirsty and xenophobic species in the galaxy is set on conquering the galaxy, eradicating all other life in it and, worst of all, looks set to achieve this no matter how stiff the resistance, the only delay being a ten thousand year long civil war on whether they worship the greatest tyrant in history or eldritch horrors that eat souls. Considering this it is hardly surprising that Xenos would rather side with the Tau, who offer surprisingly lenient membership into their Empire, or the Sautekh Dynasty who, though making subjugated nations vassals, still permit them to exist. Of course one could also just be Orks and not care about it at all and have a bloody good larf out of all the figthing. Or be a Tyranid drone where all you really care about is the next all you can eat buffet.
How do they compare
Thanks to "Wrath and Glory" we now have a better look at how GW views the different species. The list below shows the attribute Maximums for:
- Human- Adeptus Ministorum, Adepta Sororitas, Astra Militarum, Agents of the Imperium, Adeptus Mechanicus, Scum and renegades (the maximum stats apply to those who have been gifted with the very best genetic and cybernetic enhancements that the Imperim can provide, short of becoming a Space Marine)
- Eldar- Corsairs, Rangers, Warlocks
- Orks- Ork Boy, Kommando, Ork Nob
- Astartes/Primaris- Mini-Marines, Chad-Marines, Chaos Space Marine
- Strength: Raw physical power. Strength is a measurement of the sheer physical force a character is capable of and how much they can lift and carry. Also determines how strong their attacks are.
- Agility: Dexterity and coordination. Agility measures a character’s manual dexterity and whole body coordination, it also governs their accuracy with ranged weapons and stealth abilities.
- Toughness: Endurance and ability to shrug off damage. Toughness provides a measure of the body’s ability to resist injury, toxin, and disease.
- Intellect: Ability to process and interpret information. Intellect measures a character’s ability to process, retain, access and creatively interpret information. Also determines their skill with tech and medicine.
- Willpower: Determination and strength of will. Willpower gauges a character’s mental fortitude and determination. Also demonstrates their Psychic Mastery.
- Fellowship: Force of personality. Fellowship determines a character’s empathy and social awareness, as well as the ability to manipulate social situations to their benefit.
- Initiative: Reflexes and reaction speed. Initiative is a measure of how quickly a character can react to dramatically changing situations; it is also a demonstration of their skill with weapons.
- Speed: Movement speed. Speed determines how fast a character is able to move over a distance and also governs how fast they are able to attack or dodge an opponent.
It should be noted that these stats represent the "base" for each species and will not likely represent many of the named characters, who tend to be exceptional examples of their kind. This list does not show the effects of either psychic enhancements, sorcery or any other type of Warp based shenanigans, as these tend to last for only short periods of time.
These numbers should not be treated as law, but more as guidelines that show a rough idea of how GW thinks they should be represented. When interpreting how these species stack up to each other it would be a good idea to use the humans as a base.
- Strength: Humans can achieve a Strength max of 8; England's Eddie Hall currently holds the deadlift record of 500kg, which we will use to show the max strength level that a human in 40k can achieve (you can increase this if you want). Using the numbers provided we can roughly estimate that an Eldar Ranger can potentially deadlift up to 437kg, a Space Marine can deadlift 625kg, but an Ork Nob and Primaris can deadlift up to 750kg. It is likely the number is higher due to DAoT gene engineering done to the entire species and natural evolution.
- Intellect: Humans can achieve an Intellect max of 8; Terence Tao was recorded to have an IQ of 230 (increase as you see fit). A Kommando could potentially have an IQ of around 201, whilst an Eldar Corsair or Chad-Marine could have an IQ of 288. While most Necrons are basically mindless machines, the ones who can think are shown to be some of the smartest things in the Galaxy, bar almost none.
- Speed: Humans can achieve a Speed max of 8; Usain Bolt has been recorded at 28mph (it has been theorized that the human body has the potential to reach speeds of up to 40mph). Using the current recorded speed Orks Boyz could come in at about 25mph, with Mini-Marine at 31mph and a Warlock reaching speeds up to 35mph.
- (None of these numbers are hard facts and we are also basing the comparison at the upper end of human ability not the human average)
- Dark Eldar
- Monstergirls, which is what happens when xenos meet Rule 34.
- Old Ones