Aspiring Champions of Chaos are veteran warriors of Chaos, usually but not always corrupted Astartes, who lead a squad of Chaos Space Marines or other Chaos warriors into battle but remain under the command of a true Champion of Chaos or an even more powerful Chaos Lord.
The Road to Power
Chaos is attractive for the simple reason that it offers enormous power to those willing to turn away from the light of the Emperor and dedicate themselves in body and soul to the Ruinous Powers. For many who walk its dark path, it offers the only hope of betterment in a galaxy ruled by an often oppressive human Imperium where opportunities for true happiness and advancement are the perrogatives of only a tiny, privileged minority, and where the only escape from literal starvation or persecution by a tyrannical and uncaring bureaucracy lies in the egalitarian favours of Chaos. For unlike the Imperium of Man and so many of the other servants of Order in the galaxy, Chaos judges its servants on merit and skill alone and rewards them for their successes or failures harshly, but accordingly. In fact, many of those who serve the Dark Gods would claim that only Chaos offers true justice to the peoples bound into the corrupt and dying realm ruled over by the Corpse Emperor. The road to power begins when a person offers themselves up body and soul to Chaos: either to an individual Chaos God or to Chaos Undivided as a whole. Not all who choose to dedicate themselves to Chaos are accepted. Often it takes a spectacular deed of courage to attract the attention of the Dark Gods. If the candidate is accepted he receives a Mark of Chaos from the Chaos God who serves as his patron or from Chaos Undivided if he serves the basic agenda of all the Chaos Gods. This is the patron's own Mark, and each Mark confers some ability, mutational "gift" or special characteristic to its recipient.
Once an Aspiring Champion receives the Mark he begins to attract followers from among the lesser servants of Chaos. The Chaos Powers use their Champions to further their aims in the material universe. The Aspiring Champion's life becomes an endless series of battles, raids and quests. As the Champion serves Chaos he becomes increasingly altered physically through the mutations or so-called "gifts" granted by his Patron. The road to power ends eventually either in the Champion being reduced to a mindless and formless mutant Chaos Spawn if he fails to achieve his Patron's objectives or raised to daemonhood as an immortal and powerful Daemon Prince, a living extension of the will of the Dark Gods.
All Chaos Champions are mortal and can be killed, although this is always a dangerous undertaking as they are powerful foes. A Chaos Champion's followers are known as a Chaos warband. Warbands are deadly rivals to each other, fighting amongst themselves to gain the attention of their Chaos Patrons. Even followers of the same Chaos God are usually deadly rivals in an endless war of all-against-all, which is the way of Chaos. Sometimes shaky alliances are formed by extremely powerful Champions. The truly successful are rewarded with immortality and are elevated to the rank of Daemon Prince.
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)