A Champion of Chaos, also styled as a Chaos Champion, is an individual who has dedicated his or her life to further the cause of a particular patron Chaos God, or Chaos as a whole in the form of Chaos Undivided. He or she is either an extremely powerful warrior, such as a Chaos Space Marine, or a psychic Chaos Sorcerer.
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 prerogatives 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 fairly. 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
The road to power begins by first offering body and soul to Chaos: either to an individual Chaos God or to Chaos Undivided as a whole. Not all who choose to so dedicate themselves are accepted by the Ruinous Powers, who truly only want the elite of mortals in their service as their Champions. Often it takes a spectacular deed of courage to attract the attention of the Ruinous Powers. If the candidate is accepted by a Chaos God or Chaos Undivided, he or she receives a Mark of Chaos from his Chaos patron. This is the patron Chaos God's own Mark or the Mark of Chaos Undivided, and each mark confers some supernatural ability or physical characteristic.
Once a Champion receives their Mark they begin to attract followers from the lesser servants of Chaos including mortals and even daemons if the Champion proves powerful and successful enough. The Chaos Gods use their Champions to further their aims in the material universe. The Champion's life becomes an endless series of battles, raids and quests to serve the Ruinous Powers.
As the Champion serves Chaos they become increasingly physically altered through mutational "gifts" granted by the Patron. The road to power ends eventually either in the Champion being reduced to a mindless and formless Chaos Spawn due to persistent failures or ascension to daemonhood as an immortal and powerful Daemon Prince as a reward for success.
All Chaos Champions are mortal and can be killed, although this is always a dangerous undertaking as they are exceedingly powerful foes. A Chaos Champion's followers are known as a Chaos warband. Warbands are deadly rivals to each other, often combatting each other to gain the attention of their patron Chaos Gods.
Even followers of the same Chaos God are rivals for their patron's fickle favour. Sometimes shaky alliances are formed between the warbands of extremely powerful Champions. The truly successful Champions of Chaos are ultimately rewarded with immortality and are elevated to the rank of Daemon Prince and given control over their own Daemon World within the Warp.
Types of Chaos Champion
- Aspiring Champion - The most common form of Chaos Champion found among Chaotic warbands, the Aspiring Champion leads squads of Chaos Space Marines, including the Chosen, Raptors and Havoc Squads, or warbands of human Heretics and Chaos Cultists, and usually pledges his loyalty to a more powerful Chaos Lord.
- Terminator Champion - Aspiring Champions who have somehow acquired a suit of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, often through killing the previous owner themselves. Terminator Champions are the leaders of the rare Chaos Space Marine Terminators.
- Possessed Champion - Leaders of the Possessed, mortal psykers who have been possessed by a daemon of the Warp, Possessed Champions are often possessed by a powerful daemon and horribly mutated by the daemon's presence beyond even the mutational "gifts" granted to their fellow Chaotic devotees by the Ruinous Powers.
- Plague Champion - Plague Champions serve as the Death Guard Traitor Legion's Plague Marine Squad leaders, and a Plague Champion is often the most horribly disease-infested individual in the unit as well as the toughest to defeat and the most dedicated to the service of the Plague Lord, Nurgle.
- Noise Champion - Noise Champions are the most dedicated Chaos Champions of Slaanesh and the leaders of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion's Noise Marine squads. Noise Champions commonly brandish rare sonic weaponry unavailable to most Chaos Space Marines.
- Skull Champion - Skull Champions are the leaders of the World Eaters Traitor Legion's Khornate Berserker Squads and are seen as the members of the unit who are the most bloodthirsty and devoted to Khorne, as well as the best most skilled berserker in the squad.
- Aspiring Sorcerer - Aspiring Sorcerers are apprentice Sorcerers still in training to become a full-fledged Chaos Sorcerer; Aspiring Sorcerers are the leaders of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion's units and the especial devotees of the Lord of Change, Tzeentch.
- Biker Champion - As the name implies, Biker Champions are the leaders of Chaos Space Marine Assault Bike Squadrons, and they are usually extremely bloodthirsty and obsessed with speed.
Chaos God Champions
The greatest Chaos Champions are called Chaos Lords and these individuals are often aligned with one of the four Chaos Gods and become the mightiest Champions of their chosen deity. Often this status grants them a measure of the power of their patron God, including mutations and greater resilience, enhanced strength and psychic abilities.
- Champion of Nurgle - Disease and death are the most potent forces in the galaxy and the Champion of Nurgle embodies all of these. These Chaos Lords are swollen and bloated, often little more than moving sacks of pus and infectious diseases. Their bodies have been dulled to pain and as such can endure immense amounts of damage before they die.
- Champion of Khorne - The most bloodthirsty and savage fighters in the galaxy, Champions of Khorne lust after the spilling of blood and the roar of battle to satisfy the desires of the Blood God. They are experts in many weapon forms which others could not master but do not fight in a graceful manner, preferring to bludgeon their way through a large number of enemies. Only the greatest battles can sate their endless thirst for blood and death.
- Champion of Slaanesh - Desire is a powerful emotion and Slaanesh is the embodiment of all desire, with his Champions revelling in their pleasures. They take joy from the ending of life on the battlefield, a perverse pleasure for which the desire is constantly increased. The senses of the Champion are increased beyond human recognition and their minds are so fast to react that they fight in a blur which many enemies cannot even see, let alone defend against. Slaaneshi Champions are often the greatest swordsmen in the galaxy.
- Champion of Tzeentch - Highly powerful psykers and Chaos Sorcerers make up the ranks of the mortal followers of Tzeentch, and his most potent followers are his Champions. The enhanced psychic powers Tzeentch grants his Champions allows them to project Warp powers which no loyal follower of the Emperor would dream of unleashing. They often wear charms and pendants to protect themselves from the daemonic powers of the Warp; although the dangers are lessened because of their service to the Lord of Change even Chaos Lords fear the entities of the Warp. Often the Champion is merely a pawn in one of the endless larger schemes of Tzeentch, but useful pawns are often the best protected.
For every Chaos Lord making his grisly mark upon the galaxy, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Chaos Champions vying for the favour of the Ruinous Powers. Each is an exceptional warrior; whether he is known for his martial prowess or sheer animalistic brutality, the Exalted Champion inevitably leaves a trail of corpses in his wake.
In seeking out and slaying the most vaunted of enemies, Exalted Champions hope to draw the eye of the Dark Gods. They do so with good reason -- from the perspective of a power-hungry madman, at least.
Unlike so many other deities given obeisance across the galaxy, who remain distant and unknowable, if they exist at all, the gods of Chaos are very real, and willing to reward or punish their supplicants on the whim of the moment. An Exalted Champion that proves a capable pawn in the Great Game will find himself rewarded with abilities far beyond those of even the most accomplished mortal.
Warp-given "rewards" usually appear first as blemishes or stigmata, then, as time passes, as strange protuberances or abilities that become ever more pronounced over the passage of time. Their nature is sometimes suited to the recipient's personal agenda -- a bloodthirsty butcher may become possessed of insane strength, whereas a leader of men might find his commands obeyed without question.
Other times these "gifts" of the Dark Gods might be hideously disfiguring, or even physically crippling, for what the Ruinous Powers consider a blessing might be seen by mortals as the vilest curse. Those Champions who sprout extra limbs, razor-sharp horns or extra eyes soon find ways to turn their new gifts to slaughter -- many a Chaos warrior has found such growths to be effective tools in a fight.
Because the blessings a Champion receives usually increase the carnage he is able to wreak, they increase the likelihood he will be rewarded once more, and so the cycle continues. Should a warrior find himself with too many gifts, his much-altered body and genome will reach a breaking point, mutating into a fleshy abomination that is doomed to spend the rest of its short existence in agony and madness. Such is the razored edge walked by these Champions; on one side lies eternal servitude, and on the other, hideous devolution into a mindless Chaos Spawn.
An Exalted Champion fulfils a double role in the warband of his master. He is an effective leader in those times when his lord's efforts must be focused elsewhere, and it is common for him to be accompanied by a band of Chaos Cultist retainers and hangers-on, or a Chaos Space Marine honour guard. More than that, however, an Exalted Champion is his master's executioner, seeking out the leaders of the enemy and matching himself against them in single combat.
The Exalted Champion's experience, hard-won over centuries, sometimes millennia, of battle, is allied with a ferocious thirst for violence and the potent wargear of the Chaos Space Marines, further bolstered by the gifts of the Dark Gods. This makes him an inspiring warrior, a weaponmaster who can fight toe-to-toe with an Ork Warboss or Drukhari aristocrat and emerge triumphant. Whilst gore still sizzles on his blade, the Exalted Champion offers the undiluted glory of victory to his patrons. His warband raise their victory cries around him, fighting on all the harder as the severed head of the enemy is held up for man and god to see.
- 1 Exalted Champion
Exalted Champion Wargear
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Combi-weapon (Any type, replacement for Bolt Pistol)
- Plasma Pistol (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Chainaxe (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Chainsword (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Lightning Claw (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Power Fist (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Power Maul (Replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Power Weapon (Any type, replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 44, 58, 181, 263
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 59-60
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Decay (RPG), pp. 16, 67, 82, 135
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess (RPG), pp. 27, 119
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 11, 14, 20, 28, 41, 69
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 30, 94-100
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 58, 126
- Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1st Edition), pp. 38-43, 55, 57-62
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1st Edition), pp. 9, 46-51