"For seventeen long centuries have I remained in this blade, confined within these metal walls. During all of my time of imprisonment you are the first I have seen who is worthy to bear me into battle. Come, take my hilt, and I will serve you in the manner of my kind, drawing blood of your enemies, protecting you in the midst of the fight, bringing you safely home again. Now, draw me from the scabbard and test the fineness of my balance. See how easily I swing, how my keen edge cleaves the air. A good choice, am I not? Willingly you picked me up. Your first mistake. Willingly you drew me. Your second mistake. I do not allow my servants to make three mistakes, foolish mortal…"
- — A Daemon Weapon reveals itself to its new bearer
A Daemon Weapon is a mighty artefact of Chaos, a blasphemous union of the Materium's matter and the Immaterium's spirit. It is most often given as a gift from the Ruinous Powers to their favoured mortal servants. As the name implies, a Daemon Weapon is a weapon into which has been bound the essence of a daemon. A Daemon Weapon is most often a close quarters weapon, although daemonic ranged weapons have been encountered. Quite often the daemon is bound into the weapon as the result of a punishment rendered by his patron Chaos God, but at times exceptional mortal servants of Chaos manage to entreat a daemon to assist them in their exploits of slaughter, and the daemon binds itself willingly to its bearer.
A Daemon Weapon is a sentient item that grants tremendous power to its wielder. The weapon itself is often quite destructive in its own right, and nearly all Daemon Weapons allow their bearers access to their daemonic senses, heightening their perceptions of their surroundings. The bound daemon, if it has not been driven to insanity by its imprisonment, can also counsel its bearer or even manipulate him. Bound Tzeentchian daemons are particularly fond of and apt at this. The simple fact of bearing a Daemon Weapon is a source of immense prestige amongst the servants of the Ruinous Powers, a true mark of the favours of the God(s), and the bearer will soon see his personal flock swell with eager underlings. But this power comes at a dangerous price: the bound daemon cares neither for mortal frailties nor limitations, and will rebel if its bearer does not use it for constant slaughter or the fulfillment of whatever the daemon deems to be its own personal goals. If the bearer does not succeed in controlling his weapon, he will be killed as soon as the weapon finds a better prospective wielder, quite often by the contrivance of the Daemon Weapon, as it withdraws its support at a critical moment.
Daemon Weapon Types
"Wrought by my hand, bathed in my blood, bound to my will. By these ways did I forge a fetish meant to draw forth the infinite energies beyond our reality. Simple as it may appear to be, it is my gateway to understanding."
- — From the writings of Ocran Orana
Daemon Weapons are by their nature unique, for every daemon is an unique individual. However, weapons containing the essence of similar daemons will have similar properties, and the power granted to its bearer will ultimately be in accordance with the power of the daemon bound within. A blade containing a Lesser Daemon will be as a child's toy in comparison to one containing a Greater Daemon, but will be much easier to placate. And even a weapon containing the least of Warp entities is already a blasphemously powerful item, able to channel raw Immaterium energies to sunder and destroy anything it strikes.
The Ordo Malleus has identified many types of these blasphemous weapons, to better oppose them:
Daemons of Chaos Undivided who become bound into weapons will often take the following form:
- Accursed Crozius - An Accursed Crozius is the mark of office of a Word Bearers Dark Apostle. When the Chaplains of the Word Bearers Legion willingly embraced Chaos in the days before the start of the Horus Heresy they ritually desecrated their once sacred weapons. Bound within these talismans of Chaos is a daemon of Chaos Undivided who grants the Apostle additional protection and oratory prowess.
- Dark Blade - A Dark Blade is jet-black, containing no reflection or marks that mar the perfect satin darkness of its blade, although the hilt, pommel and grip are often richly embellished. The Dark Blade is a hungry killer that feasts on the souls of the slain and urges its bearer on to further acts of barbarity until it is sated.
- Dreadaxe - A Dreadaxe contains the bound essence of an entrapped entity with a vampiric thirst for souls that is especially partial to destroying daemonic rivals. These bound daemons hate all others of their own kind, and a Dreadaxe is especially efficient when used in combat against other daemons.
- Ether Lance - The Ether Lance is a Daemon Weapon which acts as a conduit to the Warp. Its bearer can launch bolts of Empyrean energy at his foes or draw them into the lance, eventually consuming them utterly while powering more blasts from the weapon.
- Kai Gun - A Kai Gun Daemon Weapon resembles a huge Bolter of archaic design, so large that a normal man would be unable to lift it. It is a two-handed weapon that acts as a psychic catalyst, turning the hate and malice of its wielder into tangible bolts of potent energy.
Daemons of Khorne are only bound into a weapon as a punishment or when they are vanquished by the Blood God's foes. They utterly detest this imprisonment, and quickly become insane as a result of their captivity and inability to actively engage in slaughter.
- Axe of Khorne - Infused with the insatiable bloodlust of Khorne's own rage and fury, an Axe of Khorne is a mighty weapon borne by Bloodthirsters and favoured mortal Chaos Champions of Khorne. It is not a true Daemon Weapon in the strictest sense, for it is not sentient and will not rebel, but the rage of the Blood God will spur its bearer to commit carnage to a point that he will lose any instinct for self-preservation he might still have possessed in his pursuit of more blood for the Blood God.
- Berserker's Glaive - A Berserker's Glaive takes the form of a mighty two-handed blade, and contains the essence of a Bloodletter. The Lesser Daemon's fury at being imprisoned is transmitted to the bearer who will be forced to constantly fight to control it. However this very fury will also tremendously augment the bearer's aptitude for carnage in melee.
- Bloodfeeder - A Bloodfeeder, also known as an Axe of Blind Fury, takes the form of a gigantic two-handed axe, and contains the bound essence of a vanquished Bloodthirster. Only the mightiest of servants of Khorne ever wield such a potent weapon in battle, for the amounts of constant slaughter necessary to keep the Bloodthirster in check is nigh on impossible to achieve.
- Firestorm Blade - A mighty greatsword sometimes seen in the hands of Khorne’s most favoured Bloodthirsters, the Firestorm Blade is a massive straight sword engulfed in an impossibly bright nimbus of white fire. At the whim of its wielder, the blade can discharge great gouts of flame at targets within a considerable distance, burning its victims with overwhelming Warpfire. Only one Firestorm Blade has ever been seen within the Vortex, wielded by a powerful mortal champion by the name of Mithros. The man and his army descended into the Lower Vortex with dreams of conquest, and were never heard from again. Many claim that his blade—and other similar objects—is still out there, just waiting for someone powerful or insane enough to claim them.
- Hellblade - Forged from the essence of a vanquished Bloodletter, a Hellblade is the standard weapon wielded by other Bloodletters. Like an Axe of Khorne, it is not a true Daemon Weapon in the strictest sense, for it is not sentient and will not rebel.
Weapons containing a daemon of Nurgle serve as a conduit for Nurgle's favorite diseases and pestilences.
- Manreaper - A Manreaper is an enormous Power Scythe that has been dipped in the filth of Nurgle himself. Carrying a shard of the Plague God within, these virulent weapons are much sought after by the servants of Nurgle, even if they sometimes claim the life of their bearer as well.
- Pandemic Staff - A Pandemic Staff is a close combat weapon that acts as a vessel of Nurgle's favourite contagions, their afflictions joyfully spread in the Materium.
- Plaguebringer - Plaguebringers are forged from the very essence of Nurgle's best diseases, and are utterly fatal to any living being that the weapon comes in contact with, even the toughest of foes. The standard weapon of Plaguebearers, it is not a true Daemon Weapon in the strictest sense, for it is not sentient and will not rebel.
- Plague Knife - The hallmark weapon of the Death Guard Traitor Legion, which was originally their close combat blade, the Plague Knife is a broad trench dagger, which was a brutal and efficient weapon in hand-to-hand combat. When the Astartes of the Death Guard were transformed by the corrupting influence of Nurgle, these blades transformed as well. Now they have become Plague Knives, corroded weapons coated with rust and numerous diseases, the better to spread Father Nurgle's vile blessings across the galaxy. Only those pure in his sight such as his Plague Marines are granted such a weapon, and any lesser being suffering even the slightest wound is gifted with one of his innumerable creations such as Nurgle's Rot or the Weeping Pox.
- Plague Sword - A Plague Sword is a large, corroded one-handed sword that drips with venomous pus and the pestilent blessings of Grandfather Nurgle, its touch being utterly lethal to mortal foes.
Weapons containing a daemon of Slaanesh seek to overload the victim's senses, inducing a long and excruciating agony instead of slaying them outright.
- Blissgiver - A Blissgiver is a Daemon Weapon that takes the form of a slender blade or writhing whip whose merest touch can induce a pleasurable coma, allowing the victim to be captured alive.
- Lash of Torment - A Lash of Torment is a Daemon Weapon resembling an animated whip that twists and coils with a mind of its own, feeding on a victim's terror and pain, before telepathically sharing it with any beings who are close by. This is highly entertaining for servants of Slaanesh, and utterly horrifying for its victims.
- Needle of Desire - The Needle of Desire is a Daemon Weapon which takes the appearance of a long, slim double-pointed needle inscribed with blasphemous runes within runes all the way down to a microscopic level. One half is embedded in the arm of the Chaos Champion bearing it where it absorbs the foul narcotics naturally synthesised by Champions of Slaanesh, allowing the bearer to inject those into other beings using the other end of the Needle. The bearer will often share this gift with friend and foe; and while to another servant of Slaanesh it is an incredibly intense and pleasurable experience, the drugs contained within are utterly fatal to anyone or anything else.
- Bedlam Staff - A Bedlam Staff is an ancient Daemon Weapon that takes the form of a stave which is exclusively employed by Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerers to use as a foci for their powers. The few remaining examples of these fell weapons are steeped in ten millennia of wild psychic power. Enemies struck by the power of these powerful staves have their nervous systems overloaded by Warp energies, rending conscious thought from their minds, leaving them unable to act and vulnerable to further attacks.
- Deathscreamer - A Deathscreamer is a Daemon Weapon that channels the psychic power of its bearer into howling bolts of arcane energy that rip their target apart.
- Pandemonium Stave - Potent Daemon Weapons of immense power, Pandemonium Staves are wielded only by Tzeentch’s greatest champions. Longer than a man is tall and consisting of a single rod of roughly hewn and psychically bonded black granite, these staves tend to cast unnatural shadows, drawing in nearby light and glowing softly in a pattern that can make those that stare at it too long feel sick. The dull glow quickly changes to a bright white when the wielder channels his own psychic energy down the length of the stave, and the daemon contained within screams out, adding its own caged fury to the power of the attack.
- Warp Blade - A Warp Blade is a Daemon Weapon that is gifted to the mightiest of Chaos Sorcerers and most devious of plotters. A Warp Blade has the power to dissipate and scatter psychic energy aimed at its bearer. This tends to attract the denizens of the Warp, who hungrily sniff out the source of the power and can be set angrily upon any bystanders.
Unique Daemon Weapons
Some Daemon Weapons are truly unique, and they have risen to infamy alongside their bearers:
- Agoniser - Found in the vaults of the world of Occatus I, the Agoniser is a potent and mighty daemon-possessed Runesword wielded by the fallen Adeptus Sororitas Miriael Sabathiel. Snaking tubes connect it to a needle in Miriael's arm, where it absorbs the foul narcotics naturally synthesised by the bodies of the Champions of Slaanesh. She also wields a daemonic Bolter, another gift to her from Slaanesh for her service as his Champion.
- Artekus Scourge - The Artekus Scourge is a daemonic weapon originally borne by the infamous Chapter Master Artekus Bardane of the now-Excommunicate Traitoris Relictors Space Marine Chapter. This weapon appears as a flail tipped with balls of pure energy in the form of screaming daemonic faces. The flail snaps and gnashes at the souls of those it hits.
- Axe of Kha-Aksha - This fell Khornate relic serves as a prison for the essence of the Bloodthirster Kha Ak-Lash Kha-Aksha. In his pride, the Bloodthirster rebelled against his lord and master Khorne, and was doomed to this fate by the furious Blood God. This infamous Bloodfeeder Daemon Weapon has over time become legendary over the whole region of space adjacent to the Calixis Sector known as the Screaming Vortex, as its wielders have all carved themselves bloody empires before succumbing to the insane fury of the trapped daemon within the weapon. Today, the Axe of Ka-Aksha can be found on the planet Messia within the Vortex, waiting for the servant of the Blood God who will tear it from its current wielder's grasp.
- Black Blade of Angron - The Primarch Angron's personal daemonic sword, this gigantic black blade could cleave anything in two. This weapon was destroyed by the powerful psychic defence of the Grey Knights during the First War for Armageddon.
- Black Blade of Antwyr - The Blade of Antwyr is a Warp-spawned weapon that was captured by the daemon-hunting Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter and is impervious to all means at the the Grey Knights' disposal to destroy it. The Grey Knights were reluctant to simply cast the dangerous artefact into the void of interstellar space where they knew that eventually a new bearer would be drawn to its evil aura or to seal it away in a vault within their fortress-monastery on Titan as it would only invite corruption to its guardians. A fateful decision was made to place the Black Blade of Antwyr into the safest prison the Grey Knights could conceive; the hands of the Chapter's own Purifiers. Castellan Garran Crowe is the current guardian of the malefic weapon, and it continuously brings him into both physical and spiritual peril by tempting him with Chaotic promises of power or seeking to bind his will with black sorcery.
- Blade of Phaedron - A Chapter relic of the excommunicated Relictors Chapter, inside the Blade of Phaedron lies the seething soul of a daemon possessed of a great enmity for all its kin. Although it is unremarkable when employed against a living thing, against a daemon the blade will blaze white with the pure heat of the captive daemon's rage.
- Black Mace - This fell weapon is said to have been blessed (or cursed) by each of the Daemon Primarchs in turn. The Black Mace takes the form of a large ornate bludgeon, and so fell is the power contained in this baroque abomination that any struck by it collapses immediately into mouldering bones, while the horrendous curse that just brought the poor soul low seeks to spread to any living being standing nearby.
- Blade of Decay - The Blade of Decay is a sword carried by one of Nurgle's most favoured Greater Daemons, Scabeiathrax. It has the power to rapidly decay anything it touches. Organic creatures that are hit with the blade find their flesh rotting away before their eyes and armoured vehicles rust away with the sudden passage of centuries when hit.
- Deii'Sh'thuhl the Whispering Blade - Fell legends from the area of space known as the Screaming Vortex speak of two former Renegade pirate captains, both having sworn fealty to Slaanesh, but rivals in every other thing. The endlessly escalating conflict of both reaver captains ultimately drove them both to ruin. While still mortals, both constantly sought to outdo the other, each transforming his fleet into a pleasure den and torture chamber to craft new perfections of mass sacrifices and exquisite agonies. Both mortals were eventually rewarded with ascension to daemonhood, but this only served to fuel their rivalry, which only ended when one of them crafted an exquisite blade, hewn from a single turquoise crystal, which was hailed as an impossibly precise piece of art. Unwilling to concede defeat, his rival then willingly bound himself to the blade, pouring his essence into it in order to steal victory. Despairing, but unwilling to destroy his masterpiece, the other Daemon Prince cast the blade into the Screaming Vortex, unwilling to again set eye on his defeat. Thus was born the blade known as Deii'Sh'thuhl, a prison from which the victorious contestant whispers endlessly of unspeakable depravations to any mortal foolish enough to pick up the blade.
- Drach'nyen - Bound to the will of the mighty Chaos Lord Abaddon the Despoiler, this arcane blade contains the bound essence of Drach'nyen, a writhing Warp entity that can rend reality apart.
- Goreseeker - Containing a Flesh Hound of Khorne, this razor-fanged axe confers those creatures' best known traits upon the one who wields it. It was last seen in the hands of the Aspiring Champion Gorath Varix, who was leading a warband of Khornate Berserkers during a raid on the world of Midael. Varix was confirmed dead in the battle’s aftermath, but the weapon was nowhere to be found.
- Khartoth the Bloodhunger - Khartoth a mighty Daemonsword that has the capability of cutting through not only matter but also time. The daemons of the Blood God's kingdom in the Realm of Chaos are known to take part in an immense tournament. Khorne takes the Daemonsword and hides it within one of his Flesh Hounds. The daemonic legions of Khorne fall upon each other with sword and axe, slaughtering and butchering one another in order to obtain the fell weapon. The daemon brave, strong or fortunate enough to slay the Flesh Hound containing the Daemonsword becomes the Lord of the Slaughter and may wield Bloodhunger for a day or an age, as Khorne sees fit. The Lord of the Slaughter enjoys great privilege in battle amongst the other daemons of the Blood God. When Khorne grows weary of his Lord of Slaughter's exploits, a new Flesh Hound devours the wielder and the Daemonsword, combining their essence, and the Blood God begins the tournament anew.
- Nach'ra'ael the Hungering - The final prison of the Daemon Prince Nach’ra’ael, this sword was crafted specifically to hold the daemon by artisans enslaved by a rival’s warband, the name of which is long lost to history. A horrifically powerful weapon, the blade seems to move between the worlds of the Screaming Vortex seemingly at random, appearing occasionally in the hands of a warlord powerful enough to claim it without succumbing to the weapon’s inhabitant. In this, Nach’ra’ael perhaps has the last laugh, for it has managed to reclaim former glories by possessing unworthy wielders.
- Silence - Silence, to give it the macabre nickname favoured by its wielder, the Daemon Primarch Mortarion of the Death Guard Traitor Legion, Silence is a massive two-handed battle scythe with a blade span as long as most human warriors are tall. This formidable weapon is accounted as one of the most fearsome blades wielded by any Primarch. Since Mortarion's finding by the Emperor during the Great Crusade, there have been dark whispers that the blade is of xenos-tainted origin, and some familiar with the legend of the Death Guard Primarch's early life believe it to be none other than the weapon of the terrible charnel creature that once named himself Mortarion's "father."
- Silver Blade of the Laer - The Silver Blade of the Laer was a single-edged sword of elegant xenos craftsmanship recovered by Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children Legion, from a great temple dedicated to the Chaos God of Pleasure in the aftermath of the cleansing of the Xenos World of Laeran by the forces of the III Legion in the closing days of the Great Crusade. Unbeknownst to Fulgrim, however, it held the essence of a powerful Greater Daemon of Slaanesh which would eventually overpower and possess Fulgrim during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. After freeing itself by taking control of Fulgrim's body, the daemon later gave the Silver Blade, now bereft of its possessing Warp entity but still a finely crafted weapon, to Captain Lucius, sensing great potential for mastering the way of Slaanesh within the arrogant Astartes.
- Sword of Saint Aquitaine - The Sword of Saint Aquitaine was recovered by the Relictors Chapter immediately prior to its debasement and subsequent possession by a daemonic entity, and contains a nightmarish creature of such power it can turn day into night.
- Vilemaw - Once borne into battle by Ahn Sokar, the Icon Bearer and later Coryphaus of the Word Bearers Traitor Legions’ 39th Host, this Bolter somehow found its way to a makeshift shrine of bone and steel on the reaver world of Iniquity, awaiting a worthy master. Though the beast imprisoned within is only a minor Warp entity, little more than an Astral Spectre, the weapon itself is a relic of the Traitor Legions, proud and belligerent, and unwilling to suffer the touch of mere mortals. With every unworthy soul who attempts to claim this weapon, the shrine grows a little larger.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 194-202
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pg. 39
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 120, 137
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess (RPG), pg. 37
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 32, 40
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 64-65, 69, 91
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 93
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 13, 19-20, 43-44, 47-48, 51, 55-56, 59, 61
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 28-29
- Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook (RPG), pp. 174, 179-183
- Realms of Chaos - Slaves to Darkness (2nd Edition), pp. 94-97
- White Dwarf 273 (US), "Index Malleus - Infernal Threat" by Phil Kelly and Graham McNeill, pp. 90, 92
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill