Slaanesh (3.5e Deity)
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|Symbol:||Interlocking male and female symbols (see picture)|
|Home Plane:||The Warp|
|Portfolio:||Passion, Pleasure, Excess, Hedonism, Self-Indulgence|
|Clergy Alignments:||Any Chaotic|
|Domains:||Chaos, Charm, Gluttony, Liberation, Lust, Sloth (Note that some of these domains are found only in the Appendix of the Spell Compendium)|
Slaanesh is the youngest of the four major Chaos Gods (the other three being Nurgle, Khorne, and Tzeentch). Like the other Chaos gods, Slaanesh grew from a single survivalist emotion: in this case, the emotion was pleasure. Slaanesh is the Chaos god of passion, excess, and sensualism, also referred to as the Pursuer of Excess.
Slaanesh's gender is ambiguous; said to be neither male nor female, and yet both. In physical form, Slaanesh is perfection. A long-limbed, elegant, androgynous figure with a haunting, almost frightening beauty. Slaanesh's appearance depends more on the observer than the observed, changing eagerly to please and seduce the eye of the beholder--taking whatever form is most attractive to the mortal blessed by Slaanesh's presence. Rumor amongst man says that with one glance, you will forfeit your very soul to Slaanesh's every whim.
The correct adjective to indicate individuals and events related to this Chaos god is "Slaaneshi".
While the youngest and least powerful of the Major Chaos Gods, Slaanesh is still a crucial player in the incomprehensible game that they play. Although unable to stand alone against any one other Chaos God, garnering support from an alliance is often enough to swing the balance, allowing Slaanesh considerably more influence than innate power would otherwise allow.
Slaanesh's followers seek pleasure in every experience, and quickly become inured to more mundane things, including sounds and colours; thus they dress rather extravagantly. Followers dress in robes which are often opened to leave the right side of the chest uncovered, a requirement of many of the rituals involved in his worship. Pastel and electric shades are the chief colours, although white is often used as well. These colours are also sometimes carried over into everyday wear, although they may be modified to fit in with current fashions. Regardless of any considerations, all Slaanesh followers wear garb of sensuously high quality. They often wear copious amounts of jewelry bearing erotic motifs. Even Slaaneshi battle armor tends to have colorful fabrics draped over it, if it isn't completely painted.
Slaanesh bestows favour upon any who act on an interest for an art, whether the art is that of combat, of painting, of poetry or of passion, asking only that followers pursue sensual experiences and hedonistic pleasures, making this cult very popular indeed.
Clergy and Temples
As with the other Chaos Gods, Slaanesh is worshipped not by a single organized religion, but by hundreds of individual cults with their own unique practices and rituals. All cults of Slaanesh are pleasure cults, in which most rituals involve gathering in stunningly decorative temples to pursue all manners of arts and carnal pleasures; the enjoyment of each different sensual experience being considered a praise to the Pursuer of Excess.
Where their practices are frowned upon, Slaaneshi cults perform their rituals in secret, but otherwise interact with society just like anyone else (although they always wear more lavish clothing than the common citizen, even in public). In societies where their practices are accepted (or even merely tolerated), they have no qualms about performing their rituals in the open. Indeed, many of their temples are open-air structures, being architectural masterpieces but serving little practical function aside from aesthetic appeal.
When Slaaneshi cults go to battle, it is done not out of necessity or bloodlust, but out of desire for the many new experiences and senses that war brings. Worshippers of Slaanesh are known for their complete lack of fear, as they see losing a battle is a new experience to be enjoyed. While not interested in the dirty warfare of Khorne's narrow-minded berserkers, Slaanesh does enjoy combat of the artistic sort, taking pleasure in watching extremely talented gladiator battles, where the act of fighting is transformed from a means to an end into an art form all its own.