Painting Guides by Codex

Friday, April 14, 2017

Horrors of Tzeentch - 25 years of evolution - Oh, the Horror! Day 3

Steve here, In today's post about Horrors, I want to look at how the rules for Horrors have evolved over the last 25+ years. I love going back through the rules to find where these models were in the minds of the developers in the past and to see how things have changed over time.

Horrors drew up a minor uproar when the new split mechanic with Brimstone Horrors came about last year. This does not seem to have been too much of an issue. How did we get there? Let's take a stroll down memory lane!

Realms of Chaos - The Lost and the Damned (1st edition 1990)

Horrors of Tzeentch - Tsani'kchami'i
Pink Horrors     Whirling Destroyers     Screamers     Squealers
Blue Horrors     Grumblers     Spinning Sourguts     Whiners

These Lesser Daemons of Tzeentch had their two forms of Pink Horror and Blue Horror over 25 years ago in first edition. There are some characteristics of Pink and Blue Horrors here that I really love.

First edition brought us the happy demeanor of the Pink Horror and the Blue Horror has a much worse temperament. They are bad tempered and whiny.

In the fluff here, the magical fire is pink and the ground and air around them smolders in a red light. I am going to add the red tint to the ground around my Pink Horrors this week to reflect this.

Horrors during this time period are created slaves to the Lords of Change. They are expendable automatons on the battlefield, casting spells as they dance about. Casting spells make them happier.

Splitting is part of the fluff and rules this long ago. When the Pink Horrors are 'killed', they turn into a ball of magic that turns blue and divides into two Blue Horrors.

1st edition rules for Horrors

Pink Horrors knew one spell per model in the unit, which would give them access to almost every spell that would be available to them. Surprisingly, they had high weapon and ballistic skill at 5 and 4 strength. Blue Horrors have all the same attributes, but are weaker as they should be at WS/BS/S of 3.

Chaos Codex - (2nd edition 1996)

Pink Horrors lose the massive spell count that they had in 1st edition, but retain the high stats of 1st edition. They get one mastery level for their brotherhood of psykers for ever 5 Pink Horrors. The Blue Horrors and split rules remain the same. What is interesting here is that Horrors have no daemonic aura (5++ saves). The splitting rule replaces this aura in this edition.

Fluff-wise, there is not as much flavor or detail in this codex about the differences between Pink and Blue Horrors in their behaviors. Force weapons or destroyer weapons also eliminate the split mechanic.

These Horrors are a little more drab when compared to their 1st edition counterparts.

Chaos Daemons Codex - (4th edition - 2007)

There is more detail here about Horrors themselves with the fluff, but it deviates from the themes in 1st and 2nd edition. Here we see their stats shift down massively to Weapon Skill 2 and Ballistic Skill/Strength of 3. Rather than no daemonic saves from 2nd edition. Horrors have a better daemonic aura in this edition - increased to 4++. That is neat. In the fluff here, they are immune to the effects of most weapons and regenerate missing limbs with ease.

4th edition rules for Horrors

In 4th edition, Horrors lose their magic capacity, which I think is a bit too large of a jump in the other direction for these magical creatures. I do not like the psychic phase in 7th edition, or how Horrors work in this edition with their powers. I do still believe they need to have an impact on the psychic phase.

Split is gone! - Horrors also lose split in this edition. It is funny because it says that it is for the player's sanity. Would they love to see the rules today?

Warpfire is strong! - Horrors have Warpfire, which is a S4 AP4 Assault 3  ranged weapon. I am not sure, but I might be willing to give up psychic powers in exchange for 30 shots coming out of a 10 Horror squad.

Big changes here for 4th edition, and definitely out of line with the earlier years.

Chaos Daemons Codex - (6th edition - 2012)

In 6th edition, there is a meeting in the middle from 2nd edition to 4th edition. Split is still gone, but Blue Horrors are there in spirit by inflicting hits on anyone in combat when the Pink Horrors die at initiative step 1. Horrors lose the ever impressive Warpfire, but gain the ability to cast spells again as a brotherhood of sorcerers.

Horrors in Warhammer Fantasy - (7th and 8th edition)

Horrors are very similar in ability and skills to their 40k counterparts. They have flaming attacks, and we do not see the split mechanic that we do today.

Horrors in Age of Sigmar - (Warscroll)

Look a lot like 40k! They have more limited spells as is normal for that system, and they boost the casting potential of nearby wizards. I really like that idea, being that they are balls of magic.

Horrors in Fantasy Flight Games RPGs - (Deathwatch Mark of the Xenos)

Horrors in the Deathwatch RPG follow the same statistics as their 40k counterparts. They also stick to 1st edition fluff which is really refreshing. The split mechanic is in full force here as well as well as a demonic save in the form of a Blessing of Tzeentch.

Pink Horrors do not cast spells in the Deathwatch RPG. They have Warpfire similar to Age of Sigmar or 4th edition Warhammer 40k.


  1. I always liked the concept of the split being instead of the Save. The idea that they're super fragile, but sort of re-coalesce after they get hit. It's definitely a tricky one to get right Rules-wise, tho.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I think that trickiness is found in the switching back and forth over the years. I love the system now, but it is undoubtedly more complicated. If I could change one thing, it would be to not have the split models create another separate unit. I think that they should be part of the same unit with them being created in the same place as the destroyed model.

    2. Yeah, having them in the same Unit would clean up a ton of the issues with splitting. I know it worked like that in WHFB, at least at one point.

      And yes, switching back and forth over the editions causes all sorts of issues :P

    3. I would not mind house-ruling them to be in the same unit. I really wonder what the rationale is for making them into separate units.

    4. I assume it was to avoid weirdness with the Rule for them generating Warp Charge or something like that, but it ends up creating much more weirdness overall.