- "The power of Humanity is nothing compared to the gifts of the Warp; any who deny this are blind to the torment and death that awaits them as a price of their blindness."
- — From the Proclamation of Khazant delivered by Dark Apostle Bellephrades
A Daemon Prince is a human Champion of Chaos who has been elevated to daemonhood as a reward for his or her actions on the behalf of one of the major Chaos Gods or by the will of Chaos Undivided. Daemon Princes have chosen to trade their humanity for the god-like power and immortality of a creature of the Warp. A Daemon Prince is a living extension of the force of Chaos. To ascend to the rank of Daemon Prince is the ultimate goal of the most powerful followers of Chaos, as it gives them immortality and power beyond the reckoning of mortals. Daemon Princes combine the brute strength of daemons with the combat skill and tactical acumen of Space Marines. However, if the Champion fails in the eyes of their God, their lives and ambitions end as they are cast aside and instead descend into the mutant state of a Chaos Spawn. Since Daemon Princes have been transformed into semi-autonomous extensions of the Chaos God they serve or of Chaos Undivided, they are now entities of the Warp and can never truly be killed in the material universe, only banished into the Immaterium for a specific amount of time, usually 1,000 standard years. Essentially, Daemon Princes will exist for as long as Chaos is a force in the universe.
In order to attract the attention of their patrons amongst the Ruinous Powers, Champions of Chaos are required to achieve dark and terrible ends. They willingly sacrifice both foes and friends in service to their ambition for power and willingly risk their lives at the hands of both the enemies of Chaos and their own fickle masters, who do not suffer failure gladly. Few Chaos Champions avoid either death, or the mutation into Chaos Spawn that awaits all those mortal servants of Chaos who fail their dark patrons. Those who succeed at the tasks set for them by the Ruinous Powers are transformed into immortal entities of the Warp. They leave all the trappings of mortality and simple human feelings far behind. Daemon Princes are incredibly powerful entities of the Warp, vast and nightmarish beings whose essence is the immortal hellstuff of the Immaterium given form. No two Daemon Princes are truly alike, although many maintain a roughly humanoid shape when incarnate in the material realm. Their exact forms are fashioned from congealed horror and marked with the signs and stigmata of whichever great Chaos God they ultimately serve.
While Daemon Princes come in as wide a variety of shapes and sizes as there are facets of Chaos, most are massive beings composed of hulking muscle and thick sinew, displaying traditionally daemonic characteristics like horns and bat-like wings. All Daemon Princes wield potent sorcerous powers that originate in the Warp's psychic energies, and that are representative of the sphere of influence of the Daemon Prince's patron Chaos God. What little that a Daemon Prince retains of his or her humanity is usually only the caustic ambition and ruthless cunning which helped them earn their Chaotic reward in the first place. In the 41st Millennium, most of the Daemon Princes known to the Imperium hail from the ranks of the Chaos Space Marines, as these often ancient warriors possess the capability and desire needed to successfully serve the interests of Chaos well and long enough to earn daemonhood. However, the oldest of the Daemon Princes may actually have ascended to their immortal stature during the savage age long before Mankind left Terra to explore and settle the stars.
When a Daemon Prince conquers a world in the physical universe using the mortal Forces of Chaos that serve him, his patron Chaos God or the Chaos Gods as a whole if he serves Chaos Undivided bestow the world upon him as his own personal realm. The conquered planet is absorbed into the Immaterium. It becomes what the Imperial Administratum has deemed a Daemon World, a sub-reality of the Warp in which the ruling Daemon Prince has complete control over reality, having essentially become a minor Chaos God within the boundaries of his own realm. Like all daemons, Daemon Princes much prefer the environment of the Warp to the physical universe, and only rarely do they deign to actually leave the Empyrean and reenter the material universe. Daemon Princes are prized by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos because unlike true daemons or even the Chaos Gods themselves, they are former mortals. As previous denizens of the Materium, Daemon Princes still have a deep knowledge of the material universe and how mortals think and act. Despite this, many Daemon Princes continue to crave more power and further ascent within the ranks of the Forces of Chaos and so they often choose to join the retinue of a Greater Daemon of their patron Dark Power. To their surprise and anger, Daemon Princes often discover that other daemons, particularly the Greater Daemons who outrank even them amongst the servants of the Ruinous Powers, regard Daemon Princes as inferior beings because of their mortal origins, seeing them as tainted by their heritage as natives of the physical universe. As always, even Daemon Princes are no more than tools of Chaos, albeit extremely powerful ones, to be used and discarded as the situation demands it.
Primarchs as Daemon Princes
The greatest and most powerful of the current Daemon Princes were once the Traitor Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions that turned against the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy. These powerful entities, often called Daemon Primarchs, can easily be distinguished from other Daemon Princes by their distinctive appearances. They are still revered by the Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines they corrupted millennia ago, even though it has become uncommon for them to personally lead these Legions in battle from their Daemon Worlds. Instead they prefer to combat their daemonic rivals within the Eye of Terror, leaving the direction of their Legions, now broken up into individual Chaos Space Marine warbands, to their subordinate Champions of Chaos.
- Fulgrim - Daemon Primarch of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion
- Perturabo - Daemon Primarch of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion
- Angron - Daemon Primarch of the World Eaters Traitor Legion
- Mortarion - Daemon Primarch of the Death Guard Traitor Legion
- Magnus the Red- Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion
- Lorgar - Daemon Primarch of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion
Notable Daemon Princes
- Abraxes - Abraxes is a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch who was slain by the Soul Drinkers, a Renegade Chapter of Space Marines.
- Ax’senaea - Few beings in the Screaming Vortex can claim to have impressed the Lord of Dark Delights with their conceit, their vanity, and their hubris. Those who do typically earn the jealousy of Slaanesh, not admiration, as such things are beneath the god of indulgence and self-obsession. However, one being caught the eye of Slaanesh and received a nod of true admiration. In her struggle for self-perfection and vainglory, Ax’senaea, called the Thrice-Possessed, damned her people to eternal anguish and impressed even the Prince of Excess. Long before the days of the Angevin Crusade, while the Calixis Sector languished beyond Imperial control, the planet of Laodomida spun its lazy orbit around a star in what is now the Drusus Marches. A system far from any other, Laodomida was an isolated place of planetary intrigue and politics. A world consumed with its own extravagance, the intrigues of the ruling class were usually harmless enough, occasionally devolving into dynastic assassinations and scandals, but rarely all-out warfare. Into this world was born Ax’senaea, last born child of a minor noble family. By her third decade, the woman who would end her world had spent her entire life among the courts and war-rooms of her powerful kin. Oft-ignored in favour of her more aggressive siblings, Ax’senaea was left to turn inward and ponder the darkest regions of her own soul. Seeing her position, forgotten among her rivals, as little more than a matter for self-improvement, Ax’senaea quickly rose to power by mercilessly removing her competition. In only a few years she had decimated her dynasty and seized control, while keeping its holdings intact. It was not enough for the newly-minted Executrix Primaris, though -- she still had too little control over her world, her own psyche. Believing them to be manifestations of her own skills and knowledge, she collected a court of learned sages and strategists, putting each to death after she mastered their knowledge. Among these men was a secret sorcerer of Chaos. Hoping that it would end in her death, the sorcerer taught Ax’senaea the process by which to bind a powerful servant of Slaanesh to her own soul. His plan -- that the despotic woman could not hope to command such a creature -- was foiled by her overwhelming will and self-obsession. Though the ritual was long and exhausting, Ax’senaea was able to crush the daemonic entity beneath the weight of her indomitable will. Now possessed of the power of a Keeper of Secrets, the vain woman murdered the sorcerer and slew the remainder of her cabinet. She used her newly acquired warp-sorcery to exert more direct control over her subjects and her enemies, twisting their minds to her will, driving them mad with desire or jealousy, or eviscerating them with a thought. She continued to abuse the daemon within her for decades, draining its essence to fuel her ambitions and maintain her youth until she consumed its power, banishing it back into the Warp and binding a new Keeper of Secrets within. Over the following century she consumed a second and third daemon entirely, and plunged her world into utter chaos and conflict. She corrupted the souls of the ruling class the world over and spurred the populace to acts of subservience and adoration, sacrifice and murder, all so that she might prove the control she had over what she saw as her own psyche, her own body and mind. When her world was entirely under her own control, she spread to the other in-system planets, conquering, dominating, and commanding the countless billions touched by her influence. When the third daemon-soul withered and vanished within her, Ax’senaea performed the ritual yet again, hoping to devour the power of a fourth greater daemon. It was then that Slaanesh granted the woman daemonhood, both out of disdain for his most powerful servants and in adoration of the woman who had twisted the minds and souls of billions with her dark perfection. Pulled into the warp by the possessive jealousy of Ax’senaea herself, its puppet-populace living out her every wicked excess, Laodomida now spins aimlessly through the warp, a world re-formed daily by the fickle whims of its insane mistress. Despite the gifts of the Prince of Pleasure, Ax’senaea remains mad, consumed by her own self-obsession and solipsism. Her deranged mind has now turned to the beings of the warp, and to her mad eyes they are simply rebellious aspects of her nature, needing to be controlled as much as any world in realspace.
- Azariah Kyras - Azariah Kyras was the former Chapter Master and Chief Librarian of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter. Kyras was tragically corrupted by Chaos following his confrontation with the Greater Daemon of Nurgle, known as Ulkair. Five hundred years after his disappearance, he inexplicably returned to his Chapter and seized command of the 5th company. His experiences within the Warp tragically corrupted the Space Marines, such that upon his return he became intently focused on spreading that corruption to his Battle-Brothers. Over the centuries that followed Azariah Kyras hid his corruption while spreading his taint through the Chapter. Kyras eventually openly declared his loyalty as a servant to the Ruinous Powers and was granted ascension as a Daemon Prince. He would eventually be slain and replaced by the noble Gabriel Angelos, commander of the Blood Ravens' 3rd Company
- Uraka Az'baramael - Once a barbarian warlord on an ancient and forgotten world before the Age of the Imperium, as a mortal man Uraka's excess of bloodshed and plunder drew the attention of his people's dark god of war. Khorne looked on pleased at this favoured son's lifetime of pitiless massacres and savage martial victories; such that when he finally fell in battle, his forfeited soul was taken to the Citadel of Brass in Khorne's warp-realm where he fought for the right to do slaughter for all eternity. Now a Daemon Prince with a bloodlust unfettered by mortal constraints or sanity and with his own legion of hellspawn at his command, Uraka 'The Warfiend' serves now as Khorne's headsman, slaughtering his god's foes and delivering his dark master's judgement on traitors and enemies alike. He currently leads a Chaos Warband known as Uraka's Head Hunters, which is made up of veteran Bloodletters personally chosen by Uraka himself.
- Be'lakor - Ancient beyond imagining, the Daemon Prince Be'lakor was the very first of his kind. Raised up from mortality by the combined will of the Chaos Gods, he was given a portion of each of their power. Be'lakor's fate has ever been influenced by the endless struggle between the gods, as he is beholden to each of the Dark Gods equally. At first, Be'lakor used the jealousy of the Ruinous Powers to gain their favours, never completely swearing his allegiance to any one of them. For a time, the gods fought over Be'lakor as children might squabble over a favoured toy. However, they soon realised the folly of combining their might into a single vessel, as Be'lakor proved nearly uncontrollable. They soon began to raise up new Daemon Princes, each god choosing only Champions that would be loyal to them, and them alone. Be'lakor remained the strongest of the Daemon Princes, though his might was diminished as the gods spread their power among their other servants. Nevertheless, Be'lakor remains a master of shadows, moving behind the veil of history to exert the will of the Chaos Gods upon the universe.
- Bubonicus - An ancient Daemon Prince who ascended to daemonhood before the Age of the Imperium began and who now serves Nurgle.
- Dhar'leth - A Daemon Prince of the Black Legion who had been an Astartes of the Night Lords Legion before pledging his loyalty to Abaddon the Despoiler. He led the vanguard of the Despoiler during the attack on Monarchive on Antecanis IV during the 9th Black Crusade.
- Doombreed - An ancient Daemon Prince who ascended to daemonhood before the Age of the Imperium began and who now serves Khorne. Doombreed led the 5th Black Crusade of the Forces of Chaos against the Imperium of Man from the Eye of Terror in 723.M36.
- Doomrider - Doomrider is a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Once a Biker of the Emperor's Children Space Marine Legion, Doomrider followed his Primarch into the service of Slaanesh, and was rewarded with ascension to daemonhood for his fell deeds.
- Ghargatuloth - Ghargatuloth, also known as the "Prince of a Thousand Faces," is a Daemon Prince who serves Tzeentch.
- Ignatius Grulgor - Captain of the Death Guard's 2nd Great Company. During the massacre on Istvaan III Grulgor was posted on the Eisenstein to kill Captain Garro and the hundred strong company of Astartes with him. Grulgor was killed for the first time in a firefight in the gun decks of the Eisenstein, after a stray bolt pistol shot released the Life-Eater virus intended to be fired on Istvaan III. After the Escape of the Eisenstein and the following Warp journey, the body of Grulgor was reanimated by the Ruinous Powers as one of the very first Plague Marines ever encountered by the Imperium. After a desperate battle, Grulgor's mutated body was destroyed when the Eisenstein made an emergency transition back to realspace and the Plague Marines' connection to their patron Nurgle's domain was suddenly extinguished, causing their souls to be returned to the Realm of Chaos. However, it is likely that Grulgor survived these events as a newly transformed daemonic spirit, for a Nurgle's Daemon Prince known as Grulgor led the Forces of Chaos during the Fall of Medusa V campaign in the late 41st Millennium.
- J'ian-Lo - A Daemon Prince of Nurgle, he stood over five meters tall, with a winged body devoid of flesh. He engaged Supreme Grand Master Kaldor Draigo of the Grey Knights Chapter during the Fourth Battle of the Sunward Gap on the hull of the Emperor-class vessel Revenge. To his dismay, fighting in the materium made him subject to the laws of physics, and as Draigo shattered his body, the Grey Knight cast the creature of Chaos adrift in the void between the stars. It is unknown whether J'ian-Lo returned to the Immaterium or is still drifting through space.
- Kernax Voldorius - Known as "Strikemaster," Kernax was a Daemon Prince and leader of an Alpha Legion warband. He was tracked down and defeated by the combined forces of the White Scars and the Raven Guard Chapters, where Kor'sarro Khan decapitated the Daemon Prince and claimed its head on the world of Mankarra.
- Kor Megron - Kor Megron, known as the "Reaper of Rhodax," was a Daemon Prince who had once been a mighty Chaos Space Marine of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion during the Horus Heresy. In later eras, after his ascension to daemonhood, Kor Megron continued to plague the galaxy with his foul presence.
- Mamon - Known as the Arch-Corruptor of Vraks, Mamon was once an Imperial Deacon of the Ecclesiarchy, who was the principle agent provocateur behind the uprisings against the Imperium on Vraks Prime which eventually initiated the lamentable conflict known as the Siege of Vraks. He found favour within the Apostate Cardinal Xaphan's staff. It was Deacon Mamon who first sowed the seeds of corruption and turned the inexperienced Cardinal's religious ambitions against the Imperium. The Plague God granted the corrupted Deacon the "gift" of Daemonhood for all he had accomplished on Vraks, granting him the exalted rank of Daemon Prince. Mamon was soon possessed by the potent spirit of a Great Unclean One and transformed into a corpulent, festering Daemon Prince of Nurgle.
- Mephidast - The legends say he was born of mortal flesh centuries ago on a vessel seeking refuge from the calamitous eruptions engulfing the planet Verronus. Ominous flickerings in the Gellar Field heralded his birth, but otherwise his was a benign childhood spent amongst the agrarian folk where his familial tribes settled to. As he grew so did reports too foul to ignore of mutilated carcasses, and blighted crops. He claimed to be practising as a medicae, but these excuses met with hostility, and after he poisoned a local gathering festival, he was finally locked away in the depths of a primitive dungeon. It was here that he found what he truly desired -- an appreciative patron. Endless time passed as his soul stared inwards and grew rancid as his cell. He had only himself to amuse, and began to scrawl diagrams on the walls from his imagination, drawing on thoughts not totally of his own. Shapes of unnatural angles and runic glyphs of profane languages were traced out in the unclean liquids and filth around him, blood and bile and other substances marking patterns that seemed just outside his comprehension. His body grew gaunt and tough as skin turned to leather, his hair falling away in straw-like threads, yet his devotion somehow began nourishing his unhealthy body. Over time, the influence of his corruptive nature rotted away the bars of his cell into decrepit rust. He was free to contaminate and blight the land at will, and he set to doing so gleefully. In a day, the first victims fell ill. In a week, the dead piled up in the streets, local medicae unable to deal with the illness. His patron was satisfied, and made him more gifts so that he could carry Nurgle’s blessings across the Reach. He renamed himself Mephidast the Plaguereaver after this first successful display of power, and left the now dead planet for greater places to bestow Nurgle’s gifts. He had no need for conquest; spreading the influence of Nurgle was his goal. He nurtured infestations of ravenous insects and created scores of plague zombies within huddled hive-masses. He even lured a particularly critical Ministorum preacher to his doom in a taunting ambush, where his flesh was made unclean and rendered down into new blight grenades. His followers grew into a massive warhost and his goals became even more ambitious, now also striking out against any who would gainsay his patron god. It was his victory deep within Hadex over an entire legion of Khornate bloodadepts, their armour decaying away as their flesh weakened and muscles grew infirm, that saw his final elevation. The tide of decay fell across the enemy in unstoppable waves, dissolving them to putrescent skeletal remains. He claimed the planet as his own; this victory gaining his ascension to Daemonhood. His body became bloated with Nurgle’s blessings, surging in scale and power. Even the Plague Marines in his retinue fell to their knees in worship. Now immortal, Mephidast focused on plans that might take decades to unfold, each act growing more intricate and subtle but still with wondrously noxious effects. He has grand plans for the Jericho Reach, and the Achilus Crusade has begun to interfere with them. He is clever and patient, but his temperament is growing shorter as the time spent quenching this invasion reduces the time for his true goals.
- M'kar - M'kar was once Maloq Kartho, a Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. Kartho ascended to daemonhood after being slain by Remus Ventanus of the Ultramarines Legion during the Battle of Calth, the Word Bearers' massive surprise assault upon the XIII Legion during the Horus Heresy.
- Nemeroth - Nemeroth was the Chaos Sorcerer who led the Chosen of Nemeroth warband of Chaos Space Marines. Nemeroth ascended to daemonhood for a short time on the Forge World of Graia before being slain by Captain Titus of the Ultramarines in the late 41st Millennium.
- Sindri Myr - Sindri Myr was a Chaos Sorcerer of the Alpha Legion who, along with the Chaos Lord Bale, led the Chaos assault of Tartarus in the search for the Chaotic artefact known as the Maledictum . He utilised the power of this device to undergo apotheosis and become a Daemon Prince, but his reign proved brief for he was immediately slain by Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens.
- Suvfaeras - Suvfaeras is a potent foe from the very depths of the Warp. Older than Mankind itself, it is an extremely powerful entity. The Daemon Prince finds it amusing to appear to its new human worshippers in the grand form it took so many millennia ago, when it ruled and ultimately destroyed the former inhabitants of the Thaur .
- The Horned God - The Horned God is a Daemon Prince who was slain by the Exorcists Librarian Malachite during the Aschen War
- Tallomin - An ancient Daemon Prince often referred to in ancient texts as the "Prince of Daemon Princes."
- Uhlevorix - A melding of coalesced fear and a mortal soul as black as pure night, Uhlevorix is a nightmarish psychic predator, whose psychic power and cold intellect allows it to use the fear of its prey as a weapon. As a powerful Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, believed to once have been a sadistic mortal, this entity has only been encountered a handful of times in the history of the Jericho Reach. This is a mercy, for the grotesque monstrosity is known to have massacred whole armies and laid waste to entire settlements purely on the power of the fear it inspires. Intangible by nature, the Eater of Dread is difficult to harm, let alone slay, and it grows stronger with every moment of terror it inspires.
- Ve'Meth - Daemon Prince of Nurgle, slain by the Soul Drinkers, a Renegade Chapter of Space Marines.
- Barban Falk - A Warsmith of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion who ascended to daemonhood after successfully assaulting the planet of Hydra Cordatus and capturing precious stocks of Imperial Fists gene-seed. He then dedicated his prize to Chaos Undivided and was rewarded in return with daemonic ascension.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG)
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines ( 3nd Edition, 2nd Codex pg. 65)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- "Spawndom and Daemonhood," pg. 11
- "The Final Battle," pg. 15
- "Daemon Prince," pg. 32
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 8
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pg. 46
- Codex: Eye of Terror, pg. 5
- Dark Heresy: Forgotten Gods (2nd Edition) (RPG), pg. 141
- Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls (RPG), pg. 134
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 96, 362
- Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three
- Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II, pp. 69, 74
- Liber Chaotica - "Khorne: Black Crusades"
- Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
- Warhammer 40000 5th Edition Rulebook pg. 148
- White Dwarf 368 (UK), "Chaos Daemons," "The Power of the Warp," & "Realms of Chaos"
- White Dwarf 274 (UK), "Index Malleus: Daemons of the Warp", pg. 93
- Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Grey Knights (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Storm of Iron (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The Emperor's Gift (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Pandorax (Novel) by C.Z. Dunn