Hi, guys. Don’t get me wrong, I know they were human but, as title says, they are still human?
My personal answer is “nope”. Think about zombies, classic zombies. They were human, but a “new force” (for example a virus) has taken the control of their bodies and it has changed them… More or less what is happened with Northern Men. Where Chaos Influence replaces the “classic virus”.
Apart this, I’m not so expert about War Hammer, and I think it’s nothing of objective… Then let’s talk
I’m still reasonably new to the lore but I would think they are humans with a rather nasty case of chaos corruption. They maintain their sentience while zombies are just mindless drones acting on base instincts, similar to a chaos spawn.
That being said, as a 2h hammer dwarf, chaos warriors are classified as melons that must be exploded.
I’m don’t have a deeper lore knowledge but from what I’ve gathered it’s different stages of corruption. A tiny tentacle or two is bad if you’re a social person or come across a witch hunter but you retain your humanity until you’re a fully grown beastie boy or chaos zombie. The chaos spawns would be the end of the line. You were blessed to such an extent that you can’t handle it on a physical or mental level and thus really go back to basics in a very violent way.
There’s a book called “Riders of the Dead” and it details the capture of Imperial Soldiers after a battle and the various changes they go through from being loyal Imperial Citizens to men part of a Marauder Warband. It is a very good book, one of my favourites from the Black Library. In this little excerpt two men who had served together in a battle had been captured by rival warbands. Johann had been captured by a Nurgle Warband and Karl captured by Tzeentch Warband. These captured men were pitted against each other in duels.
“White Dye had been rubbed into Friedel’s eye sockets and into the hollows of his cheeks, and short lines had been wiped vertically on his upper and lower lips. He looked like a cadaver, like a death’s head, the green pigment daubing him the colour of putrid flesh. His hair was caked to his scalp with lime wash.”…
"It was Johann Friedel’s body right enough, but Johann Friedel no longer inhabited it. His eyes, framed by the white dye were…blank. During his boyhood Karl had owned a dog, a good game hound, that had been bitten by a rat and fallen prey to the frothing sickness. His father had been forced to kill the dog with a mattock to stop it’s suffering.
The look in Friedel’s eyes was the same one Karl had seen in the dog’s gaze just before the end. Vacant, wild,feral,derange by pain and fear and sickness."…
“There was a brute strength in Friedel that Karl had never suspected. He doubted it had been there the last time he’d seen the boy”…
So this suggests that people who were once men, with the gaze of Nurgle upon them go through a period of sickness and derangement before they embrace the “blessings” given to them. Once they’ve gone through this they begin the path to true damnation - getting more obvious gifts and serving their new patron accordingly.
I therefore think that in VT2 the horde/zombie style enemies are those men who aren’t truly “Rotbloods” yet but are sick/ill and have set their first step on the path the Nurglification (FS word not mine) while the Marauders are those from the warband who worship Nurgle properly - snot and all.
Ok so there’s a conceptual mistake here. These people are not controlled by chaos.
I know the skinny chaos fodder kinda look like zombies, but they’re not. None of these people are ‘controlled’ by the chaos god they worship, they still have free will.
It’s easier to compare them to drug addicts than to zombies. They’re still people, they still think for themselves, but on the lower end you have some that crave it and let Chaos shape their actions. But they’re still there, thinking, being humans.
Each of the four Chaos gods bring in new worshippers not by infecting them and controlling them, but by enticing them and rewarding those who worship them. Khorne is all about brutal combat, so psychopaths that enjoy nothing but the battlefield can become Khorne worshippers. Tzeentch is all about schemes and magic. Slaanesh is all about excess and pleasure and removing any constraints you might have that prevent you from enjoying yourself in excess.
And then there’s Nurgle. These are the guys we’re fighting, they worship Nurgle, grandfather of pest and disease. Nurgle is very interesting because most people would go “Who the hell would want to worship THAT god? You end up looking all ugly and completely filled with disease and rot and eugh”.
Well, fun fact, while Nurgle does ‘gift’ you with disease, he also makes you completely immune to them as a gift. Most Nurgle worshippers started praying to him because their village or tribe were being decimated by a plague, or because their family was suffering from a disease. In desperation, they turn to the worship of Nurgle to save their lives, at the cost of their souls. Papa Nurgle cares.
Nah, but them being insufferably arrogant is why their souls all go to Slaanesh if they didn’t have Waystones.
Something like that is only possible in a complete fictional scenerio.
If something that odd should even remotely have the slightest chance to happen:
Bardin will whip out the Cousin Okri card and !Boom! Chaos-Gods ded. FOR GOOD.
Being a former Chaos player I can also say that Chaos followers do not through Chaos worship itself lose any of their independent reasoning or thinking. And also if you look at the lore for guys like Wulfric and Archaon, you can see that these guys are doing their thing and their actions are their own. Even if the Chaos gods can well cheer them on.
I would imagine that the thing with Chaos followers is that its more of group pressure and identity and status than mind-control that makes them go in one direction or another. For example in a Khornate warband the most bloothirsty guys may get more rewards from Khorne and which pressure others to do likewise to get gifts themselves or just get along with the most bloodthirsty guys who are now even more dangerous.
But that don’t mean that some god takes over their brains.