"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.
- Uraka Az'baramael - Known as The Warfiend, this ancient Daemon Prince was once a mortal warrior who ascended to daemonhood before the Age of the Imperium began and who now serves Khorne.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tallomin - An ancient Daemon Prince often referred to in ancient texts as the "Prince of Daemon Princes."
- Ve'Meth - Daemon Prince of Nurgle, slain by the Soul Drinkers, a Renegade Chapter of Space Marines.
- Barban Falk - Warsmith of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion 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
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 362
- Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three
- 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